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Richard Furr 09-29-2007 03:50 PM

Post workout crash! How important are post workout meals?
I just started really working out with the crossfit beginners program every weekday for the past 2 weeks.

I've been doing nearly perfect zone/paleo. I have been working out in the evening usually. After the workout I still have at least one more 5 block meal I need to get in. After every workout, about 1-2 hours after the work out. Right when I'm about to get around to fixing that meal. I crash and just fall asleep. It's not a very pleasant sleep either and I wake up at like 3 am starving.

I may have answered my own question looking back at the last two weeks that I need a post work out meal. I am new to this and never really considered PWO meals essential.

Do you think not eating a post workout meal is causing me to crash like this?
What are you guys' experience with the necessity of post workout meals?
If you don't think this is the cause of the crash, what is?

Can anyone explain why this is happening?

Thanks for your help.

Brandon Oto 09-29-2007 04:04 PM

Re: Post workout crash! How important are post workout meals?
Get enough sleep (8 hours bare minimum, 9 is good, 9.5 or so may be ideal).

Fast protein and carbs post-workout helps me. Whey and juice or fruit.

Contrast shower helps return me to the land of the human too.

Coffee helps, actually, but if you're working out late it may not be smart.

Michael Polletta 09-29-2007 04:41 PM

Re: Post workout crash! How important are post workout meals?
As mentioned in the other post, a post workout drink of a simple sugar and protein is really important within 30 mins of your workout (that's what all the magazines say anyway, and it works for me). I mix 4 tbsp of Tang and a scoop of vanilla protein powder, tastes great! Then eat a meal 1-2 hrs later.

Susie Rosenberg 09-29-2007 06:06 PM

Re: Post workout crash! How important are post workout meals?
I find if I don't eat something within an half-hour after a hard workout, I am painfully, ravenously hungry later, and I find it hard to eat moderately the whole rest of the day. Even if I eat a good meal later on, if I've missed that window, it's like there's a monster in my gut that just keeps demanding to be fed.

That post-workout snack, done up right, keeps me from fighting intense urges to just eat and eat all day long.

I usually bring a shake to the gym: protein powder, frozen berries and nuts blended together. Works wonders. Keeps me human.


Garrett Smith 09-29-2007 06:42 PM

Re: Post workout crash! How important are post workout meals?
Going all-out (I mean ALL-OUT) every workout will guarantee crashes, worse and more frequent as time goes on. The adrenals just can't take it, I don't care what your PWO nutrition is.

If you've recently switched to Paleo/Zone, your body has a whole lot of adjusting to do in terms of upregulating fat-burning enzymes and reversing insulin resistance. Give it time. Really make sure you are eating enough and guarantee you get in your proper number of blocks within a 24-hour period--wherever you choose to fit them in.

Once your body is used to the intense workouts (my suggestion is don't go all-out EVERY workout) and the reduced carb/calorie intake, you'll be fine. Case in point--I used to be the most hypoglycemic guy around (me: ANGRY, wife: "When was the last time you ate?", me: "Two hours ago", wife: "We need to feed you.") because I was doing triathlons and eating carbs all the time.

Now I work out in the morning on an empty stomach (maybe have some BCAAs), have some herbal tea during and after my workout, and don't eat until 12 or 1 pm and have NO problems with mental status or fatigue (other than is warranted by the day's workout).

You need time to adjust and you need to eat what your body requires in a 24-hour period.

Scott Allen Hanson 09-30-2007 11:09 AM

Re: Post workout crash! How important are post workout meals?
I concur with Dr. G. I intermittent fast, 90% Paleo, usually eating my first meal of the day between 1:00 and 4:00, and often after a high intensity morning WOD. I think I'm actually less hungry mid-day than if I ate PWO.

Amusingly, I was taking a YMCA personal training class on Friday and was fasting, having completed Nicole at 7:00 that morning. Snacks were available such as granola bars, peanuts, etc. About 4:00, the other participants and the instructor were having trouble focusing, such as reading the overhead slides out loud. The instructor was telling us how important a "balanced" diet was and how the brain needs carbs for fuel. Meanwhile, I'm the oldest and most alert person there, working on an 18 hour fast!

Dr. G's point about intensity is also important. I know I can't go all out every WOD, but I thought that was more due to age (48).

Ditto Brandon's advice. You can't perform for long on less than optimal sleep.

Garrett Smith 09-30-2007 01:32 PM

Re: Post workout crash! How important are post workout meals?
Carbs are an inefficient fuel, plain and simple.

Just as your body will adapt to CF-style workouts, your body will adapt to using more efficient sources of fuel (ie. fat!).

Fat adaptation is a wonderful thing, you'll get there.

Scott, as with the story of the turtle and the hare, slow and steady wins the health & longevity race. One doesn't hear about elite athletes in any discipline setting longevity records. The brightest stars burn out the fastest.

There's a time for everything, including just going through the motions. Everything is cycles in life, which means there are peaks and valleys. Peaks (and upward trends) never last forever.

From WFS :
[QUOTE]General Adaptation Syndrome

This is a model on stress, researched mainly by Hans Selye[4][5] on rats and other animals. His research involved exposing animals to unpleasant or harmful stimuli such as injections, extreme cold and even vivisection.

He found that all animals showed a very similar series of reactions, broken into three stages. He describes this universal response to the stressors as the General Adaption Syndrome or GAS in 1936.

[edit] Stage one: alarm

When the threat or stressor is identified or realised, the body's stress response is a state of alarm. During this stage adrenaline will be produced in order to bring about the fight-or-flight response. There is also some activation of the HPA axis, producing cortisol.

[edit] Stage two: resistance

If the stressor persists, it becomes necessary to attempt some means of coping with the stress. Although the body begins to try to adapt to the strains or demands of the environment, the body cannot keep this up indefinitely, so its resources are gradually depleted.

[edit] Stage three: exhaustion

In the final stage in the GAS model, all the body's resources are eventually depleted and the body is unable to maintain normal function. At this point the initial autonomic nervous system symptoms may reappear (sweating, raised heart rate etc.). [B]If stage three is extended, long term damage may result as the capacity of glands, especially the adrenal gland, and the immune system is exhausted and function is impaired resulting in decompensation.[/B] The result can manifest itself in obvious illnesses such as ulcers, depression or even cardiovascular problems, along with other mental issues.[/QUOTE]

Giving the adrenals a break from the pressure of always beating your last time can be pretty nice. CF-style exercise is great, don't get me wrong. It's just that our adrenals are under SO much stress these days (jobs, fears, kids, dysfunctional sleep patterns, diet, etc.) that a workout that pushes the "fight or flight" button 3 on / 1 off can be the straw that breaks the camel's back.

Richard Furr 09-30-2007 03:35 PM

Re: Post workout crash! How important are post workout meals?
Thanks for the great feedback guys.:thanx:

I have definitely going at 110% the past two weeks. Thinking that the more intense workout the better. I guess I should go at maybe 90% max from now on.

Dr. G, That text on GAS rang true to me. I think I frequently go into the exhaustion stage from stress without even working out. I have a hard time relaxing. Do you think some type of relaxation/meditation exercise would be helpful for this?

Ultimately I want to switch to IF. Do you think it's better that I wait until my body has adapted to what I'm doing now, before trying IF?

Also, Do you eat the same protein requirements when IFing as you normally would, or less?

Here's what I'll focus on this week:
-Reduce intensity in workouts - give it 90% max
-Eat post work out snack
-Get good regular sleep
-Get all my protein requirements per 24 hour period
-Rest and Relax

Garrett Smith 10-01-2007 08:13 AM

Re: Post workout crash! How important are post workout meals?
Everyone needs some sort of relaxation/meditation time, that's for sure. I like Heart Rhythm Meditation (google it).

I'd say to get your bodyfat where you want it and make sure you're fat adapted before going IF.

I do need less protein when I'm on IF. Maybe 2/3 to 3/4 of when I did the Zone. IF is a mild stressor (as is exercise), so if your "stress" is too high right now, it would be good to wait.

Every fourth week is a "slow" week for me. Three hard, one easy. On the easy weeks I'll do more joint mobility, stretching, swimming--definitely none of the WODS. If I don't do this, I get a cold. It's just the way my body runs. You may be similar.

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