Lack of energy to work out
Lack of energy to work out , 07-28-2011 03:10 PM


Junior Low-Carber


I started low-carbing in late November of last year. I lost 50 pounds as of a month ago. I'm close to my goal weight, from 258 down to 207 now. I'd like to get below 200 but I'm naturally 'big-boned' so I'm not in a rush and am enjoying my 'new' slimmer self. I'm male, 40 years old.

Getting the weight to come off has been no problem. Just cutting as many carbs as I could. I found that my energy level kept going up and up and up, so about 3 months ago I joined a gym and started doing about 45 minutes of cardio (mostly walking fast on treadmill, or on elliptical, but with a few minutes jogging). The first two weeks felt great. Was amazed at how much energy I had and how much harder I could work out. Then...I consulted with a personal trainer who told me to start lifting weights. So I started doing that. And within a week I 'hit a wall'. My energy went from sky high to really low. I just no longer have the energy or 'want' to work out like I did before. Really bummed about this. It's NOT the weights - same goes for just cardio like before. Just no motivation.

So I took a week off from working out. Yesterday I went to workout and felt really good after a few minutes on the treadmill. Wound up going about 10 minutes on the treadmill and then another 30 minutes on the elliptical. Felt great. Then started doing some weights - did 2 x 10 of chest presses (35lb dumbbells in each arm). Felt okay. Then I did 1x10 of shoulder presses using a machine. By the 3rd rep I just felt all energy go out of my body. I was spent. So I left.

I'm trying to up my fat intake, thinking I'm using up all my energy and need more fat. Any other suggestions? Really bummed about this lack of motivation/energy to workout. I used to love working out : (
RE: Lack of energy to work out , 07-28-2011 04:30 PM


Newbie Low-Carber


I've been hitting a wall too, and have been trying to figure out what's going on. Part of it is having been sick recently, but going back over my tracking sheets I see that fallen into the habit of going to work out 2-3 hours after my last meal, and without having eaten anything immediately beforehand (poor planning on my part by not bringing enough food to work with me, and not wanting to put off working out even longer so I can go find something to eat that isn't carb-y, so opting not to eat at all until after I leave the gym). From what I've read, lifting takes glucose out of your bloodstream at a much faster rate than cardio. I'm going to try to eat closer to my workouts, or eat a little more. I'm also going to make sure I'm getting enough potassium for the next few days and see if it doesn't help.
RE: Lack of energy to work out , 07-28-2011 04:50 PM


Junior Low-Carber


Thanks penguintime. In regards to glucose - my body seems to handle eating some carbs without me gaining weight from it, so perhaps I should try eating carbs right before working out. I'd rather avoid them altogether but if my body doesn't produce enough glucose on its own then so be it...
RE: Lack of energy to work out , 07-29-2011 03:30 PM


Expert Low-Carber


You burnt out, cardio + weight lifting was too much.

Both cause inflammation and weight lifting is also breaking down muscle which requires re-building.

You don't have the recovery capacity to do both. Cut back. Feel better.

Mackay Rippey

Has your weight loss stalled because your body clock is out of sync?
RE: Lack of energy to work out , 07-29-2011 05:32 PM


Junior Low-Carber


So you're saying I should only do one and not the other at all, or that I should only do cardio OR weights each day, but not both?

I went back to the gym today and did 40 minutes of cardio and it felt great. The last workout (on Wednesday) felt great too - until after the ~45 minutes of cardio I did the weightlifting and that's when I felt the energy just go right out of my body all of a sudden. So my thinking now is to just stick with about 45 minutes of cardio per day for the next week, then the following week alternate cardio 3 days per week with 2 or 3 days of weights.
RE: Lack of energy to work out , 07-29-2011 06:11 PM


Expert Low-Carber


I think you may be onto something. Let your body decide what works best for you. You may be just doing too much. My suggestion is to slowly reintroduce the weights. You may find that 5 days of any type of exercise per week is over doing it.
RE: Lack of energy to work out , 08-01-2011 12:36 PM


Expert Low-Carber


@mark2741 Good job mate!

Mackay Rippey

Has your weight loss stalled because your body clock is out of sync?
RE: Lack of energy to work out , 08-02-2011 01:41 PM


Junior Low-Carber


An update -

I've been feeling FABULOUS again since Saturday morning. Don't know what happened other than this past Friday I started working out again. I did cardio on Friday - about 40 minutes. No weights. Then Saturday morning I did a beginner yoga class. Sunday I had to be home to watch the kids all day so I couldn't go to the gym but I was very active that day. Yesterday I did a full-body weight routine. I'm a little sore today but not bad. Shortly I'll head over to the gym and do 40 minutes of cardio. I'll do another full-body weight routine on Thursday, cardio the other days (except for the yoga on Saturday mornings - it's not too difficult so I'll consider it my 'rest' day).
RE: Lack of energy to work out , 08-03-2011 04:03 PM


Advanced Low-Carber


You need glycogen to lift weights. Sorry bud, but you absolutely NEED sugar to fuel EFFECTIVE (keyword here) weight training or you will hit a wall. Glycogen is required. This is why many that do keto diets have a carb up for 24-48 hours on the weekends. Ketosis is great for cardio, but will absolutely destroy any hopes of building muscle mass in the long run. It will keep any hard earned muscle, but no new muscle can possibly be made except when fueled by the few amounts of insulin available on the LC diet. While I don't 100% agree w/Lyle McDonald, his book "The Ketogenic Diet" is a great place to learn why carbohydrates are needed for any worthwhile weight lifting routine.
RE: Lack of energy to work out , 08-03-2011 07:17 PM


Expert Low-Carber


Peter - have not come across any research validating what you are saying. Can you point me to it so I can learn about this? Thanks.

Mackay Rippey

Has your weight loss stalled because your body clock is out of sync?
RE: Lack of energy to work out , 08-03-2011 08:35 PM


Advanced Low-Carber




Which lead me to Lyle McDonald's book "The Ketogenic Diet." This is pretty much a rehashing of what he says, which from what I read has plenty of clinical evidence cited. I think he's a PH.D from UCLA (don't hold me to that).


will be more than happy to point you to the research (sometimes in a nice way, lol). As for myself, I have worked out using carbs for 10 years and I have found for myself that insulin can become anabolic under the right circumstances. Unforutnately, some people consume too many carbs (myself included) and gain fat along w/muscle (powerlifter status). Or worse they consume the right amount of carbs around the workout, but then consume the wrong amount at other meal times for maximum muscle and minimum fat gains. Or they could be sensitive to gluten. I want to live a low carb lifestyle, but I don't want to look skinny fat or worse, just plain fat. I do find it easier to live LC even though until this year, I lived HC as diligent as I could. For me it's more skepticism of medicine and the govt. Dr. Eades pretty much convinced me in Fathead when he talked about the fattening up of livestock that we are being fattened up by the government. And like livestock, we are also being constantly fed hormones and antibiotics.

So while I want to agree w/you, I can't as of yet, but believe me, I'm sure as heck trying, lol!
RE: Lack of energy to work out , 08-04-2011 11:44 AM


Expert Low-Carber


@ peter_gunz Well put.

I have no problem gaining muscle on low carb. That said, I'm not looking to bulk up, just be functionally strong to be able to work on my farm on the weekends and look good in a tux.

The weightlifting world is full of experimenters willing to try just about anything to get pumped. So I'm leery of advice coming out that sector. My particular concern is not the short term benefit, but what happens to health over the long term. That's why I am looking for research to back up their experience. I have seen too many competitors cover their dull grey skin with tanning, and loose the sparkle in their eyes as they approach competitions.

I'm also curious and sincerely want to learn, so any references would be appreciated. I also responded to the other thread we have been posting to. I recommend we abandon that one and use this.

Mackay Rippey

Has your weight loss stalled because your body clock is out of sync?
RE: Lack of energy to work out , 08-04-2011 12:03 PM


Advanced Low-Carber



I have no problem gaining muscle on low carb. That said, I'm not looking to bulk up, just be functionally strong to be able to work on my farm on the weekends and look good in a tux.

The weightlifting world is full of experimenters willing to try just about anything to get pumped. So I'm leery of advice coming out that sector. My particular concern is not the short term benefit, but what happens to health over the long term. That's why I am looking for research to back up their experience. I have seen too many competitors cover their dull grey skin with tanning, and loose the sparkle in their eyes as they approach competitions.

I'm also curious and sincerely want to learn, so any references would be appreciated. I also responded to the other thread we have been posting to. I recommend we abandon that one and use this.
Well the message boards can have tons of misinformation, that's for sure. I get my high carb advice from bodybuilders that admit to me that they have used steroids. They are the honest ones that will tell you if you don't take roids, forget doing their routine. Most bodybuilders give people great advice, but the problem is that they don't tell them that they need steroids in order to properly benefit from the advice given. Luckily the few guys I know don't do this.

The reason why IMO competition level bodybuilding is bad for our health, even on a natural level is that for a period of time before competition, the cut out ALL carbs and consume only protein (lean). High protein diets can be bad on the kidneys long term and that along w/the usage of diuretics and other things is what make this type of competition bad for the competitor's health.

Tanning I have to disagree with. The vitamin D council found here: http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/

finds that we don't get enough sun. Tanning to the bodybuilder's extreme is definitely bad, but having a healthy tan year round can outweigh the risks of skin cancer. But this is somewhat controversial. I for one tend to trust those against the establishment so to each their own.

The only reference I personally could point you to would be "The Ketogenic Diet" by Lyle McDonald. I think there is a preview in Google books and yeah, lets keep this thread, lol
RE: Lack of energy to work out , 08-05-2011 12:38 PM


Expert Low-Carber


Thanks @ peter_gunz

I agree, we absolutely need vitamin D. I believe it is truly one of the silent epidemics throughout the western world.

My point about tanning was that they used it to cover up an otherwise unhealthy appearance. Also most tanning beds do not provide the UVB rays needed to make vitamin D. That said, In the depths of winter up here, I will occasionally recommend a patient spend some time in a tanning bed.

Mackay Rippey

Has your weight loss stalled because your body clock is out of sync?
RE: Lack of energy to work out , 08-05-2011 05:10 PM


Advanced Low-Carber



I agree, we absolutely need vitamin D. I believe it is truly one of the silent epidemics throughout the western world.

My point about tanning was that they used it to cover up an otherwise unhealthy appearance. Also most tanning beds do not provide the UVB rays needed to make vitamin D. That said, In the depths of winter up here, I will occasionally recommend a patient spend some time in a tanning bed.
Duly noted. I'd even argue that their muscles cover up an unhealthy internal structure. Seriously, w/all the kidney and various other damages done through experimenting for an edge, competition bodybuilding is probably one of the unhealthiest things a person can do.

Question about tanning. I don't burn to the point that it hurts (too dark), but I did get red a few weeks ago and now light peeling. How long til I go back in the sun. I was trying to work my way up to a daily tanning routine since I live in California, but I think I started w/too much sun, lol.
RE: Lack of energy to work out , 08-08-2011 12:53 PM


Expert Low-Carber


I wish I knew. There is some discussion that the peel after a burn is a protective adaptation shedding the damaged skin cells. I believe a little "pink" is OK, but you want to limit burning. The dermatologists weren't all wrong. They just threw the baby out with the bath water.

Mackay Rippey

Has your weight loss stalled because your body clock is out of sync?
RE: Lack of energy to work out , 08-08-2011 12:58 PM


Advanced Low-Carber



Well, I have gone out while peeling, but not everyday. When I go out now, I don't get red or pink. Just peeling and only if I rub or scratch the area. If I don't, it doesn't peel. But definitely no pink/redness and no one other than myself can tell I'm peeling. I have to get VERY close in the mirror to even see it happening indoors.
RE: Lack of energy to work out , 08-08-2011 10:29 PM


Junior Low-Carber


Thanks to all for your advice.

It's been a couple of weeks and I feel great. Problem was definitely the weightlifting - my body just can't do it unless I eat more carbs. I also started taking vitamins (a '1 a day' for men, fish oil, D3, and magnesium/calcium), but I doubt that's what has rejuvinated me. I think it's just that I took it easy and did no weights for a while, started eating more carbs, and now I'm convinced that I need to 'carb up' one day a week while weightlifting. Either that, or eat a moderate amount of carbs on days that I plan on weightlifting.

I hate the idea of eating any carbs - I'm a big believer in Taubes' books/theories. But I know me, and I know that when I didn't eat any carbs and started lifting weights, I almost immediately hit a major wall and my body was paying for it for close to 2 months...
RE: Lack of energy to work out , 08-09-2011 02:55 PM


Expert Low-Carber


Thanks for sharing. Let us know in a few months if the carbs have any impact on your triglycerides or HDL/LDL.

Mackay Rippey

Has your weight loss stalled because your body clock is out of sync?
RE: Lack of energy to work out , 08-18-2011 02:40 AM


Advanced Low-Carber



It's been a couple of weeks and I feel great. Problem was definitely the weightlifting - my body just can't do it unless I eat more carbs. I also started taking vitamins (a '1 a day' for men, fish oil, D3, and magnesium/calcium), but I doubt that's what has rejuvinated me. I think it's just that I took it easy and did no weights for a while, started eating more carbs, and now I'm convinced that I need to 'carb up' one day a week while weightlifting. Either that, or eat a moderate amount of carbs on days that I plan on weightlifting.

I hate the idea of eating any carbs - I'm a big believer in Taubes' books/theories. But I know me, and I know that when I didn't eat any carbs and started lifting weights, I almost immediately hit a major wall and my body was paying for it for close to 2 months...
Some people do a carb up once a week for up to 48 hours depending on their fitness goals. Others do a daily carb up. This is what the boxing coach at my school recommends his athletes do to stay lean and have energy for workouts. He says to have carbs pre and post workout. If you really have a fear of carbs, I recommend fruits since I find myself lethargic on grains. Contrary to popular belief, I say the less fiber the better. You don't need to be bloated while working out.

A note on Taubes: While I applaud him for his journalism, that's all it is, journalism. Gary never touches on bodybuilding in any of his writings to my knowledge. He does touch on cardiovascular exercise, but weight training, ie bodybuilding is not something he wrote about. This is where I would actually say Jillian Michaels had him beat when they debated. Not because she knew better science than he did, but because for all intents and purposes, he was speaking about cardiovascular activities, NOT weight training. However, that doesn't mean Taubes should be totally discounted. The old pre-steroid and even early steroid bodybuilders ate lots of fat (including high saturated fats and cholesterol containing foods) and little carbs relatively speaking. Most of their carbs came from whole raw milk and eggs. When contests came, that's when the carbs went even lower. Insulin to my understanding does have a postive effect on protein synthesis, so IMO the spike surrounding a workout is worth it. I did hear there was a slight oxidation caused by the release, but was negated by other benefits (I'll have to find the source on this at a later time).

I think Taubes has a better idea of what he's talking about than Michaels or the rest of the fitness world. However, he didn't cite enough evidence to me to say that his theories applied to resistance training. In fact, I'd say the opposite is true. Many modern day steroid bodybuilders inject insulin, YES INJECT INSULIN to gain muscle. So in conclusion, don't inject insulin, but go ahead and use it to claim the full benefits of weight training.