My Truths #37 (bonking)

by Stephanie

If you’re a “fat burner” you’re less likely to bonk. If you are engaging in strenuous physical activity for long periods of time then your body needs adequate fuel/hydration or you may hit a wall and be unable to continue… this is also called “bonking”. This happened to a friend of mine while mountain climbing in Maine. Her legs turned to spaghetti and would barely hold her up. It was a real struggle to finish the hike and a very scary experience for her.

If you generally eat a lot of carbs then your body is accustomed to burning glucose for energy…this is fine and likely the way most people/athletes function but if your glucose stores are depleted you have to refill them or you’re in trouble. This means drinking sugary energy drinks and eating high carb snacks during your activity. If, on the other hand, you normally eat a low carb diet and are “fat adapted” then your body can efficiently convert your stored fat into fuel. This means less need for carb loading during long strenuous workouts and much less chance of bonking.