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  1. #1

    weakness after working out

    I do 30-45 min vigorous cardio sessions 3-4 times a week and I try to do strength training 2 times a week. Due to time constraints and lack of motivation to go to the gym every day, I do the strength training in addition to my cardio instead of separate days. After the last two cardio/strength training sessions I've felt very light headed and weak. I also feel slightly nauseated. When I got home I ate a small salad, whole wheat bagel, and reduced fat cheese. I always drink plenty of water so I know that's not the issue. Am I doing too much at once or do I need to change what I'm eating after the workouts? What do you all eat after a hard workout? I'm open to any suggestions.

    FYI: 24 year old female, BMI in healthy range

  2. #2
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    Have your hemoglobin levels checked. Many, many women in your age range have some degree of iron-deficiency anemia, and even slight anemia absolutely can make you feel lightheaded, weak, and nauseous after exertion, even if it's only moderate exertion.

    Even if you think you're taking in enough iron from food and/or supplements, anemia can be the result of a faulty absorption issue (mine is), where your body fails to process the iron that you take in sufficiently. You don't mention meat in the meal you describe, unless there is some amount in the salad; if that's typical for you, you're even more likely to be slightly anemic, since most heme iron comes from animal sources. You can get iron from various non-meat sources, as well, but it's classified as non-heme iron, and is not as readily absorbed by the body. Having heavy periods can further aggravate it, as well.

    There are a lot of reasons you could be feeling weak, lethargic, and/or nauseous after working out, but I bring up anemia because it's very, very common. Women often don't realize just how common it is, and/or assume that if they eat a lot of iron-rich food and/or take a multivitamin with iron, they're good, so they don't check for it. The truth is, taking it in doesn't mean it's getting synthesized, or that your body can necessarily keep up with blood lost each month.
    "Even when I've f*&%ed up, I've spun it into a learning experience that's brought me to bigger and better things."

  3. #3
    You need protein. A small salad and a whole wheat bagel isn't the best post-workout meal. Bagels are probably one of the worst things to eat, even whole wheat ones. They are nothing but simple carbs that your body will burn up quickly and provides no real nutritional benefit.

    And you don't need to go have a side of beef after a workout (most women somehow think you do). Swing by your local GNC/Vitamin Shoppe/other supplement store and pick up a jug of protein powder. Believe me when I say that they've come a long way with the taste and texture of them. Blend up 8oz of skim milk, a scoop of powder, and some ice; it's the best way I know of to get some quick protein in your system.

    I'm not sure if your doing 4 days of only cardio and then 2 days of only weights, but if you are, you might be burning your body out. Cut down to 4 days and include weights into your cardio workouts. I like to do half my cardio (20min) then all my weight training, and finish off with the other half of my cardio. You might want to try that too. 6 days at the gym might be taking a toll on you.

    But I definitely recommend you try the protein shakes instead of a salad and bagel; it will give you a lot more nutrition and might solve your problem.

  4. #4
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    It doesn't sound like you're overdoing your workouts, but everyone is different. I have to have something in my stomach before working out or I feel that way. I have a slice of 10-grain bread with non-dairy butter before my workout, otherwise I get sick to my stomach and light-headed (I do work out first thing in the morning though).

    I agree about the protein but I hate supplements. I think anything people eat should be in the form of real food (my personal opinion) and therefore I get my post-workout protein from eggs, cheese, and whole grains (no red meat or poultry for me). It definitely helps when lifiting.
    Taylor

    "Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one's values." - Atlas Shrugged

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Tayl405
    I agree about the protein but I hate supplements. I think anything people eat should be in the form of real food (my personal opinion) and therefore I get my post-workout protein from eggs, cheese, and whole grains (no red meat or poultry for me). It definitely helps when lifiting.
    Real food is better, but you really need to get some protein into your system ASAP after a workout. Especially if you have a decent ride back home from the gym. Protein powder is no different than a multivitamin. Plus a lot of people have problems gauging how much protein they are really taking in, so a scoop of protein powder is easier to measure than eggs.

  6. #6
    It probably isn't what you eat after, but rather what you eat before. If you don't have the right fuel in the tank, your engine's going to sputter. (Don't eat right before since digestion diverts blood & energy away from your muscles. Look at what you are eating several hours--or even the prior day--before your workouts.)

    As far as after-workout meals, chocolate milk or a carnation instant breakfast is about perfect. You want to have sugars to replace fuel burned and protein to rebuild what was broken down. Post-workout eating should be within 45 min of finishing the activity.

    Most Americans eat far more protein than they need. There is rarely a time when normal people need to supplement their protein intake.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by redav View Post
    It probably isn't what you eat after, but rather what you eat before. If you don't have the right fuel in the tank, your engine's going to sputter. (Don't eat right before since digestion diverts blood & energy away from your muscles. Look at what you are eating several hours--or even the prior day--before your workouts.)
    That's true. I, however, can't workout without food in my stomach. It's kind of frustrating, but just a piece of toast gives me the boost to work out harder and settles my stomach.

    You'll probably have to experiment with food to see what works for you.

    As a side note (and this is may be totally unrelated), I was feeling nauseous and faint in general and my doctor told me that my blood pressure was on the lower side. I added salt into my diet and I feel fine.
    Taylor

    "Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one's values." - Atlas Shrugged

  8. #8
    Thank you all for your suggestions. This thread made me realize that I hadn't eaten much in the hours preceding the last two workouts where I felt sick. The days when I've had great workouts I've gone about an hour after dinner. I am going to try eating something about an hour before I go, as well as drinking some sort of shake or eating a protein bar afterward. I do have some Slim Fast optima shakes I think might do the trick.

    I would like to check into the anemia but I don't have health insurance right now.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
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    Here are 2 delicious pre and post work snacks.

    Pre work out:
    1 small cup of fage fat free greek yogurt mixed with 1 table spoon of peanut butter and 2 tablespoons of sugar free jam.

    Have this an hour before you hit the gym.


    Post workout:

    1 medium size banana
    1 packet of myoflaxin lite protein powder (vanilla flavour or chocolate are the best)
    3-4 ice cubes
    1 cup of skim milk
    1 table spoon peanut butter

    Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend till smooth and creamy. This shake is by far the tastiest shake I've ever had and it's very good for muscle regeneration post work out.

    You can get myoflaxcin lite at most healthfood stores but vitamine shoppe has the best price on em usually.
    Thompson you say? With a "p" as in psychotic?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bamagal2384 View Post
    I would like to check into the anemia but I don't have health insurance right now.
    Free clinics and blood banks will do a hemoglobin test; so will Planned Parenthood, which operates on an income-contingent sliding scale (actually where my low hemoglobin count was first discovered). It's just a finger prick with a lancet and the blood is run through a reader on the spot...no syringes, no sending stuff to the lab. You can also diagnose anemia through a more intensive blood draw/CBC/lab workup, but you don't have to.
    "Even when I've f*&%ed up, I've spun it into a learning experience that's brought me to bigger and better things."

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by bamagal2384 View Post
    I would like to check into the anemia but I don't have health insurance right now.
    I've had a tendency to run a bit anemic for half my life now (it's my mom's fault for passing on her period schedule--every 3 weeks instead of 4), and I get that "craving a cheeseburger" feeling when I'm headed in that direction. If you've been wanting any food in particular, find out if it's a good iron source.

    If that doesn't apply to you, then you can go House-style and diagnose it by treating it. Pick up a bottle of over-the-counter iron supplements and try them for a month. If you feel better, that was the problem. (I Am Not A Doctor, check with one first if you feel a need to have someone available to sue.)

  12. #12
    I also tend to run a bit anemic, especially after workouts. I'm a vegetarian by choice, and struggle to get the required amount of protein and iron into my diet. I do find hard-boiled eggs to be satisfying post-workout and leave me feeling stronger rather than weaker. Apples with peanut butter are also one of my favorite tasty/healthy snacks.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ugarachel82 View Post
    Apples with peanut butter are also one of my favorite tasty/healthy snacks.
    This was a go-to part of my lunch until the school I work at went peanut-free in January when we admitted an anaphylactically allergic student. I miss it. I always used the most simplified version of peanut butter...just ground peanuts and salt, no added oil or sugar, and heated it up in the microwave and dipped apple wedges in it. Yum!
    "Even when I've f*&%ed up, I've spun it into a learning experience that's brought me to bigger and better things."

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