What metabolic, nutritional, or systemicl factors can cause poor adaptation and recovery from exercise?
Thanks for asking for details! I am a 56 year old male active in biking and downhill skiing, and maintain an exercise regimen year around to varying degrees. I have a reasonably healthy diet and am in generally good or great health. My main problem is that my recovery from and adaptation to high and low intensity exercise is very poor.
I typically feel good while exercising, but my recovery is horrible. Sleep is poor after a good workout (even if earlier in day) and the next day I suffer from reduced energy and motivation, as well as reduced cognitive functioning (poor concentration, general fuzziness, lack of clear mind). In the morning I might be adequate, but later in the day I become more depleted and drained, and concentration is further reduced. If I overdo it, I have to resort to OTC sleep meds and stimulants (caffeine, 5 hour energy) to function the next day. Invariably I have to reduce my workout sessions, in intensity or frequency, to maintain daytime functioning. Muscle soreness is not a big issue; it’s more of a systemic response to exercise. After exercise I feel good if not great, and I could easily push myself harder and longer if it weren't for the price I would pay.
Though tempted to give you details of my workouts I will resist, other than saying that it takes me months to work up to higher levels of activity, whether it’s cycling season in the spring or shifting to kettlebells, plyometrics, and ski machine in the fall. I have to go very slow and hold way back, not because I can’t do the 10 miles or put up 10,000 lbs. of kettlebells, it’s that the price I will pay if I overdo it will last for two or three days.
I do not believe that this is a matter of simply applying rest/recovery principles better though I'm sure that would help. I've worked out and exercised for a long time and know that this has worsened over time (yes, aging!). And to be frank, I'm not sure that I ever recovered well, but something seems be off. I’ve noticed that the “adrenaline” keeps going long after exercise stops; at night I can often feel my heart beating though heart rate is reduced to normal levels below 65 BPM. (Weird note: chocolate has the same effect on heart and sleep).
I recently had labs done, and most parameters were relatively normal (RBC was toward low end). I happen to work at a medical clinic that practices "Functional Medicine" and can order any labs necessary to evaluate this further.
OK, probably more than you asked for. I would love some feedback if there is anything that could be explored further in the lab or through evaluation. I honestly don't think this is a matter of better training principals, though as I stated above, I am sure I could improve in these areas.
Thank you very much for considering my question.