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Old 10-26-2009, 11:53 PM   #1
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ShawnMHall HB User
Strange unrelenting fatigue

Hi, I am 23 years old and am something of a fitness fanatic... I workout every day (or at least try to) and push myself pretty hard during every workout for anywhere from thirty min to two hours... both weights and cardio. I won't get into workout specifics, but i keep myself in a range of 4-7% body fat and would like to think im in good shape. I get antsy when i take off days but still do maybe once a week. but over the past few years ill notice that every several months or so i will have about 3 days to a week where my body cant do anythingggg at all. I hurt, I sleep for absurd amounts of time (12 hours straight) and i have all this muscle pain for no reason... I walk a mile to the gym every day, but when I am having one of these "episodes" i cant even make it to the gym... usually my legs hurt too much. during this time i get really annoyed bc i dont know what my problem is whether im sick or worn out or what... but its not normal. everyone i know will have ten times more energy than me and i just feel useless.... when im used to operating at a level above most others (im sorry that souds arrogant but... yeah) so as far as symptoms... Muscle pain, weakness, fatigue... for days... and its hard to fall asleep bc im not eexpending any energy during the day, but once im asleep i go into a coma. I really would like to figure out what this is... its not a diet thing and i drink an absurd amount of water... pleaseee help. thanks all.
-Shawn

 
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Old 11-13-2009, 06:36 PM   #2
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almonkey HB User
Re: Strange unrelenting fatigue

I think under 7 is too low and causing you most of the problem. I read the following:
At the low end of body fat levels, folks run into all sorts of health problems.Lower Isn’t Better

Lower body fat is not better. Not from a performance standpoint and not from a health standpoint. Although it’s probably as related to energy balance as body fat per se, the point is that when folks get beyond a certain point of leanness, hormone levels are disrupted in both men and women (and a great deal of this is controlled by leptin, discussed in detail in other articles on the site).

The normal menstrual cycle in women may stop (this is called ammennorrhea), indicating a problem with estrogen production. This tends to cause bone loss which is a very serious problem.

In men not using drugs to maintain their hormone levels, testosterone can approach near-castrate levels as they reach the lower limits of body fat. Complaints of zero sex drive (and not being able to get it up even if the drive were there) are common among natural bodybuilders who get extremely lean.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Thyroid, growth hormone, IGF-1, metabolic rate, and the immune system are all severely depressed under situations of extremely low body fat (genetic oddities excepted). Cortisol goes through the roof at extremely low body fat levels especially when a lot of training is being done.

This is all just part of a coordinated set of adaptations that occur with both starvation and dieting (dieting is just starvation on a smaller/slower scale) to try to keep you alive. It’s frustrating but actually makes perfect sense, at least to your body.

A body fat of 5% in a man is likely occurring because there is no food. Your body can’t tell the difference between you starving it because you’re a crazy bodybuilder or you starving because there’s no food available ; it reacts the same way.

If there is no food, the last thing your body wants is for you to get your mate pregnant. Either there isn’t enough food to keep it alive or you’ll be dead before it’s born, and unable to fulfill your fatherly duties (watching TV, drinking beer, changing the oil and killing the occasional spider). So testosterone crashes to make it impossible in the first place. If you’re starving, chances are so is your mate so that’s a double whammy.

 
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