Arms like lead


I guess I am in the transition phase. My keto stix show purple but I am only a few days in. And now I am finding that I am really getting winded climbing the stairs, feel exhausted, and lifting my arm feels extremely heavy. I read that has to do with not having sugars to burn for energy. Anybody else?

(Katie) #2

I am thinking that you are lacking electrolytes. Have you been upping your sodium? How are your magnesium and potassium levels? The primary one to monitor is sodium. Many beginners feel the way you are feeling if they neglect their electrolytes. Your body does not hold onto water as much as with a carbohydrate diet, and the water was holding the electrolytes.

(K-9 Handler/Trainer, PSD/EP Specialist, Veteran) #3

I got weaker during my workouts and had less energy while my body started to adapt.
Physical activity will feel a little more demanding, as your body is used to using your glycogen stores.
Keep your electrolytes up. Your energy will return.


Thx but I use a lot of salt. You might be right anyway, but I think it might be more about no longer burning sugars for energy.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #5

You’re suffering from carb withdrawal. Cutting back on carb consumption denies your muscles glucose/glycogen for fuel, but they are not yet adapted to utilizing fats/ketones. Thus, you’re ‘running out of gas’. It will pass. For most folks it lasts a week or two until the muscles start to recognize fats and ketones as fuel. If you’re insulin resistant, it might take longer. The keto stix show that you’re ‘dumping’ ketones, not using them efficiently. You can expect the colour of the keto stix to get lighter as your muscles adapt to utilizing fat/ketones for fuel and you dump less. Although, many folks continue to produce a surplus even well after fat adaptation:


thx. that’s what I thought.I was and still am hoping that the keto stix will continue to show ketosis. Damn if I want to prick my finger to find out.

(Scott) #7

I like to run and for nearly three months I had what I nicknamed lead legs. I just could not run non stop and needed frequent walk breaks. It was so bad that I questioned staying keto. Then one day I was chugging uphill and I said to myself “hey, this doesn’t suck anymore!”. Now after a two month break from running I am able to go out and run a mile uninterrupted. This week I have been running one mile to the gym and workout. One mile back home. Next week I will add a little and so on. Stay with it. It may take a while but it does get better and better.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #8

I’m not a ‘bleeder’ either. Within a couple weeks of 3-years in I still show faint colour on the keto stix. I have also used a Ketonix to measure BrAce (breath acetone). The measurements are very erratic as anyone who does them will attest. Because of the pain, mess and cost most people don’t measure blood ketones more than once per day and many less than that. As a result some get the false impression that blood ketones are relatively stable. They’re not. Ketone synthesis is a very dynamic process.

Measuring and obsessing about ketones is much less important than being fat adapted. Until recently there was no relatively cheap home device available to measure fat burn. Some public/private gyms, health clubs and universities have big, expensive hardware to do it. But that is about to change:


It will get better and better.
I also hit such an exhaustion, heavy body feeling, no energy etc.

It came, stayed for a few good weeks and left. Never to return :slight_smile:
So yea…adaption. Drink plenty of water, keep up your salt, eat very well on your menu and you will get thru it all as most of us did I would think. good luck!

(It's all about the bacon, baby!) #10

Your muscles are in the process of adapting to metabolising fatty acids in place of glucose. Right now they are limping along on ketones, but your performance will return as they adapt to metabolising fatty acids again.

When we burn mostly carbohydrates, our bodies basically shut down the fat-burning pathways, which must then be restarted when we switch back to fat-burning (we all start out in ketosis at birth). But having to metabolise too much glucose can damage the mitochondria of the cells, so the fat-adaptation period involves, among other things, healing existing mitochondria and promoting the growth of new ones. (The mitochondrion is the organelle in which most of the cell’s metabolic processes take place, particularly the metabolism of fatty acids.) There are also shifts in the production of certain enzymes and other things happening at the biochemical level, all processes that take a certain amount of time.

During the adaptation period, your muscles are metabolising ketone bodies in place of the glucose you are no longer consuming, but they really prefer to metabolise fatty acids (ketone bodies are partially-metabolised fatty acids, much as charcoal is partially-combusted wood). Your endurance will return once your muscles have fully switched over to fat-burning. In the meantime, go easy on the exercise, so as not to overstress your muscles. Note that endurance returns first; your explosive performance may take a while longer to build up. However, the good news is that recent studies have shown that the glycogen stores of fat-adapted athletes who have been eating ketogenically for long enough are the same as those of carb-adapted athletes.


Thx everyone. it is what I suspected but also good to hear other people experienced the same. Otherwise one could think worse as the cause.