973741 tn?1342342773

underweight and endurance sports?

Finally took a needed step and had my son fully evaluated by a nutritionist. She's also got a sub specialty in sports nutrition.  She had something called a bod pod which is this crazy thing you get in that measures body composition and can give you data on your nutrition and exercise program's effect on you.  He did a bunch of other testing too.  

Findings for my son that has had fatigue, quite noticeable, all summer is that he is under nourished. Sigh, I DO feed him, promise. He's always been a highly picky eater as he has sensory issues. He nibbles at dinner that is usually a healthy mix of foods often prepared with him in mind to get him to eat. He just doesn't eat much at all and protein is not something he likes. No beans, forces meat, forces most anything protein related. He tends to eat the same foods over and over.  He's always been a challenge.  

But this is nothing new and he's never had fatigue.  However, he did a heavy weight lifting program. The nutritionist said that did him in.  He added on three times a week heavy weight lifting and didn't increase his food intake while running his 60 plus miles a week.  

He's got some days he is normal now but STILL fatigued and the weight lifting ended mid July.  The nutritionist wants him to gain 5 pounds.  He's 5 foot 11 and 133 pounds.  Thin but not malnourished looking.  Looks like a runner.  

She also wants to get his ferritin checked as it doesn't show up on an iron test.  

The fatigue is perplexing as he was training for track with this coach until mid March and was his strong self then.  This change occurred during lock down and over the summer.  All he did different was add the weight lifting.  And his eating got a little shoddy for a bit (like eating a bottle of ghost pepper salsa with saltines for lunch three days in a row . . . oops, wasn't monitoring.  Stopped buying the salsa for him).  

Anyway, could this actually be his issue?  Nutrition all of a sudden catching up to him?

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Avatar universal
Maintaining proper body mass has become a serious social problem. A review of literature concerning the relationships between body mass and health-related fitness revealed significantly fewer studies conducted on physically inactive people. The aim of the study was to determine the relationships between BMI values and the level of endurance-strength abilities in 19-23 year-old women. The research was conducted in 2012 on 204 first-year female students attending the University of Warmia & Mazury in Olsztyn, Poland. Basic anthropometric parameters (body mass and height) were measured and the level of endurance-strength abilities was assessed using the 3-minute Burpee test. The conducted research indicated that overweight and obesity negatively influence the level of endurance-strength abilities assessed by the 3-minute Burpee test. Statistical calculations revealed that when the value of BMI increases by 1%, the number of repetitions performed during the 3-minute Burpee test decreases by 0.93%. They also indicated the usefulness of the 3-minute Burpee test in determining the influence of BMI on young women’s endurance-strength abilities.
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649848 tn?1534633700
It's good that the nutritionist ordered the Vitamin D, but I do think B-12 deficiency is a possibility because of the way he eats.  It won't really hurt to supplement with B-12, but won't help if he doesn't need it.  It really should be tested first to make sure he needs it and/or that he gets the right type and dosage of supplement.   Is there a way you can get the nutritionist to add B-12 to the list of blood work?

If you decide to supplement, it's best to get Methylcobalamin (type of B-12) because that's already the usable form.  In addition, sublingual or liquid forms, often work best, unless the nutritionist recommends something else.

I was recently diagnosed with a couple of chronic sensory issues and although they aren't what your son suffers from, I get what you/he are going through.  Plus I have that gag reflex when I try to eat certain things/textures, so I understand what your son goes through when it comes to eating.
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Gee, should have read this before responding above.  Duh.
649848 tn?1534633700
Has you had his vitamin B-12 levels tested?  Low B-12 can present other symptoms, but fatigue is one of the most common.  Other than sources such as nutritional yeast, tempeh, seaweed/kelp, etc,  B-12 comes from animal products.  The best sources are meat, eggs and dairy and if he isn't eating enough of those, there's a good chance he's deficient.  Also Vitamin D - even if he's running outside, his body may not be producing enough Vitamin D.

Has he had actual iron tests done?  Most doctors will include Ferritin when they order an iron test, but often it has to be asked for.   Also, has he had a CBC?  That will help determine if he's anemic.
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Actually, the B12 in nutritional yeast is probably from an animal source.  It could be from plant sources, but the definition of nutritional yeast is brewer's yeast with supplements added, and as you correctly point out, getting your B12 from plant sources is really really hard.  I suppose it can be done, but most vegans take supplements for their B12 like nutritional yeast without realizing that much of it is supplementing B12 and that might be an animal source, as it's much more abundant and therefore a lot less expensive to do it that way.  So if you're using nutritional yeast to stay vegan, make sure the B12 is actually there, because it isn't naturally occurring in yeast -- yeast can't utilize it -- and that it's not from an animal source.  If you don't want to deal with the B12, just use brewer's yeast, it has the other B vitamins and is less expensive but does have a stronger taste.  The yeast in nutritional yeast is deactivated, which doesn't really matter but it assuages those who falsely believe eating yeast contributes to the problems some have with yeast infections.  It doesn't.  One type of yeast can't turn into another type.  This info is from a scientist who used to work for Solgar vitamins before it was bought out and became not a reliable source.  When I managed health food stores, we sold baker's yeast, brewer's yeast, and nutritional yeast, and taste had a lot to do with whether you used brewer's or nutritional. This is more than anyone cares about, but it is important if for ideological reasons you're trying to be vegan or vegetarian -- that nutritional yeast may have a hidden surprise in it.  I'm more going with Sarahogs on his one, though -- when you start weight lifting, you need to increase protein intake both for it to work and also to recover from breaking down the muscles.  As for running, I think that depends on how far he's running and how much.  There's a point if you run long distances that nothing can give you nutrition anymore, which is what makes marathons such a challenge -- it's an activity that's bad for you, can adversely affect your heart, and forces you to outrun your bodily reserves of nutrients which is the whole point and fun of doing it if you like challenges.  But I'm not sure how much your son is running, as I've never done cross country and I don't know the distances he's covering.  But I do know if he's adding significant weight lifting to his routine, and he's pretty young to be doing that, he needs extra protein.  If he's already averse to consuming protein, that could be the problem, and if I read you right that's when this started.  He is pretty light for that height -- I've been 5'10 since the last year of junior high and I weight 150 pounds to 155 until I started taking Paxil in my very late thirties and gained a lot of weight.  My brother was a very picky eater, though it was the protein he ate and skipped the veggies, and he's now got a pacemaker and copd.  It really does catch up to you at some point if you don't eat what you should.  Nobody ever worked on my brother to stop being so picky, but he would have benefited from it.  I hope you find a way to reach your son.  I know covid makes this hard, but if it ever goes away, you might take him to some small health food store if one still exists anywhere and he can hang and hear people exchange ideas about food.  If you can convince him life is more fun when your broaden your experiences, including eating different foods, maybe you can get him to see eating in a different way, as it appears he sees it as a chore.  And of course, the more different foods you eat the less likely you are to have nutrient deficiencies.  As for tempeh. if you're going to serve him that, make sure you learn how to cook it first -- it can be dreadful if you're not a really good cook.  I can't make it in any way that's tolerable but I've had it by gourmet macrobiotic cooks and it's great.  Don't know what they do to make it that way.  And a little secret I learned in the health food biz -- while vegans are ideological to an obnoxious fault very often, vegetarians are almost never vegetarian.  Hindus do a lot of dairy, because they know they need that, and dairy isn't any vegetable I know of.  And, whisper whisper, most of them eat fish once in awhile.  Peace, all.  
We aren't as much concerned with whether yeast is plant or animal - it's actually, neither one since it's in the fungus family (and considered "safe" for vegans) - as we are with what could be causing specialmom's son to have the fatigue and other issues he has.   I merely put B-12 deficiency out there as possibly contributing to the fatigue since he's a picky eater and likely wouldn't get enough from his diet.   As one who has had nearly life-long B-12 deficiency (Pernicious Anemia), I'm quite aware of the symptoms it can cause with fatigue being close to the top of the list.  
Think you missed my point entirely.  Nutritional yeast, once again, was listed as a non-animal source of B12.  Nutritional yeast has no B12 in it, as it's a supplemented form of brewer's yeast.  The B12 in it is a supplement and the supplement, not the yeast itself, might be of an animal source and I was only giving a warning to any vegans or vegetarians out there that using nutritional yeast might contradict their ideology.  It has nothing at all to do with whether or not the problem in this case is related to B12, something which none of us can know unless testing for that is done.  I was only trying to be helpful to those who have an ideological opposition to using animal products, and nutritional yeast might contain one in supplemented B12 or it might not depending on how the B12 is added to it.  I agree it wasn't meant to respond to Mom's problem, but as nutritional yeast was recommended as a non-animal source of B12 there are people who look at this who are trying very hard for their own belief systems to not use animal products.  Peace.
Hi Barb.  I'm getting his Vitamin D checked.  That was one the nutritionist mentioned along with ferritin.  I don't think B12 is on the order for his blood work.  I wonder if I could/should just go ahead and supplement him with that?  What are your thoughts?  Would it hurt anything?  
paxiled, my son isn't just picky.  But has a developmental delay called sensory integration disorder.  This affects his eating in a couple of ways. He has some motor planning issues. For kids like my son, there is a disconnect of the nerves that tell the muscle what to do. So, chewing was not a natural process for him.  He had several choking instances on meat as a toddler.  It was cut up very small but he didn't really chew it and choked.  The kid choked on cheerios!  Anyway, this created a situation of what they call 'gag memory'.  When meat or items with that same consistency or texture went into his mouth and started down his throat, he immediately gagged.  We had to see a feeding specialist for this because he was gagging and barfing when eating as a reflex. We used a process called 'food chaining' to overcome it.  But he still will cut his food up very tiny to avoid it.  Also, sensory integration is a texture, smell, hot and cold type of thing.  Aversions are common.  Certain textures just can't be forced in kids like my son.  Again, we worked with an occupational therapist for 6 years.  It's really hard on him because he hates it. He wants to be more easy going about it.  But can't get it down.  It embarrasses him.  He doesn't like any of his food mixed like in a casserole.  I use the same ingredients in a casserole for him but all separated on his plate and he'll eat it when the rest of us eat the casserole.  He tries.  So, I try as well to make it easy on him.  I have another son who eats anything I serve.  Anyway, he's had a more complicated situation than most kids in terms of eating.  
I completely understand the food texture thing.  I've never been diagnosed with a sensory disorder, but I cannot handle the smell of yogurt (let alone taste it), can't eat raw tomatoes on their own (but if they are mixed in tabbouleh or salsa, I'm fine with them, and can't handle the flavor of cucumbers - if a cucumber has touched a piece of lettuce in a salad and then was removed, I still taste it and it is awful.  I'm fine with pickles though.  

Hopefully, his desire to get in the necessary nutrients to help with his running will help him overcome some of his aversions, or find a diet that gives him what he needs and fits with what he can eat.  I love that protein powder or other protein rich, non-meat foods exists, because I really don't love eating a lot of meat, but I love running and exercising, which requires protein.  Eggs are also an excellent source of protein.  I've recently started just making eggs in the waffle makes (sometimes with cheese, sometimes plain) for some variety and a protein rich snack.

Does he enjoy smoothies?  That is one way to get in some fruit (and veggies) as well as milk and protein, but I know not everyone enjoys the texture.  

And... if he isn't eating a lot of meat, it is quite possible his iron levels are low, and that might show up with the ferritin test.  I know boys and men don't need such a high level of iron daily as women for obvious reasons, but if he isn't eating much red meat at all, that could be causing problems.  I am not advocating eating red meat - I quit eating mammals in 1996 and never looked back, but I also have been supplementing my iron at least a few times a month for decades (and for the last year everyday).

People who run faster than me (so definitely your son) can develop anemia due to physically crushing red blood cells with their foot strike.  (I know, that sounds made up and is hard to believe, but it is true.)

According to the "Gaudianiclinic":

"Athletes need more iron than the general population. Iron is lost through sweat, skin, urine, the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, and menstruation. Exercise, particularly high intensity and endurance types, increases iron losses by as much as 70% when compared to sedentary populations. Athletes lose more iron due to heavy sweating as well as increased blood loss in the urine and GI tract.* Red blood cells also break down more quickly in those who exercise. The mechanical force of a footstrike during endurance running, for example, can increase the destruction of red blood cells in the feet, leading to a shorter red blood cell life span."

(The foot strike destroying RBCs I've heard from many sources.)

And, as many have said previously, I think this sounds like more than just an anxiety or depression related issue.  If he stopped lifting weights in July, and hasn't changed his diet that much from when he was running faster in March, it sounds more like a physical health problem that  has a solution that can be found.
oops I forgot to add that it is important to not supplement iron unless you know you have a deficiency.  I started to supplement around 2006ish, when I donated blood, and the blood in my right finger prick wasn't iron rich enough (but we checked my left hand which had just enough with their float or sink test to still donate).  I started supplementing iron then, and with my thyroid issues, I was well aware a large amount of iron was leaving my body every month.

I'm not recommending everyone who is feeling low energy supplement with iron.  It is very dangerous to have too high a level of iron.  Just, if you suspect you are low, get tested and then discuss supplementing with your doctor.  (And not everyone handles oral iron supplements well - I have an aunt who was extremely anemic and refused to take them because of digestive issues -- I've never had a problem, but I'm also aware that it is much more important for me to have iron in my body than the alternative.)
Meat isn't actually the best food source for iron.  We all think it is, but it actually isn't.  The place where the most iron in meat is in liver, and that's not something most of us like a whole lot -- I personally love chicken liver, but when you mention smells, when my Mom made beef liver I stayed out of the house, the flavor made me ill.  It's odd how we react to food.  But if you want more iron that the body assimilates the best, eat greens.  Dandelion greens, parsley, watercress, nettles, and a host of others has the most assimilable iron.  Beets too.  Iron supplements definitely should only be taken if you need it and in small doses, as too much is toxic, but most iron supplements have so much iron in them because the body can't use it in that form.  There's a supplement called Floradix that has very little iron in it, but because it's all plant sourced, it works really well.  As for B12, eating seafood is good.  If you do supplement, it's water soluble so it shouldn't be much of a danger.  Sublingual gets in the system better, and make sure of the form -- methylcobalamin is probably the best.  Some people have a genetic problem with B12, folate, and/or B6 in the methlylation process that creates energy for our cells.  Most who have this genetic defect don't have any problems because of it, but if someone does, they need to take the methylated form of B12 as the supplement, and this should only be used if needed.  Mom, it sounds like your son has had a really rough time of it, and I guess that means you have as well.  Maybe with age and the confidence that comes with it he will be less affected by it.  I hope so.
Dark leafy greens are high in non-heme iron.  Studies show that vegetarians and vegans may consume as much iron as non-vegetarians, however, they are still at a higher risk of deficiency.  This is because non-heme iron (which is what you find in fortified foods, vegetables, beans, etc.) is not as readily absorbed as heme-iron, which comes from animal sources.    There are studies that show eating meat will actually enhance the absorption of the non-heme form of iron as well (just like vitamin C enhances iron absorption).  I'm not sure where this information that plant based iron is better in any way than heme-based iron because studies show heme-iron is better absorbed and people who consume heme-iron are less likely to be anemic.  (I'm assuming assimilable means it is easier to incorporate it into newly formed hemoglobin proteins, but, if it isn't getting into the body through absorption, it isn't going to be useful.)

I would love to be a person who absorbs enough iron from my diet.  I eat a fairly healthy diet with lean protein (salmon, tilapia, chicken, or ground turkey) about two to three times a week, all which have some heme-iron.  I eat leafy greens at dinner and sometime thrown in my protein shakes after a run. But, I also have been dealing with losing a significant amount of iron every month for decades, with the last year being one that I would never want to repeat (iron loss wise).  So I take a supplement along with a Vitamin C supplement in addition to trying to eat a healthy diet.

From what I can find on Floradix, it is a liquid form of an iron supplement (along with vitamin C, a bunch of B vitamins, and more) in the Ferrous gluconate form (which I assumed was the reason it is more easily absorbed, but maybe not).  It is also about 8 x more expensive per dose than my current Ferrous sulfate supplement, which seems to be working for me.  Ferrous sulfate, ferrous gluconate, and ferrous fumarate (Fe 2+) are all more soluble than the ferric (Fe 3+) form, and are all absorbed at similar levels.  Whatever claims Floradix makes, I found a scientific review that states " The estimated absorption rate of the ferrous salts is 10-15%, with no difference found in absorbability among the three main formulations in a small but randomized controlled trial."    It is well known that vitamin C aids in the absorption of iron, which may explain why Floradix claims enhanced absorption.  It might also be because it is in a liquid form.  

If someone does have an iron deficiency and does need to supplement, there are lots of different iron supplements out there and many different ones can be effective for you.  I have a feeling some people deal with a problem with the tablets (like what I take) causing constipation.  This has never been a problem for me.  I also take a Vitamin C tablet along with the iron, and usually eat a clementine around the same time as my supplement as well.  I like fruit. I'm not saying don't take Floradix, I just would like to point out that there are many options out there and I'm not about to endorse one specific product when there is no scientific reason why it is more effective than others.

I do find it somewhat strange about some of the energy claims made by people who use Floradix.  Rebuilding blood cells is a slow process, but taking in  B vitamins can help improve your energy immediately, so are people feeling more energetic because they now have more B12 and B6?  And if so, are they getting the impression their iron levels are instantly improved?  I frequently use iron levels to refer to my anemia, but this actually means to fix this, I need to make more red blood cells and more hemoglobin inside those red blood cells.  Hemoglobin is not stable on its own, which means if there is not enough iron molecules for how much hemoglobin is made, it degrades very quickly.  It takes a lot of time to rebuild depleted RBCs, (at least a couple weeks).  So if you are feeling an immediate energy burst after taking Floradix, it is almost certainly not because now you have lots more iron in your body.  (Again, I'm sure this stuff works just like other iron supplements work.)
No, and you shouldn't feel any more energy by taking a supplement right after taking it.  My "data" doesn't come from company claims, which I disregard.  It comes from 18 years managing health food stores and the reports by my customers who had tried everything docs recommended and still had low iron levels.  Floradix did the trick where everything else had failed.  This is obviously anecdotal info, and I don't play a doctor on TV or on this website.  It is based on actual humans using the product, which is why it's able to command such a high price.  Because it works.  I think part of why it works is it contains plants that are high in iron.  I know, everyone tells you animal is the right form.  And that's not wrong.  But what they don't tell you is that digesting animal is really hard on the human body, with some animal being harder than others.  Beef is especially hard on the digestive system.  Dairy will inhibit iron absorption.  So will some ingredients in plants, such as phytates, but you can deal with phytates by properly combining foods.  I didn't know anyone who reported more energy from taking any iron supplement.  Rebuilding iron if you have anemia is harder if you have a disease condition than it is if you're just not eating enough iron in your diet.  Sometimes less is more.  What you want is what works, not what looks better in the lab.  So all I can tell you is what I saw, as I have personally no nutritional problems that I know of, but I eat a whole lot better than most people.  My worst problems have all been caused by doctors and medication, but that's just me, not everyone.  Sometimes we're just unlucky in life.  So again, I sold a ton of the stuff but never knew anyone claiming more energy from it.  Every one who did take it reported better iron on their further doctor checkups.  That's what it's based on.  We sold every kind of iron supplement out there, including really inexpensive ones that we know work poorly, but that's the only one that got results.  But again, I can't say that these people had a disease condition that caused their anemia or not, other than those who were on certain treatments for cancer.  But again, that's a medication problem.  And all ir0n supplements we sold in health food stores included Vitamin C.  Floradix goes a bit further by including some Vitamin C but also rose hips, a food source of it, which can improve absorption.  If what you're doing is working, I wouldn't change a thing.  As for hemoglobin, I have no idea if this would help you or not, but chlorophyll is almost exactly the chemical makeup of hemoglobin.  Foods high in it, or just taking it by itself, might be of help.  Or maybe not.  Spirulina and wheat grass are great sources of it, although spirulina is felt by some to inhibit B12 by having the right kind in it, but I've never found that to be true nor did anyone else I knew who used it.  Usually, it gave them more energy, not less.  But again, it is laboratory true that animal iron is better absorbed, but don't tell that to those who didn't absorb it, and I'm guessing the reason was trouble digesting the animal food.  Fish and other seafood probably avoids that problem.  Now, spinach is also in Floradix, and spinach has a very bad reputation for its high oxalic acid content, which also inhibits ir0n absorption.  The counter argument is spinach eaten raw isn't a problem, but shouldn't be eaten cooked.  This is opposite greens like kale and collards, which should be cooked, not eaten raw.  You know that raw broccoli fad?  Probably can't be digested raw.  Cook it or juice it, which is really a form of cooking as juicing breaks down a lot of what makes certain foods not well digested in raw form.  But once again, if what you are doing is working for you, don't change a thing.  Nobody should change what they're doing if it's working and not harming them in some other way.  And I'm not a vegetarian or a vegan, and am not likely to ever be one.  Just to say.  Peace.
Sorry, said spirulina has the right kind of B12, meant wrong kind.  
I just went on a deep dive looking into chlorophyll carrying oxygen in the blood (it doesn't, but there were enough claims on the internet that I was like, "huh, is this a real thing?"

It looks like chlorophyll, a pigment, is usually broken down during digestion into component parts and does not make it into the blood stream intact.  A similar pigment chlorophyllin, however, can be detected in the blood stream.  From what I can find, chlorophyll is thought to aid in RBCs by either providing component parts for building heme which is needed to form hemoglobin, or by chorophyll acting as an antioxidant, which can prevent damage and degradation of hemoglobin and RBCs.

There are lots of good reasons to consume chlorophyll, and if you are building RBCs, it looks like iron taken with chlorophyll is much better than iron alone.  Antioxidants can help lower your risk for cancer, apparently applying chlorophyll helps with wound healing (again, this is probably from the antioxidant nature), weight loss and cholesterol, it is very good for you.

Heme-iron (from meat sources) is better absorbed, but it is also linked to an increased risk in cancer!  Vegetable iron is harder to absorb, but in the long term probably healthier.

I usually eat raw spinach as my "salad" (ever since I got a stomach bug and/or food poisoning eating romaine years ago during the whole romaine might be contaminated era), but this week I decided to cook the spinach for a change.   I also eat broccoli raw.  Actually wanting to consume vegetables and eating them in any form are positives for me, but I think I still prefer raw spinach.  Anyway, I will stick to trying to eat many antioxidant rich foods and hope for the best (I'm on a raw carrot in hummus kick right now).

Thanks for all your information Paxiled, you give me a lot to think about.  I like to learn new things and challenge what I thought was true.
Ditto.  You have also given me quite a lot to look up.  
Avatar universal
Has he lost weight?  Is he at a lower BMI than the other kids on his team?  133 at 5'11" seems really low, but for many endurance runners, a BMI at 18 is not a problem.  Has his diet changed significantly since March?   A nutritionist is going to look for nutrition problems, but might be missing out on something not nutrition related.

As for lifting weights and not eating enough protein - I take protein powder after most of my runs and notice a huge difference with how fast I'm able to recover versus before I started taking it.  I can't remember if this is your son who takes protein powder, or is that is the other one?  I'd imagine if he is lifting weights a lot, he is fatiguing his muscles, and that is going to affect his running.  Increasing protein intake after muscle damage (either from weight lifting or from running) will help speed up recovery time.  This can be from a whole food protein source like meat or eggs or protein rich plants foods like legumes or beans, no one "needs" to take protein powder for recovery.  I take protein powder because it is hard for me to eat enough protein just in my diet - I eat fish and chicken, but I don't feel like I need to eat meat everyday.  

But... if he is weight lifting heavy and running everyday, even with increased protein intake, there might not be enough recovery time and he's just in a cycle of fatigue from overdoing it.  Usually, runners are told to do heavy weight training later in the day on the same day they do a hard workout run, and then the next day is a complete recovery day.  No weights, and if there is a run, it is a very easy paced run on a recovery day.  This allows the body time to rebuild those muscles, since both weight lifting and running hard will break down muscle tissue.  Doing weight training on easy run days is actually setting the runner up for problems because both hard runs and lifting weights damages the muscles, and no day off means no recovery, and could easily set up an overtraining situation that is difficult to get out of.

I think seeing a nutritionist is a very good idea.  If he is interested in improving his running, he can learn a lot about what a healthy diet should look like, and ways that he can improve, and sometimes kids listen better when it is coming from someone other than their parents.  
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You are always a wealth of information, thank you.  This is the same son I've talked about.  He's trying for the added protein.  It's just a dramatic change in a short amount of time.  He stopped the weight lifting in Mid July.  Should be over the weakness by now, right?  Part of me feels like it might be semi psychological although he tells me that he is trying his best and can't do any better. But he was so disappointed in his performance last year and at times, I'm sure embarrassed by puking during/after a run in front of people.  He tells me I'm dead wrong when I suggest that (he tells me I'm wrong about everything though, ha ha).  But he's a bit depressed, has anxiety and is going through a rough patch.  I don't know if that factors into this odd sudden weakness/fatigue/sluggishness.  He was beat in a race by kids he was 1 to 5 minutes faster than in March.  His coach says his work load would have a different result than what is having in terms of his speed that something is absolutely wrong.  But I just don't know what. So, we're trying the nutrition route.  He's been a trooper trying to force more protein down.  And he's found he likes vanilla silk almond milk.  I have protein bars and also got isopure flavorless protein powder that I'm mixing into some things.  He doesn't notice.  I tried nuun hydration products.  Not a hit.  I tasted them.  not great.  But hey, I'm trying.  
I don't like Nuun either!  So many runners swear by it.  I don't understand why electrolytes need to be "effervescent" and I don't like the Nuun  flavors I have tried.

As far as electrolytes, I like the taste of Gatorade, but not Powerade, and very specific flavors of gatorade (not fruit punch, most of the others are fine).  I've been replenishing electrolytes this summer with gatorade powder, which is working for me. I also have gone through many, many single serve packets of Propel electrolytes, until I realized buying a giant canister of electrolyes would save so much money and would be less wasteful with packaging.  If I could get a big canister of Propel electrolytes, that would be my ideal electrolyte situation, but that does not exist at the moment.
Sarah - I'm with you on the Gatorade... My neuro recommended that I try the G2 for electrolytes in hopes that it might help with my muscle cramps.  So far I've only found one flavor I can tolerate and I have to dilute that with water i.e. 3/4 bottle water with ~1/4 bottle Gatorade.  

My protein levels are almost always low, so my doctor recommends that I do shakes/smoothies, but I also have yet to find a protein mix that doesn't have a gritty texture.  
To avoid texture problems, just buy the pure protein concentrate and then flavor it with other things to make it palatable.  Most protein supplements and bars use protein isolate, which doesn't work and can be harmful.  You want concentrate.  If you just take a pure protein concentrate powder and then mix it with, say, a banana and some beets or carrots, it will taste great and be better for you than the sugar laden or artificial sugar laden products you usually find.  I used to have a juice bar at one of the health food store I managed, and there was nothing gritty about the pure protein we used.  The mixes can be the problem.  One that is a mix but tastes good and wasn't gritty to me was Spirutein, which is sweetened but combines protein with spirulina.  I preferred to use Nature's Life rice protein, which was just that and nothing else and then mix it with things that taste good.  Now, I'm not sure any of us actually needs a protein supplement, unless you're engaged in a lot of body building.  I think most of us use it because it tastes good.  We really don't need a ton of protein to be healthy, but if you're trying to build muscle, you do.
I've found whey protein usually has a smoother texture than plant based protein powders, and I now always do protein powder with a banana and almond milk in a small blender, and that works for me.  

I used to do shaker bottles with the little metal ball, but that never did that good a job of mixing in the powder.  Maybe I just wasn't shaking hard enough?  
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