Am I just really out of shape?

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by johndagolfer, Dec 14, 2012.

  1. johndagolfer

    johndagolfer Semi-Pro

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    Here is my story.

    Played 4 hours a day 6 days a week during high school
    Played 2-3 hours a day 5 days a week during college

    Gained 89 lbs, developed gout(improperly diagnosed), quit tennis for 13 years
    Starting getting back into decent shape 3 years ago, and lost 55 lbs.
    Hurt my ankle this last march and was out of tennis for 7 months to recover. Out of everything physical, gained 30 lbs back.

    Present day. I have lost 15 of the 30(over two months) I gained by eating much better and swimming(25 of breath stroke, 25 of freestyle to simulate sprinting and recovery) 1 hour a day 5 days a week and lifting weights 3 times a week.

    My problem that I have faced even when I lost the initial 55 lbs is that I am always so short of breath. 10-15 minutes of intense warm-up and I am breathing hard, my shirt is soaked to my shorts. I have also noticed that the one or two times that I've tried some road work that I can barely last 3/4 of a mile before I am gasping for breath.

    Even when I was in high school I remember I was always a heavy sweater/breather.

    So my question is. Am I just genetically unlucky to have low lung capacity or something or should I just keep losing weight and see what happens when I reach my goal weight?

    thanks!
     
    #1
  2. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    You did not provide your height. Calculate your BMI and see whether you are obese, overweight or fit.

    Then you can explore the problem further.
     
    #2
  3. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Yes, and also maybe you rush between points, not taking time to breathe and regroup. You might be rushing yourself.
    And you're somewhat fit for swimming and lifting weights, maybe not for playing tennis.
    Pushing off on concrete works your legs like water never did.
     
    #3
  4. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    You are still carrying around a lot of extra weight.
     
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  5. johndagolfer

    johndagolfer Semi-Pro

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    No doubt I am still overweight current BMI is 30. But do you think that 15 minutes of intense warm-up should leave me very winded? I would have thought that my workingbout would have helped some but doesn't seem to be
     
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  6. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

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    I'm not sure, but after "intense warm up" I'm normally out of breath as well. I'm not in great shape by any means, but I know what your feeling for sure.

    -Fuji
     
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  7. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Makes me feel good. I am at the upper end of the overweight category while you are touching obese.

    I don't know about intense workouts because I don't do them, but do you feel winded after walking up stairs, and if so, how many levels? Do you get out of breath and do your feet hurt?
     
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  8. OHBH

    OHBH Semi-Pro

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    It sounds like your only cardio is swimming, and unless you are already an great swimmer you really aren't getting a good workout from doing it. Granted the extra weight makes running a bit too rough on the joints and swimming is a nice break for them but unless you really challenge your heart and lungs you will not see results. I like to use a stair climber when I don't feel like running but I always have my heart rate monitor on and make sure I am in the 155-165 bpm range which is a good range for training aerobic capacity, though this will depend on some factors http://www.active.com/fitness/Articles/Calculate_your_training_heart_rate_zones
     
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  9. johndagolfer

    johndagolfer Semi-Pro

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    I generally jog up 2 flights everyday without any problems. But I my body seems to think I am working hard cause I would feel sweat on my back from this. My feet alleys hurt cause of the.damage.my gout has caused my ankles.

    It just makes me worried that guys twice as big as me seem to be able to out run me and out hustle me on the court without he trouble I seem to have with a 10-15 ball rally.

    Thanks for all the replies!
     
    #9
  10. johndagolfer

    johndagolfer Semi-Pro

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    I guess this could be it and yes I am a terrible swimmer, but I am constantly pushing my self and always am breathing really hard after my swims. I have also increased my distance each week over the same hour.
     
    #10
  11. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Overweight according to BMI?


    You should be breathing hard if you are swimming or running. There is a term called "tennis shape". Yes running a lot helps, but still nothing prepares me for a tennis match then actually playing tennis.
     
    #11
  12. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

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    That's a very good point as well!

    -Fuji
     
    #12
  13. rufus_smith

    rufus_smith Professional

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    You are not cardio fit at all. Lose weight and jog/run a minimum of 20 mins. a day.
     
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  14. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    Two things, and the first thing I'm being dead serious about. Do you know how to breathe properly? I couldn't get court time, so this evening I went out and did about 5-6mi in about 45deg weather. Two years ago, at a lighter weight, I would have simply collapsed after one mile. Why? I did not know how to run properly, and sure as heck didn't know how to breathe properly. Running is a very simple thing which is actually quite complicated to do properly, but once learned, becomes SO easy it's a laugh. I am not exaggerating here, so if you have not learned proper strides, cadence and breathing, then that's likely 75% of your running problem. Swimming has much the same issue, although it is more difficult to learn how to swim properly simply by watching youtube videos and reading magazines. Once you can run correctly, you will go farther, faster, and spend a fraction of the energy doing it.

    The second question is more direct. Why did you gain 30lbs in 7mo? That means you did not change your lifestyle, rather, you simply dieted your weight away. If you want this to work, you have to want to change the way you live. It's as easy as dedicating yourself to that change, but that can be one of the hardest things to do. Trust me, I have more than been there (check the "happy with your fitness" thread). So, in this new weight loss phase, have you changed your life, or just started dieting again?
     
    #14
  15. johndagolfer

    johndagolfer Semi-Pro

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    Your breathing suggestion intrigues me. I am often mis breathing when I swim and swallow a lot of water. I have often been told that it seems like I hold my breath during the more intense rallies. How did you go about working on this?

    As for my dieting it was hard to lower my caloric intake right after the injury. And the initial weight spike was due to that. I am eating much more healthy now due to lowering my goal .
     
    #15
  16. junbumkim

    junbumkim Professional

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    It might be because your warm-up is too intense? You want to start off pretty slow and increase the pace. If you try go from 0 to 70 or 80 suddenly, your heart and body are having to work awfully hard. Once you are warmed up, you can try going at 80~100..

    Swimming is a great exercise but uses muscles in different way from running or tennis, in other words, it's not a great exercise to prep you for tennis. If I were you, I would substitute stationery bike and treadmill with one of swimming sessions. Try interval training, which is fairly easy to simulate on stationary bikes.

    Pvaudio's suggestion is interesting. One of the reasons why boxers can last so long throwing punches is because they know how to breathe, which is quite similar to tennis. Whenever you hit a shot, try exhaling. You inhale as you wind up and exhale as you execute - you see pros do this all the time. If you find this unfamiliar, simply trying soft grunting. It helps me time and recover.

    You might also have too high of expectation from your playing days (I assume you played college tennis??). You are probably mid to late 30s, and are not playing tennis on daily basis.
     
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  17. TimeToPlaySets

    TimeToPlaySets Rookie

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    How old are you???
     
    #17
  18. Mick3391

    Mick3391 Professional

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    BMI is the biggest joke out there. Michael Jordan is obese according to the BMI. If you have 5% fat yet are muscular, you are probably obese according to the BMI.

    I don't know how old you are, but I also used to be a rocket, never got injured except for slight cuts and bruises, or a sprain here and there, here I am 38 years old and this has been a year of injuries, one after another, you'd think I were a hypocondriac.

    My doc gives me 500IU of HCG shots every other day, I am injury free, more energy, pain all gone. Again, don't know your age, but look into bio-indentical hormones, all you are doing is making your Testosterone and HGH the same as when younger.
     
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  19. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    OK then get your BP checked. If that is normal, you are probably OK.

    Many people who "run out of breath" actually have high BP.
     
    #19
  20. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    Have you tried doing HIIT barefoot?
     
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  21. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    First, see a doc. Make sure it isn't a cardio or pulmonary problem.

    If that all checks out, it sounds like poor conditioning and poor technique.

    I used to sweat a lot and get out if breath on the court when no one else did. Beyond remembering to breathe, two things helped.

    First, split step and recover immediately. Failing to split spent means you are constantly coming to a full stop after every shot. It uses energy to restart your motor. Also, if you don't recover after your shot and instead stand there flat footed and admiring it, then you will have to sprint for the next shot. That is exhausting.

    Second, I learned to use my body better. Muscling the ball is exhausting. Lessons helped a lot with this.

    Good luck!
     
    #21
  22. johndagolfer

    johndagolfer Semi-Pro

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    thanks for the replies all. During my last checkup my pcp basically said all I need to do is lose weight. Otherwise I am fairly healthy.

    I guess what I am trying to get a better understanding of is that some people able to handle being overweight more than others. Like I say I've seen guys at the gym who are rounder and outweigh me by a ton, but can still out run me and have more stamina than I do(even when I was running my very slow paced 15 miles a week).

    It just makes me so frustrated that for all the hard work I put into my conditioning/weight loss I am still very constrained on the court by not being able to give it my all due to having to conserve energy.

    I guess I will wait and see how I am when I get to my weight goal.

    Thanks all!
     
    #22
  23. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Your "hard work" seems NOT tennis related, but overall fitness related.
    You now swim farther than ever before, and you jog quite well, compared to if you never did those two things.
    Now play tennis more. Play doubles to start, maybe 3-5 sets a day.
    Then add singles to the equation, subtracting 2 doubles for every ONE added singles.
     
    #23
  24. johndagolfer

    johndagolfer Semi-Pro

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    Thanks Lee. I guess I do need to get out on the court more. I just thought there would be more of a translation from off the court fitness to on the court.
     
    #24
  25. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I'm in your boat.
    I have the ankle problem, cannot run ONE step since 2007. Try to play tennis with that slight incomberance. Singles can get really tough, which is why I say I can lose to the top of the heap 3.5 level singles guys.
    I can swim OK, surf OK, windsurf with the best for an hour, even snowboard just fine for a couple of hours.
    But beyond that narrow time frame, the game is over.
    I try to play 3 doubles sets nowadays, no more, unless I don't have to windsurf in the afternoon.
     
    #25
  26. johndagolfer

    johndagolfer Semi-Pro

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    Attached is the type of hitting that I cannot do for my than 15 minutes without being winded. Sorry about the bad quality

    http://youtu.be/RFv8MYUnMJY
     
    #26
  27. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    You are a pretty decent player. I can hit like that for 1 hour, with maybe a water break in between. I think I can go more, but I get mentally tired faster than I get physically tired.
     
    #27
  28. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    Don't get discouraged!!!

    You are clearly doing incredibly well to have lost the weight.

    Using swimming was brilliant so as not to suffer an injury from running.

    The only trouble with swimming is that in the water you are weightless.
    So as was mentioned above unless you are swimming really hard and getting your heart rate up, there will be little transference to tennis or running fitness.


    It must be frustrating not to have even made even greater strides.

    Just be patient - so you may not win the Australian Open - shoot for June and the French for your first title :).


    The advice above of using a stair climber - or cross country skier or even stationary cycling and doing HIIT workouts is what will eventually get you the kind of "wind" you are seeking for tennis.
    HIIT - High Intensity Interval Training http://www.intervaltraining.net/hiit.html

    For those who are suckers for high tec gizmos (like me) you may get a kick out of using a heart weight monitor when you work out - even give it a try when you play tennis.
    Obviously this is not essential, but getting your heart rate into a higher zone may be a goal that will give you a yardstick to how hard you are working out.
    You may even be quite pleasantly surprised to see your heart rate is indeed high - and as the weight comes off you can be expecting to see the results on court you desire.
    [I use the Garmin Forerunner 205, although Timex and Polar are probably the two most popular brands, and Garmin makes a waterproof model for swimmers.]



    Finally, are you sure you do not have the fairly common problem of "exercise induced asthma"?
    I remember someone earlier this year started a thread that they got short of breath on court, and a couple of weeks later gave a follow up that they had been diagnosed with exercise induced asthma.

    From the Mayo Clinic website:

    "Exercise-induced asthma


    If you cough, wheeze or feel out of breath during or after exercise, it may be more than exertion causing your symptoms. You might have exercise-induced asthma. As with asthma triggered by other things, exercise-induced asthma symptoms occur when your airways tighten and produce extra mucus.

    If you have exercise-induced asthma — also called exercise-induced bronchospasm (BRONG-ko-spaz-um) — physical exertion may be the only thing that triggers your symptoms. Or, exercise may be just one of several things that trigger your asthma. But having exercise-induced asthma doesn't mean you shouldn't exercise. Proper treatment of exercise-induced asthma and precautions can keep you active — whether you're strolling through the park or running a race.

    Exercise-induced asthma symptoms may start a few minutes after you begin exercising, and they may continue to worsen for another 10 minutes or so after you've finished a workout. It's possible to have symptoms both during and after exercise.

    Feeling a little short of breath or fatigued when you work out is normal, especially if you aren't in great shape. But with exercise-induced asthma, these symptoms can be more severe."
    - http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/exercise-induced-asthma/DS01040
     
    #28
  29. TimeToPlaySets

    TimeToPlaySets Rookie

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    Video. You should only be winded after 15 mins if its over 95* outside. You're just a little out of shape. Nice swing.
     
    #29
  30. UCSF2012

    UCSF2012 Hall of Fame

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    From this doctor's perspective, there's nothing that I'm too concerned about. Stop listening to medical advice from lay people, as they're often made up medicine.

    There's nothing wrong with being winded during warm-up. I often do 2-3 hours of tennis without problems, but the first 15-20 minutes is the most difficult. Just keep it up and eat right.
     
    #30
  31. Fugazi

    Fugazi Professional

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    I suspect that you don't eat properly.
     
    #31
  32. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    If you started doing barefoot HIIT 10-15 times per week, you'd no longer be winded in the first 15-20 minutes.

    I also bet you are eating too much oatmeal (bad carbs) and too little bacon (good fat and protein).

    Us lay people know what we are talking about.
     
    #32
  33. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    I use my mouth? Is that OK?
     
    #33
  34. Fugazi

    Fugazi Professional

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    I think you know what I meant. Just trying to help.
     
    #34
  35. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    I have been known to use my salad fork for desert.

    I know, how gauche.
     
    #35
  36. Fugazi

    Fugazi Professional

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    I was responding to the OP. I just noticed that your post made a reference to eating right, but that's a coincidence. I was pointing to the fact that the OP is probably not eating properly, hence the weight gain.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2012
    #36
  37. johndagolfer

    johndagolfer Semi-Pro

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    Since I have lowered my target weight to right around my college weight I have been eating a lot better. I am eating smaller portions with more helpings of vegetables. I am hoping to get back to form and without fitness my footwork just isn't there(as you can probably tell from my video).

    As for asthma, my PCP did prescribe me some ventolin to try out to see if it would work on clearing up my inability to breath during my workouts. The one time that I did try it it seemed to work a bit.

    Thanks all! BTW do you think I can top 4.0 if I get in better shape?
     
    #37
  38. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    I think it is great that tennis seems to be a "carrot on a stick", giving you a goal to get in better shape.

    It sounds like you are doing the right thing addressing your diet - it is almost impossible to lose weight purely through exercise.


    Exercise induced asthma is much more common in those who are overweight.

    It seems like a "which came first, the chicken or the egg?" scenario.
    Difficulty breathing leads to exercise avoidance, and hence a tendency to gain weight.
    On the other hand, those who do lose weight seem to have an improvement in their symptoms.
    And most agree that in those that can "get over the hump" and exercise more seem to be bothered less and less by their symptoms.



    You can top 4.0 - but it takes a huge time commitment to develop all the skills in tennis.
    And there is no such thing as just developing a skill and expect it to be there - without constant practice some aspect - your serve, volley, overhead, etc. won't be there and your opponent will exploit the deficit.

    But that is to a large extent what is so enjoyable about tennis - developing all the strokes is hard - if it was too easy, where would be the challenge in that?

    The long debate has been: "Is tennis a running game with hitting, or it a hitting game with running?" [Obviously the answer is both are right.]
    Getting to those balls with fast feet and recovering quickly for the next shot and the next and the next becomes ever tougher as you move up the ladder.
    The unforced errors have to go way down, and use of combinations of shots to win the point becomes more and more important.

    Enjoy the journey!

    In your video it looks like you already are having a great time hitting.
    Along the path to greater fitness and improving tennis skills, every step along the way is good!
     
    #38
  39. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    Asthma

    Going in for a routine physical a few years ago I mentioned that the air sometimes seemed thin when I walked up the hill in my backyard.

    First, there was a chest X Ray and then a Pulmonary Function Test (PFT). I have asthma and the PFT test indicated a significant loss of capacity. I was shocked.

    I had always thought that if I had a serious lung problem that it would be hard to inhale. I was completely wrong as asthma, emphysema, and bronchitis usually/always? reduce the ability to exhale. Check this point on your own. One important quick test is to exhale as rapidly as possible and measure the peak flow rate using a simple meter. The PFT makes a better measurement by measuring the maximum volume exhaled in 1 second and also makes several more detailed measurements.

    I also had a big misconception about the structure of the lungs. I had pictured the lungs as largely hollow with convoluted structure around the outside. The lungs have no large hollow volume and are more like a sponge consisting of branching bronchial tubes, blood vessels, and about 300,000,000 alovei spherical air cavities.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulmonary_alveolus

    If anyone suspects breathing problems have your lung function measured with a PFT.

    My symptoms were not bad. Throughout I play tennis and can play singles. An inhaler makes a very noticeable difference if I, for example, exercise on an elliptical.

    There is no clear trigger. I try to avoid dust especially the 'respirable' particle size that is too fine to see and gets into the lungs more than the big stuff. Vacuum cleaners do well catching the larger visible dust but they pass finer dusts to some degree back into the air. HEPA filter are probably best but they only claim to filter down to a certain size - 99.97% of particles 0.3 micrometers and larger - that does not necessarily include much of the respirable particles that are smaller than 0.3 micrometers.

    Information on particulates-

    HEPA Filters
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HEPA

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Particulates

    Presentation overall coverage of subject. See settling times.
    http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/aerosols/pdfs/aerosol_101.pdf

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Particulates#Health_effects

    http://www.epa.gov/region7/air/quality/pmhealth.htm

    How long do particulates float in the air? Scientific basis for settling times based from on air resistance of spherical bodies.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stokes'_law
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2012
    #39
  40. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    Judge Smails: Spaulding, get dressed you're playing golf.
    Spalding Smails: No I'm not grandpa I'm playing tennis.
    Judge Smails: You're playing golf and you're going to like it.
    Spalding Smails: What about my asthma?
    Judge Smails: I'll give you asthma.
     
    #40
  41. fps

    fps Legend

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    I agree with this. The first 15-20 minutes when the body is getting warmed up and the heart is getting up to speed you can often feel knackered, then as you carry on and your body gets used to working at that higher rate you ease into it. Sounds like you're doing a great job getting the weight down!
     
    #41
  42. Sundan

    Sundan Rookie

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    A friend and me played singles the other day,we usually play doubles but two guys could come this time so we decided to do singles,and a couple of days later confessed that he has not been so tired from a workout for very long.

    The fun thing is that he is doing badmington and spinning a couple of times per week.

    I however tried to do some running this summer,i could run like 500 meters then had to walk for a bit and so on,but i can play 2 hours of singles,sure i get tired if i meet someone that can make me run alot,but i make it...

    The point is that your body can be different,my friend can do spinning for 1 hour nonstop with a trainer pushing the tempo,i would probably last tops 5 minutes if i held back hehe :)

    I really have bad cardio but somehow tennis works better,maybe your body is more responding to normal cardio but is less adapted for short explosive starts and stops.
     
    #42

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