Lightheadedness/dizziness and cycling

Hi all,

Before I begin I’ll state that I’m seeking professional medical advice from my doctor, but I still would appreciate opinions from fellow cyclists who’ve experienced similar issues.

Personal details:

  • 40 year old male
  • I have a pretty stressful job and several young children, I would categorize family life as very stressful
  • Started cycling May 2018 with bike commuting, started regular training regimen with TR in May of 2019
  • May 2018 I weighed 240 lbs, I have since dropped that to 209 lbs as of today, about 1/3 that weight was lost in the last two months.
  • Resting HR between 45-60 bpm, depending on whether I exercised that day or not. My resting HR has been steadily dropping the more I’ve been cycling.
  • 5-6 hours/week on the bike
  • 6-7 hours sleep with a couple wakes a night.

Last week I experienced a near fainting episode while singing with my kids, shortly after I gathered myself I developed a minor headache that went away with Tylenol but felt tired for the rest of the day. Since then, I’ve been having issues with dizziness when standing up from lying down.

Contributing factors?

  1. The near-fainting episode happened at the end of a pretty hard cycling week. I did 3 difficult outdoor rides. 1 was a ride up a local mountain where I shaved 14% off my best time (thanks to TR!) and another was my first group ride over 50 miles, I would categorize it as a fast ride at 19.9 mph average with about 1,600 feet of climbing (again, thanks to TR!).
  2. I am strength training twice a week along with my cycling program.


  • Could I be overtrained? I’m only on the low volume short-power build plan which, while extremely hard per workout, only equates to 300-350 TSS per week.
  • When I consulted Dr. Google it appears a lot of endurance athletes suffer from orthostatic hypotension, though I haven’t had the time to read through the studies to find out exactly why. But again, who is an endurance athlete? A 40-year old guy who rides 3 times a week or a 20-year old collegiate athlete?

If you’ve had similar issues with dizziness please let me know your thoughts. Again, I’m seeking medical advice and I hope to get this issue resolved, but I’d like to know the thoughts of other cyclists who have experienced these issues.

Thank you in advance!

When you think of stress, you must also include the stress of your work. It sounds to me as if you are overtraining. Three hard efforts in one week maybe too much. You didn’t say what type of diet you are on. However that is a lot of weight to lose in 2 months. Also if you are doing a veto type diet you may have to get more fluids and consume more sodium. It is good you are seeking medical advice. These symptoms may also be heart related.

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Thanks for the comment. Yeah I remember coach chad mentioning that non physical factors can add to stress. But it just came on so quickly and part of me just wants to say “there are other folks on TR with kids that are training hard too, you just need to HTFU!”

I’ve lost count how many times after a hard or long ride I have blacked out or nearly blacked out after standing up too quick from a short nap. Many cyclist I know from joes to pros have experienced the same thing. Sit/stand up slower…


Only time it’s happened from me is when I go from hard workout or high heart rate to standing or sitting too quickly. Asked my Dr about it and he said when you’re working hard, a large amount of blood is in your legs and without the leg movement to move it back to the heart, it can pool. Pretty common if you skip a cool down too after a hard effort.

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I’ve had the issue my entire life. Fainted a couple times. Kids appear to have inherited it from me.

This works, along with “priming” leg muscles before standing. Believe on a podcast Coach Chad talked about how blood rushes to feet when you stand, away from the brain, and that is a likely cause. Have discussed with physicians repeatedly over 30 years, it has been viewed as “no concerns” and like I said the problem goes away if I pause before standing, flex my leg muscles, and slowly stand up.


34 year old male here, generally pretty fit, TR and ice hockey being the main sources of exercise and I know that as I’ve taken TR more seriously I’ve had to take my nutrition and rest more seriously as well. There have been 2 rides that I had to bail simply because I was overwhelmed with work related thoughts, poor sleep and nutrition. Today I basically ate my fridge after the ride because I was about to faint (not really, but felt like it) and it was due to poor nutrition before getting on. Just my experiences in the past 9 months of using TR.

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Search for an existing thread on it, I think it’s common. I know I have it, just have to not jump up if I have been lying or sitting.

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Like you I’ve lost a fair bit of weight, 250lb to 200 lb. I also lowered my blood pressure from boarder line high to low blood pressure. I also, from time to time, feel like I’m going to black out some times if I stand up too fast.

However, I have never had any issue with headaches or anything like that. I get narrowed vision but after a moment it clears up.

My jobs very sedentary and stressful (such a great combo!).

In any case, I talked to my doctor during my annual check up and he told me to keep up the cycling. And that my problems weren’t a cause for concern. I’d recommend anyone to talk to their doctors, it gives you a good piece of mind.

Regarding your last query, I’d say that you’ve reached ‘endurance’ athlete consideration at this point. You are training regularly and with intensity. You’ve improved your health significantly.


If i do really hard sudden efforts i am prone to getting dizziness, headaches and vertigo.
If i do a good gradual warm up before a hard effort this reduces/eliminates it.
I had a bout of Labyrinthitis a few years before i began cycling. The worst thing to do for this was to take motion sickness tablets, (unless in a really bad way- being sick when moving at all) as the body starts to rely on them. The best thing i found was: pick a spot on a wall, stare at it, walking towards and away from it, moving your head from side to side, but keeping your eyes on the dot. This re syncs your vision and vestibular system.
lack of sleep and stress definitely exacerbates this tendency.
Yoga helps as the movement and upside down postures help to re align the systems.
Some people have a more sensitive vestibular system. i work with people with special needs and was used as a gineau pig to demonstrate the effects of vestibular stimulation. the specialist told me it took 7 seconds for my brain to begin re organising after being spun around (alot). it should take 3 seconds. I had a headache all that weekend and came off my bike (not badly) because my visual system was out of sync with my body (I really shouldn’t be allowed on a bike :joy::rofl:)
So its about finding the right level of stimulas to reset and support for you.
Coffee and sugar can make it worse (sorry), but the main thing is movement and effort.
hope that helps:smiley:

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I’ve had the lightheadedness/ dizziness when standing too quickly. Doctor just said low blood pressure. It does tend to happen more when I’m more tired. I also had a case if Micturition syncope, from the combo of the low blood pressure and dehydration (this is when I went to the doctor!).

But I’ve never had associated headaches from it. I just stand a bit slower!

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Like others here - I have this but only when standing after sitting or lying down for a period of time

Generally speaking I just stand up and don’t move anywhere for 30 seconds until the inevitable head rush occurs and clears

The incidents described above about feeling this way during a hard effort or while already standing and being active would feel very different to me. Mine doesn’t really impact my life or put me at risk and my doctor has said as much to me - obviously consult with your own physician for all health related things. I’d strongly recommend seeing a doctor if you have recurring dizziness or fainting on the bike or while singing with your kids (presumably you were sedentary at the time and didn’t stand up mid song?)

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Two things:

  1. I experience a short dizzy spell when I stand up quickly somewhat frequently, maybe every other day. I have for years, and I’ve been an endurance athlete most of my life. Probably related?

  2. Sounds like it might’ve been a blood sugar issue. That happens to me occasionally when I am not taking in enough calories. As others have mentioned, you dropped a boatload of weight, which likely means you’re in a pretty big calorie deficit all the time. My first guess would be that you simply hadn’t taken in enough calories/carbs that day relative to your training and stress load, and your body was letting you know that. I commonly get headaches after blood sugar crashes like that.

After the near-fainting spell, did you crave orange juice or something sweet?


yep, another one here. - I stand-up quick and i partially black-out for a few seconds. Happens at least once a day, it always has.

You’re doing a fair amount of training and you have a fair amount of life stress, nothing unusual or excessive for a 40 year old dad with a job and a bike. Make sure you follow the advice to get enough rest otherwise you just dig a hole for yourself to fall into.

Also make sure you eat well and avoid refined sugar as i find that give me sugar spikes and, unless i’m working out at the time in which case i can get through tons of gels etc, the insulin hit lowers my blood sugar and that makes me feel shaky and dizzy.

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Thanks @kurt.braeckel. No I actually got really tired and just wanted to take a nap. Recently I’ve started to fast between 8pm and 11am to keep shedding weight. But I let myself go during the weekends which is why I wonder if the weight loss is really the issue for me.

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Coupled with your rate of weight loss, your need to “let yourself go” on the weekends is indicative of an overly aggressive calorie restriction, IMO. I think the fainting issue was related to calorie deficit, maybe not specifically blood sugar/carbs, but possibly just overall.


Thanks for the help. I’m going to see my doctor this week so hopefully I can nail this thing down. I have a century ride coming up this weekend so I definitely want to get this handled before that. I’m also going to cut down on volume this week, just one 2 hour endurance ride tomorrow and maybe a recovery spin on Friday before the ride.

Let us know what the doc says (within reason and HIPPA and all that!).

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Strangely enough I don’t feel dizzy at work, it’s normally when I’m at home trying to keep up with my kids.

Similar situation here TRusername.

Mid 40s, stressy job, no kids though.
I started cycling 4 or so years ago and startered using Trainerrroad not that long after.
Weight dropped from 187lbs (85kg), to 154lbs (70kg) over 6 months.
Resting HR is similar at 42-55 bpm.
Been doing mid volume plans for the last few years so 7-8 hours per week with sometimes more hours subject to outdoor rides.
6-7 hours sleep (2200/2300hrs to 0530/0600hrs).

After a few months I developed a tendency to get the flashing black spots / light-headedness when standing up after sitting for a while. I’ve never passed out, but I have come close with the odd time where my lips tingle, hands may twitch, and feel a sensation as if there is a hot spot at the top centre of my head. This normally passes within a few seconds (5-15) with some deep breaths. Regularity of them seems subject to how hard the workout that day is.

After suffering for a few months I decided to see the GP who referred me to a cardiologist who after I explained this, gave me a check over with HR (50bpm), BP (130/70), an ECG, echocardiogram (normal structure) and a ambulatory ECG monitor over 7 days which had no significant periods of bradycardia or arrhythmias.

They have advised that due to the exercise I should try and drink more fluids and cut down on caffeine, but have suggested I may be experiencing postural hypertension, and that before I get up I should try and prepare by wiggling my toes and tensing my thighs.

Strangely I don’t experience any light-headedness after standing up at work compared to at home on an evening, but I put this down to being more busier when sat at work compared to home. I also think, but this is just a guess, that when I’m sat around at home quiet I am only sipping air and not breathing as fully as I would at work, so could be reducing my oxygen intake, but like I said this is just a guess.

One other thing I use to do, and don’t do anymore, is that I don’t do fasted rides. Previously through the week I use to get up around 0520hrs and start on TR straight away so I would be done be 0700hrs so as not to affect family time before getting off to work, and only take on water during the ride, but now though I make an effort to have a half bowl of muesli / granola, and a Nespresso pod before the ride and this has helped greatly.

We’re all different, but you’re certainly not alone in having these types of spells.

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