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Dalaran1991
12-04-2013, 06:07 PM
I train 5 times/week, each time 2-3 hours. Tuesday I train for 4 hours. On top of that I do 6 hours of salsa dancing/week. And I'm a grad student.

On the days when I have both dancing and aikido (mon-wed), that puts up about 5h/each day of physical activity, on Tues it's 7 hours. I feel exhausted when I get home and couldn't do anything else. But I am not willing to sacrifice either aiki or salsa, it's part of my life.

I would like some tips to increase my energy level and endurance to better handle the week. It's tiring sometimes when the first 3 days of the weeks I can't even lift my feet in the morning.

Mary Eastland
12-04-2013, 06:58 PM
Anybody would be tired with that schedule.

Janet Rosen
12-04-2013, 07:11 PM
Did it ever occur to you you are exercising enough?

NagaBaba
12-04-2013, 09:45 PM
This is a great schedule, but quite amateurish. You need to manage to get a time between the trainings for your body to recover. Otherwise, in long term, you will burn yourself and you will be forced to stop all your activities.

Take a look how high level Olympic athletes train, between trainings they always have recovery time, this way they increase their results.
Also a very important part of your training should be a correct diet. With high intensity you are loosing a lot of minerals, you need refill it up. Take appointment with professional dietitian to discuss it.
Regular sleeping schedule is third important element of foundation.

Adam Huss
12-05-2013, 01:44 AM
Sounds like you need more calories, and make sure you are getting enough rest.

Is this a new schedule for you? In my experience, increasing the volume of your sched initially can wear you out, but once you get in a rhythm you tend to have more energy throughout the day.

Dalaran1991
12-05-2013, 04:10 AM
Sounds like you need more calories, and make sure you are getting enough rest.

Is this a new schedule for you? In my experience, increasing the volume of your sched initially can wear you out, but once you get in a rhythm you tend to have more energy throughout the day.

I've been doing this for about a month, so yeah probably. I can try to get enough rest, but the diet thing is difficult... If you ever went to grad school you would remember how poor we grad students are. And there's never enough time. Sometimes all I get to eat in a day are a few sandwiches and some milk.

I do need to fix this though, cause I don't want to crash and burn and impair my long term training.

Walter Martindale
12-05-2013, 08:14 AM
I have vague memories of being a grad student AND part of the varsity rowing team. That meant on the water at 5:30 AM during the week, weights and/or running in the afternoons, and training/competitions on the weekends. Couple that with occasional lectures, lab time, library research (twas before the internet), and I walked a thin line of just barely not breaking down. Sometimes I actually did break down and get sick. Not for the faint of heart.
International competitive athletes are full-time athletes. You're nearly training full-time.
You need to keep food and fluid coming in DURING training. If your dojo is "old school" and won't let you either rehydrate or nibble on something during occasional breaks, you're going to wear out. On the other hand - if your training is "normal working pace" - it's possible to do it all day - our forefathers rose at dawn, farmed (for example) all day and went to bed at night having put in 10 or more hours a day of physical - continuous - but low-intensity work. Pitch hay bales for 10 hours/day for a week or so - eat LOTS of food.
I think, from your description, the big shortcomings are food and rest. You need to eat a well-rounded "diet" and to nibble all day so you're not getting depleted while training. In competitive sport, after a big hard endurance training session, we try to get athletes to have a "recovery" snack (e.g., a fruit smoothie with protein powder added, or a ham and tomato sandwich) within 15-20 minutes of finishing training - according to our nutrition consultants, the muscles are "primed" to store glycogen during this period - shortly after training - and that will help you keep from breaking down, too.

Janet Rosen
12-05-2013, 10:09 AM
Take a look how high level Olympic athletes train, between trainings they always have recovery time, this way they increase their results.
Also a very important part of your training should be a correct diet. With high intensity you are loosing a lot of minerals, you need refill it up. Take appointment with professional dietitian to discuss it.
Regular sleeping schedule is third important element of foundation.

GOOD advice!

Dalaran1991
12-05-2013, 10:57 AM
I have vague memories of being a grad student AND part of the varsity rowing team. That meant on the water at 5:30 AM during the week, weights and/or running in the afternoons, and training/competitions on the weekends. Couple that with occasional lectures, lab time, library research (twas before the internet), and I walked a thin line of just barely not breaking down. Sometimes I actually did break down and get sick. Not for the faint of heart.
International competitive athletes are full-time athletes. You're nearly training full-time.
You need to keep food and fluid coming in DURING training. If your dojo is "old school" and won't let you either rehydrate or nibble on something during occasional breaks, you're going to wear out. On the other hand - if your training is "normal working pace" - it's possible to do it all day - our forefathers rose at dawn, farmed (for example) all day and went to bed at night having put in 10 or more hours a day of physical - continuous - but low-intensity work. Pitch hay bales for 10 hours/day for a week or so - eat LOTS of food.
I think, from your description, the big shortcomings are food and rest. You need to eat a well-rounded "diet" and to nibble all day so you're not getting depleted while training. In competitive sport, after a big hard endurance training session, we try to get athletes to have a "recovery" snack (e.g., a fruit smoothie with protein powder added, or a ham and tomato sandwich) within 15-20 minutes of finishing training - according to our nutrition consultants, the muscles are "primed" to store glycogen during this period - shortly after training - and that will help you keep from breaking down, too.

Very good advice. My dojo is actually pretty chill, so I guess I can do that. Just a matter of cooking food home and bring it with me.

I don't have access to a diet expert. Would you mind sharing your diet?

Walter Martindale
12-05-2013, 12:02 PM
I'm not really a diet expert. I AM a professional coach, and one of the training modules I've gone through covers nutrition for sport. However it was 19 years ago. The upside, though, is that we haven't evolved much in 19 years.
If you're working this much, you need energy AND nutrients. It's why I say a well-rounded "diet". I'm not sure which Richmond you're in (there are several) but there are food-guides in both the US and Canada that essentially say you need to eat at least 5 items of veggies and fruits every day, some meat/substitutes, some dairy, and some "carbs" (remembering that there are carbs in fruit and veggies) - and they also suggest wheat and other grains - some people are suggesting that wheats (modern ones) aren't that good for you but I'm really not up on all that. Potato, yam, sweet potato, if you're in New Zealand there's Kumara - they're all root veggies that are fairly nutrient dense, and fairly inexpensive...

Variety - some green veg, some "other colour" veg each day. Bananas are still moderately inexpensive. Munch down an apple on the way from aikido to dancing, pre-blend a "smoothie" of (say) frozen strawberries, frozen blueberries, some protein powder, some juice/water/milk (whatever works for you) and take it for after training - make sure your container gets cleaned well between uses, too, so it doesn't grow unhealthy cultures. "poor" rowers combine rice and beans to get complete protein - both are cheap in bulk.

Supplements - I understand that vitamin supplements, if not needed, can actually cause more harm than good. One of our dietitians who presented to one of our training camps in the past said something like - a multivitamin might contain 40 or so micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, etc) whereas a meal, made up of a variety of foods might contain 600 micronutrients. Most of the dietitians say "we eat food, not nutrients" - and our bodies extract the nutrients they need…

When people are training large volumes, very hard, I tell them to be on a "see-food diet" - if you see food, eat it.
The hard part (and I'm showing this) is slowing down the eating when you slow down the training…

(edit) - oh, yes, keep enough fluid coming in so that your urine is "straw" coloured or lighter - you don't want dark yellow - that hints at dehydration, and you don't want absolutely clear - that hints at too much fluid…

Hope this helps.
W

jurasketu
12-05-2013, 01:16 PM
Everyone makes good points. But let me add my thoughts (and politely disagree on a couple of points...)

Everybody is different. You have to find what works for you.

Sustained duration makes a huge difference. In the hard labor world (a place I lived during my twenties and occasionally revisit with a home pro project), it is customary to take a break (morning/lunch/afternoon) every 2 hours (+/- 15 minutes) to give the muscles/system a chance to recharge otherwise you become exhausted mentally and physically - a dangerous and unproductive state that takes hours to recover from once it occurs. While a small snack and/or caffeine will help you get past glycogen depletion in a training session lasting longer than 2 hours, a 15 minute break (with snack or without) in the middle is actually better. I could write an entire post just about how training 2-3 hours with only a short 5 minute break is VERY counterproductive but I'll just note that in passing here. That is a very bad training paradigm in my experience of 35+ years of fitness training/labor. I've never seen evidence you can "train" this exhaustion effect away.

I actually don't think calories are that critical (except that small snack for a long training session). When I was a hard laborer, in the summer, I ate only two meals a day. Breakfast was a cup of black coffee. In the winter, I required 5 meals a day because the body burns tons of calories to stay warm. Regular daily vigorous exercise probably requires maybe 500 extra calories... A beer and a serving of chips or nuts after the workout. Done.

Good breathing technique can be critical. The intercostal muscles (ribcage) can become rapidly fatigued from constant hard chest breathing leading to poor oxygen intake and accelerating the body to the exhaustion state that requires sustained rest. Good diaphragmatic breathing is more sustainable over a long session of exercise and helps stave off exhaustion.

For a fit person, 20 - 25 hours of physical training per week doesn't seem that unsustainable to me if managed properly, although the body definitely needs time to acclimate to a hard routine.

Fundamentally, exercise should be invigorating - not exhausting. Properly balanced exercise should give you more energy and vigor - that is the benefit. I think you need to experiment to find the right balance that works for you. Maybe one less Aikido session - or only doing 1-2 hours on some days instead of 2-3 is what you need. And/or better diet. And/or more breaks. And/or improved breathing.

lbb
12-05-2013, 01:19 PM
Besides the very good advice already given, I'd note that one month is a very short period of time. The symptoms you're experiencing right now are simply telling you that your current conditioning level, combined with nutrition and recovery, is not adequate for what you are trying to do. You're more likely to have long-term success if you take a systematic, progressive approach to conditioning. This will probably require at least temporarily backing off some of the time you're giving to the activities you enjoy, and giving that time instead to conditioning activities or rest.

Walter has given good advice on nutrition, to which I would add that the secret to healthy eating on a budget is to cook it yourself. One of the great modern tragedies in the USA is the ready availability of "food" that is cheap and convenient, but very nutrient-poor -- for example, the "value menu" at fast food restaurants. A pot of beans and brown rice and vegetables is even cheaper, but it takes more work and doesn't taste as good (to people whose tastes have been conditioned to like processed food and lots of meat and salt). I heard someone say recently, "You gotta be wealthy to eat healthy," and it's just not true. You do have to be wealthy to eat a diet that is really varied, contains lots of meat, and is effortless and extremely convenient -- but that's asking for a lot. Within a grad student budget, you can purchase and cook food that's excellent fuel for a very active person.

Walter Martindale
12-05-2013, 03:26 PM
Robin provides good feedback regarding rest breaks, too. Rowing training sessions usually last 90 - 120 minutes and are followed by food and rest (I didn't say that, but how much detail do you want).

As Mary has said, you're still in the "adapt to the amount of work" phase. Her point about "food" being cheap and convenient is so true - most of our palate has been conditioned by the fast "food" industry to crave sugar, fat, and salt, but with a good balance of spices and other non-sweet, non-fatty, non-salt condiments, you can have a very tasty meal of what some consider bland (beans and rice, boiled potatoes, steamed veggies - you do NOT need cheese sauce on broccoli or cauliflower - just don't cook them til they're mushy - leave em a little crunchy and they still taste good (and on, and on, and on)

Be patient. School's first (hold up two fingers) Aikido is second (hold up one finger)…. All of it requires fuel.

jurasketu
12-05-2013, 09:47 PM
Walter and Mary are right.

Also, frozen vegetables are actually very inexpensive and supposedly are more nutritious than fresh. You can get medleys, spinach, broccoli, brussel sprouts, etc. Not exactly gourmet - but tasty enough with a little seasoning (pepper, salt, garlic salt, some virgin olive oil, cayenne or whatever suits your idiom). Steam in the microwave and throw over some noodles (linguini, spaghetti, or whatever).

Dalaran1991
12-06-2013, 03:05 AM
Thanks everyone for the suggestions :)

I never thought that my training regime is that heavy, until you guys pointed out. I used to train 10 hours aikido/week, but the 7 hours of dance are a new addition. Never thought of it as something physically taxing, but it is.

Always been a meat lover and hater of veggie. But yesterday I followed your advice and went to an university restaurant (I'm in Paris btw). Here the portion and diet is fixed for everyone, so no pick and choose. I got a plate of green beans, carrot, potatoes and fried fish. Amazing, the portion looks small but it fills me up way better than my usual meat-only diet. And I also feel much more energized today.

I'll work on changing my diet right away with this discovery.

Walter Martindale
12-06-2013, 07:30 AM
Paris... Wow. I don't know if there are street markets there and it's a little late in the year but the two weeks in Montpellier I had in September got me hooked on fresh figs, some very stinky cheeses, and a few other fresh-off-the-farm delicacies. Fresh figs were about two Euro a kg in September. The grocery store here has dried figs at 300 grams for nearly $5.00. Ouch.

Dalaran1991
12-06-2013, 04:18 PM
Paris... Wow. I don't know if there are street markets there and it's a little late in the year but the two weeks in Montpellier I had in September got me hooked on fresh figs, some very stinky cheeses, and a few other fresh-off-the-farm delicacies. Fresh figs were about two Euro a kg in September. The grocery store here has dried figs at 300 grams for nearly $5.00. Ouch.

Yeps, and wait until it's cherries season ;)

That, too, and in France there is a system of university restaurant exclusively for students, that let you have one entrée and 2 side dishes for 3.15 euro. Very well balanced and nutritious.

On the subject of fluid, is it a good idea to replace (partly) water with milk? Milk here is really cheap and tastes awesome (Normandy cows...)

Janet Rosen
12-06-2013, 07:35 PM
If you are working out a lot and don't have lactose intolerance, then good real whole milk would be a good way to increase some protein and fat and yes the liquid in it counts towards hydration.

Michael Hackett
12-06-2013, 08:15 PM
A tip that has worked for me is to take my waking pulse each morning. If it goes up or down ten percent of normal, I cut back on exercise that day. I learned to do that while playing around doing triathlons some time ago. Also there is a danger to over-exercising as well; you sometimes will tax your immune system and end up catching every bug you come in contact with. YMMV.

Dalaran1991
12-06-2013, 08:44 PM
A tip that has worked for me is to take my waking pulse each morning. If it goes up or down ten percent of normal, I cut back on exercise that day. I learned to do that while playing around doing triathlons some time ago. Also there is a danger to over-exercising as well; you sometimes will tax your immune system and end up catching every bug you come in contact with. YMMV.

Oh damn. this is why I've been getting small cold and flu the last couple weeks. Normally against these things I'm bulletproof. I don't remember getting sick the last two years until now.

sakumeikan
12-07-2013, 01:50 AM
I train 5 times/week, each time 2-3 hours. Tuesday I train for 4 hours. On top of that I do 6 hours of salsa dancing/week. And I'm a grad student.

On the days when I have both dancing and aikido (mon-wed), that puts up about 5h/each day of physical activity, on Tues it's 7 hours. I feel exhausted when I get home and couldn't do anything else. But I am not willing to sacrifice either aiki or salsa, it's part of my life.

I would like some tips to increase my energy level and endurance to better handle the week. It's tiring sometimes when the first 3 days of the weeks I can't even lift my feet in the morning.

Dear Tired and exhausted,
Why not cut back on your activities?Go to bed earlier? Watch tv? Have a beer? Why do you feel a need to train 4hrs a day?One hour of training is more than sufficient if you train well.Try it and see if I am correct.Cheers, Joe.

Walter Martindale
12-07-2013, 07:17 AM
Oh damn. this is why I've been getting small cold and flu the last couple weeks. Normally against these things I'm bulletproof. I don't remember getting sick the last two years until now.

One "coach education" seminar we had on training, muscle building, and recovery from training back in the early 90s told us of the link between the immune system and recovery from training.

Al Reed, then of the University of Ottawa, said that research into the immune system prompted by AIDS research showed/discovered that it was the immune system which was responsible for re-building the body/muscles after training, at night, while in (I forget which) one of the deeper phases of sleep. He said it relies on blood sugar to do the work of rebuilding (of course with amino acids and everything else that goes into building muscles and other tissues). Which is why a glass of juice or a piece of fruit when you get up in the morning is so helpful - quick re-boot of the blood sugar that had been lowered by the 'recovery from training' process.

So if your immune system is necessary for fighting off bugs, and it's necessary for rebuilding after training, it's a good idea to look after yourself, perhaps ease up on the training if you're feeling a bit 'buggy' and perhaps be a little more careful of hand-to-mouth hygiene.

FWIW, if you wear glasses it's actually helpful - a cardiology research nurse (parent of one of the kids I coach) has said that the quickest ingress to your body for airborne virus is by contact with your conjunctiva (the white bits of your eyeballs). Glasses form a physical barrier.

All that's "what I've been told by people who are experts in the field" - not my reading in peer-reviewed literature...
and on, and on, and on...

Mary Eastland
12-07-2013, 08:33 AM
Dear Tired and exhausted,
Why not cut back on your activities?Go to bed earlier? Watch tv? Have a beer? Why do you feel a need to train 4hrs a day?One hour of training is more than sufficient if you train well.Try it and see if I am correct.Cheers, Joe.

Right on, Joe. I have noticed that students who burn hard and fast usually burn out and students who take it a bit slower tend to stay around for the longer haul.

lbb
12-07-2013, 04:52 PM
On the subject of fluid, is it a good idea to replace (partly) water with milk? Milk here is really cheap and tastes awesome (Normandy cows...)

I wouldn't, because they perform different functions. Water provides hydration, milk provides nutrition and calories. Drink one or the other, depending on what you need at the time.

Also, remember that more is not better -- not with any of this, not with training, not with nutrition, not with hydration. You want an appropriate amount -- more than that is too much.

lbb
12-07-2013, 04:53 PM
So if your immune system is necessary for fighting off bugs, and it's necessary for rebuilding after training, it's a good idea to look after yourself, perhaps ease up on the training if you're feeling a bit 'buggy' and perhaps be a little more careful of hand-to-mouth hygiene.

I'm always surprised that more people don't take the basic precaution of thoroughly washing their hands and wrists before and after training.

kfa4303
12-08-2013, 11:46 AM
Less is more. Quality not quantity. Your energy is a finite resource, so spend it wisely. No matter what, keep school number one. Aikido will still be there when your done, and it doesn't cost $50k. Also, remember that people who are excellent (anyone can be average) at their craft/art/profession DO NOT multi-ask! While you can go to grad school, train Aikido and dance salsa, you're probably not going to do any of them particularly well, or to the best of you abilities (jack of all trades, master of none). Instead, the best of the best focus and refine, focus and refine. The world's best brain surgeon, while amazing in the operating room, is generally worthless in most other situations. Such is the price for mastery.

Rupert Atkinson
12-08-2013, 05:17 PM
1 Run.
2 Run further.
3 Run faster.

fatebass21
12-09-2014, 07:07 PM
As everyone has said here each a lot! Your body will eventually acclimate to your training schedule. Sleep is huge!

Any updates?