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Lightheaded Weightlifting: NOooo.....

Heather H.:
Why do I get lightheaded when I lift weights? I'm taking a cardio/sculpt interval class at the gym and I feel like such pansy cause I can't lift weights. I'm totally out of breath, I sweat more than when I run... and I'm only using like 6 pound weights and a 15 pound bar. I run all the time and take an advanced step class every Monday. WTF?

Face, the Face Melter:
Something you may not be aware of is that resistance training can be cardio too. In fact adding resistance to cardio is actually one of the hardest things your heart and lungs ever have to deal with. Lifting weights throws a wrench in by requiring large amounts of oxygenated blood to be pumped to various working muscles at somewhat odd intervals... just as your heart was trying to pump that blood somewhere else!

It could be that your breathing is off. Believe it or not, many people forget to breathe at regular intervals while lifting weights, and it just compounds the problem described above. It's easy to get into a rhythm while running, and the step class is, of course, choreographed to a 4/4 cadence.

So, advices:
while lifting, remember to inhale as you prep for the movement, and exhale as you push [or pull, as the case may be], and pay attention to your heart rate. It oxygenates your blood at just the right moment; before you exert force. This alone may do the trick. However, if you begin to feel lightheaded, cough forcefully [this physically forces blood out of your heart up to your head] and continue moving carefully until you feel your head clear. As soon as you're less lightheaded, take a deep breath, hold it for a few seconds, and blow it out forcefully. This is a way to clear the airways of excess CO2 and force your lungs to utilize oxygen a little more efficiently on the next breath.

ABOVE ALL: LET YOUR INSTRUCTOR KNOW THIS IS HAPPENING. He/she will want to keep an eye on you.
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