Wits & Weights | Nutrition, Lifting, Muscle, Metabolism, & Fat Loss

Weekend Q&A: How do I Avoid Constant Fatigue from Low Energy Availability in My Training (A Mom Over 40)

February 17, 2024 Philip Pape, Nutrition Coach & Physique Engineer
Wits & Weights | Nutrition, Lifting, Muscle, Metabolism, & Fat Loss
Weekend Q&A: How do I Avoid Constant Fatigue from Low Energy Availability in My Training (A Mom Over 40)
Wits & Weights Podcast
Support the show 🙏 and keep it ad-free!
Starting at $3/month
Support
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

How can you overcome feeling aimless and frustrated with recovery issues in your training, especially over 40 with a family?

The question we're answering is:

"I am a 46 year old mom and have been weight training since May 2022, focused on body recomp with at least one muscle building phase last spring. I have never done a fat loss phase. I have slowly but steadily put on muscle and lost body fat.

I have loved weight training and getting stronger and I also have loved stepping away from restrictive diets (and the requisite binging that accompanied them) and the fasting that I had done in the past. My macros have fluctuated a bit over time. I think I'm right about at maintenance, maybe a little bit of a deficit since I am very very very slowly dropping the weight.

However, my arms constantly feel sore and inflamed and I feel stiff and creaky and it is starting to make me dread upper body days. I actually have backed off training these last few weeks, dropping down to just 2 days a week of training and sometimes even only doing one set of everything because I just feel inflamed and weak. I haven't been able to do anything related to my biceps in months--I just skip those exercises entirely.

 I guess I just feel a little aimless at the moment and a little frustrated by this recovery issue and would love to re-focus."

Find out in today's Weekend Q&A bonus episode.

---

This is a special Weekend Q&A edition of the Wits & Weights podcast, where we supercharge your Saturdays with an answer to one burning question so YOU can put it into action this weekend.

These questions are taken from the weekly #AskPhilip thread in our free Wits & Weights Facebook community. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the endless amount of information and, let’s be honest, MISinformation online and just want a straight up answer without the jargon, that’s what this free service is for.

With the weekly #AskPhilip thread, you can post a specific question relevant to your unique, individual situation that week and have it answered live by me on Friday. If you’d like to experience it yourself, I invite you to use the link in the show notes to join the Wits & Weights Facebook group. It’s totally free and you’ll quickly find out what a positive and supportive community it is.

Join our FREE community here to get access to the #AskPhilip thread!

Support the show


🎓 Join Wits & Weights Physique University

👩‍💻 Schedule a FREE nutrition/training audit with Philip

👥 Join our Facebook community for support, live Q&As, & challenges

✉️ Join the FREE email list with insider strategies and bonus content!

📱 Try MacroFactor for free with code WITSANDWEIGHTS. The only food logging app that adjusts to your metabolism!

🩷 Enjoyed this episode? Share it on social and follow/tag @witsandweights

🤩 Love the podcast? Leave a 5-star review

📞 Send a Q&A voicemail

Speaker 1:

How can you overcome feeling aimless and frustrated with recovery issues in your training, especially if you're over 40 and with a family? Find out on today's weekend Q&A bonus episode. Welcome to the Whits and Weights podcast. I'm your host, phillip Pape, and this twice a week podcast is dedicated to helping you achieve physical self mastery by getting stronger, optimizing your nutrition and upgrading your body composition. We'll uncover science backed strategies for movement, metabolism, muscle and mindset with a skeptical eye on the fitness industry so you can look and feel your absolute best. Let's dive right in.

Speaker 1:

Hello and welcome to the special weekend Q&A edition of the Whits and Weights podcast, where we supercharge your Saturdays and Sundays with an answer to one burning question so you can put it into action this weekend. These questions are taken from the weekly Ask Phillip thread in our free Whits and Weights Facebook community. If you're feeling overwhelmed by the endless amount of information and, let's be honest, misinformation online and just want a straight up answer without the jargon, that's what this free service is for. With the weekly Ask Phillip thread, you can post a specific question relevant to your unique individual situation that week and have it answered live by me on Friday. If you'd like to experience it yourself. I invite you to use the link in the show notes to join the Whits and Weights Facebook group. It's totally free and you'll quickly find out what a positive and supportive community it is.

Speaker 1:

With that, let's get to today's Q&A. Thanks for taking my question. Let me think I'm not sure exactly what it is, other than I feel like something I'm doing is stalled out, potentially. Okay, very common right Having some sort of plateau. We deal with that all the time. So let's look into the details here. I am 46-year-old mom and have been weight training since May 2022. Congrats, that's now what.

Speaker 1:

Year and a half Focused on body re-comp, with at least one muscle building phase last spring. I've never done a fat loss phase. I have slowly but steadily put on muscle and lost body fat down about seven pounds on the scale over the year and a half. Now that's interesting, right, because when you say you've never done a fat loss phase but kind of have been in a slow fat loss phase, like a slow deficit and I'm down to around 22% body fat now, big caveat, right. As I always say, there's really no way to tell your body fat percentage accurately, no matter what device or method you use. So I'm not going to say when you say 22% and then my goal is to get to 18%. My first recommendation, before even reading your question, is, if you're going to think about body fat at all, focus on the trend using something like the Navy formula or calipers. You know, don't use a Ren post scale or a body impedance device or in body or any of that. The trend is okay on that. What I'd rather you go by is how you look and feel, how your clothes fit, how you're performing your energy, your confidence in your body, all those kinds of things, because nobody cares about body fat percentage. You are and we can't really know what it is right. So I'm not trying to be dismissive in any means. I'm trying to help you get to using very objective, measurable outcomes, and body fat tends to not be one of those as we move forward. So all good, though I get what you're trying to do right. We're trying to lose body fat, so let's keep going.

Speaker 1:

Question continues. I've loved weight training and getting stronger, and I've also loved stepping away from restrictive diets and the regosit binging that accompanied them and the fasting that I've done in the past Awesome. My macros have fluctuated a bit over time, but I'm currently doing 140 grams protein, 230 grams carbs and 49 grams fat. So that sounds a totally reasonable balance for a lot of people because you've got plenty of protein. You didn't say what your weight is, but I'm going to assume kind of average size female, maybe 130, 150, 160, kind of in that range. So 140 is probably around 0.8 to 1 grams per pound of protein. The 49 grams of fat is probably, I'm going to guess, 20% or so calories, and then 230 grams of carbs makes up the difference. I think this is probably right about it.

Speaker 1:

Maintenance, maybe a little bit of deficit, since I'm very, very, very slowly dropping weight. Agree, you are probably in a deficit. Where I'm feeling stuck is that my arms constantly feel sore and inflamed and I feel stiff and creaky and it's starting to make me dread upper body days. This has been going on for a few months. I've actually backed off training these last few weeks, dropping down to just two days a week of training and sometimes even only doing one set of everything. I typically do two heavy sets of everything in the six day rep range because I just feel inflamed and weak. I haven't been able to do anything related to my biceps in months. I just skipped those exercises entirely. It has crossed my mind. Maybe I need to increase calories to help with recovery, but I'm going to be going on vacation.

Speaker 1:

We use that as my motivation to stay strict with my food tracking and weights and I don't want to gain weight right now. Let's see I was doing 160 grams protein, 270 grams carbs, 49 grams fat until a few weeks ago, but I dropped down when I backed off training. This may have been a slight deficit as I was still slowly losing during that time, but I'm not sure. Anyway, I would love another set of eyes on this. I guess I'm feeling a little aimless at the moment and a little frustrated by this recovery issue and would love to refocus Now. I've got a lot of really solid thoughts on this because I think a lot of people listening can relate to this 100 percent the idea of feeling like the energy is not there, feeling sore, not sure if you've been in a deficit or not, energy those kinds of things we're going to address that I did follow up in the thread and I said what are you using to track?

Speaker 1:

You said I'm using an app that is proprietary to the coaching program. I'm doing because that way my coach can see and adjust my macros on her end. My coaching program is in February and I'm not renewing. I think it's time to venture out on my own. Finally, I'm definitely going to look into Macro Factor to track it for my program ends. Then I said got it and love that you knew exactly where I was going, because anyone who listens to my show or follows us here in the community knows that I recommend Macro Factor as the one and only food logging app that everyone should use, only because it's the only one that adapts to your metabolism. I would just start tracking that right away, even though you're using another app. Just start getting used to it and setting it up and at least getting the data in there so that you have that information, because you shouldn't have to have a coach adjust your macros honestly nowadays, like any nutrition coach listening or wanting to get into the business, if they are tracking your macros for you, honestly that is a non-value added activity.

Speaker 1:

I would prefer that something like Macro Factor, which can see your metabolism track, adjust the macros, but that the plan and your goals and your strategy are what you work on your coach with. I know you said you're not going to be working with a coach anymore, and that's awesome because you've probably developed some of that skill set Going forward. If you ever do work with a coach, like me, we would take a higher level approach in terms of personalizing this to you and dealing with some of these issues like the soreness. I'm going to try to answer your question here anyway. Here we go.

Speaker 1:

First of all, the Given your training intensity right and given that you've had this frustration now for a while, it sounds like you're not enjoying working out, like you're not looking forward to it, and we don't want that. So it sounds like an energy issue, absolutely. You alluded to that three or four times in your response, the idea that not only are you in a deficit, but you get this constant soreness and pain. So right there, right away. My suggestion would be come out of that deficit altogether and go to maintenance Even more.

Speaker 1:

I would suggest going to what I call the top side of maintenance, which means, if you're using macro factor, you would be slightly overshooting your maintenance or you would even set it to a very, very tiny gain, and the reason for that is to allow you to recover as quickly as possible. We don't need to reverse out of it. You just want to recover as quickly as possible. I suspect, if you do that and do it by increasing carbs because you already get plenty of protein and honestly, actually, I'm gonna take that back Increase some fats and carbs. I know you've got 50 grams of fat. I suspect that represents something like 20% or less of your calories. Try bumping that up to about 30% of your calories and eating more fat as well. I'd be curious to see how you respond to that.

Speaker 1:

But regardless, as long as the calories come up to over maintenance, I think you need to see a big recovery in your energy, and it might not happen instantly, like in the next session or two, although it might, but very quickly you should not feel this soreness anymore and be able to go back to the volume you were doing before, assuming there's not something else going on right, like an autoimmune condition or something else that's affecting you. I would also look at sleep and stress. If those are all good, we can rule those out right, like if you're just not getting enough sleep. But what's the other thing I was gonna say about energy? I'm kind of losing track of my thought here. Okay, so we talked about rest and recovery, training, volume, intensity, hydration, electrolyte supplementation.

Speaker 1:

If all of that is good, then I seriously think it's an energy concern here, and you said you don't wanna gain weight. What I think is happening is you're losing weight, but even if you weren't losing weight and you were maintaining, chances are you still could be in a low energy state even while maintaining your weight. So a lot of people don't realize this, but your metabolism's highly adaptive, right, and there's this kind of tolerance around your maintenance where, if you were under eating but not enough to lose weight, and again you are losing weight, so you are definitely in a deficit. A lot of people are listening to this and like I don't have energy, I'm getting sore, I don't know what's going on, but I'm not losing weight. You could be in a suppressed state, right, where your metabolism is suppressed because you are slightly under eating but not enough to lose weight, or you're under eating most of the time and then you over consume some days and it kind of evens out to maintenance, but overall you're lacking energy. So that's one bringing the calories up.

Speaker 1:

The second thing is this is what I had forgotten a few minutes ago is the timing around your workouts. So are you fasted training? That's one question I would ask Are you training fasted? Because if you are stop doing that, start eating before you work out At a minimum, a banana and a whey protein shake half an hour before. But if you have like an hour or two before you work out, you can have any sort of balanced meal that has proteins and carbs. I would limit the fat in that meal, just because fat will slow down digestion and you want a lot of carbs around your workout. So for you, two, 70 grams of carbs, I would have at least 100 grams of those carbs around your workout.

Speaker 1:

So I think that's the long and short of it is getting more energy and workout timing and listen to your body right, like if your body is telling you that it can't produce, it can't perform. We have to look at the energy needs and we can also look at the training. So what I want you to do, lyric, is, if you take my advice, let us know here, respond to this video or post in the group that you up your calories. That included both fat and carb increases, and that you are having peri workout carbs. That's the main thing peri workout nutrition, carbs and protein, but mainly the carbs. And let us know if that changes anything and we can go from there.

Speaker 1:

That's it for today's weekend Q&A bonus episode. Remember, this is just a small part of the weekly Ask Philip live Q&A in the Wits and Weights Facebook group, which you can join totally free using the link in the show notes. I invite you to join us as we improve our health and physique together. Thank you for tuning in to another episode of Wits and Weights. If you found value in today's episode and know someone else who's looking to level up there Wits or Weights please take a moment to share this episode with them and make sure to hit the follow button in your podcast platform right now to catch the next episode. Until then, stay strong.

Overcoming Training Frustration and Recovery Issues
Weekend Q&A Bonus Episode

Podcasts we love