I stopped my daily workout for 21 days after a syncope on Christmas Eve. I ended up at the hospital for immediate medical checks. In the following days, further investigations were conducted to understand what happened. A brain tumor, a heart problem, I didn’t know what I had.
While my fainting experiences were unfortunately not entirely new, it is fair to say that collapsing in front of my family after having a proper dinner was almost a life-changing event. My perspective on life and my daily exercise routine got suddenly challenged. Because of this, I stopped my daily workout for 21 days. Here is what happened.
Fitness And Luckyness
You can be in shape and have a healthy lifestyle but suddenly feel “unlucky” or be “unlucky”. There are things that you cannot control, but it is commonly admitted that it becomes easier to make significant changes when something terrible happens. Some people may need a dramatic event to reconsider their life. This event could be a health scare, a relationship breakup, or a job loss. Mine was not so tragic, but it again brought the spotlight on what matters in life and made me stop my daily workout for a while.
Fainting Experiences and Fitness?
Before knowing more about my body weaknesses, I stopped my workout habits for 21 days as a precautionary measure. The 21 days are just a calendar fact, not the result of a recommendation from a medical expert or fitness professional. I stopped my daily workout when I was told that I might have been pushing myself too much. It was a simple unverified hypothesis. My ongoing body solicitations could explain my last syncope and partial loss of consciousness I encountered before.
It’s not unusual to feel nauseous or sick after a workout, and I indeed remember having fever symptoms after my workout a few times, maybe 3 or 4 times a year. Feeling sick after a workout is a clear sign that the workout session is too intense. So the argument of having damaged my body with too intense workout sessions was receivable. So by precaution, I stopped my daily workout before knowing more about my health condition.
Since Nov-21, I have had almost fainting experiences on several occasions. Typically, when it happens, my vision gets a bit narrower, and I have to focus as I get dizzy, to not collapse on the ground in an uncontrolled way. When it happens, I focus, sit down or lay down, and I manage not to lose consciousness. After 30 sec or so, the feeling disappears.
My Unperfect Lifestyle: Healthy But Only Some Aspects
As briefly mentioned before, I initially thought that my intense daily fitness routine and, to less extent, my lifestyle were the causes of my troubles. The truth is that my lifestyle is not healthy in all aspects. I usually don’t eat much in the morning, perhaps a croissant or a slice of banana bread on the side of my unique morning coffee around 7 am. Then I have this terrible habit of not drinking much, if not at all, till I exercise. I exercise every day, usually around 1 or 2 pm, and the whole workout session duration is less than 8 minutes. It means I usually haven’t eaten for about 6 or 7 hours when I workout and my sugar level can’t be that high. On top of that, I am also not very hydrated because I suck at drinking water. On some days, put aside my 2 coffees, I only drink when doing my workout session. I have always been a human camel, and till that time of syncope episodes, low hydration didn’t make me stop my daily exercise.
My current workout routine is made of 100 cross-body sit-ups and 100 pushups. I did “downgrade” in Jul 21 from 150 pushups to 100 pushup is a row to focus on the quality of my pushup-up forms. I particularly enjoy this intense workout as I feel good afterward, with a good mix of happy chemical feelings and intense focus. After the training, I’m not wasted, and I can pursue regular activities, usually my professional work, with a sense of higher productivity. Placebo, reality, a mix of the two, I don’t know, but I do feel much better and more energized after every fitness session. You can read more details about my simple daily workout here.
The Final Straw And Why I Stopped My Daily Workout
A Syncope on Christmas Eve
All of this made sense until I reduced my workout the week of Christmas 2021 when I got back to France for the holiday period despite the covid situation. I exercised only twice during that week, my diet was richer in glucose, and my breakfast was more “garnished.” On 24 December, just before the Christmas eve dinner, I told my two sisters that I wasn’t feeling well. Both of them are in the medical field. After finishing dinner, the dizzy feeling came back firmly, even if I was sitting on a couch surrounded by my family. Typically me, I didn’t make any drama and make my mum worried. I didn’t want my mum to panic. I tried to stay quiet about it as I felt it was still manageable. But a few minutes later, on my way to the bathroom, I suddenly couldn’t stand and pretend everything was all right. I struggled to move myself to get back close to the dining room where everyone was. Once I got closer, I tried to call one of my sisters, but I failed to: my energy was so low that I didn’t have the force to vocalize any word. I had to lay down on the floor not to fall over and hurt myself. Luckily one of my nephews saw me and understood something was wrong. In a matter of seconds, everyone was around me. An hour later or so, I was at the hospital for medical checks.
Nothing came out at this stage; I didn’t have covid or something abnormal in my blood. My heart electrocardiogram was fine. I undertook several exams; Brain MRI, heart 3-D, endoscopy, and other scans between my neck and the pelvic area the days following that Christmas Eve. I even had devices to measure my heart and blood pressure for three days. Not knowing what I had while waiting for these medical test outcomes is pretty much the context that led me to stop my daily workout habit for 21 days. Fortunately, these medical exams showed that I didn’t have cancer or a damaged heart. Nothing came out from the medical tests explaining my seizures. However, a new hypothesis emerged from the heart specialist: partial Epilepsia crisis.
What Is A Partial Epilepsia Crisis?
Focal Onset Aware Seizures is the rigorous name for a “partial Epilepsia crisis” or “simple partial seizure .” During such a type of seizure, the person has a behavior change and/or has focal (confused, disoriented) symptoms. There is a temporary disruption of regular activity, but the person often remains aware of what is happening. These are symptoms of a form of Epilepsia.
I had stopped my daily workout by precaution till I learned that partial seizure was probably the most likely cause and that my workout routine hadn’t damaged my body organs. Lack of sleep, screen exposure and intense exercises are common factors triggering such epilepsy crisis.
Now I know what I can and should control. I will also try to drink more. Happy to move on..