howdy2u

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I have a question for those of you who are planning to take the MCAT this spring...or for those of you who have already taken the MCAT.

Do you think that it is necessary to be exercising during the time that you are studying for the MCAT?

I'm currently doing a home-study program with EK, TBR, and AAMC tests. I'm relatively fit...former marathon runner. I have been allowing myself one hour of running 3x/week, but lately I have been feeling exhausted (rather than energized) after exercising. I tend to run during the mid-day (12-1pm) or early morning (5:30-6:30am). I've tried exercising at night, yet it leaves me feeling tired with the inability to actually fall asleep at a decent hour.

Questions:
1.) Do you think that it would be better to wait until after April 16 (my MCAT date) to continue with exercising?
2.) If you are currently working out, are you experiencing the same thing?
3.) If you have already taken the MCAT, did you feel that allotting time and energy for exercising actually improved or hindered your overall MCAT performance?

Thanks, in advance, for any advice.
 

dr.kicia

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I have a question for those of you who are planning to take the MCAT this spring...or for those of you who have already taken the MCAT.

Do you think that it is necessary to be exercising during the time that you are studying for the MCAT?

I'm currently doing a home-study program with EK, TBR, and AAMC tests. I'm relatively fit...former marathon runner. I have been allowing myself one hour of running 3x/week, but lately I have been feeling exhausted (rather than energized) after exercising. I tend to run during the mid-day (12-1pm) or early morning (5:30-6:30am). I've tried exercising at night, yet it leaves me feeling tired with the inability to actually fall asleep at a decent hour.

Questions:
1.) Do you think that it would be better to wait until after April 16 (my MCAT date) to continue with exercising?
2.) If you are currently working out, are you experiencing the same thing?
3.) If you have already taken the MCAT, did you feel that allotting time and energy for exercising actually improved or hindered your overall MCAT performance?

Thanks, in advance, for any advice.

1) it depends...for me working out helps with anxiety.
2)no, though i feel sometimes to tired to get my butt to the gym it is mainly because i am very busy and at the end of the day all i sometimes want to do is have some time with my favourite pillow
3)can't tell yet
 

zolaash

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I have a question for those of you who are planning to take the MCAT this spring...or for those of you who have already taken the MCAT.

Do you think that it is necessary to be exercising during the time that you are studying for the MCAT?

I'm currently doing a home-study program with EK, TBR, and AAMC tests. I'm relatively fit...former marathon runner. I have been allowing myself one hour of running 3x/week, but lately I have been feeling exhausted (rather than energized) after exercising. I tend to run during the mid-day (12-1pm) or early morning (5:30-6:30am). I've tried exercising at night, yet it leaves me feeling tired with the inability to actually fall asleep at a decent hour.

Questions:
1.) Do you think that it would be better to wait until after April 16 (my MCAT date) to continue with exercising?
2.) If you are currently working out, are you experiencing the same thing?
3.) If you have already taken the MCAT, did you feel that allotting time and energy for exercising actually improved or hindered your overall MCAT performance?

Thanks, in advance, for any advice.

Personally, I think not exercising would be one of the worst things you could possibly do. If you are so exhausted maybe you should analyze how you are allocating your time. I am a runner (marathon runner/half-ironman triathlon finisher) and when I cease exercising I feel lethargic, depressed and clearly see a negative impact on my grades. At a minimum, I would run 30 min 3 times a week and on the other days do something to get your heart rate up (walk, bike, jump around the house like a nut case) for 10-15min.

By the way, I'm running the NYC Marathon this year!!! Dream come true!

Good luck and keep on running!
 

FlStudent

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First off, excellent question! Figuring out the details in the MCAT path is integral.

"Do you think that it is necessary to be exercising during the time that you are studying for the MCAT? "
Necessary for everyone? No. But it was very important for me! I don't even exercise all that much, but I did keep a regular exercise pattern during my mcat prep months. I realized I had to, just to get studying done some days. My energy level/stamina/mental stamina increased when I exercised. And I needed lots of stamina to consistently study over a long period of time. If I didn't exercise I would feel tired/sleepy and watch tv or daydream or something. I just counted my "good weeks" and "bad weeks". Good and bad defined as how much I studied during that week (nI didn't judge my performance per day b/c that is insane). I think when I exercised I had more good weeks.

During the last two/3 weeks, I would study for 50 min., skateboard for 10, back to study, then skate, etc. Helped keep me fresh during the last few weeks, etc.


Questions:
1.) Do you think that it would be better to wait until after April 16 (my MCAT date) to continue with exercising?

Seriously, you are exercising too intensely. Feeling fatigued for hours after exercise is great usually, but you are pushing yourself too hard to get a good study on. What is your ultimate goal? Doing a triathalon by April or Studying the MCAT, and studying for more and more hrs per day? If it is the latter, then you should exercise just enough to make you feel fresh and vigorous during your studies! If that is in 10 minute bursts every 2/3 hours or so, so be it. Long exercise breaks may not be best in this situation.

2.) If you are currently working out, are you experiencing the same thing?
Sometimes I would exercise too much, just to get out of the study hall. And then I would lie on the couch forever. I just made a mental note to not do the same thing the next day. Just continually perfected my schedule for MCAT studying. That is what everyone does!

3.) If you have already taken the MCAT, did you feel that allotting time and energy for exercising actually improved or hindered your overall MCAT performance?

Improved, b/c you get more studying done. Med School Confidential, a book, talks about exercising vs. not exercising in med school. Lots don't , but a few find that it allows them to study moreso b/c of the increased daily energy.

Good question! Hope this helps.
 
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MedChic

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To add to this question do you guys find yourself constantly snacking? Or do you watch your calorie intake?
 

dr.kicia

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To add to this question do you guys find yourself constantly snacking? Or do you watch your calorie intake?

i drink lots of green tea which not only keeps me sane unlike coffee but also feels out my stomack and prevents me from snacking. I would be eating something all the time if i didn't drink tea.
But working out is not a matter of staying thin for me, it is more just to stay in shape and feel good and get those endorphines flowing.
I am very letargic if i skip more then 2 days of gym.
As a matter of fact i am going there right now :D
Will be multitasking again with my readings and cardio:D
 

Nasrudin

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I can't comment on MCAT specifically but I can relate stress management and exercise from my pre-med/working life.

OP.....keep in mind while assessing how you feel now with the most stressful exam of your life looming that an evaluation of your exhaustion compared to your normal states of mind does not properly isolate exercise as the only variable.

I was a very stressed out novice premed a short while back and the fear of failure and working and going to school full-time took a heavy toll on me in all aspects of my life. Physically I was totally sedentary. combine that with hoisting patients around a hospital and i made my own disaster.
After months of rehabilitation and surgery for a herniated disc, I made a massive overhaul of I was going to dictate how i would treat myself from now until I'm dead. Developing a consistent and dedicated yoga practice has changed my whole orientation to how i approach the demands of life. I relate this to you as a warning against any form of personal extremism or abuse through a completely sedentary lifestyle.

Your an athlete...so perhaps you are not as keenly aware of what happens to your body when you abuse or neglect it. Take my word for it...it brings you down in everything you do--the MCAT would be no exception. In fact under stressful conditions such as MCAT preparation it is doubly important to exercise and take time out to do things you enjoy. As a result when you are in the competitive zone you will have more of yourself to give to it.

Good luck!!!

Great thread topic. One of the best i've seen.
 

Lshapley

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I am a former professional dancer and am used to working out for 3 hours a pop, 3 or more times a week not including performance weeks. This semester, however, I have not been working out (just some light yoga here and there if I am in the mood) and I am just treating it like a vacation from the workout routine. I don't think it is a suitable longterm solution, but I see it in the short term as viable while I am prepping to take the MCAT and doing a full courseload. My grades, so far, have actually been better than last semester because I am focused totally on studying (with volunteering and some light part time work thrown in there).

I don't think that this is the best option for everyone, but I am the type of person who prefers to do things in cycles, rather than maintaining the same routine consistently.
 

BitingPlates

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Work outs are one of the greatest releases, especially running. I used to run almost everyday and it was so nice to be by yourself, get all that oxygen in your blood, and just free your mind. If I don't work out now I think it hinders my performance in school. Just go work out for an hour, shower then get back to the books.
 

fitnesspremed

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obviously exercise is a big part of my life... but i felt that it was best not to change anything significantly during my studying. cutting exercise out for me would have been impossible (obesity gene), but i genuinely believe that you shouldnt drastically change your lifestyle before a big test. exercise is such a good stress reliever and keeps you focused, etc. if you're feeling really tired or burnt out, cut back- instead of a couple hours a day, maybe just 45 minutes. but if it's taking way too much of your motivation to do it, save that for the studying!
 

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Do you think that it is necessary to be exercising during the time that you are studying for the MCAT?

Necessary? No. A good habit to have? Absolutely. I think exercise and a healthy diet can enhance your body's natural ability to adapt to, and handle, stressors. Studying for and taking the MCAT can introduce a significant amount of new stress into your life. If your body isn't in good health, these new stressors can tip the pendulum far enough to shift you into varying states of unease. Clearly, you don't want to be "stressed out" before your MCAT. Your brain isn't independent of the rest of your body. Take care of your entire being. If you were preparing for a professional car race, you wouldn't fuel it with crap that could gum up your engine and then leave it sitting in your garage for most of the lead time before the race. No, that wouldn't do. You'd put in high-octane fuel and run the car regularly to keep it good operating order.

I'm currently doing a home-study program with EK, TBR, and AAMC tests. I'm relatively fit...former marathon runner. I have been allowing myself one hour of running 3x/week, but lately I have been feeling exhausted (rather than energized) after exercising. I tend to run during the mid-day (12-1pm) or early morning (5:30-6:30am). I've tried exercising at night, yet it leaves me feeling tired with the inability to actually fall asleep at a decent hour.

You are adding an additional stressor into your life by your intense studying in preparation for the MCAT. While you are fit and used to a great deal of regular exercise, your usual amount might not be optimal given the new stressor. The feedback you are getting from your body suggests that, too. You are feeling exhausted; take that as a sign. I'd reduce the amount and intensity of your exercise until you are feeling naturally well, again, as you were before you started experiencing the unusual exhaustion. Adjust your physical load until it feels right. Engaging your brain in intense study definitely takes a lot of energy; your brain is a very sugar-hungry organ. You might need to eat more carbs and snack more frequently to keep yourself fully energized. Use care not to "eat" your stress, or emotions, however. If that happens to be a problem for you, instead of compulsively reaching for the food, take a breath instead, feel all your feelings, and ask yourself what you really want. Keep yourself well fueled, but don't overdo it. Finally, don't forget that it's good to take lots of study breaks and breathers, to change up the pace and allow your body and mind some space to integrate the new material.

As you already mentioned, exercising too late in the evening is not a good idea, since your body will have a difficult time winding down. Whatever other time you choose, I'd suggest sticking to it as a regular schedule. Sometimes, if you try to vary the time too often, it will act as another stressor.

With proper exercise and diet, I think you can enhance your performance. Listen to your body and it's reactions as direct feedback; make adjustments to your physical routine and diet as necessary.

Good Luck!
 

swifteagle43

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do exercise...of problems
I have a question for those of you who are planning to take the MCAT this spring...or for those of you who have already taken the MCAT.

Do you think that it is necessary to be exercising during the time that you are studying for the MCAT?

I'm currently doing a home-study program with EK, TBR, and AAMC tests. I'm relatively fit...former marathon runner. I have been allowing myself one hour of running 3x/week, but lately I have been feeling exhausted (rather than energized) after exercising. I tend to run during the mid-day (12-1pm) or early morning (5:30-6:30am). I've tried exercising at night, yet it leaves me feeling tired with the inability to actually fall asleep at a decent hour.

Questions:
1.) Do you think that it would be better to wait until after April 16 (my MCAT date) to continue with exercising?
2.) If you are currently working out, are you experiencing the same thing?
3.) If you have already taken the MCAT, did you feel that allotting time and energy for exercising actually improved or hindered your overall MCAT performance?

Thanks, in advance, for any advice.
 
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Timmythemic22

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I have a question for those of you who are planning to take the MCAT this spring...or for those of you who have already taken the MCAT.

Do you think that it is necessary to be exercising during the time that you are studying for the MCAT?

I'm currently doing a home-study program with EK, TBR, and AAMC tests. I'm relatively fit...former marathon runner. I have been allowing myself one hour of running 3x/week, but lately I have been feeling exhausted (rather than energized) after exercising. I tend to run during the mid-day (12-1pm) or early morning (5:30-6:30am). I've tried exercising at night, yet it leaves me feeling tired with the inability to actually fall asleep at a decent hour.

Questions:
1.) Do you think that it would be better to wait until after April 16 (my MCAT date) to continue with exercising?
2.) If you are currently working out, are you experiencing the same thing?
3.) If you have already taken the MCAT, did you feel that allotting time and energy for exercising actually improved or hindered your overall MCAT performance?

Thanks, in advance, for any advice.

I can only tell you that I allotted time for exercise/working out 5 days a week while studying for the MCATs. I varied my exercises from lifting weights at the gym, calisthenics, aerobics (running and punching the bag) and found that not only did I feel rejuvinated from my mental drain, but also found myself budgeting my time more carefully to allow for everything in my day. OP, I think you may be a bit too hard on yourself. You may just be working out too hard. Try to ease up a bit, but keep the exercise routine in your week. Do you belong to a gym? Why not try working out partially on the elliptical and partially on the treadmill (should ease up on strain). What about working out in the morning? I know I did supplement my day with a lot of caffeine, so that may be another answer.

I hope it all works out for you!
 

AF DO

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Absolutely, continue working out. Biggest thing about the MCAT is don't freak out. It's just a test. Continue living like you normally would. The thing that worked for me was riding a stationary bike for 30 minutes a day and going over flashcards at the same time.

Good luck to everyone! :D
 

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My lifting is my only "me time" I have all day. Between work, starting a new company, and studying for this exam I don't have a whole lot of time to just clear my mind. I am the kind of person who worries about things constantly, like many of you, when things aren't going exactly as planned. When I am with the iron I get to be me and only answer to me. The weights don't care if I have had a bad day, a great day, if my boss is being a pain, gf problems, got a raise or whatever....100lbs is 100lbs every single day of the week! You really begin to appreciate this when everything else in your life seems to be a little crazy and out of control. I train and compete in powerlifting and is something that I love, you may love yoga, running, basketball, etc. Just do what makes you happy and brings you back to center. Just make sure your not overtraining and causing undue stress during a stressful time. Life is balance.

As far as food choices, don't count calories (too stressful.) Just remember to eat whole foods and leave all the stuff that is bought in a box or can alone. Never seen anyone put on "bad weight" from whole foods. Just my $.02

Good luck to everyone
 

FutureDoc2011

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By all means, continue working out. When I took the MCAT, I trained for it like a sport (of course it helped that I work out anyway). I would do 3-4 hours of MCAT study 5 days a week and then unwind by going to the gym (alternating Cardio and Weights each day).

Two weeks before the MCAT I started zoning in. No music at all, running in the morning (6AM to get used to getting up early) that helped me focus, MCAT studies, and weights every other day in the afternoon. And remember to eat healthy too.

Finally, keep in mind, the MCAT is not only a test mental test, it's also a test in endurance.

Anyway, that was my MCAT regimen - take what you will and adapt it to your style.

Good luck! :luck:
 

ItOnlyTakesOne

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I can't say enough about the benefits of exercise.

My $.02 for the OP is to try and get some variety in your schedule. When I was studying for the MCAT I ran/weights maybe twice a week, had an IM basketball game once a week, and went to an aerobics class once a week. The running was good for some intense stress relief/thinking because it's pretty solitary. However, I think the social aspect of the basketball and aerobics was a really great way to get my mind of the test for a few hours and force myself to interact with people who weren't obsessing over the MCAT (unlike the rest of my study group ha ha).

Anyway, I say exercise is super important, and you should keep it up, but remember that, for now, at least, the exercise should be complementing your studying, not be the focus of all your energy.

Good luck studying!:D
 

squeaky

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I would recommend doing whatever makes you feel better in your preparation for the mcat. Exercise helps me manage my anxiety, so I regularly go to the gym 3 or 4 times a week. But I stopped going the month before my mcat because I felt I was on the brink of getting sick (occasional headaches, tickle in throat, etc.). I didn't want to over exert myself and get sick right before the mcat. :thumbup:
 

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excersicing is NEVER a bad thing. it helps in a number of ways. dont be a couch potato, it will make you depressed. i have the mindset that whenever i feel like i need a nap during the day i go for a jog and it wakes me up.
 

HailMary

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I'm excited that so many pre-meds do yoga... maybe not everyone in med school will be completely stressed out all the time. I've never been very consistent with exercise. I'll go pretty frequently for a couple weeks, slack off for a couple weeks, and continue that cycle. For me, the most important thing is listening to my body. Exercise is great, but when you force yourself to do it just for the sake of doing it, many of the benefits are lost. I try to at the very least walk every day. On the weekends I'll go to yoga, jog, hike, or something else if the weather is nice. During the week my schedule is pretty hectic so I fit it in when I feel like I need it. As for MCAT season, I'd say just don't make any drastic lifestyle changes. If you usually go 3-5 days a week, try cutting down by a day to see if you're less tired. Little variations are fine, but either adding a lot or reducing a lot will probably have detrimental effects.
 

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I think exercise plays very important role in life. I also do running and jogging daily and i advice all fat people who want to loss their weight then they could do any exercise daily.

I'm sure everyone is interested in your response considering the thread is four years old.
 
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