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Trying to Conceive? Try Going from an A+ to a B.

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a blog by Deborah Moore, Feb. 10, 2010

I've always been fairly driven, and until recently, this manifested itself in a drive to be fast, lean, fit, amongst the best in the world. Yes, I WAS an Ironman athlete. I trained up to 24 hours a week while holding down a job, and boy, was I in great shape. I loved being strong, fit and pushing myself through 100 mile rides.

Then my fertility doctor told me I needed to scale it back a bit. “Just how much are we talking, doc?” I asked with fear in my voice. Apparently, someone came up with an arbitrary level of four one-hour sessions at a moderate intensity for me. Apparently this was generous -- they knew I was an athlete.

My first reaction was scorn and anger. I demanded to see scientific evidence that exercise negatively impacts fertility, and that cutting back and taking it easy enhances one’s success rate. Unfortunately, there aren’t many studies that prove anything either way. And so I am stuck in in between, in no man’s land.

There are studies that have linked low body fat (and corresponding irregularities in menstrual and ovulatory cycles) to low fertility, but none that really tell me why someone like me, who ovulates normally, and has a predictable 28-30 day cycle, should have to “take it easy.”

I have tried it their way (four one-hour workouts), and my way (double workouts every day, with intensity, plus longer workouts on two of the days of the week), but have now made peace with somewhere in between.

What does that mean?

I train normally, for the first two weeks of my cycle, and then ease off when it approaches ovulation. The following two weeks are at an easy to moderate intensity, with some decrease in volume.

Who knows if this has had any effect on my fertility, but I know that being able to train somewhat at the level I used to keeps me happy, and in a more positive frame of mind, and surely THAT should have an impact on my chances of conceiving!

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