The question: I just started training again after a three-month break. Sometimes during the workout I feel queasy and slightly light-headed. I exercise around 7 a.m. and drink a 700-ml bottle of water beforehand. What am I doing wrong?
The answer: Working out is hard on a good day – no one needs the added disincentive of feeling sick. (Although it doesn't sound like your symptoms are serious, be safe and consult with your doctor.)
Most likely you are pushing yourself too hard, too quickly. Don't jump right back into your old training program, because your break has taken some of your conditioning away. Take time to build your base fitness before you try anything fancy. Let yourself adapt and progress slowly.
I learned this the hard way. After a recent off-season, I attempted intervals at my old pace, then felt nauseous all day.
Depending on when you ate dinner, you may need to eat again in the morning before exercising. Training after 12-plus hours of no food is not a great idea, though eating too close to a workout can also be bad. It is a delicate balance.
Try a small snack: Instead of a 400-calorie breakfast post-workout, eat roughly 150 calories before, then 250 calories after. This way, your overall calorie consumption won't increase, if you are worried about that, but you will hopefully feel energized and less sick.
Feeling light-headed could also be an indication that your blood pressure is low. Please discuss the problem further with your doctor. Until your appointment, be careful of exercises, like burpies, that require you to quickly get up and down.
Lastly, in my experience, 700 ml of water sloshing around in your stomach definitely doesn't feel good. Drink no more than one glass of water pre-workout, and sip more as you train.
Trainer's tip: I love that you are excited to exercise, but aim to grow into your workouts. Remember that you have to earn the right to progress. For the next four to six weeks, live by the rule that if you didn't do the exercise or training method pre-hiatus, don't do it now. Do use moderate weights. Do try exercises you are familiar with. Remind yourself that short-term moderation will result in long-term – and injury-free – health!
Kathleen Trotter has been a personal trainer and Pilates equipment specialist for 10 years. Her website is www.kathleentrotter.com.