Training after recovery from depression?

  • Creator
  • #23240


    Please excuse me if these questions are stupid or something, I’m still recovering and my brain isn’t working very well today. I’ve been very depressed recently but after starting therapy and medication I’m slowly recovering. I have a few questions. Firstly, I’m assuming that I’ve lost all of my fitness. Would about 2 hours a week be a good starting volume for me (17yo)? I know that’s not very much, but I don’t want to go for something too ambitious because I still have bad days (fewer though) and biting off too much is an easy way for me to feel bad again. Secondly, and I’m really sorry if this question sounds bad – how feasible is building upper body/core strength without really large muscle gain? I’m a trans woman (please don’t hate me, I just want to climb) and so being very muscular really makes me feel beyond terrible. Sorry and thanks,


  • Participant
    rawls on #23249

    as a rule, women don’t get bulky muscles. lower testosterone is one reason. second, you’ve got to train specifically to bulk up, while eating a lot. like a lot. if you’re doing bodyweight exercises, you’ll get strong and depending on bodyfat will have some muscular definition.

    Participant on #23257

    This is just advice from one user to another. And though I am very “mentally complicated”, I haven’t ever had a depression diagnosis. So take this with a grain of salt and perhaps discuss it with your therapist:

    I think you should mostly worry about becoming a slave of your training plan.

    This is very common among people who do structured exercising. If something prevents us from reaching our daily or weekly goal, it is as if the world is coming to an end.

    Often this means that we will injure ourselves physically, because we ignore signals from our body, telling us that we should back off a bit, because the body isn’t able to maintain this training load right now.

    But it also means that if other life events (work, travel, family stuff) stop us from reaching our daily goal, we can very easily panic. We will either try to fit in the training in a way, which isn’t really possible, or we will be mentally affected by not being able to do our training.

    I guess that this is not something you want to experience on top of a depression.

    So my advice would be:
    Consider every day’s training as something extra you did that day. Not something you had to do to reach a goal.

    In sea kayaking, we have a saying which in my opinion also applies to training plans:
    “Plan your paddle. But don’t paddle your plan at any cost.”

    floresrm on #23311

    Hi Emily,

    Just wanted to extend a really genuine welcome to you as a climber. I hope that’s all you ever receive on the mountains, regardless of gender etc . . .

    Do you know Nikki Smith? They are worth following.
    Brilliant climber, photographer, and a a real inspiration.
    Outside did a feature on them recently:

    Being Nikki Smith

    Anyway, just wanted to extend some warmth and good cheer.
    Hope to see you out there in mountains!

    Anonymous on #23324


    I am far, far from an expert on training for transgendered athletes. If you have been using hormone therapy and have female levels of testosterone than it is very unlikely you will see significant muscle mass gains from strength training. No climber or uphill athlete wants to be carrying big muscles as this only impairs your performance in the vertical realm. What I have always done with mountain athletes is to be careful to do no strength training that will induce hypertrophy (muscle mass gain). You can read all about this in Training for the New Alpinism. Instead we do only Max Strength training. This type of training will not bulk even men up. But it will make them much stronger. It primarily targets the nervous system. It trains the motor cortex to recruit more of the existing motor units. But it does not cause hypertrophy. The essential protocol for Max Strength training is to use a resistance that is about 90% of your absolute max. Do 2-4 repetitions and then rest 3 min. repeat this 3-5 times. Simple huh?

    Another nice benefit is that these workouts will induce a nice endorphin high for an hour or so afterwards. This can help with your depression.

    Good luck.

Viewing 4 replies - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
  • The forum ‘General Training Discussion’ is closed to new topics and replies.