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MCAT and Exercise

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by Ibn Alnafis MD, Mar 28, 2012.

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  1. I'm about to start my rigorous MCAT prep (hopefully I remain committed) and was wondering if:

    I should workout for an hour, then study for 4-5 hours


    Study half the material, work out, then get back to studying


    Study the whole thing (4-5 hours) and then exercise.

    Which of the above will yield a better MCAT comprehension?

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  3. typicalindian

    typicalindian 5+ Year Member

    Dec 25, 2010
    You wanna be scientist right? Go do an experiment and tell us the results. and have the report on my desk by monday
  4. Shalashaska

    Shalashaska 5+ Year Member

    Mar 20, 2012

    You're such a cutiepie.

    It doesn't matter when you exercise, as long as you get it in, regardless of whether you're tired or not.

    And even if there's better comprehension being yielded, it's not going to give you a 45T at the end of the day.

    Workout/play sports whenever you want!
  5. mikeconrad

    mikeconrad 2+ Year Member

    Sep 27, 2011
    I would exercise before to get the blood flowing to your brain for your study session. You should try out both ways, though.
  6. premed414

    premed414 5+ Year Member

    Dec 10, 2009
    Acute exercise before has been shown to improve working memory, attention, and executive control.

    A good, brief review of the literature if you have access to Nature: http://www.nature.com/nrn/journal/v9/n1/abs/nrn2298.html

    Fun fact: exercise has been linked to neurogenesis in the hippocampus along with other areas in the brain. Remember when we were kids and someone got hit on the head they'd say they lost 20 brain cells? That's not completely true!
  7. Melomare17

    Melomare17 2+ Year Member

    May 25, 2011
    in the middle is good when you want to take a break, though i'd prob be a long break in the middle, dont just exercise as your break
  8. pfaction

    pfaction 7+ Year Member

    Mar 14, 2010
    I excercise for 5 minutes (nothing strenous, seriously - jogging in place, jumping jacks), then hit the shower. By that point I'm doubly awake. When I'm burned out 12 hours later, repeat!
  9. Doctoor

    Doctoor 2+ Year Member

    Apr 6, 2011
    I've been going to the gym almost every day since I've started studying for the MCAT, the problem is that I've been lifting a lot of weights, so I've been getting really tired post-workouts.

    I've been going to the gym at night right after a ~10 hours MCAT study session at the library. I'd be at the gym for an hour to an hour and 15 mins depending on what muscle group I'm focusing on.

    I tried going to the gym first thing in the morning, but, first off, I'm not a morning person -- so waking up at 7 or 8 just so I can go workout, did not work out for me. When I got to the library at around 10, or sometimes 11, I was feeling tired and sleepy and not so energized because of the work out. So I tried that for a week, and it didn't work out for me, tried putting it in the middle of my study session, and that was even worse, since it was late AND I was tired and still had lots of studying to do, and I wasn't leaving the library till late at night. So I eventually went back to the routine of study for 9 to 11 hours then hit the gym at night, go back home, kick back and relax for an hour or two and then pass out.

    I do warn that if you're gonna start lifting like me, and study as much, you're going to burn A TON of calories, and studying for a long time requires a lot of calories. I was getting so hungry that packing lunch became an issue, since if I was even a tiny bit hungry I would lose focus. So I started preparing feasts (I'd eat maybe 4 turkey sandwiches, a banana, ~70ounces of water, a thing of cottage cheese or sometimes a boiled egg, a coffee, a little bag of almonds, and something else sweet) all within that ~10 hours study session. I do feel very healthy and good though, a sandwich and a little snack every 2 hours plus gymming every day has put me in the best shape of my life.

    Weird, I never ever thought that I'd be getting in the best shape of my life during a period of my life that involves sitting for 10 hours on my ass every day at the library :D
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2012
  10. FirstAndFinal


    Mar 25, 2012
    I'm a morning exercise person. The gym opens at 6AM so I get up ~5:45-6AM and head over first thing in the morning. I feel that it gets me pumped for the day and by the afternoon the fact that I went to the gym is a distant memory. It's pretty great, I'm keeping up my fitness without feeling that it's interrupting my day. You should take a break during your studying anyway--lunch while catching up with friends/watching a TV show/reading a book.

    For me, working out in the middle would feel like a bit of a hassle. Walk from the library home, change to gym clothes, walk to the gym, workout, walk back, take a second shower, get dressed for a second time in the day, walk back to the library. Having it at the end of the day may lead to me skipping sessions because I feel that I'm behind on MCAT studying and could use the time to catch up instead of going to the gym.

    Obviously it's a person thing, figure out your preferences.
  11. animart


    Mar 29, 2012
    I just read the topic its wonderful and very useful information. Good Job done keep it up.
  12. ridethecliche

    ridethecliche Meep Meep Meep 5+ Year Member

    Feb 2, 2011
    Tied to a library chair
    I'd probably workout in the middle as a sanity break.

    2 hrs of focus = 15 passages. Doing 30 in a row is crazy!

    Or read a chapter, workout, read another.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2012
  13. BeanDip4All

    BeanDip4All emt-abcdefgh 7+ Year Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Palo Alto, CA
    morning: cardio: run with woof, bike or swim
    4 hour study

    lunch break: some easy stretching/20 minute yoga

    5 hour study

    evening: 9pm- hit the weightroom!

    after weights: chillax, snooze, spend time with the bf and the dag :)
  14. SaintJude


    Jan 4, 2012
    This is amazing--2 days without exercise and I feel so sluggish. I'm not even so much of an exercise guru, so the fact that I now realize that I must exercise daily is a revelation. I guess I'll have to exercise early morning before I take my exams at 8...oh no.
  15. typicalindian

    typicalindian 5+ Year Member

    Dec 25, 2010
    You mean you don't do a pre exam 5K?:confused: Don't you know that's what all good students do?
  16. FirstAndFinal


    Mar 25, 2012
    I hope you're kidding. I definitely don't plan on doing anything other than waking up, trying to get zen, eating breakfast, and heading to the test center. I don't think you'll feel sluggish on test day, if anything you'll need to try to reduce some of the adrenaline and anxiety. But if you're not kidding you're going to have to practice timing an exercise routine, grooming, eating, and getting somewhere by 7:15-7:30AM the same distance away and traffic level as the test center. You don't want to run late on that day.
  17. chemhead123

    chemhead123 2+ Year Member

    Feb 19, 2012
    Do it as a break in the middle. Will break things up and keep you fresh. Its harder to stay focused knowing you have 3 more hours to sit in that chair.
  18. torshi

    torshi Squirrel 5+ Year Member

    Oct 26, 2010
    i would workout before, you'd be more alert, energized, and ready to study!

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