Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Experimenting with Athletic Performance and Antidepressants

I posted this on Slowtwitch awhile ago and I wanted to post it here as well:

"Now, there have been some recent threads about how being on antidepressants affect athletic performance. I'm currently on antidepressants and I'm pretty open about discussing my situation with anyone that asks and I'm willing to share my thoughts & inputs on the subject. Now, some people feel like AD's affect your performance and others do not. Well, let's try an experiment.

I'm willing to use myself as a guinea pig to test my hypothesis that AD's do affect athletic performance. This is prompted by me getting the results from my VO2max and LT tests and feeling that they are fairly under what I'm capable of. My LT on the bike was measured at 149bpm and that is well below what I'm capable of before I was on this medication.

So, here is what I'm going to measure over the next week to get a baseline:

Resting heart rate
VO2max (done)
LT (done)
Weight, lean mass, and body fat %
RMR (calculated in calories per lb lean body mass)

The plan is that once i establish a baseline, I'll get tested again in August. That'll be about 6 months from now. My doctor, my therapist, and myself are going to start weening myself off of the medication in April. That should give my system about 3 months to completely rid itself of the medication.

Now, I believe that since I've been on the medication, it is more difficult to lose weight, my LT and VO2max are lower, and I'm unable to push myself harder to my limits. The huge variable will be that I'm doing about 12-15 hours of base training a week, but I'm ramping up for IMFL in November. I'm going to keep track of my calories which will show the calorie deficit that I have.

I'm opening this up to the ST community. What else should I measure? What am I forgetting about this? I know that IM training will likely skew the results, but hopefully this will be to show something about my hypothesis."

With that thread, here are the results that I expect to see:

RMR - I expect this to be increased once I'm off the meds. It is a known side effect of weight gain from AD's because your metabolism slows down. This should go up.
Weight - This will go down because metabolism has gone up
Lean mass - No clue, but I want to track this and see what my RMR/lb lean mass is and use that as a better comparison than RMR(on AD) vs RMR(off AD).
Body fat % - If I'm tracking Weight and lean mass, getting body fat % is pretty easy. This should go down.
Resting heart rate - It'll probably go down as I become more endurant, but I don't think it is affected by the drugs
Max heart rate - No change either, but I believe that when I'm not on drugs that it's easier for me to get near my MHR though
LT - No change due to SSRI's.
VO2max - This should increase because my weight will go down, hopefully.

I'm posting this so people can follow along with my "experiment".

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