You know when you get into that otherworldly groove during a cardio workout and you literally feel unstoppable, like you can low-key run, cycle, or climb the StairMaster all the way to the sky because of the sheer amount of motivation and energy coursing through your veins? But then, you finish your workout, expecting to feel on top of the world — except you actually feel incredibly dizzy after your cardio session. What gives? Feeling like you're going to pass out isn't exactly a welcoming reward after you just made it through a difficult workout, so what exactly is going on here?
Feeling faint after a workout definitely isn't a pleasant experience, but the good news is, according to Mia Syn, MS, RDN, a registered dietitian nutritionist, national on-air nutrition expert, and Emergen-C partner, it's probably not a sign of a larger health issue, and in fact, it's likely a relatively easy fix. She tells Elite Daily over email that feeling dizzy after a cardio workout could be connected to low blood sugar or dehydration. In other words, you probably didn't drink enough water before or during your workout, or perhaps you forgot to grab a quick, nourishing snack before you left the house — or it might be a combination of both of these things, she says.
According to Syn, when you work out, "you lose water at a faster rate than at rest through heavy breathing and sweat," which is why it can be so easy to forget to hydrate properly.
She adds that somewhere between 2.7 and 3.7 liters of water per day is the recommendation for healthy adults, "but needs will increase the more active you are." More specifically, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), you should aim for roughly 17 to 20 ounces of water about two hours before your workout. During your workout, the AAFP says, you should sip periodically whenever you're able to, and shoot for about seven to 10 ounces of water every 20 minutes or so. And as for post-workout hydration, the organization recommends about eight ounces of water "no more than 30 minutes after you exercise."
Though water is the obvious first choice when it comes to hydration, Syn says Emergen-C's Hydration+ Sports Drink Mix can also help replenish lost electrolytes after a workout, especially if you're feeling a little woozy and want to try a different post-workout drink to rejuvenate your brain and body. If you're like me, you might assume Emergen-C is something you viciously chug whenever you feel a cold coming on, but Syn tells Elite Daily it can also be a great recovery drink after a workout, as it has way less sugar than other popular sports drinks, and it even has as much potassium as a banana, according to the product description. TBH, I low-key kind of enjoy that weird, orangey flavor, and hey, it's certainly tastier than plain water, right?
Once you've got your hydration needs all taken care of, don't forget to fuel up with food before your workout.
"It is important to fuel up properly about one to three hours before a workout with a combination of carbohydrates and protein," Syn tells Elite Daily. "Some examples include oatmeal with low-fat milk and fruit, an apple with peanut butter, or a tuna sandwich on whole grain bread."
And if none of those combos sound appealing to you, you can also try out hummus with pita chips, a granola bar, or some dried fruit with nuts, depending on your taste buds. Experiment with tasty, healthy snacks, and see which one feels best for your body and leaves you feeling great both throughout and after your cardio workout.
Remember, if you've followed Syn's recommendations and still can't seem to shake that post-cardio dizziness, she says it's important to consult with your doctor to see what's up and figure out the proper steps to take so you can feel your best after your workouts.