What does hitting the wall mean?

Hitting the wall generally refers to depletion of glycogen stores while performing endurance exercise. It is a feeling an athlete gets when they "run out of steam" or "bonk out". This can be prevented by eating adequate amounts of simple carbohydrates both before and druing endurance exercise. Hydration can also play a role in hitting the wall, so make sure that you are well hydrated before and during endurance exercise. You may need electrolyte replacements as well in certain situations.  
The runner’s phrase “hitting the wall” or “bonking” refers to running out of glycogen, the body’s storage form of carbohydrate. This important fuel source is not only used directly to produce ATP (energy), but it permits the body optimal access to fat as a fuel source as well. When a runner (or any athlete) is out of glycogen they “bonk” or feel like they have hit the wall. They are not out of fat, but they don’t have a metabolic device to access it. Adequate carbohydrate in the diet will protect against “hitting the wall.”

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.