There are a few topics that people bring up to me and have questions about quite often. These are fat or weight levels, energy during WODs, and overall health or getting stronger. Today I thought we could hopefully offer some guidance about these issues and how to keep your fitness goals on track.
I’m lacking energy in my workouts
Or, a similar issue: it takes me a long time to recover from a WOD.
A lack of energy could be for a number of reasons. Sleep, hydration, nutrition, stress, getting over being sick, not being active for a while, age, the list goes on.
If you’re a generally healthy athlete that is used to CrossFit-style workouts, gets adequate sleep, water, and so forth, then the answer could be calorie levels.
Your body needs fuel. Even if you were to lay on the couch and not move a muscle your body is still working. Your lungs, heart, brain, kidneys, liver, digestive system. All of these organs take energy to keep working properly.
Now take into consideration all the hard work and exertion your body does during a typical WOD. If you want to get stronger, you have to make sure you’re refuelling your energy levels.
What do you mean “refuel energy levels”?
First, food is energy.
Our bodies are able to convert food into an energy source our body uses to function. We call this energy source ‘calories’. For your body to function, complete WODs, and recover in a timely manner, then you must have calories to burn.
Think of a car. When the fuel level on a car is low or empty, then that car can’t go, or at least it can’t go very far. Same thing with your body.
So how do humans refuel? We eat!
I like getting stronger, but I don’t want to get fat
To make this easier, let’s just say “gain weight” instead of “get fat”. That means we could be gaining fat, or getting stronger and gaining muscle, but the point is that our weight is increasing.
First, gaining weight for an active healthy human who eats healthy is hard. Like really hard. For an inactive human eating poorly it is not hard. Yes, age, gender, genetics can all play roles, but for most people it is difficult.
Think about losing weight. It is a process. You can’t eat one or two healthy meals and expect to drop those extra 20 pounds. Same goes for eating one or two unhealthy meals. They won’t make you fat.
Second, if you are active in some form of exercise that requires moving weight you will most likely see increased energy levels, firmness of muscles, and strength gains before seeing much actual weight change. You’ll also notice your clothing fitting better, improved rest, and more definition of your muscles. Most, if not all, of these changes will happen before you gain weight or get fat.
But I am a female and I don’t want to get “bulky”
I wish I got paid every time I heard this. Most times it is a female worrying lifting weights will make her bulky, and the simple answer is, “don’t worry you won’t”.
Here’s the rub. Most females don’t naturally produce enough testosterone to get bulky. Males do produce more testosterone, but even then you probably won’t look like the people on the cover of fitness magazines without some help. And in this case, help means performance enhancing drugs, estrogen blockers, testosterone boosters, etc.
You will put on muscle, but this will be good solid toned muscle that will make you wonder why you didn’t start working out sooner. Also, the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn and the easier it is to shed fat.
Lastly, by eating plenty of protein and getting stronger you will be able to lift/move more weight. This will show you how awesome you are because you will be doing things you didn’t know you could do. You will feel very accomplished and confident in your fitness abilities.
Getting stronger in review
- If you are lacking energy, or it takes a while to recover after an intense WOD, try eating more. Focus especially on good fats, carbs, and proteins.
- Your body and muscles use these proteins, fats, and carbs as building blocks and fuel. Proteins help the muscles get strong, carbs and fats help the muscles actually move and function.
- Gaining weight is much harder than you think. If you are active, healthy, and eat nutritious foods then it will take a lot of time, effort and energy.
- Females don’t produce enough testosterone to get bulky. And muscle helps burn calories and shed fat. You will look/feel better, and be able to lift more weight. All of these will help boost confidence and you’ll feel great about your accomplishments.
Hopefully this will help you relax about the rumors that come with stepping into the health and fitness arena.