COVID, mitochondria and minimum dose

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  • #39460

    Hi there,

    I loved this article,, and can say that in the past I also suffered from too many respiratory tract issues do to sleep+stress+training a bit too hard. Having backed off in the last few years I have not been sick since summer of 2017.

    Anyways, I’m in Spain. We’re not on lockdown yet, but I think it is imminent. What would be a minimum training dose so as to minimize the loss of mitochondria and all of this base training I have been doing?

    I think we will be allowed out to run, but if not I have access to 8 flights of stairs and also a squat rack and kettlebells. Not sport specific but maybe I can save my base somehow, I’m just wondering what a minimum amount of work would be so as not to stress the respiratory system too much.

    Strange times… Thanks for any help!

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    Anonymous on #39472

    Thanks for the kind words about my article! I had fun with that one.

    What would be a minimum training dose so as to minimize the loss of mitochondria…?

    It will vary by person, but a general rule of thumb is 75% of the load. So if you were doing 10-hour weeks, then 7.5 hour weeks would be maintenance.

    mike.p on #39474

    Awesome, thanks Scott! Great to have an idea of what to do. About to head out for a sunset run as things around here are getting tighter. People definitely keeping their distance and way less folks out compared to usual.

    Anonymous on #39485

    Interesting. I’ve cynically wondered if the safest places to go will soon be shopping malls and airplanes…

    Steve B on #39506

    Curious as to what a lockdown will look like for you in Spain. When I travel to Europe I find that most people don’t have 2 days worth of food in their homes let alone 2 weeks. Same for consumables. Does the government step in to regulate and deliver goods and food? Or will it go the way of the states with empty shelves at Walmart?

    mike.p on #39514

    @sws: I was thinking Tesla’s with their awesome air filters 🙂

    : it is looking like a bit of both. The government here said that “Sánchez announces that the Ministry of Industry will coordinate in case of transitory food shortages in Spain due to Coronavirus.” (from

    So they will handle imbalances but the distribution will likely be in your normal markets. Here in Spain there are two clear strategies: you buy at your local small shop (corner store) or grocery store (akin to a neighborhood Safeway) every day or so, or if you do drive during the day you hit up larger grocery stores like you would in North America, your bigger box style Safeway/Costco etc.

    People who can store food have been buying. We have, friends have, and the bigger shops are stocked just fine for the moment. Neighbors have been telling me, however, that the local shop has been running out of legumbres, rice and water. And hand sanitzer, of course. A neighbor last night told me that they haven’t bought anything extra and expect to be able to buy food. We work at home, are fully stocked up, and now the schools are closed; my only reason for leaving now would be to go for a run, and I’ll need to think hard about that now, unfortunately. If we’re not sick and I get sick, it would probably be because I left our place and living in a block of flats, someone left something somewhere that made me sick. Perhaps the trick will be to go for a run when I need to take out the garbage ?.

    Steve B on #39529

    Interesting, thank you for sharing.

    It’s unclear in the us if the feds are going to step up and do anything, or if people will continue to raid the stores. It’s also unclear if the stores are having inventory issues or just stocking issues on the floor. Time will tell. I also would love to run outside with spring finally coming here in Chicagoland, but we have a treadmill in the basement, so I guess the obvious thing to do is to run on that. Running outside in coolish weather can have its non-COvid consequences with respiratory systems, etc, and right now the key is to stay as healthy as possible for a while. Like it was said, maintain fitness not only for the obvious reason, but for health and mitochondrial density.

    Much luck. It’s sideways out there. Oh by the way I work for the airlines so that’s another stressor in my life.

    mike.p on #39530

    Hey @stevekbooth, thanks, you too. It will be a challenge.

    A few hours ago someone complained in a group chat about the empty shelves calling it a ‘psychosis’. I had to retort that when the government tells you to stay home, you kinda need to be prepared to do so, that the problem isn’t that the shelves are suddenly empty. We have had 16 weeks to watch this unroll in Asia, maybe the gov should have told people to get a “week bag” ready and provide a list, and then later to gently push people to get a “two week bag” ready. Something to keep from how things are right now.

    I went out at noon to get a few things we were low on (and I didn’t get yesterday) and the larger box shop was looking pretty ragged. I’m told the local grocery store was completely out of any meat. So it is getting worse.

    I’ve got the trainer setup for the bike and am just going to stay in. A lot of lunges in my future and I guess my max squat and deadlift will be coming back into shape! It’s the downhill legs that I hate to lose, at 47yrs old they take a while to come around and lately I’ve been enjoying flying down the trails.

    Okay, good luck!

    mike.p on #39531

    All this not to mention that tomorrow I was supposed to do a 4 mountain crossing, local to me here, stringing together something that I have never seen anybody do. I was all geared up and ready but pulled the plug earlier this week as it didn’t seem responsible. I’ve been waiting years to do this! Going to have to wait a little more…

    Anonymous on #39536

    It’s the downhill legs that I hate to lose…

    Try the gym-based ME workouts in this article.

    But! Keep the volume to 5% or less of your total volume. If overdone, ME work will erode your base rather than help it.

    mike.p on #39548

    Thanks @sws! I was thinking about jump squats and split squats, will defintely get on that. And the TGUs etc.

    Just reading this article here ( the median age (ahem, 47yrs) and the section on RADIOLOGIC AND LABORATORY FINDINGS is the type of thing that makes me not want to take the chance of heading out. If I lived in a standalone house and not a block, might be different.

    Anyways, off to train. Thanks!

    Steve B on #39550

    2 days ago did a UPA ME workout from the book with 20lbs weight vest. I weight 152 so that’s roughly 13% of my BW. Still feeling it Saturday morning. However I skipped my usual evening foam rolling and stretching routine and Friday I did my best at a recovery workout but got distracted. Probably contributing to the sore legs, along with upping reps and weight, and lowering rest.

    Anonymous on #39552

    If you add ME work, just make sure that it doesn’t require you to reduce your easier sessions. If it does, then it’s too much too soon.

    If easier base volume starts to decline, then so will aerobic capacity. ME work (and any higher intensity) has both positive and negative effects. Getting the balance right allows some benefit from the positive without being overwhelmed by the negative.

    Steve B on #39578

    Thanks Scott. I should clarify that I knew I would not be able to work out for a few days following that hard ME session so I went extra hard on purpose. I also ended my recovery workout early for non-physical reasons (got an email that my housing fell thru on my move so I had to deal with that ASAP to find a place to live among this craziness).


    Steve B on #39579

    It bears mentioning that the importance of NOT overtraining is extra important right now so as to not compromise your immune system. Especially if we start talking about food shortages.

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