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Here’s What You Need to Know About the Infamous ‘Exercise Flu’

Can You Make Yourself Sick With Exercise? The Answer Might Surprise You

Thanks to the ever-increasing reputation of diets like keto and paleo in recent times, numerous persons are reducing again on carbs in hopes of shedding some kilos and getting shredded. But right here’s the issue: carbohydrates are your physique’s major vitality supply while you’re exercising at a excessive depth. So, for those who’re frequently cranking out grueling exercises with out supplying your muscle mass with what they want for gasoline, you possibly can come down with “exercise flu.” Not solely that, however consultants say you may very well battle to construct muscle, too — or worse, lose among the muscle you have already got. So, what’s train flu? We talked to 2 health consultants to search out out.

RELATED: Guide to High-Intensity Interval Training

To be clear, simply since you’re figuring out whereas sticking to a low-carb weight-reduction plan doesn’t imply you’ll undergo from the train flu. However, Barry’s Bootcamp, CrossFit, Orange Theory, F45, and different types of high-intensity interval coaching (HIIT) may be extraordinarily strenuous on the physique. That means you’ll should be conscious of what number of carbs you’re consuming — as a result of for those who’re reducing them out utterly, your endurance and efficiency will seemingly be restricted, and you might begin feeling beneath the climate after that sweat session is over.

The excellent news? Exercise flu can completely be prevented. Here’s what you might want to know.

What Is the Exercise Flu?

It’s not unusual for folks to really feel a bit crummy after giving up carbs. In truth, many people have reported experiencing headaches, fatigue, nausea, dizziness, “brain fog,” gastrointestinal discomfort, decreased vitality, and even heartbeat alterations after beginning diets like keto. This is usually generally known as the “keto flu” or the “low-carb flu.” The train flu does set off related signs — nonetheless, the distinction is that it’s introduced on by the mixture of intense train and a low-carb weight-reduction plan (versus simply the weight-reduction plan alone).

“Some people experience it when under-eating relative to their training demands,” explains Paul Kriegler, an RD and program supervisor at Life Time.

According to Kriegler, when you have the train flu, you’ll most likely really feel torpid, worn out, nauseous, or chronically sore.

RELATED: How to Optimize Pre- and Post-Workout Nutrition

What Causes Exercise Flu?

When you eat carbs, they’re damaged down into glucose that then turns into blood sugar — which your body relies on for fuel during exercise. If you’re not getting sufficient carbs in your weight-reduction plan, your physique will endure “gluconeogenesis” to make that sugar as an alternative.

“Gluconeogenesis is the process the body uses to break down protein or fat into sugar in order to fuel itself when carb-intake is restricted,” explains Curtis Christopherson, Founder of WRKOUT.

Christopherson notes that the ensuing signs can embrace complications, irritability, weak point, vomiting, nausea, muscle soreness, and cramping.

“When dietary carbohydrates are scarce, our liver can use certain amino acids and fatty acid backbones to generate glucose,” provides Kriegler. “Any symptoms experienced while this is happening internally are likely not caused by gluconeogenesis itself, but rather by whatever is causing the low-carbohydrate availability.”

The backside line? If you’re trying to bulk up or construct energy, you’ll need to watch out of eliminating too many carbs out of your weight-reduction plan. Because for those who don’t eat sufficient of them, your physique might be pressured to make its personal glucose — and it’ll break down your muscle to perform that.

RELATED: How Often Should You Work Out?

But Wait — Isn’t Low-Carb Healthy?

Proponents of low-carb diets say that limiting carbs might help with weight loss, insulin resistance, and reducing high blood pressure, amongst different advantages — and there may be some research to back this up. That makes it a perfect way of life alternative for folks with diabetes and different metabolic ailments. Some research have proven that the keto weight-reduction plan could assist your physique to use fat as fuel during exercise versus the glycogen saved in your muscle mass, thus preventing you from getting tired. However, these findings are extra related to people who find themselves performing low-intensity exercises or exercising for greater than two hours. Plus, Alan Aragon, a co-author of The Lean Muscle Diet, beforehand defined to AskMen that carbs yield two to 5 instances extra vitality than fats does.

When it involves power-based and high-intensity bodily actions, low-carb diets appear to be at an obstacle. Here’s why: carbs have been proven to play a key role in the anaerobic and ATP energy systems (the physique’s important gasoline sources for train), promote recovery after exercise, improve resistance to fatigue during exercise, and assist to reduce muscle breakdown during recovery. Studies have additionally demonstrated that consuming carbs can improve exercise performance, significantly in the case of endurance.

“Exercise of any kind, but especially high-intensity exercise, creates a much greater demand for fuel,” explains Christopherson. “Low-carb diets essentially involve replacing the body’s primary and most efficient fuel source. While it is not impossible to exercise on a low-carb diet, it is much more difficult to adequately fuel the body for exertion.”

How Can I Avoid Exercise Flu?

According to Kriegler, reducing carbs is warranted when you have an intolerance or metabolic dysfunction. However, for those who don’t battle with these sorts of points and also you take part in high-intensity coaching, he doesn’t suggest dramatically limiting carbs. It could also be useful to work with a nutritionist together with a private coach to provide you with a dietary plan and exercise routine that’s tailor-made to your targets and way of life.

Rather than eliminating carbs altogether, Christopherson suggests simply decreasing your consumption to reap lots of the advantages of low-carb diets with out the chance of flu-like signs. Studies have proven that for lively folks, a high-protein, moderate-carb weight-reduction plan appears to be ideal for muscle growth and body composition.

FYI, you also needs to be conscious of how a lot fats you’re getting in your weight-reduction plan.

“One common mistake is that people tend to experiment with reducing carbs while only consuming lean protein sources — so in effect, they’re going low-carb and low-fat at the same time,” provides Kriegler. “This is a scenario in which someone would be too low-carb to fuel workouts, too low-fat to get into nutritional ketosis, and potentially so high in protein they’re stuck in gluconeogenesis-driven glucose-dependent metabolism.”

And for those who ever suspect that you simply’ve already come down with a case of the train flu, keep in mind this: it’s essential to honor your physique’s limitations and keep away from strenuous train till signs subside.

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