Hello, im kinda new to the paleo lifestyle but i already love it, most of my problems have gone away :-). Im trying to lose fat but i am so confused on what to eat before and after my workouts. I am 27, 5'4, 125lbs. I workout about 5-6times a week. mon, wed. And friday i focus on full body strength training and tuesdays and thursdays are usually cardio or hiit. Saturday is sometimes hiit. I want to start looking really lean with strong muscles like a fitness competitor lol but not sure what to eat. I have treied going fasted in the morning but doesnt work because i have no energy, i used to have oats with protein powder mixed in but i dont wanna eat grains anymore. I also wake up at 5am and have breakfast at 6am and workout by 8am, i know its weird but it works. Any suggestions would work thanks
asked byrosalinda (25)
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on October 14, 2012
at 01:36 PM
There are multiple possible reasons why you do not have energy to workout in the morning unless you eat something, and I'll address these, and then offer solutions:
- metabolic flexibility: There is the chance that you aren't metabolically flexible enough at burning your own endogenous energy stores (fat and glycogen). Really the only remedy for this is time, and going longer periods without eating. Your body has to become accustomed to using itself for energy, and not being dependent upon external food (otherwise you'd die as soon food became sparse, and wouldn't have energy to hunt on an empty stomach). THe best (and only) way to do this is to either eat at whatever frequency in a strong caloric deficit OR intermittent fast (at maintenance calories or below).
- you do not have enough glycogen stores for glycolytic workouts: Some exercise is particularly glucose expensive (weight training and sprints, for example). IF you do not have adequate glycogen stores, your body will break down protein (usually in the form of muscle...unless you are eating a very high protein diet) into glucose for energy. However, your body doesn't do this as quickly as just drawing upon glycogen stores already there, so pretty much inevitably you will not be able to have intense glycolytic workouts. Now, there are two reasons you may not have enough glycogen at hand. The first is obvious- that you are eating a diet too low in protein and/or carbs. The second is a matter of insulin sensitivity, which needs to be increased.
- activity type: You may just also be doing too high of a volume of exercise for your energy. Unless you want to eat like a typical body builder (lots of regular starchy carbs) to maintain a high volume of glycolytic activity (long time under tension), then you should reduce your overall workout volume. This means either (a) shorter workouts with fewer sets or (b) workouts of similar duration with more rest between sets and fewer sets and reps (i.e. strength training...not hypertrophy training).
So, personally, I would recommend the following for you:
- decrease your eating window: Try to work your way gradually to an 8 hour eating window. Once you can do that for a couple weeks, then you can work back up to a 10-12 hour feeding window, as you just need to become metabolically flexible and make your system adapt by going a little further past where you hope to maintain. You might want go at a rate of decreasing you eating window by 1 hour each 1-2 days until you have reached the 8 hour window, maintain that for 1 week, and then build back up to a 10-12 hour window.
- nutrient timing: train fasted, and eat the bulk of your carbs in your post-workout meal. Eating carbs post workout will give you the best bang for your buck (most glycogen storage with the lowest insulin production). If you choose to supplement, r-ALA with your post workout meal to facilitate glucose uptake without additional insulin and l-carnitine post workout to facilitate energy (fat) liberation for the cells.
- decrease total workout volume: I recommend strength training 3x per week, alternating between lower body, upper body, and lower body days. Pick 3-4 exercises per workout, and do the first 2-3 exercises in with low reps for strength (3 sets of 5 or 4 sets of 3 work well). The following 1-2 "supplementary" exercises you could do 3 sets of 8-10 reps. You primary lifts should be stiff leg deadlifts and walking lunges (as a supplementary exercise in the 3 sets of 10 range. For your upper body, chin ups, dips, and supplementary shoulder exercises should be your focus. Do a low intensity walk daily for as long as you like (at least 30 minutes) and do HIIT (sprints in a one minute sprint, one minute walk fashion) for 10-15 minutes 2-3x per week followed by your low intensity cardio.
I would do that and you'll become very metabolically flexible (as internal gratification) and be struttin' a tight body (as external gratification).
on December 09, 2012
at 04:30 PM
I got into the habit of going to crossfit somewhat fasted, like I'd have a small or no breakfast, eat a medium sized lunch at 12pm, then go to crossfit at 5:30pm. This was tough at first, doing a tough workout with nothing in my stomach, but my body slowly adapted, and I definitely lost fat (about 4 inches around my waist so far). However, about an hour after the workout I'm absolutely starving, so need to make sure I have good food available. I usually try to have some good carbs (i.e. tubers) PWO. I also can't eat an enormous amount of food at one sitting, so this is indirectly a good way for me to control my caloric intake.
on October 14, 2012
at 03:14 PM
dont eat preworkout, eat big for postWO
on October 14, 2012
at 02:18 PM
Fasting is not absolutely necessary to utilize fat energy in your workouts (leangains style). Eating fats and proteins pre-workout will not drive insulin up like carbs will, so stick with things like eggs n bacon. Immediately post workout storage will skyrocket so stick to proteins and carbs. In the end, however, calories are going to determine whether you lean out or not. To drop your percentage you'll need a deficit unless you have superhuman patience.