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Wife Gets Shaky During Workout


Hello all,
I'm looking for some input on a problem my wife is having. She began working out with me about 12 weeks ago, and she's doing awesome. She's become very confident in the weight room and has begun pushing herself pretty hard.

However, there is something that has begun to happen to her during her workout. Basically, somewhere in the middle of her workout she begins to get shaky and feel nervous. This gets worse throughout the workout. By the time she is done, it feels like a mild anxiety attack; her hands are shaking, her heart is going very fast, and she feels nervous and aggitated. She usually takes care of this afterwards by having a good quiet 15 minute stretching session before she moves on to some light cardio.

Anyway, I thought it might be one of two things.

1) She is not eating enough carbs before/during her workout. She tried Surge but thought it was disgusting. Could this be solved with something else?

2) Nervous system overload. I am guess that something like Power Drive might help her here.

Anyway, those are my guesses and they could be totally off, so I'm looking for some input from here.



First, has she gotten checked out by a doctor to make sure she doesn't have any high blood pressure issues?

Second, is she having any sort of pre-workout meal? This is only important if the first one is answered with, 'yes and she doesn't.'


I used to get this a lot, and still do occasionally - and its frustrating. I'm not sure if I'd go so far as to say what I experienced was an 'anxiety attack', but I get shaky and just don't feel right.

A few things I've tried that seem to have worked:
1 - cut out caffeine (at least prior to working out)
2 - have a high-carb meal about an hour before the workout (oatmeal and an apple work great for me, or a banana and yogurt)

Hope she starts feeling better!


Thanks! No, she does not have any blood pressure issues. She has always had excellent blood pressure.

As far as the second thought goes, that is where I think there may be an issue. Her preworkout meal is usually an egg sandwich (Omega 3-organic eggs)on 100% whole wheat bread, a big glass of water, and a coffee (splenda/non-fat dairy creamer). I realize this is not the "perfect" preworkout meal, but eating better has been one of her challenges she has overcome, and this is pretty good.

So there are some carbs in this breakfast.

However, she has been calorie deficit for about 12 weeks now (except for Saturday night, which is our Buffalo Wings, beer, and ice cream night :))) )
Could that be a factor as well?



1) Hmmm.... Cut out the caffine in the morning? I'll have to think of another way to wake her up cheerfully. :slight_smile: In all seroiusness though, we'll try that.

2) Once again, as I said in my last post, I think the carbs may be key.

Thanks for your response!



I would say yes. If she's new to lifting, and on top of that she's dieting, she could very well have problems with energy levels during the weight sessions.

I would have recommended she first build up a base in the gym, in both strength and technique, and only then progress to a low-cal diet.

Get her to eat a bit more for breakfast. Or maybe have her sip some Gatorade with a little protein powder mixed in during the workout.

Good luck!


These have been some great suggestions and confirmations. I am new to lifitng myself (only been doing it for 18 months) and sometimes I feel like I know just enough to be dangerous.

I will try this with her tomorrow:

1) Have her eat a larger breakfast, or at least one focused a bit more on carbs.

2) Buy some Gatorade and have her drink that during her workout.

3) Continue the post workout chocolate milk (she hates Surge).

That should help us figure out whether or not it's the calories and/or carbs that are the issue.

If that does not work, then maybe we will go the Power Drive route, though if she hates Surge I don't see how she'll be able to choke that down... :



Some time ago i had the same issue due to lack of carbs. More carbs pre- or follow Berardis dieting and slip some simple carbs while working out.
Btw. your a lucky bastard with that training wife of yours :slight_smile: (no offence for the bastard plz :wink: )


LOL. I know I'm lucky to have her, but for a lot more reasons than that! And seriously, you are going to have to work a lot harder to offend me :).



If not having coffee becomes a problem have her try green tea, my mom used to get a horrible head ache and stomach ache in the morning if she didnt have her coffeee so instead we got her hooked on green tea and we havent had a problem since


What time does your wife workout? If its later in the day, she should still be OK with a morning coffee. Its caffeine 2-3hrs before a workout that gets me. Trial and error should help her figure out how much and when she can tolerate it.


For a slightly different perspective on this shakiness about mid-point of workout: Several years ago I was having this problem, too. It would get to the point past shakiness where I thought I was going to throw-up or pass-out or both. It made me anxious enough that I got a complete physical including an exercise stress test. The heart was fine, blood tests fine. The only thing that came up was low DHEA. This led to an endocrine panel including checking the function of my adrenal gland. Normal time-of-day rhythm but when challenged by ACTH, there was basically no cortisol response.

Now I take 10mg Cortef everyday including before I work out and, depending on how I feel, sometimes 5mg an hour or two after I work out but not on non-w.o. days. It's made a huge positive difference in being able to finish a work out and feel decent.

Too much cortisol is a bad thing but there needs to be some response to life's stresses including exercise or your body doesn't work right. I'm 48 and female.


Thanks you for your reply.

I will keep this in mind if the higher carb thing does not work. However, she did start having some more carbs before her last two workouts and she felt significant improvement.



Just a thought, you said she's on a low calorie diet, is she augmenting that with any fat loss supplements or thermogenics? They're usually loaded with caffeine and stimulants and could certainly cause the shakiness she's experiencing.

Also, what kind of warmup is she doing before her workout. It could be a response to overexertion while cold. Might want to throw in some dynamic stretching or light cardio to get the blood moving before lifting.

Thirdly, I got the impression she works out sometime shortly after breakfast. Try adding in some good natural orange juice (or a whole orange or grapefruit), I find the sugars in citrus fruits are great before a workout.

good luck,


Thanks for those good suggestions. Orange Juice is something she loves and is an easy thing for her to drink before we go to workout.

Also, she is not using any supplements and we do warm up together, though I just got the DVD from this website so we could improve upon those warm ups.

As a side note, it's nice to here from someone from back home. We lived in RI for awhile before moving down this direction.



I had a hard time with Surge too, so they recommended making it with more water that helped. A bannana or 2 can also help pre workout and comes in natures handiest wrapper :)_


good ideas above.

Look into getting a glucose tolerance test to show any signs trouble regulating glucose. On that note try taking something with high GI in it for workouts in the event this happens and watch the effects. Two scoops of dextrose to one scoop protein would be fine. Obviously SIP on it when symptoms occur.

Are the excercises that she "goes out on" ones that restrict breathing? if so, it could be an oxygen debt isssue. I've had that trouble with reverse hypers, I start to get REALLY lightheaded and almost dropped to floor out cold. Thankfully, I realized I needed to find the floor quickly.

Also, try to notice if she is overheating in combinationg with these other things. Constantly splashing water on your wrist on neck or using icepacks can help.

Good luck finding a solution.


I recently started getting mild versions of these shakey attacks again, and was wondering whether you found anything that was able to help your wife prevent them.


These "shaky" spells are something that have plagued me for my entire life during physical exertion. I encountered them rather badly during certain workouts. Blood sugar issues are hereditary in my family. My grandfather is a diabetic. My father is a true hypoglycemic. I have never been tested but I exhibit all the characteristics (to my knowledge) of my father's condition.

For me, the shakiness was a function of how soon before working out I ate. I have found that if I drink a mixture of orange juice and protein 30-50 mins before working out, no problems. I'm sure there are other solutions, but this one worked for me.


I noticed I get shaky as well but I found out m problem.

I am unfortunatly bi-polar but I have succesfully not suffered any symptoms for over a year and half.

Until recently I was using my alternative method of dealing with this problem but I got lazy and didn't take them all the time. (Actually for over 2 months, regularly)

Fortunatly I am one of those lucky ones that use up minerals faster then most. I started taking my minerals again and voila my shakyness is gone.