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Im about halfway through my first whole 30 right now. I’m eating plenty of all the right foods suggested to be fueling my workouts as I’m training for a half marathon that is just a few days after I complete my Whole30. I strength train a few days a week and run a few. I ate fairly healthy and exercised regularly prior to beginning the whole 30. My issue is that I rarely have enough energy and motivation for a good workout. The instant I begin a run I feel drained and struggle to complete the run. I’m wondering if this could be a result of the whole 30 or something I’m doing wrong? I’m on day 16 and had hoped this would pass by now. I’m getting worried because now I haven’t gotten the proper training runs in that I should have by now. Any advice or suggestions as to why my energy levels have dipped so dramatically as I thought they would have picked up by now? Or any similar experiences? Thank you!

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Hi @Lauren Kate - it's pretty hard for us to say without any detail at all on what you've been eating. Give us a rundown on typical day meals and composition, timing, pre and post workout etc.

It sounds to me like you are struggling to become fat adapted. This can happen for a few reasons, the most common of which being that folks are relying heavily on fruits and starchy veggies to the exclusion of others. Maybe this isn't you but it's the most common. Usually fat adaptation takes place and then energy improves within a couple weeks so you aren't terribly far off the mark.  

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Sure, so for a typical day:

Breakfast: a couple of eggs scrambled with a mix of peppers, onions, mushrooms, and oftentimes either diced potatoes or turkey bacon and half an avocado. Sometimes I’ll have a grapefruit in addition. If I am working out first thing in the morning and don’t want a heavy meal, I’ll have a couple hard boiled eggs and eat a big breakfast after. 

Lunch: a large salad of mixed greens and peppers, onions etc. with toppings varying of seeds, turkey or beef, hard boiled eggs, avocado, tuna and an oil based salad dressing. Sometimes I’ll have a piece of fruit as well. I also often eat leftovers from dinner such as a tuna squash casserole with coconut milk, beef stew, chicken and a salad etc. 

Dinner: usually lots of potatoes, turkey burgers, a stew, casserole as mentioned, sometimes salads like lunch. A lot of times I’ll have fruit for dessert.

I realize snacking isn’t encouraged, but I do snack sometimes on things like nuts, sausage, berries, chicken, fried plantains. Before bed sometimes I am really hungry and will have fruit or the fried plantains. 

Maybe eating too much fruit really could be a problem? I’m not sure how much to eat of it.. and also note that I do sometimes drink coconut water or kombucha.

I typically eat breakfast around 9am, lunch around 1pm, dinner around 6:30pm and sometimes snack around 9:30pm (trying to avoid that). 

 

Thank you you for any help. It’s been so frustrating! 

Lauren 

 

 

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OK, so basically if you are hungry between meals then you need to eat more. Replace the fruits w/ more of everything else. Eggs, if they are your sole protein (bacon is fat), should be as many as you can hold in your hand - at least 3-4 to start. Or 2 + another kind of protein. Make sure your protein is 1-2 palm sized servings. That's the length, width and thickness of your own palm. 

If you are going to snack while you get your meals in order, go with protein + fat or protein + veggies. Fruit and starches alone are definitely going to be inhibiting the process. Coconut water is just fruit juice so that should be limited to after a particularly rigourous workout or times when you are in the hot summer sun for a long period of time. Kombucha is fine as the sugar is fermented off.

The recommendations for fruit are WITH meals and 0-2 fist sized servings per day. So you could have none or a couple servings but don't let it push other things off your plate.

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For me, if I were training for a marathon, that would not be enough food!

Are you also eating pre- and post-workout meals/snacks? The recommendation for pre-workout is a 1/2 size serving (or less) of protein and a 1/2 size serving (or less)  of fat. The post-workout is meant to be protein and carb-dense vegetables, again a small portion. 

I don't run often but I'll do long hikes, usually early in the morning. Here's what that might look like for me: 

Pre-Workout (6:00 am): 1 or 2 hard-boiled eggs + handful of coconut flakes

Exercise (6:30-9:00 am): Hike 4-6 miles for 2-3 hours

Post-Workout (9:00 am): Couple of bites of chicken breast + couple of cubes of sweet potato

Meal 1 (9:45 am): three over-easy eggs; spiralized sweet potato/regular potato cooked in ghee and seasoned; 2 slices of bacon 

Meal 2 (2:00 pm): leftover chicken breast; large portion of steamed carrots; side salad with onion, bell pepper, 1/2 avocado and generous portion of Caesar dressing 

Meal 3 (7:00 pm): large steak grilled with spices; large portion of green beans cooked in ghee; two large spoonfuls of guacamole 

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Lauren,

My suggestion is to be patient a few more days and make sure your getting some salt for electrolyte replacement for your salt loss from sweat. I had a half marathon on the Saturday of Round 1 Week 1, so day 7, and it was miserable! The half was a course that I should have PR'd (mostly down hill) but I was only able to muster up two good miles and then slowly ran/walked the rest of the race. I also spent the second week completely zapped and did no runs at all!! Eventually I got my Tiger Blood in the third week! I think it totally is the process of detoxing and then also making the switch from relying heavily on sugary fuel (gels, gummy bears, carb loading the night before, etc.) that we typically use to fuel our long runs. My body took time to figure out what to use as "gas" but once it did I was back to top performance! 

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I'll add my anecdotal experience.  I run daily (600 days and counting of at least a mile), usually 5 miles, some days more, some days less.  I lost what felt like all my speed for the first 23 days.  Struggled to complete runs that should have been easy.  I'm talking 2+ minutes per mile extra.

 

Then the 23rd day I headed out the door and felt normal (with no other indication that anything had changed).  Ran at the old pace, actually a little faster.  Since then I've had up and down days and felt like some things were a little harder, but my speed is 90% back all the time.  I think it took that long to get fat adapted for me.  At day 16, I was pretty down as well and I didn't have a race coming up, but sticking it out a bit longer worked for me.

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