COTO

Whole30 + Crossfit = exhausted

Recommended Posts

I have been eating strict Whole30 (~95% compliant) for nearly 8 months now.  It changed my life.

A new problem has arisen however.  2 months ago I started crossfit again after over a year off.  I was also working a desk job during this time.  I left the job shortly after starting crossfit, and recently I have begun to push harder on workouts the last 2-3 weeks.

I am completely wiped out.  Brain feels like mush, I am sleeping longer than normal, sometimes much longer (11 hrs last night), yet I still feel tired and groggy upon waking. I feel like my body should be adapted to this activity by now, it doesn't feel like the normal "starting-a-new-workout-program sleepiness".  I've done crossfit on and off for 4 years and have never felt like this.

Which leads me back to diet.

Any ideas here? Am I not eating enough carbs? I am constantly, ravenously hungry yet I eat a ton of fat and am most certainly fat adapted to some degree.  I literally cannot eat any cleaner and I know I'm getting adequate rest, which is why I'm stumped. Any suggestions would be awesome!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What are you eating exactly? Are you including pre/postWO meals? Are you allowing days for rest/recovery? What is the 5% non compliant food...? How old are you? Could there be an underlying medical cause? (Thyroid etc)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just turned 28.  Non compliant food- I will have alcohol once a month (usually wine) and sometimes I will have tortilla chips or pretzels, also about once a month or less.

Post workout- some days it is a potato and eggs or vegetables, other days it's what I have in the crockpot, which is usually meat- based and includes vegetables, though not usually potatoes or starchy carbs in significant amounts.

I allow 2 full rest days per week and I fast for 24 hours from Sat night to Sun night every week. I do not work out on Sundays, that is one of the two rest days.

For the first few months of eating Whole30, I would say my diet was a bit meat- heavy.  I have since dialed that back to include less meat and more vegetables and felt better initially.  Now I find it swinging back to eating more meat as my activity level increases.  The fat in my diet comes from nuts, oils, animal fats, and coconut.  I put a large amount of clarified butter (~3 tablespoons) in my coffee every morning and have been doing this for about a year.  Lately I have been adding clarified butter to soups and dishes I prepare.  3x a week I will make what I call Fat Shakes- 1 frozen banana, coconut chips, 4 brazil nuts, 1 raw egg, couple tablespoons coconut oil, 2 spoonfuls of almond butter.

Lately I have also been noticing myself salting dishes much heavier than usual.  I seem to be craving it.  Hope this helps!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are you sticking to egg whites for postWO? And always including a protein? It isn't clear from the way you've written your response, but a lack of protein would certainly hinder recovery, as would fat slow down absorption of the proteins which would in turn hinder recovery...

The salting thing is pretty self explanatory - you need salt - maybe you're sweating out more than you think in your WOs and need to replace it - a lack of salt would also impact energy levels so it would make sense...

You certainly seem to be getting enough fat, but I'd wonder if you're perhaps relying to heavily on nuts? The 'shake' you're making is pretty nut heavy all things considered (and obviously NOT recommended for anyone currently doing a Whole30).

With the meat/fat heavy diet I'd also wonder if you aren't lacking in vital minerals - potassium, zinc, magnesium, calcium etc - this could also effect energy,

Do you have any other 'symptoms' that could be attributed to your diet, and specifically point to a deficiency? Like hair loss, brittle nails, cramps, skin rashes etc...?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

always whole eggs, never just the whites.  I would say most of the time I include a protein, but I can think of a few instances where I did not.  Relying too heavily on nuts for fat is a fair argument.  I might consider putting a pause on the shakes, though I've done several cycles of them in the past and theyve never posed an energy problem.

I take good quality multivitamins (Advocare), I think I should be covered there.  I have heard plenty of arguments against multis but I always feel better when I take them. 

Being vitamin deficient is a good guess though.  I mean I am just feeling around in the dark myself at this point.

Today has been the worst day of symptoms: heavy brain fog, irritability, general lethargy and lack of energy, definitely feeling "off" and that something is not normal.  Last week I was craving very unusual food: pizza, bread, potato chips, refined sugars and desserts (this never happens), and beer.  All carb heavy stuff.  I added in some more potatoes to my diet (sweet and white) but results have been mixed at best. No other acute symptoms I can think of- definitely no hair loss or rashes or anything like that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ditch the yolks postWO -  they're slowing down absorption.

If you're female where are you in your cycle? (Sorry, I can't see in your profile pic!) If you're male ignore that question...!! 

Either way though I'd say mineral deficiency might be your issue, but you could always confirm by getting a full blood screening done...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

haha I am male. I really appreciate your help though.  Mineral deficiency is something I will check into asap.  Sounds like a likely culprit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Given that you are hard-core enough to complete a 24-hour fast every week AND are suffering with performance issues, the likely problem is that you are not eating enough. You did not describe what you are eating in adequate detail to know if you are eating enough or not. If you would describe two days of your food and water intake with reference to the meal planning template, it would give us a basis for offering feedback.

http://whole30.com/downloads/whole30-meal-planning.pdf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will describe what I had today since it's in recent memory, and will keep track of tomorrow's eating and post it.

Just a heads up, as of today I suspended eating Whole30 as I am clearly not getting enough of something, so the following includes foods that are not Whole30 compliant.  I also did not work out today.

 

Breakfast:

1 cup coffee with 3-4 tablespoons clarified butter and 5 quarter sized pieces of 100% cacao.

1 large green apple

2 small potatoes (think two fist sizes), fried in duck fat (one thumb size) and topped with yellow mustard, salt and pepper.

Large handful of pretzels.  Craving salt like mad.

 

Lunch:

2 large chicken curry wraps (each ~9 inches long). Includes grilled chicken, onion, peas, curry, cheese, white garlic sauce.

Each roll: 1115 calories, 68g fat, 50 protein, 77g carbs. Larger than a typical meal for me.

Large handful of pretzels.

 

Afternoon snack:

Large green apple, salted, with almond butter (4-5 tablespoons)

5-7 quarter sized bits of 100% cacao

Large handful of pretzels.

 

Dinner:

2 small potatoes (same as above) with 5 whole eggs.

 

Water intake: 1/2-3/4 gallon

 

After eating salt all day I feel much better.  Could have been all the extra carbs too.  Honestly I find it hard to believe that this wouldn't be enough food.  Even on a normal day I don't eat much less than this. The only meal that would be smaller is lunch.  But I will suspend my disbelief for the time being, I appreciate everyone being so helpful.  Let me know what you think of this, I will post again with tomorrow's intake and make it sure it is back to normal.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I mentioned about the salt thing before - salt cravings (& cravings for foods which contain salt but which aren't necessarily deemed as salty - like most of the foods you've eaten today) are indicative of a sodium deficiency. Are you in the habit of salting your food normally? I'm sure you're aware that by switching to a Whole foods diet that your sodium intake will have dropped by around 70-75%... All that sodium needs replacing somehow, and a sustained lack of it can lead to fatigue, depression, and lethargy...

That said it can also be a symptom of adrenal fatigue or kidney issues  - and the former wouldn't be entirely beyond the realms of possibility.

As an aside your breakfast completely lacks protein - but obviously you're not Whole30ing so this is your decision, I'm guessing based on your cravings.

I wouldn't say this is a huge amount of food by any stretch of the imagination, but other than the apples it certainly all seems very 'white' - where's your 'rainbow'?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes I am starting to suspect that salt has something to do with it.  It's been extremely humid the past month or so.  Even running two miles leaves my shirt and shorts drenched.  And honestly for the months before this I never gave a second thought to how much salt I was eating (or not eating)- I wasn't exercising strenuously so nothing felt off.  It only just occurred to me yesterday that I am getting none of the 'built in sodium' the normal American diet provides.  To answer your question, I do salt my food but nothing like I am doing now.  It's totally possible the extra sweating and reduced dietary sodium are putting the drain on me. 

Today will be more green :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

spoke too soon about not having more symptoms.  A lot of my hair came out in the shower last night.  Waaaay more than normal.  My hair is long and I don't wash it every day, this would be the first time since I started posting.  Slightly worrisome.  I do feel better though. We will see how today goes.  

I didn't bother posting what I ate yesterday bc it's not Whole30, not representative of what I normally eat.  It was a bunch of salty stuff again. Pretzels, Chipotle, Bananas with almond butter, heavily salted duck fried potatoes with salmon chili.  I also got some Hammer electrolyte supplements, those seem to be helping.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep, - salt cravings, more of an appetite for protein & fat, fatigue, feeling low, apathy & now hair loss - I'm thinking adrenal fatigue.

Get yourself to a Doctor.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am definitely going to get some help.. I am not stressed though, which is apparently the primary cause?  And I get enough sleep, eat great, exercise, etc.  Is there something I am missing here?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Stress is definitely a factor - bear in mind that fasting could be a stress, as could exercise. As for eating well you did admit to your diet being lacking in veg - that's where the nutrients come from to support the adrenals.

It can also be the result of an infection of some kind, from what I understand, particularly to the respiratory system. 

I could be completely wrong - we're not medically trained here - but you do have a lot of the symptoms.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I suffered from complete adrenal fatigue early last year and had many of the same symptoms you had. I also have an under active thyroid, which then puts extra stress on the adrenals, so I had to quit working out for about two months. My body just could not take it. Now that my thyroid and adrenals are back in good shape, been 8 months, I am back to running and training but paying close attention to how I feel. I did go to a Dr and got put on adrenal support since my adrenals basically where not functioning at all. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you are craving salt, try drinking some chicken broth. It sounds like you have the "keto flu". Lacking in sodium, potassium and magnesium. When you are depleting your glycogen levels (which you would be if you are working out and only eating a couple of potatoes a day), then you really need to watch your electrolyte levels. Drink some broth, lots and lots of water, and rest as needed. Thats my take on it! Hope you feel better soon!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Nikki_Lang said:

 It sounds like you have the "keto flu". Lacking in sodium, potassium and magnesium. When you are depleting your glycogen levels (which you would be if you are working out and only eating a couple of potatoes a day), then you really need to watch your electrolyte levels. 

"only" a couple of potatoes a day? Plus apples, pretzels, and wraps?  Nah, not keto flu UOLnuYQ.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

6 months later, I am still dealing with this issue.  It comes and goes in cycles- I will feel great or mostly normal for 2-4 weeks and then I will regress to feeling fatigued, apathetic, unmotivated.

In this time I have cut alcohol and caffeine completely out, been put on adrenal supplements by a nutritional therapist (they did not help), and minimized my stress.  The last straw for me was about 5 weeks ago, I was fed up with feeling sick so I cut back on meat and started eating meals every 3 hours- TONS of veggies.  In less than a week I was feeling better than I had in months.  Really thought I was out of the woods, but after about 4 weeks of feeling good, symptoms have once again returned despite my continued eating habits.  I am really running out of ideas at this point.  I am an otherwise-healthy and athletic 28 year old with no medical history, no chronic conditions, no allergies.  It does not make sense to me that I don't seem to be healing when I feel I'm doing everything I can.  Yes I feel better than I did 6 months ago, but still nowhere near where I used to be.  Any questions or advice is appreciated!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have you gone to an actual doctor? You say you have no chronic conditions, but your continued problems seem to indicate otherwise. Going "natural" and trying to manage things through diet is great but sometimes you actually need to go to an M.D.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm going to second the suggestion to go to an actual doctor.  There are lots of things that manifest as "I'm just freaking tired and can't function," and doctors -- because they can do blood tests, urine tests, and other data gathering that you can't do -- can be pretty helpful.

ThyPeace, glad you feel better than you did 6 months ago, and want you to feel actually good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now