Aerobic vs strength training effect on willpower depletion

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  • #24377
    Michael
    Participant

    I’ve started mountain biking more this past week and think it might be causing me to feel general malaise. Does working on building an aerobic base make it harder to feel motivation for other things?

    I was supposed to start an online programming course yesterday, but after 15 minutes, I have not gone any further and still procrastinating. When I strength train or boulder I don’t think I feel this way.

  • Moderator
    Scott Semple on #24378

    How are you measuring the intensity of your mountain bike rides? Based on those measurements, how intense are they? And do you work better in the morning or the afternoon?

    Intensity, duration, and your circadian rhythm could all be factors.

    If your mountain bike rides are unmeasured (with either a power meter or heart rate monitor), then they are almost certainly at high intensity. Even measured, it’s damn hard to have a mellow mountain bike ride unless the climbs are super mellow, and the rider, super conservative. If they’re long, intense sessions, then yes, they could definitely be affecting your energy levels.

    On the other hand, if they are truly easy sessions (at 75% or less of maximum), then perhaps it’s the timing of your workouts and course work that’s the issue. It’s pretty individual, but I find that I have to do anything creative or mentally taxing in the morning. If I wait until the afternoon, it takes me twice as long and I get half the quality.

    The hard part is that I also like to have my most important workout in the morning for the same reasons. So I end up splitting my morning between brain and body time. I leave afternoons for auto-pilot tasks like errands, email, forum posts, and meetings. I know others reverse it, even doing their best work late at night.

    I hope that helps.

    Participant
    Michael on #24398

    Unmeasured. Ascents might be drifting into zone 3 at times, but trying to keep it in zone 2, which climbs I was doing allow. Descents though are extremely technical, probably zone 4-5 at times and extra cortisol from how steep the terrain is.

    It’s a bit hot here at night, which makes it hard to fall asleep so I don’t get up early enough to get a good amount of stuff done in the morning. Circadian rhythms are not perfect, but I am fairly mindful of them. I think the problem is that I am inherently prone to being a bit depressed regardless so it’s tricky for me to understand how exercise plays a role.

    I will do more training on the road bike going forward and maybe then I’ll have a different response (installed a wide range cassette), but am now in Vancouver so I want to enjoy the terrain here.

    Also, as I mentioned in other thread, I ordered a 24/7 heart rate and sleep monitor so I’ll see if that indicates much higher stress and failure to recover sufficiently each night from biking.

    Keymaster
    Scott Johnston on #24440

    The symptoms you describe indicate that you are over reaching. You’ve bumped volume or intensity or maybe heat, etc too fast. Low motivation is the first sign that you are not recovering well.

    Dial back on everything for a few days and see if you don’t bounce back.

    Scott

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