“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live” said the America’s famous business philosopher Jim Rohn. Exercise is a good way of taking care of this abode. But, sometimes people go overboard doing that. One such example is BONK training. It’s a very controversial fitness topic so yes – here at FitAddict we LOVE delving into controversial fitness topics – so we’ve decided to look into further.
Face value, Bonk Training sounds weird, unusual and when we first came across it, it all sounded very scientific and detailed. We’ve broken it down into easy understandable terms and we are sure you’ll be able to relate to it once you read on. To put it out there straight away, is it something we would recommend? Probably not? But what we must say that it’s a pretty similar training schedule to what we already refer to as High Intensity Interval Training or Tabata Training.
Bonk Training is When You Have Nothing Left
Unless you’re a top level athlete or fitness fanatic you probably already Bonk without even knowing it. If you are just starting out, this is a really interesting read and you shouldn’t aim for it unless you are fully prepared or already a regular fitness junkie.
Want to make an impression? Mention it at the gym next time you’re there. Ask your friends, do you BONK? I am sure you will get an interesting reaction. You’ll sound pretty educated and smart in front of all your friends, that’s for sure.
BONK Training is a term used to refer to the stage when you simply, run out of energy during exercise. It is the point when you are left with your only your will power to carry on, literally, nothing else is left to keep you going. The body muscles feel all crumbled and all dead; as if there is nothing that can make you move except the voice in your head telling you not to quit. It occurs when the glycogen level in your muscles is really low. Glycogen is the major fuel source for our muscles when we exercise.
Controversies About Bonk Training
Another term used by the athletes for BONKing is “hitting the wall”. Thank goodness – I’m sure you have heard of this term before, is it all starting to make sense now?
Some athletes do bonk training on purpose and this has generated a lot of attention. Some exercise scientists support it, others don’t.
So how did it come about? It all started from cyclists who regular practice bonk training to condition their bodies and muscles for endurance races in order to prepare their bodies for competition situations when the body runs low on glycogen. BONK training is followed by fit athletes only, as they can endure it physically and psychologically. It is not recommended for the amateurs or the beginners, but it sure does provide good reading material, especially when some claim that bonk training is designed for weight loss.
Weight Loss Aspect
BONK training is a comprehensive exercise program which can assist in weight loss, when followed properly and under expert supervision. It is a very effective way for efficient and quick weight loss because it burns more fat than any other exercise. But is it really worth it?
Scientists supporting BONK training assert that it is specifically important for endurance athletes. BONK training involves training with and without glycogen. Everyone can work out with replenished energy, the point is that for athletes, they can increase their endurance when they constantly train in a glycogen depleted state. The point is to carry out your exercises when you are running low on fuel or just continue the workout without taking in any supplements to keep you going.
Simply speaking; you intentionally go further working out without any fuel intake. This makes your body to take help from your deep body fats in order to replenish energy required to carry on.
BONK training is like using your reserves in time of need, instead of sipping on a sports drink or protein shake to keep you going. Scientists claim that by doing this, your body system utilizes the fats stored in your body in order to keep going.
Mechanism of B-O-N-K
BONK training starts with cardiovascular exercise on an empty stomach in the morning. This is called the glycogen depleted stage. The workout should span between 20 to 90 minutes and include exercises like cycling or running at a casual pace. A cup or two of plain coffee may be consumed during it but nothing else. You can treat yourself to a normal breakfast after the session.
The other way out to enhance the fat burning efficiency of your body is to carry out two exercise sessions with a short break. The break in between should not be more than a few hours (may be 3 or 4). The point is to work out again without refueling your body for the next session. When your muscles are unable to restore their glycogen level, your body ultimately turns to fats and proteins stored within. All this is done as long as and as much you can take it; without exhausting yourself, without panting or getting breathless and dizzy.
The Dark Side
Consistent BONKing can be dangerous in most cases. There is no medical evidence in support of BONKing. Actually, the symptoms an individual experiences while BONKing resemble those of hypoglycemia; mainly being, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, confusion, weakness and irritability etc.
It is more like going in a defensive position every time it happens, which is not good obviously. It seems more like blindly pushing yourself through a desperate situation; mainly employing your will power, but this should not be the case always. It is good to train your body for a bad time, but it would be a better idea to equip yourself.
How Much is Too Much
BONK training sounds like the ultimate solution to obesity and problems regarding weight loss. But the problem is that it is not recommended for an extended period of time. The reason being that the health risks associated with the glycogen depletion. The fact is that advantages of glycogen replete stage workouts out weigh the advantages of glycogen deplete state.
BONKing is not a long term solution. Actually it is not recommended for consistent following. It does burn fat, reduces muscle damage and makes the body more adaptive; but the fact remains that athletes who consume carbohydrates on a regular basis during workouts are able to handle higher training loads due to the replenishing.
In simple terms, you can rely on your will power every once in a while, but not always. The body can make use of the back up as long as there is some. When you have burnt all your excess body fat, the next target is your useful fats and muscles mass, which you obviously won’t like to endanger.
Bottom line is BONKing is a good recipe for fast fat burning but not for long. For endurance, it has to be a combination of the glycogen high and low states, which varies from person to person according to individual needs and goals.