Connecting McArdle’s disease cause-and-effect with diet & exercise

This past year, I’ve become keenly aware of how my energy levels throughout the day impact my quality of life and ability to be a good, happy husband and father.

My wife and I have a rambunctious 3 & a half-year old boy and 3-month old girl. I work full time, with a 25-minute commute each way. We also have 2 dogs who need to get walked every day, without exception, lest they go apeshit. I’m also a landlord for my family’s real estate properties.

By the time I get home, I’m often wiped out and my ability to be helpful and patient and engaged is put to the test.

It makes absolutely no sense at all to spend most of your time working if you’re left with no energy to devote to the reason for working – family. As such, I’ve lately been focused on ways to build and sustain my energy levels.

After a refreshing vacation last December which saw me covering 25,000 steps a day, I made it part of my daily regiment to put in 4-6 miles on a treadmill each morning. Aside from a few blisters, it’s been a success that gets my morning started right and I’d say it’s solidified into habit. (Ironically, I have more energy when I get up early and walk than I do when I sleep in.)

Walking each morning has also helped me connect cause-and-effect with my diet a little better. For example, I’ve observed that even a single bottle of beer the night before can impose a delay the next morning on my ability to get started on the treadmill and get past the initial hump to what we refer to as the second wind.

When for a period of 3 weeks I dramatically reduced the amount of carbohydrates I was eating each day, including beer, bread, cereals, pasta, etc. – and eliminating simple sugars completely, I noticed almost immediately that the ATP “drop off” was a helluva lot less pronounced, as well as the threshold for that second wind.

It also made me aware of a “third wind” state that I had not really been aware of prior. In between the second and third humps, there is a period when my legs and lungs are warmed up, though my body feels faintly hypoglycemic. Once this period has elapsed and I’m into that third wind, I finally feel what I imagine most people would call normal and it’s as though I can walk indefinitely.

But, alas, by then it’s usually 6:30AM and the kids are awake, and I need to get ready for work. 🙂

I will continue experimenting, though carefully. I’m trying to keep my exercise timing, my routine, and my overall calories controlled and constant while only varying the amount of carbohydrates and sugar I eat.

More to follow. Meanwhile, I’m interested in what others have learned through their own patient investigation with little controlled experiments with diet and exercise.

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