Energy levels repeatedly low after workouts


#1

Hi Folks,

I was hoping to get some advice on declining energy levels.

I’ve been doing clean keto since December 2019 and am fat adapted. I have no issues going OMAD and have done a few EFs of 48-160 hours. I IF, trying to keep to 18:6, but depending on work schedule, might sometimes go to 16:8.

Since covid has most of us shut in place, I have no excuses not to miss any strength training sessions. I haven’t missed one since early March.

Day 1 - Chest & Shoulders
Day 2 - Walking/Cycling (stationary bike)
Day 3 - Back & Arms
Day 4 - Walking/Cycling (stationary bike)
Day 5 - Legs & Abs
Day 6 - Walking/Cycling (stationary bike)
Repeat

Pre-covid, I might rest for a day or two here or there but have been on this steady schedule since mid-March.

I try to aim for workouts around noon so that I could lift in a fasted state but only half my workouts happen then. Usually they are after work, just before dinner.

I notice that after lifting, I get sleepy. I don’t want to do anything else but sit on the couch and crash in front of the TV. I force myself to move, walk around the house, do some simple house related stuff here and there but usually low energy.

I read in some posts that folks supplement with salts. I’ve started mixing some pink Himalayan salt with some water and sometimes I do notice more energy, but it doesn’t always work.

I have noticed my appetite go down in the last couple of weeks, coinciding with my energy decline. I BBQed 20+ oz rib steaks twice this week and only felt I had to eat 1/2 of a steak both times. A month ago I would eat the whole thing, and may not be stuffed.

I don’t have issues with my lifts. I’m getting stronger and able go up in weight for certain exercises from week to week.

Any thoughts?


#2

What you’ve said scares the crap out of me because is screams slowing metabolism all day long. Fasting along with energy issues which conveniently coincide with decreasing appetite? Do you track what you eat? Even if you were lower in salt than you should be that wouldn’t do both of those to you.

As somebody that destroyed their metabolism with fasting and eating to satiety, if you’re not tracking, start now so you have an idea. I wasn’t while I was going down the crapper and had no idea how stupid I was getting. I didn’t have issues with my lifting for a long time even though my metabolism was being trashed, it caught up and my gains plateaued long enough that I started really looking into stuff and that’s when I realized what happened and had my RMR checked just to find out I couldn’t even eat 3 meals a day anymore because I didn’t have the metabolism for it. Still fixing it now.


(Peter) #3

Always good advice to have data you can look at.


#4

If you’re scared then I’m terrified! So sorry that you’ve been down this path and your metabolism took a beating. Did it happen because you kept restricting what you were eating while increasing your lifts? I’m going to try upping calories from fat and increase salt and see what the result is.

I have been tracking workouts and what I’ve been eating for the past couple of weeks. I’m eating between 2,500 - 3,300 calories/day (I’m 6’4", 250 lbs, BF=29.6% according to FitBit).


(Doing a Protein Sparing Modified Fast) #5

My situation is similar, but not identical.

I also do 18:6, and I do a full body twice per week. I do the weights at noon, before lunch, at the end of the fast.

I very clearly notice the sleepiness you describe. I either take a nap after lunch, or I have to go to bed quite early.

This happens only the day in which I exercise.

On the contrary, I am hungrier than before. I have gained 1.5-2kg since I started lifting weights. Of course, also I am in quarantine, so I do not walk/bike as before.

It takes a long time to recover my muscles. I exercise only twice per week. I wanted to do Monday-Wednesday-Friday, but clearly I need at least two days of recovery, if not three. I notice my muscles are still “repairing” the second and the third day after the exercise. At the fourth, I do not notice anything.

Before, when I used to do a similar routine (but younger), I only needed one day of recovery.

I will continue doing this 18:6, since it seems most scientists consider time restricted eating as a positive without negative consequences. But yes, I would like to understand where the sleepiness + long time to recover comes from.


Weight lifting and fasting
#6

Have you tried not doing the TRE on the days you train? I don’t doubt that it’s good in general but we’re all individuals and maybe it just doesn’t suit your body for you to restrict on training days.


(Doing a Protein Sparing Modified Fast) #7

Yes, I have considered it. But in fact, I am doing this on purpose, since there are quite a few analysis suggesting that doing weights at the end of the fasting period is great.

My doubt is if it is really bad that I feel sleepy after doing weights. Maybe it is good, who knows. I am not saying I feel bad. It could be that my body is devoting so much effort to repair the muscles, that I need to sleep. And this is not necessarily bad (or good).

Delauer explicitly argues that doing weights at the end of the fasting period is pretty good. So, having an early breakfast the day I do weights would result in having no such benefits.

I think I will continue doing this, unless I find a good reason why it could be bad.


#8

I also prefer to lift in a fasted state but I lift early in the morning - I suppose it’s a bit trickier if you lift at noon :slightly_smiling_face: Hope you figure it out.


(Doing a Protein Sparing Modified Fast) #9

I like at noon, since it is sunny.

There are many confounding factors. For example, now I am older, and I had not lifted weights for some time already.

I want to give some time to my current method, and then recheck. But it seems to make sense that lifting when fasted should be a good idea.

One of my concerns is that it is quite easy for me not to have breakfast (I usually was hungry when waking up!). But then, I eat more than usual for lunch and dinner (and dinner is usually 1.5h before going to bed, not 3h as recommended).

I hope we all can have more light about what is best.


#10

If you’re eating 2500-3300 a day then you’re probably in much better shape than I was. I know I wasn’t even coming close to that because I got on the “eat to satiety” thing and if I wasn’t hungry I wouldn’t eat. I was never hungry (because I had no metabolism anymore) and it was a negative feedback loop. For a while I also subscribed to the lower protein thing because I was afraid of the evil GNG monster. FAIL! When I first broke free of that cycle I had a temporary Keto Cheesecake problem! About half of one everyday for like 2 weeks! AWESOME! About 4k calories daily and my workouts were frigging AMAZING! That’s when I official gave up on “calories don’t matter” forever. Clearly I couldn’t keep that up but it was a wake up call for sure. Now I’m getting the RMR back up, getting my muscle back, and still loosing fat. In the next 3mo I (should) be pretty close to my fat loss goal, as far as muscle goes I’m putting that on until I can’t anymore.

I now give BroScience a lot more credit than I used to. Sure, sometimes it’s a joke but look at it, they eat a ton of calories, eat a ton of protein, and get bigger and stronger. Everytime! Then we’re told by all these Doc’s that we don’t need higher protein to build muscle, don’t need a caloric surplus to build muscle. That ALL carbs are the devil but if you look at basically all of them, how many of them even remotely resemble somebody that can give strength coaching advise? They’re not big and strong, many of them wouldn’t even pass as being in shape at all.

Dave Ramsey (the money guru) has this thing he says. If you want to be a millionaire, do what millionaires do. If you want to be a bodybuilder, do what bodybuilders do. Makes sense! Why do we listen to people that clearly aren’t doing it themselves? I gave up on that!


(Doing a Protein Sparing Modified Fast) #11

How do you know your RMR went down, and now it is going up? Did you measure it?


#12

Thanks for the reply.

You reminded me that when I first started working from home in late March to late April, my appetite increased as I started working out more. My appetite decreased in the last couple of weeks but am still lifting the same. Maybe for me it was my body getting use to the increased physical load, and now that it’s use to it, my appetite is what it was before covid.

I’m 44, so maybe it’s just me getting old and taking longer to recover. Not something I want to accept but it is a possibility. Back in my late 20s I use to workout first thing in the morning but I can’t get myself to get up early and lift anymore.

I’ll probably stop the EFs and just stick to IFing for the next few weeks and see how I go.


#13

I hear ya. I did that about a year go. I was doing OMAD for a couple of weeks. Sure I lost weight but felt weaker and more agitated. Forced myself to eat lunch again and started to feel better.

I do love me some low carb cheesecake. I sometimes indulge in Good Fat bars (not nearly as tasty) if I feel that I need more food or sometimes a cheat with Mrs Mavro’s Keto marble blondies or a keto chocolate here and there. Yeah, I know I have to cut down.

You raise a good point. I was reading an article of how some body builders eat 10k calories / day. I don’t want to get anything close to what they look like, but there does seem to be a need for extra clean calories when one is body building.

Good luck on getting your RMR back up. I’m glad that you found the issue before it got worse for you.

Once things start to reopen, I’ll schedule a DEXA and RMR scan for myself.

Cheers!


#14

Yes, it’s been tested twice now. I’m due for another but the place that I get it done at is closed for the shutdown. I knew it went down because even eating “normal” amounts of food made in impossible to loose weight and VERY easy to gain. When I started going into very low calorie eating I’d loose, which is when I got it tested. I wound up at 1700 which is pretty pathetic. Seemed to be right about perfect because in the mid 1600’s I was able to loose weight again. At my size, the way I lift and activity level I should realistically be a 3k/day guy… so pretty bad!


(Bunny) #15

All that working out your doing mimics caloric restriction and doubles up on what your already restricting in food, so you may need to eat more calories, that’s why you have no energy.

I’m shocked that you would even be able to move after all that physical exertion and such little food?

If I did what you do, I would be burning up body parts like skeletal muscle?


#16

Eat. Simple as that. Low energy and sleepy and more and big hard targeted workouts in a fasted state. Why? You don’t need to do that and your body is showing just that.

IF beats EF any day truly if you are going all in with tough exercise.

Just eat as you need. Never be afraid of your food on your plan. Eat as needed for strength and vitality and energy and never go down if you don’t have to do that like you are experiencing.

best of luck and I think you got this :slight_smile: you know you, you will change it up to adapt :sunny:


#17

I read from a few folks here that fasted workouts better stimulate the release of human growth hormone.

Thank you for the kind words. Cheers!


#18

It’s over a month later and I wanted to provide an update.

I got my energy levels back after I started to supplement salt every morning. I would consume a drink made up of 500 mL of water mixed with 2 tsps of Apple Cider Vinegar, 1 tsp of liquid Magnesium Citrate, and 1/3-1/2 tsp of pink Himalayan salt. And of course my morning espresso (or two). I’ve been recording energy levels along with what I’ve been eating.

Part of my problem is that I drank too much water and was always going to the bathroom. I’d easily drink 1.25L of water at lunch and at dinner with 3-5 500 mL glasses of water throughout the rest of the day. Not to mention the diuretic effects of espressos/tea that I drink.

The result? I’m feeling more energized and can lift more and want to do more activity throughout the day. On average, I’m roughly burning 500 additional calories a day. So in the past couple of weeks my lean body mass has been increasing while my fat % has been decreasing:

My priorities are:

  1. Get off blood pressure meds - that should come by improving body fat percentage to 22%
  2. keep energy levels up
  3. gain muscle mass

I’m on my way thanks to the advice that you nice folks have been giving me. Thanks very much!


(charlie3) #19

I’ve suggested this in another thread, get some blood work and look for symptoms of anemia. It’s common in the general population. You could have been marginal for years before and now the extra activities creates smptoms like fatigue.


#20

I agree with you. It might be a possibility.

I talked to my doctor about taking a blood test when things start to reopen again due to covid and he’s in agreement.