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Thread: When is conditioning too much? Are athletes unhealthy? page

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    iniQuity's Avatar
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    When is conditioning too much? Are athletes unhealthy?

    I'm looking for some information on how much is too much. Are some athletes, such as soccer players, martial artists, serious crossfitters, etc, actually unhealthy in a way that most of society wouldn't understand? Higher cortisol levels, constant training that is borderline chronic cardio etc...

    I'm a LONG way from being any of the above mentioned, and I think I enjoy the "less is more" approach a little too much. However, I used to train Muay Thai where the workouts were brutal, sometimes lasting up to 4-5 hours (I was invited to a smaller class for potential fighters, which usually took place after the regular class) at the time I was doing it I figured if I was physically able to do it then that was a sign that I was in good shape. That my endurance and stamina were finally coming along, something I always struggled with as a teen.

    Monetary reasons made me quit muay thai, then I found MDA, and have been focusing on food quality, and life quality much more than how much I can run or how many crazy rounds of whatever exercise I can do before collapsing. But I always do come back to the "dream" of being able to really exert myself physicall from time to time, and wondering if this approach would result in damage down the road?

    Looking at Sisson's story, doing the endurance thing, obviously he doesn't seem to have done any damage that is irreversible, and I'm most likely NOT going to go out and really kill myself with exercise, but now that money is better and it's getting colder, my competitive drive is telling me "muay thai muay thai muay thai!" (though jiu jitsu is an option too.... torn about that actually) but I want to do it because I miss the sport not because I think it will help me get into lower body fat. Though that IS part of the reason why I'd want to go back. I'm not a big fan of sprinting, and since I don't do it enough I'm quite awful at it, so I was thinking of replacing an activity I'm not too keen on with one I really enjoy, not to mention that a muay thai workout at my gym will be a lot more demanding/taxing than hill sprints WHEN I DO THEM. Because I simply won't put in as much effort into the hill sprints and will stop after 3 or 4 (wuss, I know) and call it a day.

    So, is there any real evidence to suggest that prolonged training of this kind can derail your weight loss efforts? I know that a combination of low calorie eating and strenuous exercise can have adverse effects. I wouldn't be low calorie eating though, I would eat around maintenance after factoring in the calories lost during muay thai.

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    http://rosstraining.com/blog/2010/09...th-jerry-rice/

    Jerry Rice doesn't think that prolonged intense training is bad for you...

    He's pretty convincing too, being the greatest wide receiver of all time, plus he's still in great shape.

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    Jenny's Avatar
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    Judging by the number of non-lazy people I see just around here who do feel like prolonged intense training was doing them more harm than good, presumably some people do fine with it and some don't. Either that, or we all have somewhat different threshholds (of opinion or physiology) of what constitutes "overly intense" training long-term.

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    Given adequate sleep and nutrition, a good mix of activities, and a day or two off each week, most people would be hard pressed to overtrain.

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    I can't back this up, but I've heard that professional gymnasts are plagued with osteoporosis and arthritis as they age, particularly in the back.

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    Do it--it's something you want to do, and you can always stop. Because, why not?

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    Mattman's Avatar
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    I'd take the same approach here as you would with any other aspect of PB.
    Are you going to be doing Muay Thai for the rest of your life? No.
    You said yourself because you have money and it's getting colder that you're leaning toward it, so go for it, if you feel like it then do it.
    You're not going to be doing it for any significant amount of time to make a massive detrimental difference, I'm sure by the time summer comes around you'll have changed your workouts again, who knows, once you get back into Muay Thai you may realise that you don't like it as much as you first thought. Not to mention I'm sure you'll be the first to feel if anything is going wrong and you'll have the sense to stop in order to prevent inury.
    There are tons of variables at play here, just go for it, what's the worst that could happen?
    Here's my resolve.

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    Hanna's Avatar
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    Very interesting question IniQuity! I have been wondering about it myself. I used to be an aerobics instructor (in another life) and I would so much LOVE to get back into that. However, that means hour long sessions at high intensity, which the PB is against. I am sort of wondering if the low impact exercise thing is more of a necessary effect of eating low carb than anything else.

    I look forward to reading everybodys input!

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    I don't do muay thai, but I am a boxer (4 fights so far, state tournament next month!) so I definitely understand the drive to compete. This is my experience:

    As far as intense activity derailing weight loss, yes this is absolutely the case. If you are legitimately overweight, you will be able to lose weight pretty easily. But the leaner you get, the more intense of a deficit you'll need, not to mention you'll have to be more strict with your food choices. And that may go beyond what you need to fuel your training. So it depends on what kind of weight loss we're talking about; there's a big difference between what you need to do to go from overweight to normal, and what you need to do to get a 6-pack when you're already lean. I lost almost 30 lbs from boxing; my coach wants me to lose more weight but I can't make it happen no matter WHAT I do so I just eat maintenance. I think I would have to take time off training to lose more weight. Here is a decent article: http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/fat...-fat-loss.html

    You also do have to make choices between fueling your workouts and being healthy/losing weight. For example, I eat primal but get extra carbs around my workout, sometimes during an intense 3-hour boxing workout I will eat pure dextrose tablets just to keep going. People eat fruit but it's far from ideal because fructose has to be metabolized in your liver and for workouts/replenishing muscle glycogen you want starches, lactose, or glucose. Periworkout carbs don't have quite the same effect as just grazing on them (i.e. you are much more insulin sensitive periworkout so you don't secrete as much insulin) but still, it's a choice you have to make.

    Finally, I think that IN TERMS OF HEALTH you reach a point of diminishing returns rather quickly. You may or may not have negative long term effects. For example, there are marathoners who are just fine, and marathoners with lasting injuries. But do you get any HEALTH benefits from running 26.2 that you wouldn't get from running 5k? If you are just concerned with health, why run a marathon??

    I do BJJ as well because I cross-train in MMA, I can tell you that stuff like twisting joint locks leads to a VERY high potential for injury, albeit you don't have nearly the same amount of blunt force head trauma so that's your trade-off. I know that boxing is not great for my health, but it makes me happy enough that it is worth it to me, it's a decision YOU have to make.

    Another thought: maybe kickboxing instead of muay thai so that you're not enduring stuff like knees from the clinch? As far as training, I know the culture of kickboxing is a bit less intense than traditional muay thai.
    Last edited by erica057; 10-26-2010 at 08:36 AM.
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    Melody's Avatar
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    I think the benefits of training a sport that you enjoy override any potential negative side effects. If it brings you pleasure and sprinting doesn't go for it.

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