T Nation

Post-workout exhaustion

About 30 mins post-workout I find I’m completely wiped, esp. after my arm workouts. I eat an hour before my workout (it takes me that long to get to the gym), and have a post-workout protein shake with carbs immediately after. My workouts are about 1 hr to 1 hr 15 mins. Any suggestions on how to prevent that crash? A short nap isn’t an option.

So let me get this straight you are tired after a workout. Well brother join the club, I push it so hard that I am always wiped after a lifting session, some may view this as over training, I view it as pushing the envelope. If this is really bothering you, and taking away from your quality of living, then maybe you should tone it back a little, are you doing cardio after lifting? and what are you eating before training? These could be key factors in your being wipred out after training, but remember bro, nobody ever got any where without busting theres. Hey what does the ND stand for?

J: Thanks for the reply. ND are my initials.

My pre-workout meal:

150mL eggwhites (~6 eggwhites)
1 whole egg
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup raisins
sometimes 3/4 cup yogurt
Total kcals: 572

Post-workout meal:
Whey protein shake (35g protein)
Whole wheat pita with flax seeds and fruits mixed in (6g protein)
Total kcals: 372

Sound good?

I’m just concerned because I’m more tired now than when I was overtraining (3 hrs a day…1/2 hr. cardio + 2 1/2 hrs lifting…shitty splits) I was crazy back then. Now my splits are way better and my workouts are 1 hr to 1 1/2 hrs, and I’ve put on 12 lbs or so. I’ve hit a bit of a plateau these past few weeks.

Is the feeling of exhaustion due to the workout itself, or do you feel that it is brought on by nutrition (i.e. hypoglycemia)?

If it’s the latter, then you may consider trying your liquid protein and carbs during your training session and then having a whole-food protein and carb meal right after training. The carbs in this meal should be healthy and low- to moderate-GI.

If the former is the issue, then I have no other suggestions besides changing the time of your workout. I know I literally was beat and was sleeping through classes when I trained in the morning. After switching to evening training, I stay awake during the day, and I’m pooped at night and sleep like a baby!


I’m curious as to why you recommend low to moderate-gi carbs after the lifting session. Wouldn’t you want to go high gi to maximize glucose uptake while you are insulin sensitive?


Brent, I was wondering the same thing. Wouldn’t my muscles be craving glucose immediately post workout? Whereas, 6 hrs later the carbs I intake would be more metabolic maintenance?

Beamuh and ND…

Well, first off, my recommendation was in response to the poster (i.e. ND) complaining of post-workout exhaustion. I mentioned that one of two possible things may have been the culprit. The dietary manipulation I suggested stemmed from the possibility that this was due to hypoglycemia.

Hypoglycemia (i.e. inadequately low blood glucose) is a result of an inadequate matching of appearance and disappearance of blood glucose. That is, disappearance is greater than appearance.

Therefore, high insulin is likely the culprit. If insulin gets too high–and exogenous glucose intake isn’t adequate–then the tissues will take up glucose faster than it will appear in the system. This can be avoided by ingesting a lower to moderate GI carbohydrate.

Of course your muscles are craving glucose! That’s why you’re becoming hypoglycemic. The combination of high insulin and rapid disappearance of blood glucose into the tissues (i.e. muscle) is why this condition results.

By following the guidelines I presented in my former post–both during and post-workout–you’ll minimize high insulin while still providing adequate blood glucose to fuel and replenish.

That sounds like a reasonable arguement for the Low- to mod- GI post workout meal. I’m gonna give it a try. I heard injesting Whey during the workout gives you one hell of a pump as well, so that’ll be an extra benefit.

Not sure why no one else has mentioned this yet, but I would like to know why you’re wiped out after working your arms!!! Shouldn’t that be the day where you’re the least exhausted post workout?


I’m not really sure. I figured it’s because I usually do Shoulders, bi’s tri’s and forearms. However, I’m only doing 15-18 worksets total, which shouldn’t be over doing it. I mix up the routine every 3 weeks (as with everything else), but generally use a 211 pace unless I do an eccentric set. I do find that my biceps don’t maintain the pump for very long (maybe a few hrs), but the fatigue (general warmth, slight numbness) tends to stay a few days after the initial soreness. I know it’s not the weights I use because my 6RM is over double what I use normally for 8 reps. I’m really careful on form, so I’m willing to sacrifice a little weight so I can do things properly.

  • I’ve got to 2nd the advice to tweak your nutrition here…

Also, maybe it’s just me, but 1 h. to 1 h. 15 min. seems entirely too long to be lifting (I’m assuming all of that time is lifting and doesn’t include things like showering, warming-up, etc.). I think it would be wise to get that workout time down to around the 45-minute mark.

I have some more advice. Although I am not as knowledgable as those like Timbo, I feel that my “insanity” towards getting huge and ripped is what gives me my “worth” here on the forum. With that said I say you do what you feel is going to help you best, maybe it is the plan that our good friend Timbo outlined, and then you tell yourself no matter what this is the plan that is going to work for you, you set it in your mind that you will not be exhausted sfter your workouts, and due to this change you will experience unbelievable results and physique gains. I may be a little too crazy when it comes to this, but I have made some really good gains by just telling myself that things like exhaustion, pain, and hunger did not exhist, granted I pay attention to my body, but I am not afraid to push the bar as far as it can go. Good luck bro.

It seems to me that your pre-workout nutrition is good, but it may be too close to lifting. I know it sounds crazy, but 400 calories is a lot to eat 1 hour prior to your workout. I know I feel really good if I take a half scoop of whey and a few cashews prior to lifting, about an hour ahead. Then immediately take a full scoop afterwards, along with some medium to high GI carbs. Then I shower, and when I get out of the shower and relax for a few min., I eat low GI carbs and some solid protein. I never feel exhausted after workout. Maybe tired, but I can still do other things.

My pre-workout meal is my breakfast (I lift at around 8-8:30am). Do you still think it’s too much to ingest?

Overall it seems that I should be eating more immediately post workout. Also, it seems like I should be ingesting food protein sooner than I am currently (which is between 2 and 3 hours after my post-workout shake).

I too lift in the morning, and what I said in the previous post is what I eat pre-workout. In fact, there are a lot of times where I don’t want to get out of bed until 15 minutes prior to lifting, but I still drink the shake. It gives your body the sense that you have aminos floating in your blood, so you won’t break down muscles. Rather you will burn fat better if you do it. I eat a much larger meal after my workouts, especially because it is early in the day and I can utilize those carbs throughout the day? Anyone else like this idea?

Thanks for all the suggestions. I’m definitely going to change my meals.

I’m also considering taking caffeine prior to my workout. Any comments? If it’s a good idea, how close to my workouts should I take some? Also, I suspect caffeine will interfere with my Multivitamins. Is it better to take MVs after my workout?