3

votes

If I smell like ammonia after exercising, am I in ketosis or just breaking down (hard earned) muscle?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 20, 2012 at 6:02 PM

I often notice that after working out in the gym and then coming home and walking the dog that I smell rather strongly of ammonia. I understand that the ammonia smell is from the breakdown of amino acids from protein (gluconeogenesis?) into uric acid and it's being excreted through my sweat since my kidneys can't handle all of it. Am I using up my own muscles or is it from the protein I ate during breakfast? Why am I not using ketone bodies for energy, or am I? Is this good or bad (or indifferent)?

This morning I had a typical breakfast: two chicken sausages cooked in coconut oil (ate a little extra c.o. off the knife), some walnuts, a handful of cherries, vitamins. I'm 5'4", 112lbs, and about 10% bf. Thank you for your explanation.

Miriam

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on August 15, 2013
at 01:11 PM

What is your normal eating like, not just what you had for breakfast.

E2db1519690001648433e8109eb2c013

on July 21, 2012
at 11:16 PM

MiMintzer. That is an insanely high volume of work. I don't know that anyone could do that many sets unless they cut the resistance back to a ridiculously low level. Check out 'Convict Conditioning,' 'Primal Blueprint Fitness,' of maybe 'HillFit.' To see some reasonable strength work suggestions. (just named these off the top of my head, check out 'Starting Strength' '5=3=1' and some others for more information.

Cf416725f639ffd1bb90764792ce7b8a

(2799)

on July 21, 2012
at 03:29 PM

You could always do a pre workout shake so you don't feel like you have to have the post workout shake right away.

F87d66ef4244ea0289723193e20979b0

(10)

on July 20, 2012
at 10:34 PM

I notice an ammonia smell after a workout only if I ate a banana that day before working out. I quit eating bananas and the problem lessened considerably. Just something I noticed about myself, YMMV.

782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e

(5231)

on July 20, 2012
at 08:31 PM

That thread is very interesting but now I have more questions! After I finish my workout I drive home (about 10-15 minutes) and take the dog for a walk (a distance of a little over a mile). Then I drink my protein shake, take my amino acids, and eat my banana and yoghurt. Am I catabolizing my muscles on my drive home from the gym? What happens, energy-wise, when I take my dog for his walk? (We walk at a pretty brisk pace.) I guess my real question is, when is the optimal time to eat my carbs post-workout?

F0a3e3f17d9a740810ac37ff2353a9f3

(3804)

on July 20, 2012
at 08:25 PM

I should add that I'm not the best person to ask about carb-fueling a workout. I average ~50g carbs/day and don't add any pre- or post-training. I've adjusted my workout to my fuel source (fat/ketones) rather than increasing carbs to train.

F0a3e3f17d9a740810ac37ff2353a9f3

(3804)

on July 20, 2012
at 08:19 PM

Based on what I've read, adding carbs would solve the problem, either the evening before or the morning of a workout, whatever seems to work best for you.

782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e

(5231)

on July 20, 2012
at 07:46 PM

Today I did upper body: 4 exercises, 5 sets, 10 reps each; then 4 arm exercises, 3 sets, 10-12 reps each. Should I increase carbs pre-workout?

60af23519906aa54b742ffc17477c3d3

(1186)

on July 20, 2012
at 06:08 PM

I would love to know this too, as I always assumed it was ketosis.

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5 Answers

3
F0a3e3f17d9a740810ac37ff2353a9f3

(3804)

on July 20, 2012
at 06:42 PM

That's interesting. The ammonia smell is definitely from protein breakdown, as you said. (If it was from ketosis, your breath would smell of acetone.)

Hard to say if the protein being used is from diet or muscle. I think if it was an ongoing catabolic process you'd eventually notice a decrease in strength when doing resistance training. Even if it is, it isn't necessarily a bad thing. Protein synthesis just has to be equal to or greater than protein breakdown.

The only thing I can think of is that if your training involves both high-volume and high-intensity, you might be asking your body for more glycogen than it has available. In that case, protein would have to be converted to glucose for fuel.

F0a3e3f17d9a740810ac37ff2353a9f3

(3804)

on July 20, 2012
at 08:25 PM

I should add that I'm not the best person to ask about carb-fueling a workout. I average ~50g carbs/day and don't add any pre- or post-training. I've adjusted my workout to my fuel source (fat/ketones) rather than increasing carbs to train.

F0a3e3f17d9a740810ac37ff2353a9f3

(3804)

on July 20, 2012
at 08:19 PM

Based on what I've read, adding carbs would solve the problem, either the evening before or the morning of a workout, whatever seems to work best for you.

782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e

(5231)

on July 20, 2012
at 07:46 PM

Today I did upper body: 4 exercises, 5 sets, 10 reps each; then 4 arm exercises, 3 sets, 10-12 reps each. Should I increase carbs pre-workout?

E2db1519690001648433e8109eb2c013

on July 21, 2012
at 11:16 PM

MiMintzer. That is an insanely high volume of work. I don't know that anyone could do that many sets unless they cut the resistance back to a ridiculously low level. Check out 'Convict Conditioning,' 'Primal Blueprint Fitness,' of maybe 'HillFit.' To see some reasonable strength work suggestions. (just named these off the top of my head, check out 'Starting Strength' '5=3=1' and some others for more information.

2
Cf416725f639ffd1bb90764792ce7b8a

(2799)

on July 20, 2012
at 07:13 PM

The other problem is apparently some people smell like ammonia to others, and some people get an ammonia smell that only they notice.

I get the ammonia smell if I go lift on zero carbs, but the wife (good nose on her) can't smell any ammonia odor from me.

But 16g of carbs (YMMV) pre workout prevents it and I don't get knocked out of ketosis.

Interesting reply over here...

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php/137040-Burning-Fat-Burning-Glycogen?p=1559337&viewfull=1#post1559337

F87d66ef4244ea0289723193e20979b0

(10)

on July 20, 2012
at 10:34 PM

I notice an ammonia smell after a workout only if I ate a banana that day before working out. I quit eating bananas and the problem lessened considerably. Just something I noticed about myself, YMMV.

782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e

(5231)

on July 20, 2012
at 08:31 PM

That thread is very interesting but now I have more questions! After I finish my workout I drive home (about 10-15 minutes) and take the dog for a walk (a distance of a little over a mile). Then I drink my protein shake, take my amino acids, and eat my banana and yoghurt. Am I catabolizing my muscles on my drive home from the gym? What happens, energy-wise, when I take my dog for his walk? (We walk at a pretty brisk pace.) I guess my real question is, when is the optimal time to eat my carbs post-workout?

Cf416725f639ffd1bb90764792ce7b8a

(2799)

on July 21, 2012
at 03:29 PM

You could always do a pre workout shake so you don't feel like you have to have the post workout shake right away.

1
901d843c6a01089575ef1751a9e6e9fd

on July 20, 2012
at 06:15 PM

Yeah, ketones can have that characteristic ammonia-like smell, noticeable in urine and sweat.

0
C393568e47a1c09d380928f309aca6a7

on August 14, 2013
at 10:10 PM

perhaps this may help. perhaps your liver is not doing a perfect job... http://biochemistryquestions.wordpress.com/2008/06/04/ammonia-detoxification-from-muscle-to-liver/

cb

-1
9f52f85c3964445d7b16c94a890f6136

on August 15, 2013
at 11:33 AM

Are you wetting yourself?

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