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I have been working out for about 2 and half years. Though I have seen improvements in my body, it seems to have plateaued for a long time. I work in the IT industry and my work schedule is not consistent. Though despite all of this I try to sleep at least 7 hours a day. I have been taking supplements for a while but it does not seem to be doing any good. I am thinking about not taking them anymore, especially since they are sold double the price in my part of world than in USA or else where. Having said this I seem to be suffering a few specific problems in the past 4-5 months:

  1. I get tired easily at the gym. I have reduced work out to 4 days a week (one body part a day) but unable to maintain that as well.

  2. Tiredness continues in office as well. I feel sleepy almost the entire day, and every morning I have to push myself to go to office.

  3. I have been taking BSN True Mass after visits to the gym, and it makes me more drowsy. I am thinking about eliminating food supplements completely. I was not any better with other products I tried in the past like Muscle Mass from Cyro Sport. I am not blaming any supplement but I think they don't blend well with my body

Part of this I blame on my daily work routine and part on my food habits. I am used to eating out and there has hardly been home made food for me in the last 7-8 years. Are there any suggestions for how to increase my energy levels and overall health without supplements?

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Can you add more detail on your workouts? The solution to lifting weights is different than long distance running. – MathAttack Mar 11 '12 at 0:51
My work out usually spans four days a week. I do legs, back, shoulder and Biceps on individual days and mix chest with triceps. Since it is four days so I usually miss on one work out and begin next week with the work out I had missed previous day. – Tarun Mar 11 '12 at 5:09
Doing only heavy lifting may be the challenge. Are you just trying to get big? If you're trying to "Feel healthy", why not integrate cardio? You may find you can cut your lifting from 4 days to 2 without losing that much strength gain. If you're feeling fatigued, just do long slow distance (55-60% of your max heart rate for 30+ minutes) the other days. Once you're feeling better, you can increase the intensity or add intervals. It seems like there's increasing costs and diminishing returns for so much lifting - especially if there's not some other goal. – MathAttack Mar 11 '12 at 14:36
My goal is to gain more stamina. I see your points. Thanks. – Tarun Mar 11 '12 at 20:04
@Tarun-I experience number one and number two of your issues mentioned. In regards to your food habits, do you believe it is the type of food that you are not eating or the amount of food? How have you been getting on? – Bee Jul 7 '12 at 11:16

5 Answers 5

up vote 13 down vote accepted

Supplements are not a solution.

Once you have got everything else in order - diet / exercise / sleep, then supplements can be used to fine tune the process. That is all they can do.

The supplements you have tried make you more tired. So stop using them.

By the sounds of it you are leading a fairly stressful life. You have an inconsistent work schedule, you work out too much and you don't sleep enough (most people need at least 8 hours).

This causes your body to produce Cortisol. Cortisol is produced by stress and is useful if you need to save your life in some emergency situation. However, what it does is it boosts your blood sugar levels and impairs your insulin sensitivity. This will make you fat and prevent your muscles from growing. It will also destroy your energy levels.

To fix this, sleep more. You should be able to wake up each morning without the aid of an alarm clock. Work out less. Three times a week, for no more than an hour at a time is adequate. Some light cardio can take up the rest of the time if you need more...

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Excellent answer. – Dave Liepmann Mar 9 '12 at 13:27
Just wanted to update that I have got one great energy booster. It is called almond :). Soak them in water over night and have them on morning and see the difference. At least, has been working well with me. – Tarun Jan 13 '13 at 4:13

Supplements are not likely to cause the effect. It's the wrong training process.

You need to rest and decrease the number of training sessions. Your body is exhausted. Reduce to 2 trainings per week max . Every next training must be conducted in the supercompensation phase, while you are training in catabolic regime now (body still recovers from last training and you start next one). Also, as pointed in another answer, stress makes your body produce more cortisol -- and it forces catabolic process even more.

So: 1) Do a break. Rest for 2 weeks. Then start from the small cycle: start with 30-40% of your usual weight and increase it during 2-3 weeks to normal values. 2) During this small cycle do no more than 2-3 trainings per week. The idea to split training for different days for each body part is good for pro-athletes, not for usual person. Make sure your rest at least 48 hours between training. 3) During the break do the recreational activities: walk (not very more though), sleep for 10 hours, drink more water, cut off the alcohol (at least for a while) and reduce the fat food and refined sugar.

The main idea how to build the training process: your body should want to train. If it resign, listen to yourself. If you are tired: rest until you feel like training.

Good luck!

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Eat well. Lots of fruits and vegetables, less sugar. If you lift weights, eat a lot of protein. Experiment with the timing of your workouts. Be VERY careful eating out. Most restaurants only have a few healthy things on the menu.

And I think you know about sleep.

No need to go nuts on supplements.

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Don't eat sugar at all. I was craving sweets all the time before I realized how tired they made me. I still eat them every now and then but most of the time I'm happy to avoid them because the short pleasure they give me is outweighed by the sense of tiredness I get after 30 min from eating them.

My advice is to start eating oatmeal and eat only unprocessed food, then sleep more, you already know what's your ideal sleeping hours try to stick to it.

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Tarun, you are an Indian and I am an Indian. You probably know that Indian IT industry sucks your life out with shift timings, weekend work and flexible timing which basically means stretching till 2-3 AM. If you are reading this in the USA or UK, yes this is our life here in India despite being educated. Everyone knows Indians are smart but underpaid and worked like a bloody slave.

Anyway, back to the question. STOP taking bullshit mass gainer. If you are using a mass gainer, then I presume you are skinny. The only supplement you need is a multivitamin. That's it. And try this:

Workout 3 days a week and hit full body everyday:

  • Bench Press 5x5
  • Overhead Press 5x5
  • Deadlift 5x5
  • Squat 5x5

Go heavy for strength gains and quickly finish and get out of the gym. You WILL get stronger. When you are stronger, you will feel more energy. Eat more. If you want to eat fried chicken and ice cream, have one or two, ok? Don't eat the whole bucket. Happy foods are important. We are not robots. Drink 2-3 liters of water and get about 9 hrs of sleep. If you cant get enough sleep at a go, then sleep during daytime in installments. Sleep in bus or train. Set an alarm so you don't miss your stop! This works trust me.

I believe your problem is lack of sleep and proper nutrition, and, your changing shift timing is screwing up your health. Talk to your manager to get rid of the shift. It happened to me too. And bro, don't be disheartened. If I can help you in anyway I can it is to my delight. I want to see you reach where you want to go. Keep lifting.

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Bro if you need to talk to me just drop a mail ok? – Saby Jul 9 at 4:59
Would you mind formatting your answer as opposed to a square wall of text, and maybe add some resources to back up your claims? – Alec Jul 9 at 12:23

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