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Getting... Weaker? :(

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Old 06-29-2012, 04:09 PM   #1
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Default Getting... Weaker? :(

I've been weight training for about 4-6 weeks now (not too impressively for the first week or two as I was figuring out weight and proper form and such), and I feel like I'm getting weaker. It's strange, because I have had to increase weight on a couple different lifts - so obviously some muscles are getting stronger, but doing day to day things seem to be harder, I couldn't even open the snappy thing on the top of a waterbottle yesterday (mind you that was right after a workout and my muscles were feeling pretty "jello-y"). I want to be strong, not just look strong/thinner/healthy/etc., and right now I feel like my muscles are giving out on me...

Anyways, I guess my question is, has anyone else ever felt this way? Do you start to feel physically stronger, eventually?
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Old 06-29-2012, 05:20 PM   #2
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Are you "bonking"? Meaning, are you going into a low blood sugar episode? Is it happening after working out, or throughout the day?
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Old 06-29-2012, 05:38 PM   #3
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How heavy are you lifting? How many reps to failure? How much rest are you giving each muscle group, between workouts? What is your diet like?

How active were you before you started lifting?

When you lift weights, you create little tears in the muscle fibers. It takes a while for your body to repair these tears and build more muscle.
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Old 06-29-2012, 05:41 PM   #4
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It is very possible that I do go into a low blood sugar episode... is there a way to "test" this during or after a workout? It's happening both after a workout (I though that was just from being tired though) and during the day. I seem to have enough energy and strength to lift when I'm working out, but when I'm done and even the day after it feels like I'm not as strong as I was before I started lifting. I give myself 48 hours between lifting workouts so by the time I workout again everything seems to work out ok, but during those 48 hours my body feels weak, and doing simple tasks seem physically harder to do than it would have 6 weeks ago.

Right now I do 3 sets of 12 reps (but by the third set sometimes it's only 10). Anywhere from 8-15lbs for upper body, so not reeeeeally heavy by any means. I've worked out 5-6 times a week since March (alternate cardio and lifting for the last 4-6 weeks, just cardio before that) so I'm in fairly good shape, never was "out of shape" per se, just not as physically active. I've recently upped my calories because I simply didn't have the energy for both cardio and lifting... maybe I need more protein as well? Right now, I'm trying to stay around 40% carbs, 35% protein, 25% fat (I calorie count).

So Val, are you saying that it just takes more time? Or that I just need to rest more between workouts?
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Last edited by EricAnn : 06-29-2012 at 05:51 PM.
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Old 06-29-2012, 05:55 PM   #5
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Yes, more protein! Tweak your macros a little bit and see if that helps. If you're in too much of a deficit, you can't grow muscle, either. There's a fine line between gaining strength and losing fat. You have to find your sweet spot.

You could probably go a lot heavier and lower your reps and see things progress more quickly, too.
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Old 06-29-2012, 06:46 PM   #6
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It sounds to me like you might just be recovering slowly. Things that affect my recovery time: sleep (or lack thereof), number of calories I consume (needs to be high enough), how many rest days I'm taking, what I eat post-workout.

My post-workout meal/snack didn't really matter for a long time, but once my workouts got intense enough, it did start to matter. I have some protein to feed my muscles afterward, but it's much more important that I have some fast-acting carbs--I'm talking actual sugar. I'm much better able to get through the rest of my day (body more energetic, brain clearer) if I do so. This may not be your issue, and if you have sugar issues, it may not work for you. But it's important to my body.

It depends on how many calories you're eating, of course, but 35% sounds like a good level of protein to me. I lost most of my weight eating at roughly your macros (sometimes more like 45/30/25). When I'm eating at a deficit, I like to try to hit my body weight in grams of protein per day.
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Old 06-29-2012, 06:53 PM   #7
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Also... hydration level?
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Old 06-29-2012, 09:19 PM   #8
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Thanks ladies!

I think getting something in my body right after a workout is a good idea, normally I don't eat for a couple hours after my workout (just because it isn't convenient) and that could probably be a bit of an issue. I think I'm ok on the hydration front. So, more protein, especially post-workout, watch my blood sugar levels, and play around with macros. Got it!

Oh, also, I probably should have mentioned that I am iron and vitamin D deficient, but I take supplements which normally bring those levels up quite a bit... But of course iron deficiency normally causes weakness and fatigue, maybe I should talk to my doctor and see if I should be upping my iron.

Thanks again ladies!
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Goal: 120
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Last edited by EricAnn : 06-29-2012 at 09:20 PM.
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Old 06-30-2012, 12:21 PM   #9
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I'd guess you're not eating enough to sustain your workouts. How many calories a day are you having? Could you add a couple of hundred more on workout days? (And if it's inconvenient to eat after lifting, look into protein shakes. I always prefer real food, but a protein shake is better than nothing.)
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