T Nation

Help - Why Am I So Tired?

Hey guys -
Need some suggestions…
For some reason I am extremely tired…
I can’t figure out why…
Here’s my routine:

I do Time Efficient Hypertrophy, a pretty intense 5 day a week routine that only lasts 30 minutes…

Monday thru Friday I wake up at 5:45 work out, work from 7:30 - 8ish and am in bed by 10:30 those nights…

On the weekends, I generally go out one night, usually get 8 hours of sleep that night but then sleep 12 hours the other weekend night…

So Fri and Sat nights - 8 then 12 hours of sleep
Sun thru Thurs nights - 7ish hours of sleep a night…

I used to get a lot less sleep than this and be ok but since I’ve started working out again, I have been exhausted…

I am currently on a cutting diet…
Could it be that I am not eating enough?

The strange thing is that I know I am not sleeping enough enough but I am getting enough sleep to function and I probably get more than most on this board but yet I am totally spent all the time and literally all I can think of is sleeping…

It makes no sense to me other than maybe my diet…
Anyone else experience this? Any ideas?
I can provide more info upon request…

I’ve been experiencing this recently as well. According to my wife, I’ve been snoring a lot, and I am considering seeing the doctor to discuss sleep apnea. My thought is that while I may be going to bed at a decent time, my sleep is disrupted throughout the night, so my energy levels are affected.

Your case could obviously be something completely different - just thought I’d mention this. Good luck regardless.

Intense workouts 5 days a week, restricted calories, and not enough sleep?
Here are some suggestions (take the one that best applies):

  1. If you’ve been on your workout program for longer than a month, take a week off, with nothing more than super moderate cardio (no more than 30 mins worth): that’s walking, leisurely bike riding, nothing more. If it feels like work, you’re going way too hard. Then, the second week, only three workouts. Then go back to your normal schedule.

  2. You eat easily digested carbs and protein before and after working out and never forget to take a postworkout shake, right? Look at your breakfast plate: there better be some potatoes, bread or oatmeal there, along with the protein. After your workout: pasta, rice, etc., (along with the protein). You’re presumably doing a pretty high intensity workout and you need carbs to carry you through the workout and carbs to replenish you afterwards. So add a potato to that steamed broccili and baked chicken breast. You’re taking your post workout shake religiously?

  3. I don’t know the program you mentioned, but as a general rule you can either go for intensity (with lots of rest) or frequency (with moderate intensity). What you cannot do (and not burn out) is go ultra-hard day after day after day. So if the intensity is too much, seriously cut some sets/reps from the workout. If you dig the intensity, cut some days from your regime. (Also, if you’re squatting, deadlifting, lunging everday, stop it; those exercises are seriously taxing and you cannot do them back to back for days in a row).

Hope this helps.

Hey Drew,
Sorry you aren’t feeling well…it could be a lot of things. If you are in bed by 10:30 and up at 5:30, the problem could be sleep related. I’ve read that you can’t make up sleep by sleeping more the next day so even though you might sleep more on one or two other days, the days where you get less could be the culprit. I get up at 5:30 on most days and I used to go to sleep at around the same time. I changed to being in bed by 9:30-45 and it made a big difference.

However, get some bloodwork done just to make sure all your readings are ok i.e. liver enzymes, thyroid etc because they can often cause lag if they are not operating properly. Hope this helps buddy.

Having inconsistencies in sleeping patterns is a big issue. Doing 5 x 8 hrs then a 12 hour and a 10 hour or something is worse than just doing 7x8 hrs. Circadian rythyms and all that. The idea if you need more than the 8 hours is to add half an hour a night if you can and.or take naps or 30 mins or so.

Taking 3 hours afternoon wobs because you slept for 4 hours the night before will just leave you phased too.

I find after not sleeping enough for about a week I start getting depression and my mind starts chruning up negativity and bad thoughts. Just makes me think that some of those who suffer from depression probably don’t sleep well or enough.

Some interesting points have been addressed already. One thing I would like to add…

If I understand correctly, you work more than 12 hours a day, five days a week? Did you always have such a schedule? Has work been more stressful than usual? In my personal experience, work-related stressors have a significant impact on my overall well being as well as my training progress.

Sounds like you’re getting enough hours of sleep, assuming it’s quality sleep, but the very different schedule you have on the weekend (when I assume you get up much later) might be fucking with your energy during the week.

Also, how hypocaloric are you? Perhaps you need to eat a little more. Perhaps you need to eat better? You might have some slight mineral deficiencies if you’re eating less. Also stress is huge. You work a lot. What are your supps like? What about caffeine intake?

I’d be willing to bet your adrenals are fatigued from stress. B-vitamins, fish oils/vit. E, and adaptogenic herbs (rhodiola, astragalus, ginseng) might be helpful. Maybe take a day off from the gym, or skip the weekend party and see how you feel. If you’re that tired, my guess is you’re using stims to fuel yourself at the gym and on weekend nights, which could be further exhausting your adrenals.

It makes sense that you’re tired - your schedule looks pretty nuts. When you work a lot, workout hard, and aren’t eating much, being tired is kind of a natural side effect! Since I started working out hard six days a week, I definitely don’t have the endurance to go out late on weekends like I used to. Thank goodness my boy works just as hard and likes to chill with me at home!

wow guys thanks for the responses…

I really appreciate the suggestions…

Let’s see…
I am about 195ish (have lost about 10 lbs in the last 6 weeks on diet)…

My diet is pretty good (I’ve never eaten better actually)… from Berardi’s principles…
I drink once a week (I realize this isn’t good for me, but it’s my one indulgence - I don’t cheat otherwise)

Diet:
Workout days (Mon-Fri):
Pre WO: 8 oz skim milk, 1 scoop protein powder
Post WO: 16 oz skim milk, 2 scoops protein powder
Meal 3: can of chicken, half can of spinach
Meal 4: can of tuna, red pepper, banana
Meal 5: cup of low fat cottage cheese, 1/3 cup of cashews, apple
Meal 6: can of chicken, tomato
Meal 7: cup of Cottage cheese, 1 tbsp flax oil, 1/3 cup of cashews

I drink only water other than the milk

Non-Workout days
Meal 1: 1.5 cups oats, honey, 8 oz skim milk
meal 2: 1 cup low fat yougurt, blueberries
meal 3: can of chicken, carrots
Meal 4: tuna, pumpkin, 1/3 cup of cashews
Meal 5: 1 cup yogurt, apple
meal 6: 1 cup cottage cheese, 1 tbsp flax oil, 1/3 cup of cashews

I usually skip meal 5 on the weekends…

In response to the comments:
Jlly roger:
I will look into sleep apnea. I dont sleep with anyone at the moment but I do know that I breathe loudly during sleep…

Redbones:
I would like my diet looked at first but I’ll consider your suggestions. I really don’t think the program is too tiring… I do it bc it’s quick and not a huge time commitment and low volume…

Week 1: 5 sets of 10 reps, 2 exercises, 60 secs rest
Week 2: 10 sets of 5 reps, 2 exercises, 60 secs rest
Repeat… been on it for 6 weeks, another two weeks I plan, then switch to 3 full body workouts a week with 2 hypertrophy boosters…

Foot:
I may get the bloodwork I do know that I have low normal test though…

Stigg:
Maybe I’ll try to be more consistent on weekends but I’m just so tired by then…

Michael:
I work a lot I guess. Doesn’t seem too taxing for me. I have worked more in the past like 70-80 hours a week while working out and never felt quite like this…

Jinx:
I’ve got to work on the schedule I know but sleep is so precious…
Take a look at the diet I posted…
I take a lot of vit/sup: B-12, folic acid, Vit C + E, multivitamin, fish oil, cla, flax oil, and HOT-ROX

Again… Thanks for all the responses…

My work schedule is unavoidable unfortunately… This is actually a relatively light time for me in that respect…

Could you have sleep apnea?
I have this. should improve with the weight loss but you don’t realize that you’re waking up a lot at night and so you never feel rested.

I’m not eating near enough am I???

You know I guess it could be sleep apnea too…
I do wake up at least 2x a night that I know of…
I drink a lot of water so it’s rare to get through a night without getting up to go to bathroom…

When you feel tired, a lot of people immediatly look at their sleeping pattern, but there can be so many things that cause it. I can’t say if it’s enough or not (don’t know the totals) but what I notice is:

You work out 5 days in a row, that’s demanding. Than you eat no starchy carbs at all on workout days, and you do on your workout days. You eat a lot of fruit and veggies, which is great but the reason that you feel tired maybe is because of the lack of carbs in your diet, especially around your workouts.
What you can do is adding a carb meal in, or eat more carbs after 3-5 days.
Not everyone functions well without starchy carbs.

“adaptogenic herbs”

adaptogenic herbs? Such bs.

[quote]drewmofpo wrote:
wow guys thanks for the responses…

I really appreciate the suggestions…

Let’s see…
I am about 195ish (have lost about 10 lbs in the last 6 weeks on diet)…

My diet is pretty good (I’ve never eaten better actually)… from Berardi’s principles…
I drink once a week (I realize this isn’t good for me, but it’s my one indulgence - I don’t cheat otherwise)

Diet:
Workout days (Mon-Fri):
Pre WO: 8 oz skim milk, 1 scoop protein powder
Post WO: 16 oz skim milk, 2 scoops protein powder
Meal 3: can of chicken, half can of spinach
Meal 4: can of tuna, red pepper, banana
Meal 5: cup of low fat cottage cheese, 1/3 cup of cashews, apple
Meal 6: can of chicken, tomato
Meal 7: cup of Cottage cheese, 1 tbsp flax oil, 1/3 cup of cashews

I drink only water other than the milk

Non-Workout days
Meal 1: 1.5 cups oats, honey, 8 oz skim milk
meal 2: 1 cup low fat yougurt, blueberries
meal 3: can of chicken, carrots
Meal 4: tuna, pumpkin, 1/3 cup of cashews
Meal 5: 1 cup yogurt, apple
meal 6: 1 cup cottage cheese, 1 tbsp flax oil, 1/3 cup of cashews

I usually skip meal 5 on the weekends…
[/quote]

you’re not eating enough AT ALL. first and foremost, your breakfast is non-existent. you have eight ounces of milk, workout, and then some more milk (both times with protein powder, but that’s not really much of a meal, considering that you’ve been on a fast for the previous eight hours). i would suggest a much bigger breakfast that includes lots and lots of carbs, even if you’re on a diet. secondly, the meal that you’re supposed to be eating about an hour after your PWO shake should be carb loaded also, no matter what the diet may be or what time of day it is.

towards the end of the day, you’re basically on an empty stomach. i eat a lot of protein from whole foods (chicken, beef, etc.), and that stuff just goes right through me. i’m sure that you’re hungry an hour after that can of chicken and the tomato you’re having. your non-workout days can stand to have way more calories than that also.

all in all, bump up your calories, eat more carbs before and after your workout, and take some ZMA just to kick up your rest a notch.

Two suggestions- Spike and Surge. Take Spike to increase your energy and take Surge after workouts for a quicker recovery. Both of which will aid you in feeling less tired all the time.

You know I got some Spike… Didn’t really do anything for me… It doesn’t even feel like HOT-ROX is either until I don’t take it for a day…

You are most likely experiences the onset of overtraining. Overtraining has more to do with your central nervous systems ability to recover than your muscle recovery. Try not working out for a week (OMG! HOLY S**T) and see if you feel any better. If you do, then research some periodization techniqes and light/heavy type workouts that will give you the muscle you crave as well as the health benefits you need.

Boy, you just got an awful lot of good advice. May I suggest that you get to bed a little earlier. Your muscles grow and repair when you sleep, not while you are working out.

Secondly…I recently stopped my vitamin supplements for a special 30 day experiement with a different group of supplements as an alternate treatment for my type 2 diabetes.

About 15 days into the change I was really dragging. Some years ago I purchased a subscription to Dr Whitaker’s Health & Healing. One thng he suggests to patients who are low on energy is 1000 mg of magnesiam & potasium in an asportate base each day. When I added this and some of my regular vitamins back into my daily mix, my energy level came back up to normal.

Try the earlier to sleep. Then check the store on this site to see if they have a M&P in the asportate base(we use the site, let’s spend some money with them). If they do not have it here, then to to GNC, they do have it. Buy the big bottle.