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#102001 - 08/29/08 04:24 PM The bonk / hitting the wall
2brnot2b Offline
member

Registered: 07/15/07
Posts: 22
A recent experience leads me to ask...

1. Have you ever "hit the wall" / "bonked" when hiking? What did you do? (I didn't but I was close)

2. Just as runners use gels and sports drinks, do you think such things would help backpackers regulate their blood sugar and muscle glucose to increase performance?

3. Did you ever overdo it and lose your appetite when hiking?

4. Anybody out there drink more than six liters a day on a "big" day? How much do you drink?

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#102002 - 08/29/08 05:10 PM Re: The bonk / hitting the wall [Re: 2brnot2b]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Quote:
A recent experience leads me to ask...

1. Have you ever "hit the wall" / "bonked" when hiking? What did you do? (I didn't but I was close)


Yep.. I stopped, ate and drank. It's really that simple.

Quote:

2. Just as runners use gels and sports drinks, do you think such things would help backpackers regulate their blood sugar and muscle glucose to increase performance?


Many of us do. I carry the odd clif shot. Although often it's just a snickers bar <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

Quote:

3. Did you ever overdo it and lose your appetite when hiking?


Yep.

Quote:

4. Anybody out there drink more than six liters a day on a "big" day? How much do you drink?


No, but I get close. Realisticly robably topped out at realisticly as 2-3 litres of water during a long day, a further litre for breakfast and a further litre at dinner.
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#102003 - 08/29/08 07:50 PM Re: The bonk / hitting the wall [Re: 2brnot2b]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2123
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
I did a or 16+ mile day I believe, one time, about six-seven years ago. I didn't stop for lunch or a break, I was trying to beat a storm in Oct. Snowing all around me and on me lightly and here I was, on the wrong side of the mountain. When I finally stopped for a break in the afternoon, a little before 4:00, I was barely making it up little rises in the trail, around the north side of Thousand Island Lake in the Sierra, after coming from Iron Creek, just south of Hemlock Crossing, which is just east of Yosemite. I don't think I drank that much water all day either. Anyway, didn't really bonk, just had no power. When I stopped below the outlet of Thousand Island, I ate a Genisoy brand bar and drank some water. I had a watch with me on this trip, about 45 minutes later, I was striding uphill and jogging on the downhills and flat ground. In the 7.6 miles to the trailhead, according to my Tom Harrison map, I made it there in two hours.:) Felt fine, ate dinner at moms at 9:30 that night. Pooch kept up too. I believe in those bars, just can't find them anywhere now since last year.

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#102004 - 08/30/08 03:44 PM Re: The bonk / hitting the wall [Re: 2brnot2b]
RobertL Offline
member

Registered: 01/04/02
Posts: 174
Loc: Oregon
If I don't get a good night's sleep, I'll bonk every time no matter what I eat or drink. But, a short nap and I'm good to go again.

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#102005 - 08/31/08 06:36 AM Re: The bonk / hitting the wall [Re: 2brnot2b]
chaz Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Tennessee
Alright, A bonk is when you run out of steam when climbing or biking up a hill. You can recover from a bonk and keep going. The trick to avoiding hitting the wall is to keep hydrated and keep your glucose level feed. While hiking/biking eat small bites of snacks, bananas,granola bars etc. You can recover from the bonk but once you hit the wall you are done for the day and you are past trying to rehydrate or replenish your glucose. It's time to stop and recover. If you know your gonna exert yourself, eat and hydrate maybe an hour before you break camp and strike out. Your energy level will be much better. Also remember to hydrate well. Your body can sweat fluid faster than it can absorb it. When you get real thirsty, you will have a hard time quenching that thirst. No matter how much water you consume, your body will be at a deficite. Also, you can drink to much water and become water logged at a cellular level. Dangerous and you will feel like dog do do.
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#102006 - 09/17/08 08:16 AM Re: The bonk / hitting the wall [Re: 2brnot2b]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Sorry, I never hit the wall when hiking. I am not out to cover ground, but wounder around leisurely and enjoy myself. When I was younger, I don't remember ever doing it either. Maybe I did, but either I didn't know it, or don't remember.

I usually take a few cliff bars just because of their high energy content per weight, also taste. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

I don't usually overdo it and lose appetite. I walk too slow.

In basic training, I would drink 12 quarts a day when out in the field ( they made us, we had to keep a hydration card with us and mark each time we drank a quart. We had to drink one an hour). I went to Fort Benning in July. I easily sweated out those 12 quarts in the same amount of time. When I was in Iraq, I also easily drank 12 liters a day (they gave us water bottles of 1.5 liters).
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#102007 - 09/17/08 08:51 AM Re: The bonk / hitting the wall [Re: finallyME]
scottyb Offline
member

Registered: 05/28/08
Posts: 278
Loc: Texas Hill Country
Just curious. What is the difference between "hitting the wall" and heat exhaustion or water intoxication. Is it muscular, mental, or an electrolite imbalance?

I drank 5-6 L coming up the Bright Angel from the river, a couple weeks ago. We drank and ate on a schedule and felt great when we got to the top. In fact, the wives picked us up in Flagstaff and we drove to Sedona and partied well into the night, with relatives.

On the other hand, a couple of people from the trip didn't fare so well, Both of them were very young adults and didn't pace them selves. One young lady became noticeably irritable, something she had never done throughout the week. It was quiet obvious to everyone that she was not hydrating or eating properly and her family made her rest, eat, and drink. We saw them later at the rim and she was fine.
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#102008 - 09/17/08 09:07 AM Re: The bonk / hitting the wall [Re: 2brnot2b]
jaiden Offline
member

Registered: 02/15/07
Posts: 123
Cliff shot blocks. love em.

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#102009 - 09/17/08 09:30 AM Re: The bonk / hitting the wall [Re: finallyME]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2742
Loc: California
I am with you. I do not "bonk", by design. In the wilderness it is not safe to "bonk" and one nees to conserve energy to avoid this. If you "bonk" in a marathaon race, someone is there to pick you up: if you are alone in the wilderness you must pay the consequences. The key is to properly pace yourself and take measures to avoid fatigue BEFORE it happens. Energy gels are only a temporary solution and should not be relied upon on a regular basis. Even before you "bonk" your judgement is tainted- not a good thing in the wilderness. Even on some of my hardest days I purposely save enough energy reserve to deal with an emergency. With experience, I have come to know what my limit is.

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#102010 - 09/17/08 10:05 AM Re: The bonk / hitting the wall [Re: scottyb]
midnightsun03 Offline
member

Registered: 08/06/03
Posts: 2936
Loc: Alaska
Hitting the wall, bonking etc. is an energy problem... the muscles have depleted their ready stores of glycogen. Rest and high energy food (carbs) will help alot.

MNS
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#102011 - 09/17/08 11:27 AM Re: The bonk / hitting the wall [Re: wandering_daisy]
ringtail Offline
member

Registered: 08/22/02
Posts: 2296
Loc: Colorado Rockies
WD,

Great post. Precise and concise. This should be added to the "Knowledge Nuggets" on the Forum.
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#102012 - 09/18/08 07:48 AM Re: The bonk / hitting the wall [Re: scottyb]
chaz Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Tennessee
Everyone is pretty much right on the subject here. Hitting the wall and bonking have to do with what your muscles have stored for energy. Heat problems have to do with not enough fluids and not being acclimated to the heat. The more you are subjected to the summer heat and working/exercising in it, the more your body can tolerate heat. I work outside all summer and can handle and perform up to the danger level of heat and humidity and still function at the end of the day. It's the cold weather that I can't seem to handle very long.
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#102013 - 09/19/08 04:53 PM Re: The bonk / hitting the wall [Re: chaz]
Spock Offline
member

Registered: 01/10/06
Posts: 679
Loc: Central Texas
Chaz just about covers it.

I would add a couple of things. First, hydration. Drinking too much pure water can cause an electrolyte imbalance - what someone called water intoxication (not the fun kind). Crystal Light and other hydration additives will protect you from that. Or you can make your own. I use a packet of unsweetened lemon KoolAid, a teaspoon of table salt (sodium chloride) and 1/4 teaspoon of salt substitute (potassium chloride) per quart of water - but only in 1 of 3 quarts - well maybe every other quart in hot weather. I go by the feel. In hot weather and desert hiking, I will easily slam 6 quarts per day.

Second, sustained energy from complex carbohydrates. Complex carbs will carry you further than simple sugars. Simple sugar will give you a momentary boost and can aid recovery, but it does not last and the come-down can be brutal if you are racking miles.

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#102014 - 09/20/08 11:51 AM Re: The bonk / hitting the wall [Re: Spock]
chaz Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Tennessee
I have been "waterlogged" and it ain't fun. I use diluted gatoraid. After a while it tastes sickening sweet (to much sugar) but I've found that if you are suffering in the heat and try to keep going by drinking to much of anything you can get Logged.
I've seen people pass out cold in the heat. Even though they were sitting under a cab on a backhoe,and drinking plenty of fluids. I would think that you should be able to feel it coming but aparently they didn't. Beats me...

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#102015 - 09/20/08 02:53 PM Sick on full strength gatorade? [Re: chaz]
jshannon Offline
member

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 410
Loc: North Texas
A backpack leader told us the story of a hiking group with one guy getting sick during the day. He told the leader he had been drinking alot of gatorade. They put him in the shade and diluted his gatorade half-strength and he got over it.

I always figured it might be the high sugar. I've felt sick from eating candy corn as a kid. The leader told me he thought it was the sodium making him sick. Chaz's story of feeling sick from gatorade seems to lean towards the high sugar too. That of course doesn't rule out that it could have been heat related in the hiker story above.
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#102016 - 09/20/08 05:54 PM Re: Sick on full strength gatorade? [Re: jshannon]
OregonMouse Online   content
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6372
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Gatorade (at least the liquid version) contains high fructose corn syrup which is very, very bad for you! However, it is more apt to cause type 2 diabetes than nausea. Be sure to read the ingredient labels on those sport drinks before you buy! For me, though, just the taste of Gatorade is nauseating.

I use "Gookinaid," which is a lot less sweet, but in a solution half as strong as recommended. This seems to work well for me. You can get sick from too much electrolytes (sodium and/or potassium) as well as from too little. Of course individuals vary. And if you're getting more potassium from other sources (bananas, oranges, potatoes) you don't need quite as much of those electrolyte drinks as you would if you were not eating any of those sources.

Individuals can vary greatly as to how much electrolytes they need, so use the amount that works for you. Temperature, humidity, amount of effort all affect how much you need.

I really "bonked" at the end of the day in my Colorado and Wyoming trips until I got used to the altitude. I've never had much appetite at night when hiking, though, even when I'm not tired. I eat a relatively big breakfast and snack frequently during the day, so there isn't much room for dinner. I've cut my backpacking dinner portions way back as a result.


Edited by OregonMouse (09/20/08 06:02 PM)
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#102017 - 09/21/08 06:24 AM gatorade? cliff shot blocks instead [Re: OregonMouse]
jaiden Offline
member

Registered: 02/15/07
Posts: 123
I think I mentioned this before, but I like the cliff shot blocks. That way I don't foul up my water container with sugary drinks, and can supplement the water with however much I feel like I need at the time.

No, I don't work for Cliff <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

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#102018 - 09/25/08 07:01 PM Re: Sick on full strength gatorade? [Re: jshannon]
midnightsun03 Offline
member

Registered: 08/06/03
Posts: 2936
Loc: Alaska
Sugar, such as what you'll find in sports drinks like Gatorade, has the same effect of drawing water out of the body and into the blood as salt does. this can deprive the brain of fluids and cause all kinds of problems. Too little salt and/or sugar can cause the body to draw fluid from the blood, which can cause swelling in the brain, causing a different set of problems. Drinking too much water without electrolytes also causes fluid build-up on the brain. If you're drinking alot of sugar water, which is a simple carb, your muscles aren't going to be very excited about using it to build up their glycogen stores. If you want to build your glycogen stores you need complex carbs. A little salt and a little sweet is fine, but be very very careful when drinking large volumes of water because the body really isn't designed to process so much all at once, even when you're exercising and/or losing water in the heat. You absorb water much better when taken with a small amout of food, if you're going to go for a large volume. Otherwise, small sips prn is best overall. In other words, if your goal is to replace a gallon of water during the course of your hike, you're much better off drinking 2 oz every 15 minutes than drinking 16 oz every 2 hours during a rest break.

MNS


Edited by midnightsun03 (09/25/08 07:05 PM)
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#102019 - 10/01/08 08:28 AM Re: Sick on full strength gatorade? [Re: midnightsun03]
chaz Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Tennessee
Quote:
which can cause swelling in the brain, causing a different set of problems.
So thats what my problems have been all my life. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

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#102020 - 10/01/08 09:57 AM Re: Sick on full strength gatorade? [Re: midnightsun03]
midnightsun03 Offline
member

Registered: 08/06/03
Posts: 2936
Loc: Alaska
LOL Chaz...

I should be a little more specific about how drinking highly sweetened drinks can cause a similar response as salt or the opposite, no electrolytes. The important variable here is dehydration and no food intake. Osmosis is the process in play here. The body wants to have an equilibrium of sugars and electrolytes between the blood and fluids within the body tissues and "free spaces". Whenever the body becomes dehydrated, the concentration of these substances becomes altered. The body will utilize the sugars in the blood, and the kidneys will remove the excess sodium etc. If you suddenly flood the bloodstream with highly sugared liquids, the body will try to equilibriate itself, which is where the problems arise. I've written about this in the past with more detail... I'm afraid the details are eluding me this morning. I'll see if I can find an old post.

MNS

Edit: Here it is - RE: A different kind of sodium question


Edited by midnightsun03 (10/01/08 09:59 AM)
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#102021 - 10/01/08 10:48 AM Re: Sick on full strength gatorade? [Re: midnightsun03]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2123
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
Per a conversation/message with Bill at Gookinade years ago, Gatorade has the wrong blend of sodium to potassium. Less salt more potassium is better. I gave some powdered Gookinade to one of my employees for her wheelchair bound, athletic son. He used to get sick, but recovered with the Gookinade. He went on to medal at Atlanta Para-Olympic games. I use it now and then now.

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#102022 - 10/01/08 12:55 PM Re: Sick on full strength gatorade? [Re: hikerduane]
midnightsun03 Offline
member

Registered: 08/06/03
Posts: 2936
Loc: Alaska
Thread drift here... but My ex-husband's cousin (female) raced in the Hotlanta Paralympic games too... she got a silver, edged out by her nemesis from Australia (who had also beat her in the Boston Marathon). I was there for the race... I wonder if I saw your employee's son race? What a small world... LOL

MNS
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#102023 - 10/01/08 03:29 PM Re: Sick on full strength gatorade? [Re: midnightsun03]
chaz Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Tennessee
Thanks for this usefull info. I feel like I'm acclimated to the heat of summer but as I age it gets harder to go full steam in high humidity and extream heat. temps in the high 90's with 60-70% humidity heat indexes of 105 to 109 brutal.
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#102024 - 10/01/08 04:14 PM Re: Sick on full strength gatorade? [Re: chaz]
midnightsun03 Offline
member

Registered: 08/06/03
Posts: 2936
Loc: Alaska
LOL.. once again I'm reminded why I live in AK...
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#102025 - 10/01/08 07:05 PM Re: Sick on full strength gatorade? [Re: midnightsun03]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2123
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
Per his mom, the Canadians made up a tough team. Like the road racing cyclists, they cut you off, draft, do what it takes to keep their man out front, even if he isn't the better man in the race. Team tactics I guess. I don't see the sportsmanship in amateur events like this, maybe where the racers have sponsors like the world tour bicylists. He raced in the first Lake Tahoe Marathon, said he wouldn't do it again, too dangerous on the piece by Emerald Bay with the downhills. He was invited to go.

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