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Early Morning Workouts



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  • Early Morning Workouts

    Hi all,

    I am struggling a bit with energy right now. I am 34 and 5'6.5" (yes, that half inch is important to me! ) with an athletic build. I currently weigh 155 but am very comfortable in a size 8 (for those women out there). I work out a lot. I get up at 4:45 am 4-5 days a week. 3 of those days are cardio kickboxing, the remaining 2 are heavy resistance training. I also play indoor soccer once a week, about to start playing an additional day outdoors. I love all of it and have noticed a huge difference in my body. So while I realize this type of workout schedule is not really in line with Mark's exercise approach, I don't think I'll be changing anything.

    I had 3 babies in the span of 3.5 years and still have a bit of a belly pooch and my body really likes to hold on to the fat on my inner thighs. Believe me, with three kids 5 and under I am not aiming for perfection! I had hit a plateau at about 160 so I decided to try out the primal lifestyle. I lost 4.5 pounds in one week. I stayed with the 1400 calories I had been eating but drastically changed their composition. Based on posts made by Mark's wife's Carrie, I went to 50% fat (78g), 30% protein (105g) and 20% carbs (70g). I have a little trouble meeting those goals but have been doing okay.

    But I am having a problem with energy for my early morning workouts, particularly the kickboxing. I know it's not primal but I drink an Advocare Spark drink at about 5am before I leave, but I don't have enough time to eat and actually digest anything before class starts. Nor am I willing to get up any earlier to do so.

    Any suggestions? I'm perfectly willing to up my carbs but I am not really understanding how that would help with an early morning workout, unless it's just a general increase in carbs and not particular to heavy workout days.

    Thanks a lot!
    Last edited by cmjnc; 08-23-2012, 09:24 AM.

  • #2
    Have you read PB? The way you feel is pretty much how the "Korg" matriarch feels; it's "normal" in the world nowadays to wake up before dawn to get a good workout in, but it's not how we're naturally programmed, so you should expect to not feel very energized so early. Re-read that chapter to see what I'm talking about, if you don't recall it!

    I'm sorry that it's not much advice... but I'd honestly say to not work out so early if your body is screaming "no" to you. I'm sure other early-morning exercisers will disagree with me, but that's my stance. I've never been one to work out early in the morning, even in my gym-rat days (1.5+ hours of heavy cardio at the gym daily, but always in the evenings after work). If I had to do what you're doing, I wouldn't be a happy camper either. I know you said you don't want to change your routine, but your physique would probably be just the same if you had done all of those early-morning workouts later in the day after the kids are in bed.
    >> Current Stats: 90% Primal / 143 lbs / ~25% BF
    >> Goal (by 1 Jan 2014): 90% Primal / 135-ish pounds / 20-22% BF

    >> Upcoming Fitness Feats: Tough Mudder, June 2013
    >> Check out my super-exciting journal by clicking these words.

    Weight does NOT equal health -- ditch the scale, don't be a slave to it!


    • #3
      Thanks, MissJecka! That makes sense and I will re-read the chapter. Problem is that I work full time, and if I workout after the kids are in bed, I will be up all night. It is hard for me to wind down after working out at night.

      Do you think it might help if I up my carbs a bit, on a persistent basis?


      • #4
        I work out early but I wake early to ensure that I have breakfast. I wake and eat at 4:30 and hit the gym at 6. How long have you been primal? Your body may need to adjust. I'm male and consume at least twice as many calories as you with carbs around 130 +/- and don't have any issues with energy. But, I've been an early workout person for years so it's just habit and I don't have any issues eating prior to the workout.

        My only recommendation is to stick with it and try to get some food in before the workout. Have you tried making the muffin omelettes? Those are great to pre-cook and heat and go.


        • #5
          it's not so much when you wake up but when your soul wakes up, and that might be after 11am or later, so you have to be in tune.


          • #6
            I wonder when yall go to bed'?!! there are some days I go to the bed, when you guys are waking up! how many hours of sleep do you normally get with waking up that early?


            • #7
              Let's see -- you work full-time, you have three kids, you do 5 days of workouts, you aren't perfectly primal all the time...and you only eat 1400 calories a day?! How about, ditch the calorie counting, eat when your body calls for it and eat really good foods, and if you want to feel at least a little more intense in the morning, try a limited eating window. I workout on a fast every day, and I never have a problem with energy...and I eat more than you do. And I'm shorter. And I don't gain weight.

              You have a really intense life, and since you want to keep going, you need to make sure that you are getting a minimum of 7-8 hours sleep EVERY night, feeding yourself really, really well, and relaxing when you can. Right now, your calories are barely over your basal metabollic rate. No wonder you are exhausted. You aren't fueling yourself. You need some TLC for that incredible body of yours -- and I will bet you'll see some energy changes.
              The Sedition of Sisyphus: Go Find Another Rock

              Griff's Cholesterol Primer


              • #8
                Thank you everyone for your comments. I should have clarified that I've been working out this early for several years now, though I increased to 4-5 days per week that early beginning in January 2012, and only started having the energy issue when I started going primal.

                Emmett - My class starts at 5:15 and there's just no way I could get up earlier than I already do. But maybe I could stomach something if I ate it immediately. But another good point is that I have only been doing this for a few weeks so maybe I just need to adjust/adapt.

                Lawyerchick12 - I'm a lawyer, too. In-house. I go to bed at about 9:30 (sometimes earlier), so I am getting enough sleep - believe me, I'm exhausted by 9:30!

                ciavyn - I am scared to go too much over 1400 calories, honestly. But your point is well taken. I probably should be eating more. What's really interesting is that I have been less hungry eating this way, so I find myself having to remind myself to eat.

                Anyway, thanks a lot. Lots to think about!