First Whole 30 Fueled Workout - Felt Awful! It gets better, right?


Steph123

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Hi everyone! 

 

I just started my Whole 30 yesterday, yesterday was my rest day and my first Whole 30 fueled workout was this morning.  Prior to Whole 30 I always ate a big bowl of oatmeal with a banana and peanut butter for breakfast before my morning workouts.  My body is definitely used to being fueled by carbs. 

 

Today's workout (cardio intervals) was rough.  I felt bad almost the entire time.  About 45 minutes in I felt like I was completely out of energy and my muscles started to ache.  Even muscles I was not actively working out at the time. 

 

For breakfast this morning I had two eggs scrambled with red and green peppers, one sweet potato cooked in coconut oil and 1/2 an avacado.  That was 2 hours before my workout.  I know the recommendation is that I should have had a small pre-workout meal, and I may try that, but in the past  haven't done well with food hitting my stomach right before an intense workout. 

 

I guess I'm just looking for reassurance that my body will turn over to burning fat and every workout isn't going to feel this bad!  I workout a lot and usually feel great during and after... 

 

Thanks! 

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I usually never ate before my workouts, but still, the first week of my Whole30 (Which I started on the 1st) was not a great workout week for me.  I was reassured by the book saying "Don't expect to make any gains this week".  I believe they recommend taking it easy - which I do not do normally!  I felt awful.  I felt light headed and like I was going to pass out the whole time.  I'm starting to feel much, much better though as my body switches fuel sources.  I'm hoping to see the "magic" more this week.  

Stick with it, and eventually you'll figure out which eating strategy works for you.  
Keep posting, I'd love to hear your feedback as you go!

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It does get better! It took me about two weeks too. The first weekend of my Whole30, I'd committed to running a leg of a relay triathlon with some friends. Worst run of my life (which is saying something - I am not a runner!). But eventually I got back to feeling good.

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  • 2 weeks later...

It absolutely gets better. Basically the simple rule is: if you're doing a more glycogen-dependent workout (CrossFit, high intensity cardio, long duration running at a good pace, etc.) you will need some more carbs around your workout window.

 

I've found that baby food (particularly the sweet potatoes) is great for traveling/on the go, for carb fueling. There are also the Whole30 approved RXBars (www.RXBar.com - use 'whole30' and get 10% off - blueberry is my favorite flavor).

 

Be careful with the RXBars, I've found they can keep your sugar dragon alive, if not used properly.

 

Here's absolutely what NOT to do, courtesy of Mat Lalonde: http://robbwolf.com/2009/10/08/crossfit-on-a-low-carb-paleo-diet-mat-lalonde-reporting/

 

Mat later said he would retract that^ if it were a scientific study, because he almost passed out after a workout, and ran to get some Ben & Jerry's, because he could feel his glucose levels dying completely.

 

Here's his exact quote:

But after I wrote that up, I completely crashed. And there is this one workout that addressed – actually, I switched to the OPT website at that point, and that bastard wrote a workout that just destroyed me. I have short arms, and I'm not that tall, so rowing is not my strength. And he put a workout together that was rowing and sumo dead lift high poles, and I'm just rolling on the floor at the end of this workout, and my eyes are sinking into my skull, and I'm just going in and out of consciousness. You know, I just – I could barely focus on anything. And I just started – I could at least still think, and I'm like, "Wow, my brain is running out of glucose, like dangerously." You know, I just did something really bad.

 

So I managed to compose myself and pick myself off the ground, and I work out in Hemenway on the Harvard campus, and it's pretty close to Harvard Square, and in the Harvard Square there's the garage. In the garage, there's a Ben & Jerry's, and I just sat at the counter at Ben & Jerry's. And I looked at the menu to make – and I picked three kinds of ice cream that had no gluten in them because they have things like cookie dough and what not.

 

And I just looked at the girl and I said, "Give me three pints of ice cream." And she obliged, and I ate all of it, and I was still in my shorts and t-shirt. I ate all of it right there at the counter in front of her within a matter of minutes. And I could – and I could feel my body soaking it up, soaking up the sugar as I was doing that and felt much better afterwards even though I don't tolerate fructose really well.

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Stephen Phinney and Jeff Volek in their books on Lo-Carb Eating and Performance say that it takes a minimum of 2 weeks to adapt - it can be longer (I think they may have said up to 2 months) but the point is, is that we do adapt and then are able to do well with endurance running (endurance events actually - cycling, whatever).

 

In my experience, if you know the may be the case and just put in the time and try to enjoy running while you are at it, it does work. Unfortunately an injury and too much other work slid into my life before I was able to enjoy most of the fruits of the adaptation.From my perspective now, I would have substituted cycling or even fast running in order to keep what I had developed. (I fell cracking some ribs but also damaging my shoulder which 10 months later is just getting back to where it should be...)

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Thank you for all of the feedback and advice! 

 

For anyone else who may stumble upon this, I have to agree with what everyone said!  Stick with it!  By Day 7 I felt better working out, and by Day 9 I felt pretty great! 

 

I think for anyone who is working out regularly, in any capacity, and is used to feeling good, or feeling wiped out but still good, to suddenly feel so bad is shocking!  I am a reformed couch potato - I've been working out consistently and progressing steadily for 2.5 years, and I don't really have it in me to "take it easy" for a week or two, so I was determined to keep pushing through my workouts. 

 

For anyone who is willing, I think scaling back the workouts the first week or two wouldn't be a bad idea.  I have to admit, I was getting close to the edge of giving Whole 30 up if my workouts didn't improve!  But sticking with it was a great choice, and I'm glad I did. 

 

Thanks again everyone!  :) 

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I'm an endurance athlete too and I'm on day 3.  I ran 18 miles on day one and on day 2 I thought I had a hangover/flu.  Achey all over, muscles more fatigues than ever after that distance.  What do you eat while doing endurance activities?  I have a 50k coming up on Feb. 15 and am worried about bonking hard. Dates, nuts, lara bars???

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I'm an endurance athlete too and I'm on day 3.  I ran 18 miles on day one and on day 2 I thought I had a hangover/flu.  Achey all over, muscles more fatigues than ever after that distance.  What do you eat while doing endurance activities?  I have a 50k coming up on Feb. 15 and am worried about bonking hard. Dates, nuts, lara bars???

 

Lots of threads on ultra running and Whole30. This one is one of the more recent/longer ones: http://forum.whole9life.com/topic/10227-any-ultrarunners/

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So, I actually finished my Whole30, but did not exercise much during it due to a foot injury (exercise was limited to gentle yoga and walking...and shoveling snow!). Today was my first weight lifting session since recovering from the injury and I felt awful, like the OP. I was shakey and felt completely weak.

 

Is this the same situation, even though I finished my whole30? I'm assuming that since I didn't do any strength training or high intensity cardio over the 30 days, that I didn't challenge my body to adjust, and I just have to go through that now...if not, I'm screwed, lol.

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I am glad I found this thread!!  I am on Day 8 on the Whole30 Program and I also am a distance runner. I most do my long runs on the weekends, between 10-12 miles/week, however, during the week my runs are shorter ranging from 3-4 miles, 2-3X/week this is to be sure that I am prepared and can endure my long runs on the weekends.  Last weekend I decided to scale back on my long run because I had not ran in the last 2 weeks due to sickness so I decided to run 6 miles. I usually eat pasta for dinner the night before my long run and then an egg sandwich on a bagel and a banana the morning of and most of the times, I do really well on my long runs. It's just the right fuel amount for my body.  Since I was not able to eat all the above last weekend, I ate sweet potatoes with veggies and protein for dinner and then sweet potatoes and scrambled eggs for breakfast. I felt okay, not great and not too bad either during my run. I decided to run at a slower pace (9:20), however, during and at the end of my run my quads were a little sore, of course, it didn't help either with running a huge hill just before the end of my run, but I did it, so I was happy with myself anyway.  I also think they were sore because I had not ran for a while.  Yesterday, Tuesday, I ran 4 miles and my quads were worse than last Saturday and my pace was 1 minute faster than last Saturday.  Prior to running I read the PWO guide and said to eat a small amount of protein and fats and to NOT eat any fruit or carb-dense vegetables to your PWO snack.  Well, I had some eggs with veggies and some cashew nuts. I was not extremely tired while running but again my quads were killing me during the run!!! 

Should I go back to eating sweet potatoes before my runs anyway??  I am so confused with the PWO snacks!!! But again, I cannot not run and need to fuel my body correctly... 

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So, I actually finished my Whole30, but did not exercise much during it due to a foot injury (exercise was limited to gentle yoga and walking...and shoveling snow!). Today was my first weight lifting session since recovering from the injury and I felt awful, like the OP. I was shakey and felt completely weak.

 

Is this the same situation, even though I finished my whole30? I'm assuming that since I didn't do any strength training or high intensity cardio over the 30 days, that I didn't challenge my body to adjust, and I just have to go through that now...if not, I'm screwed, lol.

 

I don't know about others but even a week off of my normal strength training and my workouts suffer for a few days. If you took an entire month off of your training than this shouldn't be unexpected. Do make sure you are fueling your workouts properly. You will probably need to eat more than you did during your W30 returning to heavier training.

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I am glad I found this thread!!  I am on Day 8 on the Whole30 Program and I also am a distance runner. I most do my long runs on the weekends, between 10-12 miles/week, however, during the week my runs are shorter ranging from 3-4 miles, 2-3X/week this is to be sure that I am prepared and can endure my long runs on the weekends.  Last weekend I decided to scale back on my long run because I had not ran in the last 2 weeks due to sickness so I decided to run 6 miles. I usually eat pasta for dinner the night before my long run and then an egg sandwich on a bagel and a banana the morning of and most of the times, I do really well on my long runs. It's just the right fuel amount for my body.  Since I was not able to eat all the above last weekend, I ate sweet potatoes with veggies and protein for dinner and then sweet potatoes and scrambled eggs for breakfast. I felt okay, not great and not too bad either during my run. I decided to run at a slower pace (9:20), however, during and at the end of my run my quads were a little sore, of course, it didn't help either with running a huge hill just before the end of my run, but I did it, so I was happy with myself anyway.  I also think they were sore because I had not ran for a while.  Yesterday, Tuesday, I ran 4 miles and my quads were worse than last Saturday and my pace was 1 minute faster than last Saturday.  Prior to running I read the PWO guide and said to eat a small amount of protein and fats and to NOT eat any fruit or carb-dense vegetables to your PWO snack.  Well, I had some eggs with veggies and some cashew nuts. I was not extremely tired while running but again my quads were killing me during the run!!! 

Should I go back to eating sweet potatoes before my runs anyway??  I am so confused with the PWO snacks!!! But again, I cannot not run and need to fuel my body correctly... 

 

If you want your body to adjust to burning the fuel on your body first and not the fuel you are feeding it (sweet potato in this case) than skip the pre-run starch. Your dinner the night before is fine, you want to make sure your glycogen stores are topped off for a long run/race. The first 2 weeks are usually hardest and I found my runs (I train in a similar way to you) to be really lacking those first 2 weeks but it got much better. After your run have some lean protein (like chicken breast) and starchy vegetable (like sweet potato). This is to quickly get fuel to your tired muscles and help them repair faster. The other thing I have changed about my training since making this switch is that I focus more on my HR zones than my pace. My aim on easy runs is to stay in a recovery zone where the body should be able to easily use fat for fuel. On longer runs I let myself go up into the next HR zone around the 2nd half as fatigue sets in. Races and speedwork are the only times I am aiming for those higher HR zones. Does that make you less confused?

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@Physibeth - Usually your body does not start to burn fat until you are in your 30 minute work out, sometimes my runs are under 30 minutes so in order for me to endure my runs, I need the energy as soon as I start running. So, I really do not get to the 30 minute mark to start burning fat.  Which I think that I may need to workout/run longer than 30 minutes. I am just afraid to collapse on my long runs or not being able to continue at all if I do not fuel my body with carbs :( I typically do not do HR Zones and I am not planning on start doing that. 

 

We will see how this pans out for me. Today I am going to run 3-4 miles to get ready for my long run tomorrow and decide if I need to scale back my long run again tomorrow. We'll see! 

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@Physibeth - Usually your body does not start to burn fat until you are in your 30 minute work out, sometimes my runs are under 30 minutes so in order for me to endure my runs, I need the energy as soon as I start running. So, I really do not get to the 30 minute mark to start burning fat.  Which I think that I may need to workout/run longer than 30 minutes. I am just afraid to collapse on my long runs or not being able to continue at all if I do not fuel my body with carbs :( I typically do not do HR Zones and I am not planning on start doing that. 

 

We will see how this pans out for me. Today I am going to run 3-4 miles to get ready for my long run tomorrow and decide if I need to scale back my long run again tomorrow. We'll see! 

 

I'm not a scientist, but I believe that data assumes that your body is primarily burning carbs for fuel aka the conventional diet of most Americans. Because of the nature of W30/Paleo your body is going to readjust to burn fat more readily for fuel because it won't be getting a constant source of carbs like in the conventional food pyramid eat 5-6 times a day way.

 

I'm a runner and I've followed this way of eating for almost 11 months now. The first 2 weeks sucked but after that it was awesome. I don't pre-fuel with carbs (I will eat a non-starchy vegetable but often go on my long runs with just eggs and bacon before hand). I don't carry gels or any food with me. When it is hot and/or long runs I carry coconut water mixed with my regular water. After 6 months of Paleo I finally PR'd my half marathon, something I had been trying to do for 5 years.

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@Physibeth - Thanks for the input.  I am on Day 10 of Whole30 so I am still within my first 2 weeks, I don't feel horrible when I run it's just the thought of not being able to finish my runs or not having the energy to run at all is my only fear :(   

 

I understand. Just take it easy until you feel more on top of it. If you pre-carb you will feel better but your body won't make the switch. Trust me I made up the training loss once things clicked. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Interesting thread.

I'm on day 6 and am in my early training for a summer 50 miler. My runs thus week have been the definition of "bonking" and have read it described as death March. I am committed to the 30 days but wish the feel good transition would hurry.

I'm struggling with the sweet potato as my starchy carb and have had to choke them down. Any list of options or best methods for prepping them? I also like the information on fueling during runs and what time frame to start as this seems so different than the old carb based training.

Thanks in advance.

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I bake my sweet potatoes for about an hour until they are very soft. This makes them have a softer texture and they get sweeter. My husband likes them more like fries or hash browns. I cut them in small cubes toss them in melted clarified butter, coarse salt, and a little balsamic vinegar. Bake them until they are crispy. He reheats them with eggs and/or homemade turkey sausage in the morning. This actually works even better with butternut squash but I've never compared the carbs.

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