T Nation

Energy and Dealing With Fatigue


Hi T-Nation! I was a member about 8 years ago and life issues got me out of working out and the community in general. I'm turning 32 and trying to get back into a good exercise regimen, but I'm not sure that I'm ready to get back into the gym. Right now I'm following a Navy Seal program and for those of you familiar with the program I'm on week six. Those unfamiliar it looks something like this (I don't remember the running regimine exactly).

  • 6 sets of 30 pushups
  • 6 sets of 30 situps
  • 3 sets of 10 chinup
    Running 4 days a week for a total of 12 miles (I think)

I've been having issues with fatigue an just general tiredness and have been having issues just working up the energy to exercise. I've been to the doctor and had some different procedures that found no problems and she found that I am getting sufficient sleep (6-7 hours). I did get an inhaler for asthama.

I make sure to take a multi-vitamin and B-complex and my diet includes fruit (mainly apples) I haven't been overly diligent in tracking my calories but I'd say that fall between 2k and 3k. I'm 5'11'' at 212lbs. My fitness goal is to improve core strength and lose body fat.

Basically I'm looking for any dietary support in helping to combat fatigue and improve my energy level. Also, are there any program like the Navy Seal program that might be better. Right now I don't have access to weights so that is why I'm focusing on body weight exercise.


Do you feel better or worse right after exercise? A few hours after?

It's hard to track down the cause of fatigue; it could be a million different things. Right off the bat, though, I'd say 6-7 hours isn't enough sleep. (Did your doctor track your sleep or just ask?)


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andersons: It seems that after exercise I feel relaxed but I do feel worn out. The doctor did ask and I actually went through a sleep study and they found nothing to be wrong other than "slight snoring." Part of my problem with sleep is that I don't fall asleep easily. Even if I try and cutback on caffeine it just doesn't matter. Some nights if I have an alcoholic drink it seems to help but that's not a behavior I want to start to be honest. I asked for an Ambien prescription but she is remiss to give it to me.

bushidobadboy: No, I must admit that veggies are not a large part of my diet. As far as eating goes, I know that I need to eat, starving myself isn't the answer, and it seems that I need to figure out what my caloric intake should be for healthy weight reduction. Is there a good calculator or method for determing that. Fat vs. Carbs, I think my body feels better with a lower carb intake. Within the last two months I've taken an interest in Sushi and the higher amounts of Fat and Protein seem to appeal to me. I can eat a ton and not feel like crap, although the sodium level is a bit much.

  1. I think I need an adjustment to my diet, calories, nutrition, other.
  2. Sleep, although I'd like to get more sleep the only time I can really get more sleep is on the weekends.
  3. I think I need to start using some supplements again, primarily a good protein like Grow.

I appreciate you guys taking the time to respond. I feel kind of out-of-touch with nutrition and exercise. It's cool to see how much this site has developed since I've last been here. :slightly_smiling:


BBB, please do tell about your energy rejuvenation protocol.


Do not worry about not falling asleep easily. Worrying about it makes it much worse.

However, caffeine may be a culprit. You may still have too much in your blood at bedtime and/or be sensitive to its effects. It doesn't seem to help to reduce it because it takes time to clear it all out, and then further time to establish new sleep rhythms.

Also I have found that daylight exposure in the morning helps me fall asleep much more easily at night.

If you get sleepy in the living room watching TV but then are wide awake in the bedroom when you go to bed, then you have trained yourself to those cues/responses. To fix this, I turn off the TV and computer at a certain time, and read (something not too exciting) in bed with the least possible light (booklight) until I fall asleep. That is, I train myself to get sleepy in bed instead of the couch.

Dieting, especially low carb, can make it hard to get to sleep, probably by increasing adrenaline. It took me 2-3 months to adjust to a low-carb diet so that I got enough sleep. I still sleep better if I have insulin-stimulating carbs before bed.

I have also had good results from Biotest Z12 and L-tryptophan. Glycine can make me sleepy as well.

You might also want to try to the jet lag protocol described on the Life Extension website. That's where I learned about the light exposure in the AM.

We get ourselves into a state of not sleeping enough or not sleeping well, usually over a long period of time. Likewise it takes time to improve sleep. It will not happen overnight. I obviously have made a big effort to get more and better sleep, and eventually, it made a big difference.


My caffeine consumption is not too bad and definitely not as bad as it was in my younger days, lol. I drink a lot of water too. Another issue that only occurs when I'm working out is Asthama. My doctor recently gave me an enhaler but it only helps so much and I still struggle through my workouts as if I were a lifetime two-pack a week smoker.

As for my sleep, I just don't know what to do about that anymore. I may try one of the supplements that is suppose to help.


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I think BBB's energy rejuvenation protocol can be improved in the following secret way:

Also stack that with 100-300 mg R-ALA daily (R-Alpha Lipoic Acid). I can't comment on either supplement's own contribution to the feeling, but I can say that I felt great when I was on this stack. Specifically, my mood was uplifted and I felt healthier and more motivated to exercise. The R-ALA helps to enhance cellular Glutathione levels (Glutathione elevation is significant because the glutathione network is the body's defense mechanism for exercise induced increased levels of oxidation).


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These supplements will help:

whey+creatine+glutamine pre and post workout.

what multi-vit are you taking? natural factors has decent products, multi-vit-min vise.

start taking rhidola rosea an hour or 2 prior to your workout. keep your vit c and calcium intake high.

supplement with zma and gaba about 30-45 mins before bedtime.

at least 6-10 grams of fish oils a day.

hope this helps mate.


300mg?? Really, that much?



How many days a week are you working out? Could be over training. And I can tell you drink shit loads of coffee. Do you drink coffee after noon time?


I replied to you at the thread titled "Exercise & the Antioxidant Network" http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_forum/diet_performance_nutrition_supplements/exercise_the_antioxidant_network?pageNo=0#3015121

Essentially I disagree that antioxidants do not play a critical in cellular energy production in mitochondrial rejuventation. I referenced the following study: "Quercetin Increases Brain and Muscle Mitochondrial Biogenesis and Exercise Tolerance" which shows an in vivo (link - www.frs.com/science/MitochondriaScientificStudy.pdf

The title of the study speaks for itself.


I went out last night and bought the co-Q10 and L-Tryptophan. It's only one day so I haven't really noticed a difference yet but I'd imagine it will take a day or two. The R-ALA sounds like a good idea, I'll have to checkout your article.

Coffee consumption, no I don't have anymore coffee after 10:30am and I don't have more than two cups. I don't drink coffee every day either, usually just when I'm extra tired. Many days it's just water or a Vitamin Water and bottled water. I do have about two-cans of diet Mtn. Dew every day though but usually not after 5pm, just water.

Working out: When I started this regimen in December, I was doing the physical exercise three-days a week, the cardio began at three-days a week and not long after it progressed to four days of cardio. I kept up with it just fine for the most part and have been gradually getting stronger and leaner. Over the last three weeks I've been lucky if I workout once a week, one week I did get three of the physical routines in and two of the cardio. The best I've been able to do is walk with my wife for about two miles after work. But I've just been too tired to do anything, which is very frustrating because I was finally starting to feel good about my physical condition again.

Thanks for everybody's feedback!


All right, well, a few more ideas (although I do believe sleep trumps everything).

Doing a lot of cardio and getting leaner -- if I'm in a big calorie deficit, or if overly carb depleted, I will feel really tired. A nice cheat meal with carbs will make me feel like a new person.

And often when I feel fatigued, electrolytes will make me feel immediately better. I do not know why this is. Electrolytes with mineral ascorbates and vitamin C are even better (like EmergenC or Airborne).


Do you know of any formulas for Body Weight : Caloric Intake : Exercise forumlas so one could try and determine what they should be eating?


No, I don't know formulas. You have to find out how many calories you burn at rest and during activity and exercise and then eat according to your goal.

But my point is that when in a deficit for the purpose of losing fat, you are not going to feel your best and most energetic, especially if the deficit is prolonged in order to lose a lot of fat. For example, say you create a deficit of 1000 kcal/day which would put you on track to lose 2 lb of fat per week. That's great for fat loss, but you very well might feel like crap. That's just an expected effect of the deficit.

Jaynick, there are many reasons for fatigue; some are hard to track down while others are extremely simple and obvious. You haven't given enough information to rule out the simple and obvious, which is what you should do. Use your head and think. Simple and obvious causes would be

1) body is not used to the training you suddenly started after years of not training; i.e., under-recovery from the workouts
2) big calorie deficits, i.e., not enough energy nutrients
3) insufficient nutrients, i.e., not enough vegetables or electrolyte minerals
4) dehydration
5) not enough sleep
6) not enough carbs to fuel carb-dependent exercise

You always want to address the simple and obvious before trying more exotic things.