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Advice from super fit people

(21 Posts)
FragileTitanium Fri 01-Nov-13 09:27:06

Hi there
I'm just wondering how really fit people cope....
Everyday I cycle between 1-2 hours - pulling a trailer with children etc behind my bike - approx 50kg. I also walk our dog in the country for at least 1 hour per day, most often 1.5 hours. None of this stuff is "exercise" in the sense of going to the gym or playing tennis or anything like that. It's all functional - to get to school, lessons, swimming, town etc.

My problem is this. I'm physically knackered almost all the time and I'm wondering how real athletes who do much more exercise than that per day cope or what they do to avoid being utterly knackered. It doesn't help that I'm about 2 stone overweight.

Any advice or insights would be appreciated so much.

Sleepwhenidie Fri 01-Nov-13 09:43:53

Hi Fragile, what's a typical day for you food-wise? And do you get enough sleep? I know you say what you are doing is 'functional' but it's exercise nonetheless, but you shouldn't be feeling knackered all the time.

bigTillyMint Fri 01-Nov-13 09:46:13

God, you do loads of exercise!

My cousin is raving about having cut wheat out of his diet. He has lost over a stone in a month and has gone from feeling almost suicidal back to normality. DH also tries to not eat much wheat and says he feels much better for it. Maybe that is worth a try?

kaizen Fri 01-Nov-13 10:02:56

'real'athletes sit around a lot and sleep in between bouts of hard exercise - i realised this after reading Chrissie Wellington and the Brownlee brothers' autobiographies - they don't try and do fulltime jobs, housework, childcare etc.

I get really really tired when training for an event, need loads more sleep, have to eat better (more protein and smaller meals more often), can't go out on the lash etc (smile). it sounds as if you do a lot of exercise and some of this is normal tiredness - you probably won't be 2 stone overweight for long!

Lazysuzanne Fri 01-Nov-13 12:20:22

I dont think I count as super fit but I have found that my capacity for exercise/physical work/physical exertion depends on how stressful the rest of my life is.

I find that getting enough sleep, having a good clean diet and no bad habits are crucial.

I'd imagine that professional athletes are people who are naturally very robust with above average capacity for physical exertion, coupled with a lifestyle that is conducive to hard training, they also (I think?) tend to periodize their training and have off seasons.
No one can go hell for leather all the time!

Yankeedoodlenic Fri 01-Nov-13 12:24:50

I agree with what most of the other posters have written - it is probably down to your diet. Try to up the protein and GOOD carbs. Eat a banana while cycling but you do need to give your body down time to recover if possible. I'm surprised with so much exercise that you are still over weight so maybe looking at your diet could really help as I'm sure losing the extra weight would make you feel much better.

If you find yourself feeling tired WHILE exercising you can invest in some gel packets that you can just swallow down while cycling or out with the dog and they are good, clean energy. is a good place to buy them as they sometimes do sample packs where you can try lots of different flavours.

Best of luck! I think it is encouraging and we should all make those healthier choices like cycling wherep ossible.

Lazysuzanne Fri 01-Nov-13 12:34:42

personally I'd skip the energy gels, if you're a very lean sports person exercising at high intensity for long periods, or needing to keep going for an event then they have a place.
But must of us have enough liver & muscle glycogen as well as body fat to keep going for quite a long time, the OP has said she has 2 stone to loose.

Energy gels contain mainly high GI carbs, this puts your insulin levels up quickly and raised blood insulin stops you using your own stored energy reserves, they are not going to help with weight loss.

I'm sure people will disagree with me and I wont be back to argue on the subject

AlexaChelsea Fri 01-Nov-13 12:43:42

I'm going to pitch in with agreement about diet.

Go high protein, low carb (but don't cut out carbs), lean meats and veg.

Eat as much as you need to when exercising, and get plenty of rest. Drink loads of fluid (preferably water, not too much below room temperature).

Do not drink fizzy juice.

AlexaChelsea Fri 01-Nov-13 12:45:57

Yeah, also I will add that energy drinks, pills and gels have no place for anyone that isn't training for hours at a time, at high intensity.

They've been marketed now because athletes use them, but nobody who is engaging in general exercise needs them. They aren't harmful as such, but they affect the way your body releases energy, and are not beneficial.

Sleepwhenidie Fri 01-Nov-13 13:03:54

Just to add my vote against the energy gels, and in favour of the low sugar, minimal processed food but plenty of good carbs, good fat and good protein smile.

Sleepwhenidie Fri 01-Nov-13 13:07:02

Also OP, you don't mention if you have built up to this level of activity or just sort of dived in smile. And do you have any rest days where you skip the cycling at least?

FragileTitanium Fri 01-Nov-13 14:45:30

Wow. Many thanks for all the advice.
I think it maybe a combination of sleep and weight.

I get around 6 hours, which are quite often interrupted by crying baby.

My diet is pretty good - tons of fresh veg, protein and very low in carb - during the day. All cooked from scratch.

BUT have a big homemade pud in the evenings, which I should cut out but am finding it v. hard to do as sometimes it feels like the only treat of the day....

Cutting out puds? How do you do it?!?

AlexaChelsea Fri 01-Nov-13 15:03:57

Fruit, is really the easiest way to cut out pudding.

BUT, to be honest, if you are completing more than 2 hours of exercise a day, and eating high protein, a couple of puddings a week won't do any harm. It depends on the calorie content of the food really, and what you are actually burning.

Fresh veg and protein is brilliant; ideal. But make sure you are eating more carbs as they provide you with energy - which might be why you are lacking!

FragileTitanium Fri 01-Nov-13 15:09:51

I have one big pud every will have to cut down....

since doing atkins 10 years ago, have cut down on carb a lot....

bishbashboosh Fri 01-Nov-13 15:14:54

The exercise you are doing is great, but your body will get used the same level of exercise. I'm a long distance runner and I find if I can get 30 mins of resistance training (ie weights, squats, lunges with weights) it help hugely with toning and weight loss. I do this at home.

Also your body may need a day off per week from the cycling, I always have rest days where I do as little as possible (physically)

AlexaChelsea Fri 01-Nov-13 15:24:30

A rest day is good.

You do need to give your body energy, and carbs are the way to do that. Think healthy carbs - small portions of pasta, brown rice/bread (white rice is okay) rather than croissants and doughnuts grin

A little bit of rice with your veg will give you bags more energy, and won't affect your weight loss.

bishbash is right about mixing training styles too. Even half an hour once a week of something other than cycling will make a huge difference.

YesterdayI Fri 01-Nov-13 16:04:53

I would really tired if I only had 6 hours interrupted sleep every night. confused

FragileTitanium Fri 01-Nov-13 16:47:48

Thanks so much for all the advice.
Will do some resistance training....I presume once a week just isn't enough?

Will also try to get more sleep and a little bit more carb.....oh...and cut down on the

Lazysuzanne Fri 01-Nov-13 17:21:29

I go downhill very quickly if I dont get enough sleep...6 hours may be enough for you?

I have some 'bad' food every day (usually dark chocolate, sometimes crisps) but I'm pretty strict about the amount

bishbashboosh Fri 01-Nov-13 18:20:27

I think once a week generally will be enough if you are doing all your other exercise too. I would recommend Davina McCall's DVDs for a start, short workouts with weights and interval training are fabsmile

NewFish Mon 04-Nov-13 07:41:39

Op, recent research points towards a threshold of minimum sleep required for healthy daily bodily function as 7 hours a night.
This doesn't mean getting 6 all week and a lie in once a weekend to top up. It means 7 a night.
There are a number of restorative processes your body starts going through at the beginning of a nights sleep, and it's thought that constantly interrupting this process and denying your body a chance to go through a full "reset" each night is cumulatively causing long term damage.
To name but a few:
increases risks for cancers, obesity, diabetes, cardiac conditions, bone density problems in older age.
With regards to weight, constantly being tired will cause your body to release more cortisol, your bodies natural steroid. That forces your body into a repeated over drive state and denies your body of rest states to reset.
Increased cortisol levels are linked to high levels of belly/abdominal fat, slower metabolic rate and low energy levels.

Over the past few years I've made so many changes to my life style to make me feel and look healthier, but the single biggest change that's accelerating all my other changes (such as exercise, weight loss, higher energy levels etc) is getting more sleep. It might mean managing your day better, shuffling your schedule. But start by getting to bed a half an hour earlier for a week and increase from there. Remember, 7 hours minimum.

Hope this helps grin

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