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Problem during Interval Training

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  • Problem during Interval Training

    G'day all

    I consider myself quite an active and fit individual. To give you some background, I am in the military and am very active. Before discovering the Primal Blueprint / Paleo I was obsessed with 'Chronic Cardio' (running 3.6 - 5km per day worth of interval training) with added daily Gym sessions on top.

    I recently conducted a very physically taxing course, learning how to instruct physical training for the Army, after which I took a three week holiday (doing no cardio with three times a week strength training).

    Now, my problem. I have recently returned to work and conducted one of my Tabata interval training sessions this morning with a friend (using a treadmill, going flat out for 20 seconds with 10 seconds rest, repeat 8 times for 4 minutes of work total). This used to be an enjoyable, do-able work out. However, this morning I had to stop on the third interval as my legs tightened up and would not 'work'. After a quick stretch I jumped back on and was able to complete another 4 before my legs literally stopped working. This was very annoying as, since I consider myself fairly fit, I should be able to complete this session (as I have done multiple times in the past).

    My legs have felt stiff (like they need a stretch) during my three week break, however being the silly person that I am I never stretched them. I also think I may not have enough Glycogen in my muscles for this kind of workout, given my transition to a Paleo diet (I have been strict Paleo for nearly 4 weeks - I am doing the 30 day challenge).

    My strength training remains unaffected. Can anyone offer some help or insight?

    "Contrariwise,' continued Tweedledee, 'if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic."

  • #2
    Aneorobic conditioning that you have built up dies incredibly fast. While you can maintain cardio over a 3 week break, your high intensity on resuming is going to suck. I am not surprised you hit a wall. You lose it fast.

    The good news, you gain it back about 3 times fast as you lost it. Do some tabatas and fartleks this week and you should be right on track. Do some good work/work relief sessions too. of moderate intensity. As you likely know, you do not have to kill yourself every workout, infact you shouldnt.

    As for seizing up, I would also imagine if you are and older than 35 person like myself, and you took a sudden break from daily hard training, your muscles just started to stiffen right up. If you are not working them, they do that. You need some vigorous stretching. Although corny, the best stretching guide I ever used was from Pavel Tsatsouline, called Relax Into Stretch. Had me right as rain fast. Pavel is always awesome, even though his website is full of scammy marketing.
    Original wt: 375, Current, 246
    Total weight lost, 130 pounds (Took 2 years)
    Weight lost first week of low carb, 7.1 pounds
    Current: Deadlift 450, Bench 255, Squat 365, Run 4 miles daily, boxing and conditioning work
    Goals: Deadlift 502 (5 plates a side with bar), Bench 312 (3 plates/bar) squat 402 (4 plates/bar), run 10 miles, bw 200 lbs
    Cows have 4 stomachs to make grass digestible, we have one stomach to make cows digestible, and with that, neither can eat grain and become healthy!


    • #3
      Thanks for the response BSW

      I think you are probably bang on the money. I think I may have just 'stressed out' a little and been disappointed with my performance loss, however it is to be expected after three weeks of rest (of course!).

      I will continue to train at a lower intensity and see how I go around this time next week.

      Any ideas on if my Carb intake should be higher (from good sources such as more veggies of course)?
      "Contrariwise,' continued Tweedledee, 'if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic."


      • #4
        It's definitely a lack of muscle glycogen from the change in diet.

        When I first changed to a primal diet I remember stepping onto a tennis court about 3-4 weeks into it. After playing for about 20 minutes every muscle in my leg was tight and about to cramp - it was insane. I also suffered from muscle cramps at night pretty bad for the first couple months.

        These problems vanished after upping the amount of starch in my diet (sweet potatoes, russets, etc.). No way I could do Tabatas without it.


        • #5
          mmm, I may leave it unchanged for the week and see how I perform. If I am still having difficulty this time next week I may begin introducing a higher carb post work-out meal. I have also just been reading Paleo Diet for Athletes, in particular the part about ingesting carbs within a 30min window post exercise to maximize the use of Glycogen to the muscles.

          I will probably go for a whey protein shake with some fruit (more than likely a banana) and see how I go from there if need be.

          Any thoughts?
          "Contrariwise,' continued Tweedledee, 'if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic."


          • #6
            Electrolyte imbalances can also contribute to muscles "seizing" up, particularly if you are a great sweater. You might consider a very small amount of watered-down fruit juice to boost electrolytes prior to heavy workouts. I would also agree that you might have low muscle glycogen, too. Maximize your recovery after your heavy/hard workouts. You are right on with some protein and carb (the whey and banana). If you feel as though you can't eat right away, you might also check out Fuels & Supplements for the Endurance Athlete | Hammer Nutrition They make a fantastic whey protein (100% whey protein isolate) as well as a drink called Recoverite, that assists with muscle recovery, helps with soreness, and all that jazz. I can't eat right after most of my workouts, no matter what they are, and in particular sprints and heavy interval sets. It's easiest for me to mix a scoop of protein and recoverite together. Individuals, who can tolerate food right after workouts, eat chicken and a small amount of sweet potato for recovery. Coconut water is also popular after workouts; it has a great amount of electrolytes in addition to some good carbs after your workout, too. I haven't tried it yet, but I've heard from lots of people that they like it. Good luck! Keep up the effort with the intervals- before you know it, you will be back where you were before you took your rest period; and focus on maximizing recovery time, it will help you with all your workouts.


            • #7
              Thanks jlmccracken

              I have begun throwing in some extra carbs on my heavier training days (involving intervals in the morning and weights in the afternoon). I also discovered this thread, which was very helpful:


              I am eating a Primal/Paleo diet, however post interval/HIIT workout I add extra carbs. As an example, this morning I completed my Touch Football training session (mostly intervals) and downed 200ml of a mixed juice (about 32g of carbs from purely blended fruits). I then followed it up with a big breakfast of a sweet potato, two slice of turkey, a handfull of slices of ham, a fried tomato and a cup of saute mushrooms. That was my higher carb, high protein post workout and it felt good. Lunch was back to a standard salad with some protein and fat.

              There appears to be this image that Carbs are bad, no matter what. Whilst there is extensive evidence that becoming fat adapted for endurance events is beneficial there is very little writing on what is usefull for Anaerobic activity (sprinting, power work, sports, etc) - therefore I am going to begin compiling a 'bible' on this info which will be posted in Primal Fitness (as it has more of a general population and throughput).

              I might give the coconut water a go if I can find any, it sounds good!

              Any further data or info would be greatly appreciated!
              "Contrariwise,' continued Tweedledee, 'if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic."


              • #8
                I like blending a chilled baked sweet potato or yam into some coconut water and vanilla whey shake along with a handful of frozen berries. Sweet, creamy texture like a milkshake, with a big hit of starch to replenish those glycogen stores...