Posted by: McCarthy | 2008-10-29

Getting fit - exhaustion

Dear Doc.

I' m trying to get fit. I started gym and did a bit of weight training and found my body gaining muscle tone, but not burning fat. I started walking about 4 weeks ago. I walk 3 day a week, for an hour and average 5 to 6 kms.

The first week I was excited to get up in the morning and had so much energy all day. From the second week its been harder. I' m now starting the 4th week and feel totally exhausted. I feel depleted of all energy.

I am quite high on the BMI (25) and need to lose about 15 kgs. Does the exhaustion have something to do with weight loss? Will it get better? I don' t want excercise to be a boring pain and I do want to get fit. I' d like to feel the way I did the first week.How do I get my body to play along. What should I do?

I am a 35 year old woman.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageFitnessDoc

Hi there

I think you've probably gone in too hard and fatigued yourself, because you went from zero to quite a demanding training routine in no time at all - to suddenly do weight training and an hour of walking is quite tough, and that fatigue is probably expected. So my advice is to back off - less weight training, and also not as intense. Also, maybe just ease off on the walking speed, and see how that goes. The other thing that is in play here is your diet - having increased your training, you would need to also increase your energy intake to compensate for that increase. At the very least, you need to look at the types of food you eat and make sure they're optimal.

Also, don't panic at a failure to lose weight - you are seeing muscle toning and that is a sign that things are working for you. So don't panic about the number on the scale - focus on getting fitter, on toning muscle and improving how you feel about exercise. But at the moment, your preoccupation with weight has driven you into a frustrated position. My advice is to see a dietician about the energy intake issue and sort that out, and just back off, give your body a break for a week or two and then take it from there.

Good luck

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