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How hard can one workout on low carbs?

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  • How hard can one workout on low carbs?



    Hi all,

    I have been relatively primal but quite low carb for about 7 days or so. I get really dizzy and am quite tired most of the time, but I wonder if some good hard exercise will help wake my system up. On higher carbs I exercised 6 days a week with quite a bit of cardio, but I have never lifted heavy in my life, so I worry about form, injury etc. My biggest question is, how hard can one on low carbs work out? Can I do 20 minute intervals on the beach, can I push myself to my limit and still be able to function for the rest of the day? I work nearly 7 days a week, so I need some energy left over. Any suggestions or personal experience would be most helpful!


  • #2
    1



    Very, very hard. Many of us do intense sprint and heavy lifting workouts regularly.


    It's normal to feel low on energy for the first several weeks of eating low-carb. I had a rather severe case of the so-called "low-carb flu" but continued with my intense workouts, and it didn't hurt me a bit. Having half a piece of fruit with some almond butter first helped.


    Others wait until the weak phase passes before working out hard. Either way is probably fine.

    Nightlife ~ Chronicles of Less Urban Living, Fresh from In the Night Farm ~ Idaho's Primal Farm! http://inthenightlife.wordpress.com/

    Latest post: Stop Being Stupid

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    • #3
      1



      Right now you're in what's called the low-carb flu phase. Eventually you will be able to work out without needing carbs.


      But I'd advise you to take note of Mark's advice about chronic working out, too. It's as bad for you as low-fat starvation dieting is.

      Primal eating in a nutshell: If you are hungry, eat Primal food until you are satisfied (not stuffed). Then stop. Wait until you're hungry again. Repeat.

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      • #4
        1



        Took me about a month to adjust to it and be able to do my work-outs without crashing.

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        • #5
          1



          Many Crossfitters do some very intense workout and a lot of them are working on very low-carb diets

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          • #6
            1



            Oddly enough, I don't remember going through the 'low carb flu' phase.

            Start weight: 250 - 06/2009
            Current weight: 199
            Goal: 145

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            • #7
              1



              I guess you can... but from personal experience I've found that I need some carbs to lift really heavy. 150 grams a day does it for me - still within primal bounds. Some don't agree with me, but whatever. If your lifting is suffering, don't hesitate to include carbs in your diet.

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              • #8
                1



                Purely anecdotal, but some of my best lifts have been done in the last couple of months...all on low-to-zero carb eating.

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                • #9
                  1



                  I&#39;m another, going hard on almost ZC. I don&#39;t find carbs helpful at all for my lifting.

                  The "Seven Deadly Sins"

                  Grains (wheat/rice/oats etc) . . . . . Dairy (milk/yogurt/butter/cheese etc) . . . . . Nightshades (peppers/tomato/eggplant etc)
                  Tubers (potato/arrowroot etc) . . . Modernly palatable (cashews/olives etc) . . . Refined foods (salt/sugars etc )
                  Legumes (soy/beans/peas etc)

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                  • #10
                    1



                    If you need the energy you should hold back just a bit until you adjust. I definitely went through the low carb flu, it was bad. I can&#39;t even imagine working out hard. Do what you can do, listen to your body. If you don&#39;t have the energy do something else.

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                    • #11
                      1



                      I do fine on low carbs. If I do eat anything relatively carb-dense, like a glass of raw milk or a sweet potato, it&#39;s always post workout.


                      As you can surmise from the range of answers, you&#39;ve just got to try it out for yourself. Tinker with ratios. Go a few weeks on sub-50g carbs and see how your strength holds up. Mine, and tons of others from the site (and others, like Crossfit), has only improved. Many of us even workout in the fasted state.


                      Don&#39;t take any of this as gospel, but as inspiration. Anecdote can be a powerful road map for your own journey.

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                      • #12
                        1



                        As you can see from the answers already, it depends.


                        It&#39;s not really carbs you need but glucose.


                        If you are doing HIIT type work (Crossfit) then that will burn mostly FFA and you should have no problems.


                        If you are lifting weights to failure then you will need glucose as fuel.


                        If you are eating lots of protein (>1g/lb LBM) then you should have no problems getting enough glucose.


                        My heavy lifting suffered when I was under 50g of carbs. So I have about 100g now.

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                        • #13
                          1



                          Actually HIIT is anaerobic exercise which burns glucose rather than free fatty acids. There is no way the body could manufacture such an amount of energy through aerobic respiration.


                          Personally I think people do need some amount of carbs in order to work out intensely many times a week, but some people here disagree.


                          Just try it for yourself and see how it works. Mark actually recommends staying in the 100-150g carbs per day for "effortless maintenance".

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                          • #14
                            1



                            Awesome answers, thanks for the input everybody! I have been doing 2 (seemingly tiny) weight-lifting routines per week and I feel like sleeping for an hour afterwards, but it&#39;s only twice a week so I push through it. It&#39;s good to hear that I&#39;m not making up this &#39;low carb flu&#39; ! I think I&#39;m finally coming through it though, as I am no longer too tired and my DOMS have subsided. I really miss running though! I&#39;ve also taken to running up a very steep flight of stairs a dozen times a day or so at my job and walking on the beach for a couple of hours per week. Losing weight already, it&#39;s crazy. I think I&#39;m probably on about 20-30 g of carbs per day, depending.

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                            • #15
                              1



                              I&#39;m a recent paleo convert, and a former carb-aholic (5000 calories/day, satisfying every craving), and this past Tuesday I squatted over 500 LBS from a 12" box. I think it&#39;s mostly psychological at first. I&#39;m bench pressing tonight and I plan on setting a new personal record.

                              I began this Primal journey on December 30th, 2009 and in that time I've lost over 125 LBS.

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