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Ben Kaminski 11-12-2004 04:50 PM

Hello everyone,

I had a thought today as I am low on sleep and near overtraining. I notice I want sugar more when in this state, and I wonder: is it better to give the body what it wants to relieve the mental stress of unsatisfied craving, or to stick to the normal diet (in my case paleo zone) and just get some rest? I had an awful headache brought on by the wall-ball today, probably amplified by the snatches yesterday. I indulged in some dark chocolate this afternoon, and felt a little better. (caffeine?) I'm wondering what you guys think, because other people have probably been here before.


Jonathon Edward 11-12-2004 08:06 PM

Before you binge on Krispy Kremes and meet pukie in the wrong context, get some rest! Check out Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar, and Survival by: T. S. Wiley, Bent Formby. The book can be a bit hard to follow/dry but it's well worth it. If all else fails, it may help you get to sleep :-)

Paul Kayley 11-14-2004 06:11 AM

Ben, I have a lot of experience of over-training in the past, especially with regard to restricted carbohydrate eating (which, compared to most athletes diets, includes the zone). If you are operating with low muscle glycogen stores, resulting from too much work and insufficient rest and carbohydrate intake, you will experience disturbed sleep (been there many times). Try not to get too wrapped up in worrying about your sleep, or placing too much emphasis upon the importance of sleep, this will in itself affect your sleep... resulting in an insomnia snowball!

How many hours of training are you doing each day? How much aerobic? How much CHO you eating?

Firstly, take some time out, rest and let your body catch up....after all its rest that makes you fitter and stronger, not training.

Ben Kaminski 11-15-2004 08:49 AM

I do the WOD every day, and last month I started 2 hours of BJJ each monday and wednesday. I eat lower carb than I should, but I drink lots of water throughout the day. With carbs, it seems like it's either 5 cups of green leaves for a 5 block meal, or a couple pieces of fruit. I don't like eating so much fruit (makes me feel slower) and I can't eat that many leaves in one sitting without gastric repercussions, so I often don't get all the carbs that I should. I want to learn more about the glycogen stores you mentioned, I have heard about them before here and never read more about that subject. I'll do some more reading.

I take usually take ZMA at night because I notice a big difference in sleep quality with it. Also, it's a challenge to maintain 9+ hours per night (I am reading Lights Out right now). I would love to be able to sleep that much/well, but I try to have a life outside of work and even in addition to Crossfit (it's tough!). I expected some overtraining with the addition of BJJ, but I want to increase my work capacity, so I figured I would just keep on trucking.

Thanks for your interest!

Paul Kayley 11-16-2004 02:53 AM

In my experience, if you are used to a low carbohydrate regime, then reintroducing carbs to help with increased muscular glucose requirements due to a greater workload is a must. Glucose is essential for high intensity work, you will use a lot. On a rerstricted carbohydrate intake, this will mainly be derived from protein. However, I believe only about 50% of amino acids are glucogenic, the rest being ketogenic, thus easily resulting in a less than optimal glucose supply.

The big problem with carbs is the hormonal stress which they can inflict if treated poorly, that is too rapid delivery, or overall supply over stepping demand. The opposite is also a problem though, not getting enough glucose and supplying it too slowly (gluconeogenesis in the very active trainer).

When exercising at moderate-high intensities, the pancreatic production of insulin is inhibited, while vascular blood supply and insulin-free glucose transport to the muscles and organs is very good. This IMO is one of the best times to deliver a good portion of your day's glucose requirements without having to worry about insulin. I use my favorite high GI carbs during these sessions. (Dont worry so much about all the speculation relating to high blood sugars suppressing growth hormone production).

Carbs are not essential to Joe Public doing no exercise, but they are very beneficial to athletes if used with respect at the right time, in my humble opinion.

Matt Hilliard 11-16-2004 05:05 AM

for what it is worth I just took a week off for this reason, my cravings were strong and I was tired.....when I came back I hurt but I felt I had more energy and am completing the reps better. Rest is just as important as the training....dont forget that

Ben Kaminski 11-16-2004 09:27 AM

Thanks for the valuable info and insights. I got nearly 9 hours sleep last night and am already feeling a little better. I did a toned down version of the WOD yesterday (eliminating all the high-intensity work, I did pullups, situps, cleans, and hug-a-twinkies), did not go to BJJ, ate more than enough carbs to satisfy Zone reqs for afternoon meal and dinner (apples, oranges, some spinach, oatmeal, a piece of key lime pie), and rented a movie to relax.

I do worry about insulin; I want to keep things balanced (i.e. Zone), but I don't have enough experience or knowledge to be certain of the right way. Thanks for mentioning the suppressed insulin production of the pancreas during high intensity work, I'll try your suggestion to supply glucose at that time (Gatorade?).

I'm open to the idea that rest is just as important as training, it makes sense (as anyone who took a week off and came back can attest to). However, the balance of the two is difficult to master, different for each person, and can change each day. Sometimes I have to force myself to do the WOD, but on rare occasions I am so energized that exercise is more play than work. It is this state that I want to maximize, and I know that it takes rest to achieve, but it's tough seeing other people handle larger volumes of exercise and progress, when I'm at a lower capacity. One of the reasons I don't normally post my WOD results online is to try to avoid competition, where I know I wouldn't measure up. I keep my own training diary to compete with myself, though.

By now I'm just rambling, but I'll keep resting for now.

Jonathon Edward 11-16-2004 09:29 AM


Excellent info. Your post mirrors my own experience with too few carbs. Injuries, fatigue, performance plateau, etc., all were on the menu when I followed the WOD on severely restricted carbs. As of late, I've been using whey, honey, and bananas PWO and an hour later I'll have some chicken and sweet potato (or something similar). A couple hours later I'll have some sort of protein and some fruit. My frist couple of meals as well as my meal before bed are all low carb/high fat. This strategy has improved my performance, physique, and overall well being.

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