T Nation

Tired All the Time? Try... Cardio?!


TL;DR - added 45 minute incline walks at 65% HRmax to my routine and it 100% fixed my problem of "feeling like shit all the time".

Did you have the same problem? Did cardio fix it? Did you find another fix? What was it?

I know I'll get flack for this from the anti-cardio crowd, but I tried it and it worked for me. Not going to go against my own experience.

Back-story: Been feeling tired and like shit all the time for I'm not sure how long. Work rotating shifts, but rarely get less than 7 hours. Naps during break times help, too. Last month had yet another back injury stop my training altogether. Felt pretty good the first week while I supercompensated from all prior activity, but the following three weeks I descended into a state of super-shit where I couldn't even get a full night's sleep.

Been doing 1-5 reps, 15-25 reps total per bodypart (start with 5,4,3,2,1, build up to 5x5, increase weight and repeat), core lifts only, MMA 2-3x / week and remaining spare time goes to a course for a better paying job.

I figured the MMA was decent enough stimulation to maintain my CV fitness. I was wrong. Resting heart rate is high 60's when it used to be 45 and my energy levels are garbage.

I read about Alex Viada (sp?), hybrid powerlifter/ultra-endurance athlete around the same time that my friend just started training for triathlons and started boasting about how much more energy he has all of the time and how much easier his high-stress job in management got as a result. OK, so I'm not going to become a triathlete but I guess I'll add something in that's not stressful. Viada does a couple of hours of slow steady-pace every Saturday (we used to call this "LSD" back in my X/C-skiing days, long slow distance). So a couple hours at 65% of max heart rate, but I don't have the time for hours so from memory the minimum recommended duration for LSD work is 45 minutes.

Sure, I'll try that. Low stress, quick recovery time, what's the worst that could happen? I remember reading a Q&A from maybe Rippetoe or MadCow (someone like that) that recommended CV conditioning for a powerlifter to be uphill treadmill walks for an hour max, three or four times a week max. Sounds good because I don't want to add anything high impact on top of my MMA, weights, and physical labour job. Plus I hate running. It sucks.

45 minutes, treadmill, 8% incline, 3.0 mph, heart rate ~125 bpm.

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph would you believe I haven't felt like such not-crap in years?! The heaviness in my limbs, dread of waking up with the alarm in the morning, my general "get up and go" factor has increased significantly. I even went to bed at 10:00 and fell asleep right away. Woke up at 5:29 just before my alarm. If you could bottle this stuff and sell it you'd make a fortune.

I'm doing this twice a week now. Don't feel like crap anymore. I'm chalking this up to one of those things that happens to you slowly as you get older. I'll just have to maintain my lower-end cardio conditioning this way as part of the "use it or lose it" principle.

Anyone else experienced the same thing? The general "crap" feeling being cured by a little low-intensity cardio?

Did you try something else to cure the curse of the "feel-like-crap-all-the-time"? What did you do?

Interested in your experiences with the "crap",



How wonderful that you have found a solution. I doubt anyone here would give you flak for doing something that works for you. I do know several women who say they get depressed without their cardio. Personally, I get depressed thinking about having to do cardio. I used to do a lot of it because I did races for awhile. But I never personally experienced the runners’ high that people speak so fondly of. I do, however, get an immediate rush and a longer term elevation in mood after a really successful heavy lifting session.