Background: 20 year old athletic female, I've been primal since July 2011. Paleo usually and as of right now following 100% as I can while being at college.
I'm a competitive rower (crew) in college. I joined a year ago, took the first season to learn. Started racing this past fall, had this winter off and now I've been back in training for the past few weeks.
I have had a serious lag in my ability to sprint or row at a high intensity. Of course i'm comparing myself to last season but I get fatigued very easily. Part of my training is also running but the low intensity jog stuff for 15-25min is not bothering me at all. We are on ergonometer machines currently due to the weather also.
I currently consume about 1500 - 2100 calories a day. Somewhere between 20 - 150 carbs depending really. I can not consume fruit other than bananas/blueberries because of acne breakouts from ANY sugar. I am a completely dairy free as well. I am 5'6 / 140lbs. Typically eating 2 meals a day (approx. 10am and 6pm), occasionally one snack if I feel like it.
Can anyone explain how I can fix this?
I really do not feel as though I have been over training (taking days off frequently when sore). I do not understand why last fall I didn't have this problem. I was consuming occasional dairy, but I feel much better without it right now. The only thing I can think of is my consumption of nuts and coconut products was a bit higher.
What should I be consuming pre/post workout? Eventually we will be training in the early mornings and I will not have time to eat before that workout.
Any advice is appreciated!
Is it possible that you are not eating enough on the low end of your range? You're obviously fit and muscular and training at a high level. 1500 cals per day is what a somewhat sedentary woman might eat in order to lose weight. You are far from sedentary. I think that you should consider sticking to the high end of your range. Also, why are you restricting carbohydrates so much? 20 grams of carbohydrates per day does not sound like much for a collegiate endurance athlete. Perhaps try upping your carbs more consistently and see how you feel.
I'm assuming you're talking about the 2K since you mention crew. For something in that range, you're going to need to be able to metabolize something other than muscle glycogen. You can get away with just making sure your muscles are packed with glycogen (eat a potato the night before, etc) for the 500. But for things in the 3-10 minute range (and the 2K falls right in the middle of that), you need something else for energy. You could go the carbo-load way and load up on carbs just before the race so you have tons of blood sugar, but I think that's a bad idea for many reasons. The other way is to manage your insulin such that it's totally "off" at race time. Remember, that when you have insulin floating around, you have a harder (if not impossible) time pulling triglycerides out of your fat cells for energy. Conversely, when you don't have insulin floating around, the trigs just flow out.
What does that mean for you? You have to experiment with what works for you. For me, I don't eat anything with significant carbs about 3-4 hours before a workout. About 1 hour and 15 minutes before I have some easy to digest MCT fat (usually coconut butter, but coconut oil can work - it just upsets my stomach). The MCTs are perfect because they're already in that burnable form, so it's like free energy. If you tinker with it and see what your window is, you can see some significant performance boosts (at least I do!)
Also, as others said, eat more (good paleo) calories. I push about 5,000 a day.
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