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Thread: Low Energy on Primal-what can I do better? page

  1. #1
    KettleBellHack's Avatar
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    Low Energy on Primal-what can I do better?

    Primal Fuel
    I am committed the Primal lifestyle. I started about 2 months ago and it makes so much sense on paper. I am just struggling with the day to day. Mainly the issue of feeling low-energy (which I KNOW is the opposite of what PB should be doing to me). Sometimes I begin thinking that maybe my "body-type" is just one that requires more carbs to operate, but I am not convinced that is the truth...more just a "moment of weakness" thought process. A typical day looks like this:

    Wake: 2 whole organic eggs with some veggies and occassionally 2-3 strips of bacon

    Lunch: Tuna with some walnuts, small amount of craisins or chicken and roasted veggies would be the macro type of a lunch

    Snack: Any of the following: Jerky, nuts, some cheese, apple or some fruit, almond butter with celery

    Dinner: Medium portion of meat with TONS of veggies or a Venison chili would be a typical macro level view of a dinner.

    Snack: jerky, nuts, some cheese, apple or some fruit, almond butter with celery...maybe some dark chocolate or berries.

    My body type is fairly built, broad shoulders, narrow waist @ about 15% bf. My goal with PB is to stay strong, but cut fat down to single digits and be much healthier overall. I just am having a hard time with the energy levels. What concerns me is that when I am feeling low energy I often will eat more non-carb food sources to get that "Full" feeling and to get more fuel for energy, but of course that rarely results in more energy.

    What are some of the things you all have done that have helped in this area? Feel free to ask any clarifying questions if needed to provide any feedback you are willing to give. I know this has been a very basic overview of my PB lifestyle.

    Thanks!

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    KettleBellHack's Avatar
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    I also should mention that I work out 3-5 times a week. I mix it up and am usually either in the gym, the garage with my jump rope, tractor tire and kettlebells or out jamming in a quick set of sprints (once a week or so on the sprints). I am wondering if I am pushing too hard on my workouts and not getting adequate carbs back in the system for recovery along with the other macros I consume...fat and protein. I find that I feel "hungry" most of the time...which if I am not careful results in constant snacking, which even on approved PB foods still means excess calories and lack of fat loss and progress.

    I guess that's my main issue. I am not seeing the BF% reduction I thought I would see once I cut processed carbs entirely and dropped my carb consumption overall to 50-100g a day.

  3. #3
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    StoneAgeQueen is offline Senior Member
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    What kind of veggies are you eating? try adding some starchy veg, such as carrots, squash or a sweet potato with dinner and see if that helps.

  4. #4
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    theholla is offline Senior Member
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    A couple thoughts:

    The first thing to do is make sure you are eating enough. How big are you, and how are your portion sizes?

    What kind of activities are you doing? If you are an endurance athlete, you may benefit from a higher carb intake. If you are doing serious power lifting, you might benefit from carb cycling.

    What are your macronutrient ratios? It seems to be a very individual thing, and some people just need more fat, more protein, or even more carbohydrates.

    Edited to add: Ok, so I just saw your followup post. If you are hungry all the time, you definitely need to either eat more, or eat differently.
    Last edited by theholla; 11-16-2010 at 09:47 AM. Reason: saw followup
    The Primal Holla! Eating fat. Getting lean. Being awesome.

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    KettleBellHack's Avatar
    KettleBellHack is offline Junior Member
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    Queen and Holla, thanks for the insight. I think what I have gathered is that I should test my carb intake by taking it up a notch. Right now my macro breakdown honestly looks like: P-50%/F-25%/C-25%. I believe that is a bit out of whack as I consider it. Probably should change things to decrease protein, increase fat and possibly increase carbs by a bit on those more intense workout days.

    I eat tons of veggies: Kale, beets, celery, carrot, parsley, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, yellow squash.

    As far as my workouts go they are primarily "functional fitness" based. Loosely centered around interval type training of 2-3 excersizes done in circuit with small breaks between circuits. (tire flipping, KB swings, jump rope, squats etc. are at the core of most of my workouts.) I dont go super heavy, but I do like to keep my reps around 10 reps at the most.

    I am 5'8 and 190 lbs. My goal is to get down to about 175 and maintain there while setting new fitness/strength/health goals when I get to that point.

    I found this blog by Mark and I think this gave me some further clarity that perhaps I am experiencing an extended bout with Low Carb Flu.

    http://www.marksdailyapple.com/low-carb-flu/

    In the past two months I have lapsed a couple times for 1-2 days back to a un-healthy eating pattern. Mostly due to travel. I always get back cold turkey as soon as possible to the PB plan and seem to not lose much ground, but my suspicion is that during those couple lapses my body quickly adjust back to my old way of eating, thus pro-longing my efforts to "normalize" under the PB nutrition guidelines.

  6. #6
    theholla's Avatar
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    Oh no! The problem isn't the carbs, it's the fat! Your macros should look more like 50% fat, 25% protein, 25% carb!
    The Primal Holla! Eating fat. Getting lean. Being awesome.

    You were sick, but now you're well, and there's work to do. - Kilgore Trout

  7. #7
    BarbeyGirl's Avatar
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    You could definitely still be in the LC flu stage. I, too, took a LONG time to get over it. Upping my carbs (primal style -- sweet potatoes and bananas) to about 125g/day, then dropping them gradually as hunger decreased, helped. I also used to keep an infusion of fat fuel coming in throughout the day by putting coconut milk in my tea.

    The weakness finally disappeared, and over the following months I found myself shifting naturally to lower food intake and frequent IFs without effort. Just give it time.
    Nightlife ~ Chronicles of Less Urban Living, Fresh from In the Night Farm ~ Idaho's Primal Farm! http://inthenightlife.wordpress.com/

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  8. #8
    KettleBellHack's Avatar
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    Ok, I am going to crank up the fat significantly, the carbs slightly and try to get out of the mindset that has been ingrained over the years that HIGH protein is the key. Still learning. Thanks to all of you for your input and help along the way!

    P.S. LOVE coconut milk/oil and use it more and more everyday. I just might have to start taking in a couple TBSPs of Coconut oil each day to get that fat consumption up.

  9. #9
    tfarny's Avatar
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    50% calories from protein is pretty huge - you must be putting away a ton of shrimp and chicken breasts my man. Just experiment within the PB parameters,try a high fat week, try a starchy week. We all settle into this in somewhat different ways. My suspicion is that you are undereating without realizing it. Take your normal day and for instance add one whole sweet potato and mix some berries with 1/2 can of coconut milk.

  10. #10
    The Big L's Avatar
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    Yeah, 50%/25%/25% calories from fat, protein, and carbs is probably a good starting point. I think there's significant wiggle room in those numbers to accommodate individual metabolic differences, seasonal availability of certain types of food, and so on.

    I was using FitDay regularly for several months, and I found that my macro ratios were surprisingly close to 60/20/20; it seemed like no matter how different my diet seemed from one day to the next, the ratios didn't move more than a few percentage points in any of the three categories.

    One of the (few) reasons I've been disappointed with the PB diet is that, for me, it hasn't delivered the promised boundless energy. Recently I've made a concerted effort to get my carb levels up a bit. The result is that my ratios tend to look more like: (50-60)/(25-30)/(15-20). This puts my carb intake at 150g +/-, with about 15% of that being fiber. I'm not doing PB for weight loss (if anything, I'd like to gain some), but I'm still in the neighborhood of Mark's carb "maintenance range".

    Bottom line: I've felt noticeably better with a carb intake ~150 than I did when it was ~100. More energy, and more uh...regular.

    As always, YMMV!

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