Why do the weights make me a grump?
October 27, 2007 3:04 PM   Subscribe

I get into a really crappy mood after lifting weights, and I'd like it to stop.

I've been on a regular upper and lower body weight-lifting routine for about 2 months and afterwards I get into a really bad mood. I get extremely impatient and little things really set me off (today it was that the hard-boiled eggs were too runny) and I want to nip this in the bud. Some symptoms/patterns that I've noticed:
  • I'm a guy, if that has any bearing.
  • Food intake seems to have something to do with it, as my mood often improves after I eat, but eating before lifting doesn't seem to make all that much difference.
  • I bike commute 10 miles every day, and I really push myself on parts of the ride. This type of physical exertion has the opposite effect -- it makes me pretty happy and endorphiney.
  • My girlfriend characterizes me as more of a grump than a jerk when this happens. I realize that this info is scant at best; I apologize for the relative lack of detail. Could the problem be related to the type of exercise (ie, weights vs. aerobic), or the kinds of foods I'm (not) eating before lifting? Any advice is very much appreciated!
posted by JohnFredra to Health & Fitness (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Are you eating directly after you lift? If not, start.
posted by Loto at 3:08 PM on October 27, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks, Loto -- do you think a clif bar enough, or do I need to be prepared for a full meal? Also, I find that I'm in a bad mood before I even walk out the door of the gym, and I'd like to prevent that in particular.
posted by JohnFredra at 3:18 PM on October 27, 2007

My guess (and it's only a guess) is that you're not working out hard enough to get those "happy hormones" flowin'. Whenever I lift weights, I feel rockin, especially after doing legs.

I could be wrong of course. It could be the music you're listening too. If it's Mudvayne and early Korn you work out too, it'll probably leave you in a negative mood.

Anyway, I hope you figure it out.
posted by JaySunSee at 4:05 PM on October 27, 2007

I would try to rule out the possibility you are reacting to something in the gym such as floor wax, cleaning solvents or air fresheners. Is there another gym you could visit as a guest, do the same exercises, and see how you feel?
posted by jamjam at 4:16 PM on October 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

This may be the dumbest completely wild guess I have ever put forward here, but: don't your testosterone levels spike after lifting weights?
posted by thehmsbeagle at 4:18 PM on October 27, 2007

I had a similar problem when I was using andro-stack-type products.
posted by Mr_Crazyhorse at 4:24 PM on October 27, 2007

Definitely a food issue with me. After an intense workout if I don't have food soon I can become unpleasant to be around. I'd guess a Clif bar isn't going to be enough if you're lifting a whole lot.
posted by 6550 at 5:25 PM on October 27, 2007

Best answer: yes, your testosterone levels do spike. you are physically and mentally exhausted. drink more water or gatorrade (try that rain stuff if the sugar bothers you) during training and eat a small bar (yes, clif is fine) within 30 minutes of finishing your session. this is the recovery phase. try a long shower or a fifteen minute incline walk on a treadmill (perhaps incl 5, speed 3.5) to cool down a bit.

this is completely normal, yet obnoxious to bystanders. you know how you feel different when you look into a mirror after you work out, even if you saw yourself the same morning? it's your brain.
posted by krautland at 5:34 PM on October 27, 2007

oh yeah, try not to drive home from the gym.

I know more people than I care to admit who have gotten into accidents while in this type of mood/phase.
posted by krautland at 5:36 PM on October 27, 2007

Response by poster: Many thanks for all the answers. I'd never considered the 'environmental' factors (floor wax, etc), but I think I can safely rule that out, as my gym is pretty low on the presentation scale. I'm also not using any bulk-up products.

It seems like the food whens and whats are a likely candidate: it's quite possible that i'm simply not getting enough calories or hydration before or during my workout. I wonder too if that might be causing me to hit a wall before I can get the feel-good going... I'll do a bit of Googling on the testosterone spiking -- I have very little idea of what physiological effects of that are, but I think I'd be the wiser for knowing.

Thanks again ya'll!
posted by JohnFredra at 5:57 PM on October 27, 2007

I eat a bar or something with protein within 20 minutes of working out, and a meal within 2 hours, and when I'm really working out a lot I eat 5 times a day. If you are weightlifting past your aerobic threshold you'll be releasing a lot of adrenaline and 'emergency' blood sugar.

Also, you might want to talk to a trainer about taking some amino acids like creatine, taurine and glutamine.
posted by BrotherCaine at 7:10 PM on October 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

I had the problem only during my workout, if anyone was in my way as I went from one machine to the next. After workout, I took sauna and was fine when I left he gym. But damn, the RAGE I got in the gym, when slowed down, was unbearable, so I just plain quit. (gym in extreme rural location full of nice ordinary folks. It wasn't the people, it was me).

Just in case his little anecdote helps in any way.
posted by Goofyy at 6:41 AM on October 29, 2007

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