The Effects of Mental Fatigue

I’ve began regularly throwing twice a day after I graduated from law school back in 2008. When I was living in Kamloops my training sessions would start at 9 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon. The results were almost always better in the afternoon. When I arrived in Switzerland in 2010, I continued training twice a day but had to adjust my training times. Since I have to work in between trainings, my morning session normally starts between 7:30 and 8:30 (often depending on the sunrise) and my afternoon training session normally begins closer to 4 (unless I can squeeze it in at lunch).

If anything, you would think this change would mean that my morning training sessions would get worse in comparison. But the opposite has happened. Now my morning training session is, without fail, my best of the day. This summer some of my best results were as early as 7 o’clock. And my afternoon sessions were continuously unimpressive.


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3 replies
  1. Joe Burke
    Joe Burke says:

    Interesting article. It mentions caffeine as a possible way to block the effects of mental fatigue. The question I would have is: Are there activities that would clear the brain of mental fatigue? For instance would a short yoga rejuvenate you?
    Another question is how long does it take to recover from mental fatigue.

    A second way of looking at this study is to turn it around and ask if mental activity arousal will affect performance. So if I do a crossword puzzle will that arouse my brain and positively affect performance.

    Clearly more research to be done.


  2. Tom Sputo
    Tom Sputo says:

    Intersting to read your observations. I’m a masters hammer thrower (51) and structural engineer. The more mentally fatiguing the day, the less CNS coordination I have for throwing, but it does not seem to affect my general strength. Some of my best lifting has been on days that my mind was jelly at the end of the day.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] As I mentioned last year, mental fatigue can hurt your training. A recent study showed that cyclists peak power output was reduced 20% after being put through demanding cognitive tasks. I notice this first hand: since I’ve started to work my post-work training results have dropped and my morning training is now regularly better. […]

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