I received a question recently from a participant in the Katy Summer Slimdown Challenge.  After trying hard to eat right and exercise, they suddenly found themselves exhausted and low in energy.  Learn what to do if this happens to you.


Question: I have been feeling rather sluggish and I am thinking maybe it’s all the working out I have been doing. My body isn’t used to doing all this. And I have been thinking that maybe I need a multivitamin. Is there anything that you recommend or any ones I should stay away from? I workout pretty heavy (at least I think so, I am dripping sweat after them all) But lately I don’t seem to have the same energy I used to when I first started, so I am hoping a good multivitamin will help. Or if you know of any good tricks for energy I would like to know what they are.

Response: It’s more common than most people realize to suddenly experience tired and sluggish after making a change in exercise and nutrition.  Often times, we overcompensate when beginning a program.  We start eating less food and exercising more.  And while this seems like a great idea, it often ends up backfiring on us.  When you create too much of a caloric deficit in your program, your body seems to feel like it’s shutting down.

What’s the solution?  Either exercise less or eat more.  Doing either will decrease the caloric deficit to a manageable level.  Unfortunately we can’t lose weight as fast as we want to.  By creating a moderate caloric deficit, we can maintain the program over the long term and continue to get results.

How much is too much?  You really shouldn’t have more than a 500 – 1,000 calorie caloric deficit in your program.  And you also don’t want to consume lower than 1,200 calories per day.  Here’s how you can find out if you meet this criteria.

1. Find your Maintenance Calorie Intake with a Calorie Calculator.

2. Wear a heart rate monitor and find out how many calories you burned during your workout.

3. Figure out how many calories your burned throughout the day.  FitDay  This number should be at least 1,200 calories or higher.

(Maintenance Calorie Intake + Calories Burned Through Exercise) – Calories Consumed = Caloric Difference

The “Caloric Difference” number should be between 500 and 1,000.  If it’s higher than 1,000, you need to either icrease your calories or decrease your activity.

This is a simple approach, but there is more that could be happening.  However, if you have a sound nutrition, cardio, and strength training program, this is a great first step you can take on your own.