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Question
Posted by: HANNAH | 2010/09/06

NEED MORE ENERGY!!

I am 36 years old lady &  recently fall off my bike &  damaged my AC joint (hurt my leg badly too) I couldnt cycle for about 12 weeks.I am now back to my running fitness but I just CANNOT seem to get my fitness back in my cycling.I am exercising quite a lot during the week &  I am not sure that I am fatigued by the time the weekend comes - run twice a week (5-6km),palites,yogo, spin twice a week, at least two gym sessions with weight training &  one short 1hr road cycle. My body fat percentage has dropped to 12% so I look better &  feel in good shape but my goodness I am useless on the mountain bike - took a knock confidence wise too and its been a battle mentally to cycle but that has now come right so really what is it? What can I do to boost my energy levels - should I be taking any protein shakes. I take vitamins everyday and general eat well! Any suggestions would be appreciated. thanks

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageFitnessDoc

Hi Hannah

Wow, 12% is really low for a woman. Are you sure that's accurate? Most elite marathon runners aren't even that low...

In any event, your cycling problems might be largely in the mind, which makes them no less real than if they were physical. I speak from experience when I say that falling knocks you back a great deal, and it's not uncommon to battle.

A lot of it has to do with expectations - you expect, even subconsciously, to be riding at the same level as before the accident, but that's obviously not going to happen with 3 months off. So perhaps you need to really back off and discipline yourself into being a "beginner", even if it means riding with people who are much weaker than you. That often helps.

The fatigue thing also seems possible to me - you're doing a lot in the week, and you're losing weight. This means you're likely in what is a energy loss situation, and by the time you reach the weekend, you might well be struggling. Perhaps what you need is a week off in the middle and then ride when you're fresh and see how it goes. That little experiment is easy to do and it will tell you a lot. Cut one run, a spin session and one of the gym sessions and then see how you feel on the mountain bike.

I think it will just take time, and patience. I wouldn't tinker with the diet or supplements until you've tried that. Otherwise you're just papering over the cracks. Time, plus patience and some practical steps should get you there. Oh, and remember also that it's now a lot warmer than it was 3 months ago. And if you're riding in the hotter part of the day, a lot of it will have to do with not being used to the heat. That too will just take time.

Good luck

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1
Our users say:
Posted by: fitnessdoc | 2010/09/13

Hi Hannah

Wow, 12% is really low for a woman. Are you sure that's accurate? Most elite marathon runners aren't even that low...

In any event, your cycling problems might be largely in the mind, which makes them no less real than if they were physical. I speak from experience when I say that falling knocks you back a great deal, and it's not uncommon to battle.

A lot of it has to do with expectations - you expect, even subconsciously, to be riding at the same level as before the accident, but that's obviously not going to happen with 3 months off. So perhaps you need to really back off and discipline yourself into being a "beginner", even if it means riding with people who are much weaker than you. That often helps.

The fatigue thing also seems possible to me - you're doing a lot in the week, and you're losing weight. This means you're likely in what is a energy loss situation, and by the time you reach the weekend, you might well be struggling. Perhaps what you need is a week off in the middle and then ride when you're fresh and see how it goes. That little experiment is easy to do and it will tell you a lot. Cut one run, a spin session and one of the gym sessions and then see how you feel on the mountain bike.

I think it will just take time, and patience. I wouldn't tinker with the diet or supplements until you've tried that. Otherwise you're just papering over the cracks. Time, plus patience and some practical steps should get you there. Oh, and remember also that it's now a lot warmer than it was 3 months ago. And if you're riding in the hotter part of the day, a lot of it will have to do with not being used to the heat. That too will just take time.

Good luck

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