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Form & Fitness Q & A
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Fitness questions and answers for July 11, 2005
The Cyclingnews form & fitness panel
Carrie Cheadle, MA (www.carriecheadle.com)
is a Sports Psychology consultant who has dedicated her career to helping
athletes of all ages and abilities perform to their potential. Carrie
specialises in working with cyclists, in disciplines ranging from track
racing to mountain biking. She holds a bachelors degree in Psychology
from Sonoma State University as well as a masters degree in Sport Psychology
from John F. Kennedy University.
Dave Palese (www.davepalese.com)
is a USA Cycling licensed coach and masters' class road racer with 16
years' race experience. He coaches racers and riders of all abilities
from his home in southern Maine, USA, where he lives with his wife Sheryl,
daughter Molly, and two cats, Miranda and Mu-Mu.
Kelby Bethards, MD received a Bachelor of
Science in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University (1994) before
obtaining an M.D. from the University of Iowa College of Medicine in 2000.
Has been a racing cyclist 'on and off' for 20 years, and when time allows,
he races Cat 3 and 35+. He is a team physician for two local Ft Collins,
CO, teams, and currently works Family Practice in multiple settings: rural,
urgent care, inpatient and the like.
Fiona Lockhart (www.trainright.com)
is a USA Cycling Expert Coach, and holds certifications from USA Weightlifting
(Sports Performance Coach), the National Strength and Conditioning Association
(Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach), and the National Academy
for Sports Nutrition (Primary Sports Nutritionist). She is the Sports
Science Editor for Carmichael Training Systems, and has been working in
the strength and conditioning and endurance sports fields for over 10
years; she's also a competitive mountain biker.
Eddie Monnier (www.velo-fit.com)
is a USA Cycling certified Elite Coach and a Category II racer. He holds
undergraduate degrees in anthropology (with departmental honors) and philosophy
from Emory University and an MBA from The Wharton School of Business.
Eddie is a proponent of training with power. He coaches cyclists (track,
road and mountain bike) of all abilities and with wide ranging goals (with
and without power meters). He uses internet tools to coach riders from
David Fleckenstein, MPT (www.physiopt.com)
is a physical therapist practicing in Boise, ID. His clients have included
World and U.S. champions, Olympic athletes and numerous professional athletes.
He received his B.S. in Biology/Genetics from Penn State and his Master's
degree in Physical Therapy from Emory University. He specializes in manual
medicine treatment and specific retraining of spine and joint stabilization
musculature. He is a former Cat I road racer and Expert mountain biker.
Since 1986 Steve Hogg (www.cyclefitcentre.com)
has owned and operated Pedal Pushers, a cycle shop specialising in rider
positioning and custom bicycles. In that time he has positioned riders
from all cycling disciplines and of all levels of ability with every concievable
cycling problem.They include World and National champions at one end of
the performance spectrum to amputees and people with disabilities at the
Current riders that Steve has positioned include Davitamon-Lotto's Nick
Gates, Discovery's Hayden Roulston, National Road Series champion, Jessica
Ridder and National and State Time Trial champion, Peter Milostic.
Pamela Hinton has a bachelor's degree in Molecular
Biology and a doctoral degree in Nutritional Sciences, both from the University
of Wisconsin-Madison. She did postdoctoral training at Cornell University
and is now an assistant professor of Nutritional Sciences at the University
of Missouri-Columbia where she studies the effects of iron deficiency
on adaptations to endurance training and the consequences of exercise-associated
changes in menstrual function on bone health.
Pam was an All-American in track while at the UW. She started cycling
competitively in 2003 and is the defending Missouri State Road Champion.
Pam writes a nutrition column for Giana Roberge's Team Speed Queen Newsletter.
Dario Fredrick (www.wholeathlete.com)
is an exercise physiologist and head coach for Whole Athlete™. He is a
former category 1 & semi-pro MTB racer. Dario holds a masters degree in
exercise science and a bachelors in sport psychology.
Scott Saifer (www.wenzelcoaching.com)
has a Masters Degree in exercise physiology and sports psychology and
has personally coached over 300 athletes of all levels in his 10 years
of coaching with Wenzel Coaching.
Kendra Wenzel (www.wenzelcoaching.com)
is a head coach with Wenzel Coaching with 17 years of racing and coaching
experience and is coauthor of the book Bike Racing 101.
Richard Stern (www.cyclecoach.com)
is Head Coach of Richard Stern Training, a Level 3 Coach with the Association
of British Cycling Coaches, a Sports Scientist, and a writer. He has been
professionally coaching cyclists and triathletes since 1998 at all levels
from professional to recreational. He is a leading expert in coaching
with power output and all power meters. Richard has been a competitive
cyclist for 20 years
Andy Bloomer (www.cyclecoach.com)
is an Associate Coach and sport scientist with Richard Stern Training.
He is a member of the Association of British Cycling Coaches (ABCC) and
a member of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES).
In his role as Exercise Physiologist at Staffordshire University Sports
Performance Centre, he has conducted physiological testing and offered
training and coaching advice to athletes from all sports for the past
4 years. Andy has been a competitive cyclist for many years.
Kim Morrow (www.elitefitcoach.com)
has competed as a Professional Cyclist and Triathlete, is a certified
USA Cycling Elite Coach, a 4-time U.S. Masters National Road Race Champion,
and a Fitness Professional.
Her coaching group, eliteFITcoach, is based out of the Southeastern United
States, although they coach athletes across North America. Kim also owns
a resource for cyclists, multisport athletes & endurance coaches around
the globe, specializing in helping cycling and multisport athletes find
Advice presented in Cyclingnews' fitness pages is provided for educational
purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice for individual
athletes. If you follow the educational information found on Cyclingnews,
you do so at your own risk. You should consult with your physician before
beginning any exercise program.
Carbs and Caffeine
Nutrition for fat loss and muscle gain
Electrolytes and hydration
Salt, fatigue and getting too skinny
Blood tests results and anaemia
Collapsed lung and pneumonia
Carbs and Caffeine
I'm a 39 year-old endurance hill climber. I've been doing this for 20 years.
The last two years I've had trouble with getting into an "up-and-down" bonk
cycle when riding more than 70-80 miles. The only cure I've found (and the only
way I'm able to finish my long rides without severe suffering) is by consuming
a water bottle full of brewed tea (non-decaf).
Once I do this, the glycemic peaks and valleys largely go away. So my question
is what is the tea doing for me that my body seems to be unable to do on its
own? Is the tea promoting better use of fatty acids? I know this is the trick
in endurance athletics.
For the record, my main riding foods are Cliff Bars, Power Bar Harvest bars
and more recently Odwalla Protein Plus bars with Cliff Shot as a gel. I've favoured
these over maltodextrin-based foods because of the lower GI of brown rice syrup.
I have hypoglycemia and avoid sugars and refined flours when not riding. Thanks
for your input.
Carson City, NV
Pam Hinton Replies
You didn't provide your height and weight, but since you have been an endurance
hill climber for 20 years, I am going to assume that you are relatively lean.
As I understand your problem, you repeatedly bonk on long rides even though
you are eating bars and gels. Apparently you discovered that drinking tea
during the ride (presumably you are still eating?) prevents you from bonking.
Your question is why and how does the tea help.
I wish I had some more information to work with. Specifically, how much and
how often you are eating during these long rides. I also am curious as to
how much carbohydrate you get from your regular diet. A healthy individual
should not experience hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) after eating. A person
who does not have an underlying metabolic disease, like diabetes or liver
disease, should be able to maintain their blood glucose concentrations within
the normal range. Fasting is the only time that a healthy individual may experience
hypoglycemia. The fact that you say you have hypoglycemia makes me wonder
if you are not eating enough carbohydrates to replenish your glycogen stores
and to maintain your blood glucose concentration within the normal range.
I suspect that you may be experiencing "up-and-down" bonk cycles because
you are not eating enough or often enough during these long rides - especially
if you start with depleted glycogen stores. In other words, the "downs" of
the cycle might not be because of hypersecretion of insulin after you eat,
but simply because you quickly use the glucose that you consume in the bars
and gels. On average, 60g of glucose can be absorbed from the small intestine
per hour. You might try consuming that amount (without drinking the tea) and
see if that keeps you from bonking repeatedly. Your hypothesis is probably
correct and fits with my suspicions, as well. The caffeine in the tea may
promote use of fatty acids, so that glucose is used at a slower rate - a rate
that does not exceed your glucose intake.
Try eating more on the bike and see if that does the trick. If not, you can
go back to your tea remedy. Take care.
Nutrition for fat loss and muscle gain
Your discussions about energy in versus energy out make a lot of sense for
losing fat. What about gaining or losing muscle? Can you build muscle - evidenced
by weight gain - while eating at a caloric deficit? Racers lose both muscle
and fat over the season, but what about weekend warriors and recreational cyclists?
Here's a little about my background, which probably isn't necessary to print.
I am a 40 year old female with about 15 years of road riding experience. After
a couple of years in a sedentary, high-stress lifestyle, I'm now riding about
12 - 15 hours a week and carefully watching my food intake.
I've also been doing other summer activities such as hiking and heavy yard
work. I'm losing body fat, and my leg muscles are regaining density. I have
genetically bulky leg muscles that build up easily, but I don't want to gain
weight in any form. My weight is generally dropping, but with curious fluctuations.
Could I be adding muscle, or is it more likely that I need to keep adjusting
Pam Hinton Replies
The short answer to your question is, "Yes, it is possible to gain muscle
mass even if your energy intake is lower than your energy output." This can
only happen if you use stored energy, that is, body fat to make up the difference,
otherwise you'd be losing weight. The other caveat is that you are only able
to add muscle mass if you are eating enough protein to supply the amino acids
needed to synthesize new muscle protein.
Now, you didn't come right out and say it, but I suspect that you want to
lose fat without adding muscle mass. Maybe I can persuade you to change your
mind or, at least, to reconsider. First of all, unless you are going to the
gym and doing power squats (or something else specifically designed to cause
muscle hypertrophy), your muscle mass is going to be determined primarily
by your genetics. I hate to say it, but you will have to resort to some pretty
drastic and unhealthy measures to fight against your genetic make-up. The
added muscle mass actually provides some health benefits. Your absolute resting
metabolic rate will increase, so your body will require more energy just to
maintain normal bodily functions. Additional skeletal muscle helps to maintain
normal blood glucose concentrations and to reduce the risk of developing type
II diabetes. Your bones also will benefit from an increase in muscle mass.
The increased force of the muscular contractions against the bone provides
an additional stimulus that helps to maintain bone mass.
I realise that the fashion magazines and models - even the "fitness models"
in Shape, Runners' World and Bicycling send the message that very thin is
what we should aspire to. But that's the beauty of cycling, all body types
can kick butt, so to speak. There really isn't an "ideal". Look at the differences
among Tom Boonen, Lance Armstrong, Jan Ulrich and Roberto Heras - or Christine
Thorburn, Ina Teutenburg, and Laura Van Gilder. Take care.
Electrolytes and hydration
I have several related questions:
How much can one "pre-hydrate"? Is there a limit to how much water you can
take in, pre-effort, without flushing out your electrolytes? Will this cause
a corresponding danger of going into a race or other hard effort on the verge
Can you electrolyte load? Take in excess salt, potassium, etc. in anticipation
of a large loss during a race or hard effort? Are electrolyte supplements such
as Endurolytes a good way to get them either in advance or to replace those
In order to maximize both hydration and electrolyte stores. Would it be strategic
to be excessively hydrated a day before a race then load up on electrolytes
while leveling off on fluid intake?
Pam Hinton Replies
Essentially, you are asking if it possible to "water load" or to "electrolyte
load." It is a logical question given all of the hype surrounding "carbo loading"
to replenish and top-off glycogen stores. You are not the first racer to have
made the leap from cramming glucose to slamming sodium. The supplement industry
has run with this idea and, despite the fact that for most racers this just
doesn't apply, there are products out there whose purported benefit is that
they allow you to electrolyte load. Carbohydrate loading works because we
are able to store excess glucose from the carbohydrate in our diets as glycogen
for future use. The problem with the concept of "electrolyte loading" is that
we do not have stores of sodium and potassium in our bodies. The concentration
of sodium in the blood is highly regulated, so that it remains relatively
For example, if you eat a meal that is high in sodium, your kidneys retain
extra water to keep the concentration of sodium in the blood stable. Or, if
you attempted to water load by drinking copious amounts of fluid, your kidneys
would simply excrete the excess to prevent the concentrations of sodium, chloride,
and calcium (among other things) in your blood from becoming too dilute. Potassium
is the primary electrolyte located in the fluid inside of cells. If you consume
extra potassium, your cells cannot retain it because it would cause the cells
to take on extra water and burst. Instead, the excess potassium is excreted
in the urine.
There are a few exceptions when additional sodium or potassium might be a
benefit, but even then trying to make up for a deficiency the night before
a race is too little, too late. If an athlete consumes a low-sodium diet,
they may benefit from additional sodium, depending on the reason for the sodium
restriction. A person, who is on a low sodium diet because of a chronic health
condition (hypertension or heart problems) or because of physician's orders,
obviously should not be exercising strenuously, especially in the heat. Some
people (and I know at least one) purposefully limit their sodium intake. This
is fine for most of the population which is sedentary and not at risk for
losing large amounts of sodium via sweat. These sodium-free advocates, at
least the one that I know, tend to be "health food nuts" and are prone to
extreme dietary behaviors (sorry, Cobb). It is very difficult to consume a
very low sodium diet.
To do this, one would have to avoid all processed foods, baked goods, cheese,
and many seasonings. Sodium is consumed in things that don't taste salty,
like toothpaste (sodium fluoride) and softened water. However, there are people
who are vigilant enough to limit their sodium intake. Hopefully, these people
are not endurance athletes, as they are at risk for becoming sodium depleted
while exercising in the heat. When the concentration of sodium in the blood
is too low, hyponatremia (low sodium) develops and you suffer some serious
consequences: muscle cramps, dizziness, chills, delirium, seizures.
Because it is not possible to load up on water and sodium before you head
out on a ride or start a race, you are obligated to replenish fluids and electrolytes
as you go. Ideally, you'd like to keep up with the losses, but this is near
impossible to do. The general guideline is to drink eight ounces of a sodium-containing
sports beverage every 15 minutes. You also could use the electrolyte supplements
as long as you drink enough fluid with them. Since you can't keep up with
the losses while you are sweating, it is critical that you make up the difference
as soon as you can by continuing to drink a sports beverage or to eat salty
foods and drink water as soon as you are done with your ride or race. Of course,
it only makes sense to start out normally hydrated (as opposed to dehydrated).
You'll know that you're there when you are peeing clear.
A straightforward, albeit very simple, analogy is a sponge. It (like our
bodies) has a limit to how much water it can hold. Beyond that point, it does
not good to continue to try to soak up additional fluid.
Salt, fatigue and getting too skinny
I am a 30 year old rider (MTB/Road mostly), 1.62m tall, 58.5kg in weight, 22.2
BMI, averaging 150-200km per week. I've been training more structured and riding
decent distances for the past four years, before that I spent all my time riding
the same MTB rides over and over. Now I ride 90% on the road, but I only compete
in MTB endurance events like La Ruta de los Conquistadores (3 days/400km) here
in Costa Rica.
Anyway, my questions are these:
1. Salt. After every ride I end up covered in salt, especially my face and
arms, the straps of my helmet end up totally white and if the intensity was
high, my shorts end up white too. Last year this eventually lead to cramps,
but not this year, I have covered 4,000km year to date without cramping once
or even coming close to. Is there anyway I can prevent this? I only drink Gatorade
during my rides. As I said it doesn't seem to impact my performance, but I end
up every ride looking spent.
2. Fatigue. The past three months, after 10 minutes into the ride I start to
feel my legs heavy and slow, but my times remain the same and actually I'm riding
a little bit faster every time. I do have massages every 2-3 months, but my
legs don't feel fresh; again, this doesn't seem to be affecting my performance
(maybe it is), but I don't like how I feel. One change I did this year is that
I do 3 "long" rides (50-120km) a week, instead of 3 short (45min on rollers)
and 1 long (80km) like last year. What's better: high quantity of short distance
rides per week or low quantity of long distance rides per week? Remembering
I like to compete in endurance events.
3. Too skinny. I've noticed this year that my body volume has decrease, my
arms & torso especially, I feel and look too skinny, but I'm getting quicker,
my weight has remain unchanged for the past 10 years, is there a way to increase
your speed, but look better? (for day to day life purposes) One thing - I hate
Hopefully I'll see the answer to these questions, if you have to answer only
one, #2 is the one that intrigues me the most. Thank you.
Pam Hinton Replies
I must confess that I am a bit confused by your questions. Is your goal to
race well or to look good while riding your bike? Okay, that's a stupid question
- you want to do both, as we all do.
You seem to have solved your cramping problem by drinking Gatorade, but are
still distressed by the salt that ends up all over your helmet straps, shorts,
and body. As long as you are not cramping, I wouldn't complain about "looking
spent." Plus, there's not much you can do about it. You are just one of those
guys whose sweat is particularly salty.
As far as the fatigue goes, it is perfectly normal to experience some additional
heaviness in your legs as they adapt to the longer miles. Your performance
is not suffering. Because you are getting faster, and not slower, there is
no reason to suspect that you are currently overtrained.
It doesn't sound like you intended to lose weight. It probably just happened
as a result of the added long rides this year. Reading between the lines,
you are upset because you are losing muscle mass from your upper body. The
only way to keep those muscles from shrinking is to exercise them. You don't
have to go to a gym to do an upper body workout. With a couple of dumb bells
you could easily do some bicep, tricep, lats, and shoulder exercises at home.
Even push-ups and pull-ups would do the trick. Take care.
Blood tests results and anaemia
Hi Fitness team,
Please can you help me, since I moved back to the UK from Melbourne I've discovered
that the information offered to sports people outside of Olympic athletes is
non existent at best.
My problems have been plaguing me for some time now. I noticed that I after
a few weeks of intense training I would become very fatigued (more than normal),
this lead to a general feeling of fatigue and malaise with low concentration
in general circumstances.
A blood test revealed that my RBC were low with a blood count of 12.9 and haemocrit
of 29 (My blood cell volume is 90.) Despite this my doctor says it's not a real
problem but has put me on ferrous sulphate for three months. In addition to
this I'm taking B12 and I'm starting to feel better already, my concentration
has improved (although not brilliant unless the conversation is about cycling
and my general feeling has improved significantly.
The problem is, this has occurred before (once in Melbourne) which leads to
my question - is this normal? The haemocrit level also seems low as I've read
somewhere that a normal male should be around the 40 - 44 level. Can you tell
me what you would consider good for a cyclist?
I tend to do about 7-9 hours a week on the bike or around 200 - 250km. I don't
get the time for big hours or big rides due to having a young child but make
sure what I do is quality stuff with good efforts every week. My HR max is around
188 and all my efforts are between 160 and 180 depending on what I'm training
for. I also make sure I listen to my body and get good recovery days each week
after learning the hard way about overtraining.
I eat red meet around once - twice a week but I also have chicken once - twice
a week and have pasta quite often with vegetable dishes making up a fair chunk
of my meals. I also have a couple of Lattes a day after becoming addicted to
them in Melbourne but never more than 3-4 caffeine drinks a day. I appreciate
your help as there's no chance of getting any here. Kind regards,
Pam Hinton Replies
Well, it won't remedy your problem, but it might help you mentally to know
that what you are experiencing is not normal. There is no doubt based on your
hematological values that you are anaemic. Your haematocrit (proportion of
your blood that is red blood cells) is far below normal for physically-active
men and has dropped below the cut-off that is used to determine anemia in
males (<37%). The concentration of hemoglobin is the gold standard by which
anemia is defined clinically. A Hb below 13.5 g/dL is considered to be indicative
of anemia. Obviously with such dramatically reduced hemoglobin the ability
of your blood to carry oxygen from your lungs to your muscles is significantly
impaired and you are suffering fatigue because of it.
Anemia can result from inadequate production of red blood cells or from loss
of red blood cells at such a rapid rate that your bone marrow cannot replace
them fast enough. Some drugs (chemotherapeutic agents, for example) prevent
the bone marrow from making new red blood cells. People suffering from this
type of anemia may be candidates for erythropoietin. Deficiencies of many
nutrients can also slow production of red blood cells. The way to identify
which nutrient may be the culprit is to look at the size and pigmentation
of the red blood cells using a microscope. For example, inadequate B12 or
folate prevents cells from dividing. To compensate, the existing cells grow
very large with normal amounts of hemoglobin and, therefore, normal pigmentation.
This type of anemia is called megaloblastic or macrocytic, both descriptors
meaning, "large cells." Iron deficiency results in insufficient hemoglobin
The body attempts to make up for the decreased oxygen carrying capacity by
cranking out new red blood cells at a rapid rate. Under the microscope, you
would see large numbers of small (because they're immature) and very pale
(due to lack of hemoglobin) red blood cells. This type of anemia is called
hypochromic (pale), microcytic (small cells) anaemia. Another measure of RBC
size is called mean corpuscular volume (MCV, corpuscle is another term for
RBC). Your MCV is 90 fentoliters (a fentoliter is 10-15 liters), which is
within the normal range, 80-100 fl.
Your anemia is most likely due to iron deficiency, so it makes sense that
your physician has prescribed ferrous sulphate. Since you are not a vegan,
you get plenty of vitamin B12 in from the animal foods in your diet. So any
improvement in your symptoms is most likely because of the iron supplement
and not the B12. There is another blood test that is used to confirm that
your body has run out of iron. If the concentration of ferritin in your blood
is low (<20 micrograms per milliliter) you have essential depleted the iron
that is stored in your liver. It is unlikely that the onset of your fatigue
is directly related to an increase in your training intensity. Anemia is a
progressive condition and, unless you are losing large amounts of blood, it
takes a while to experience the symptoms of fatigue. You mentioned that you
experienced this problem at least once before. I am curious as to how you
My guess is that you slowly became iron deficient because your intake of
dietary iron is too low. Dietary iron comes in two forms-heme and non-heme.
Heme iron is present in hemoglobin and myoglobin-proteins that are in blood
and muscle, i.e., in red meat. Non-heme iron is iron that is part of iron
salts, like the ferrous sulphate that you are taking as a supplement. Non-heme
iron is the type of iron that is in plants. There is a reason that I am bothering
to differentiate between the two types of dietary iron. Heme iron is readily
absorbed from the small intestine (up to 50%). Non-heme iron doesn't even
come close to 50%--only 2-10% of non-heme iron is absorbed. The main reason
for the poor absorption of the non-heme iron is its poor solubility in the
small intestine. The iron salts dissolve more readily in an acid environment
(the pH of your small intestine is close to neutral) so one way to increase
the absorption of non-heme iron is to consume it with an acidic food or beverage,
e.g., citrus juice.
I have several suggestions for you. First of all, have your ferritin tested
to get a read on your iron stores. Second, try eating red meat more than 1-2
times per week. When you take your ferrous sulphate have some orange juice
with it. Rule out any possible blood loss. If you regularly donate blood,
refrain from doing so until your iron stores are fully back to normally. The
greatest source of blood loss is via the gastrointestinal tract. Imperceptible
blood loss from the gut can result from strenuous exercise, but it also can
be a sign of colon cancer. I would have a physician rule that possibility
out by getting an occult blood test. In the meantime, get your ferritin, haematocrit,
and hemoglobin check every month or so. Good luck.
Collapsed lung and pneumonia
Hello. I am a 50 year old male racer, 5' 10" and 147 lbs with BFP of about
5%, who is very fit. A little over three weeks ago, Saturday June 11, I was
hit at the finish line in a crit and suffered two fractured ribs and a collapsed
lung. I was in the hospital with a chest tube until the following Thursday.
Immediately after returning home I came down with pneumonia, which was successfully
treated with a ten-day course of antibiotics.
Approximately two weeks, Monday June 27, after the accident I saw my pulmonologist
who said there was no sign of the pneumonia in my chest x-ray or in my breathing.
She said that the rib fractures looked "old" already, and she cleared me for
return to activity as the pain allows. I had started on my trainer on the prior
Saturday, exactly two weeks after the crash, and by mid-week I was outside on
my time trial bike. Three weeks after the accident I competed in a time trial
and then a crit. In both events I finished a respectable 15th, but my wattage
is way down from about 268w to 233w for a TT effort. The primary problem is
breathlessness. While my legs appear to have hardly missed a beat, my respiration
cannot support my usual wattage nor my usual cadence, which has fallen from
the low to mid-90s down into the low to mid-80s (at least to be able to sustain
My coach and I agree that some of the difficulty is due to blood volume loss,
which we can work to rebuild, but I have the strong sense that my lung simply
is not hitting on all cylinders. What can I expect in this regard and can I
affect this course by a particular type of training regime? I admit that my
recovery has been miraculous so far, but my fear is that I will be stuck at
this lower than normal capacity for a long time. Thanks.
Kelby Bethards Replies
I think the fact that you were able to do as well as you did only three weeks
after an illness like pneumonia is very commendable. I also believe that you
are correct in that you are not yet back to full form.
While the X-ray and listening to your lungs may have "told" your doctor that
you are better, in my experience it can take quite a while to completely recover
from something as serious as pneumonia. As a general rule, I tend to tell
people to expect recovery to take about three times as long as the illness...thus
if you were ill for say 10 days, it may take another 30 days to feel as you
had before the illness. And in reality, evidence of pneumonia may even be
visible on chest x-ray many weeks after treatment. So having an illness isn't
equivalent to just being off the bike for 10 days, its requiring a lot of
energy to heal.
SO, the long and short of it...you are still healing - but apparently healing
well. Take it easy and rest when you need it.
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