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Headaches & High Intensity?

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  • Headaches & High Intensity?

    Hi there,

    I came to PB through crossfit and still crossfit when I can, but I recently joined a bootcamp (2 days/week) just because I haven't been disciplined enough with getting in my workouts lately and my crossfit gym is far from work.

    Last night was the first class. It was interval training, about 20 minutes of which was quite high intensity. Mid-way through I started getting a pounding headache and 15 hours later (right now - 11:30AM the next day) I STILL have the headache.

    I am 100% primal in my eating. After my class last night I came home and made myself a "taco" salad (ground beef, lettuce, salsa, some full-fat sour cream and avocado). For breakfast this morning I had bacon and eggs. Is this carb-related? Should I eat carbs at lunch? Or is it something I did 'wrong' in my workout that caused the headache?


  • #2
    I have been experiencing this too along with nausea for a while post workout.

    I was worried it was a carb intake issue...or just part of the acclimation phase, as I've been paleo / primal for 3 months. My fat intake is fine, and I added some sweet potatoe to my diet leading up to a planned workout, and a bit Post WO. However, during my last workout I reverted to having a pretty nasty headache and some nausea... It was a particularly intense workout...and I did get a bit Un-Primal eating-wise during a business trip.

    But my recovery is usually not good.

    I'm curious to see some replies to this...
    Last edited by The Japsican; 04-13-2011, 10:08 AM.
    Check out my blog: ANTHROfit


    • #3
      I would get migraines if I worked out too hard. My headaches were a lot like the one you are describing. Migraine meds and some sleep would usually clear it up, but still, so annoying and awful. If I ran too far, or if it was too hot, or I hiked too fast or just whatever. Long story short, I picked up some electrolyte tabs to put in my water. I'll drink one before I work out and so far- no exertion migraines or headaches even. I just started doing crossfit too and if I hadn't of figured this out, I would be reeling from a massive headache from last night's workout. Kicked my trash. But no, today I am just fine. A little sore maybe, but no brain issues.

      I bought nuun tablets. I like their berry flavor. I bought some electrolyte tabs at Wild Oats once I used all my nuun tablets, but they taste like rancid ass. They're in the emergency drawer. I'm 6 months in to no exertion headaches now. It's pretty groovy.

      I hope you can figure it out. Exercise helps me control my migraines SO MUCH! but only if it doesn't cause a migraine in the first place.


      • #4
        I've been 100% eating primal for about 8 months now. I've also been using the Simplefit workout program for those 8 months. Just recently when doing the day 3 Judgement Day I've been getting really bad headaches. This doesn't happen on my endurance or strength building days, just the Judgement Day when I am trying to complete the entire set in under 5 minutes. This has only occurred during the past three weeks and i didn't have any problems before that. I was also worried that it might have something to do with my carb intake, or possibly not enough water. I too would like to figure out what the problem is. Its making me not look forward to Judgement Day the way I used too.


        • #5
          I had the same thing happen to me. I was about 6 weeks primal and doing crossfit. I decided to cut my carbs to try to increase my weight loss. I was only having about 10-15 carbs/day. Three times in a row during that VLC I got a horrible headache at the end of my workout. I increased my carbs to 50-60/day and haven't experienced another headache- thank goodness - they are awful!


          • #6
            I was going to suggest to drink more water during and directly after the strenuous exercise - but I also agree with what mrs_moesy posted. Obviously both drinking plenty of water and replenishing electrolytes are a really good idea.

            BTW: Those are also effective for preventing or at least reducing hangover effects. :-)
            MikeEnRegalia's Blog - Nutrition, Dieting, Exercise and other stuff ;-)


            • #7
              Yeah, if I rehydrate with plain water, I get a headache. If I add electrolytes, I'm fine. My current favorite is a shot of sauerkraut juice chased with water. I've also done a banana-orange smoothie with a pinch of salt in the past, but that's a bit high in sugar nowadays.


              • #8
                I'd say add more protein and see if that helps.
                Health is Wealth!


                • #9
                  I think it's a hypoglycemia thing. I too get light headed and a bit of a headache if I do high intensity type workouts when I have been very low carb in the hours before the workout. I've even tested myself by eating a piece of fruit halfway through the workout, and the headache/lightheadeness goes away in 10 minutes. And I can carry on with the workout. If I'm just jogging or doing less intense workouts I don't have this problem. Just during interval type workouts.


                  • #10
                    I add fruit too or if I know I am doing high intesity training then my meal before the workout will have a little more carbs in them in the form of a sweet potato usually.
                    "If man made it, don't eat it" - Jack Lallane

                    People say I am on a "crazy" diet. What is so crazy about eating veggies, fruits, seafood and organ meats? Just because I don't eat whole wheat and processed food doesn't make my diet "crazy". Maybe everyone else with a SAD are the "crazy" ones for putting that junk in their system.


                    • #11
                      Im sorry to hear about your head hurting after your workout. Crossfit can be taxing on your body. Its a lot of intense work that pushes your boby to extremes. Without the right nutritional base and dieting an intense workout can cause head pain in some cases. Once you get into a routine this should go away. I wish you the best of luck! If you need come more helpful tips for crossfit training you might really enjoy taking a look at Intensity and CrossFit | North Rim CrossFit. Best of luck!!


                      • #12
                        I am in my 3rd week of CrossFit and just this week have had two mild headaches after workouts. I also remember experiencing these in my earlier years when first engaging in very intense exercise. I found a good explanation of these "exercise headaches" on


                        • #13
                          I remember searching info for headache during hard run (cooper test last spring).
                          I remember finding something on brains's oxycen deficit during anaerobic work.
                          This the best I could find now. So their solution is related to breathing.

                          Exertional Headache After Exercise: Cause and Easy Solution

                          Personally I would think some more carbs could help, since Cross fit seems to me as very anaerobic carb-sport. (Not doing it so I would not know..)