Post Ride Mood Decline...Help

Hi everyone,

I wanted to bounce something off others on the forum and would love some feedback. My wife recently sat me down and said that when I am training I am more moody than when I am not training. In particular, she said my moodiness/lack of patience on training days was notable. If I am honest with myself, I can see where she is coming from, but I always thought it was very isolated/rare.

I usually ride early in the morning and I know that I can be crabby on occasion towards the end of the day (which I always chalked up to being tired). But her observation was that not only is that definitely the case, she thinks that on days that I ride, she can see/sense a visible post-ride great mood…only to watch it decline two to three hours later into short patience and moody behavior. The more I think about it, the more I think she is right.

I recently started tracking my sleep and that is my first project (along with setting realistic training goals where I am not always riding at 5am). Other thoughts include making sure I fuel properly post workout and then continue eating to avoid any fueling issues that could be driving it. I even thought about having my sweat rate/composition tested to make sure I am putting whatever I need most back into my body post-ride; but I am guessing that is really reaching.

I am a dad/husband first, and I do this for fun, but it is a crucial release and one that I have always thought leads to me being a BETTER dad/husband. So it was a little soul-crushing to hear that may not be the case. Regardless, I need to figure it out.

Any input/thoughts/suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


Over reaching perhaps. Not knowing more it’s hard to say but, this happens to me and most guys I know who actually train.

I got one word for you with 4 syllables…


I’d wager the farm on it.

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One more…My wife just reminded me when I lost weight a number of years ago how grumpy I was. I didn’t realize it at the time.

A few things to look into first:

#0. Do you have any outstanding health issues or have previously suffered from depression? If so, start with a visit to the doctor. If you are in the northern hemisphere, you could also be suffering from seasonal affective disorder and there are some lamps that can help.

#1. Sleep. Prioritize this above all else. Getting enough good quality sleep is a panacea for nearly everything.

#2. Proper fueling during and post ride. If you are a salty sweater, your body is going to be very unhappy, the longer the ride. For regular 4 hour group rides, I ALWAYS pre-load and it makes a huge difference in my ability to be a normal human. Also, post ride, make sure you are fueling enough to help your body repair.

#3. Consistency and realistic goals > big efforts. Think of it like compound interest.

After you’ve worked through those, if the problem is still present, then there are more things to diagnose.

Start with the sleep though.


I’d start with sleep also.

Getting up at 5am for a workout even a couple of times a week and then go to work and be available to your family after all that, is very very VERY difficult!!

I know, I’ve been there and it’s not pretty, not to mention unsustainable.

This by the way one of the biggest reasons why I bought a smart trainer, so I could be more flexible time-wise with my workouts.

I have absolutely been in this position. It actually wasn’t around structure training, but had to do with a long(ish) bike commute to work (10 miles each way, coupled with an early arrival time (6am). Additionally, I went on a daily 5 mile lunch run with coworkers who were fast. I was pretty lean at the time but I ended up just hating everything because, among other things, I was almost certainly under-fueling and very vitamin D deficient (I live in the PNW). Surprisingly, my T was in a normal range, as well as iron (I’m vegan) and other markers after testing with my doctor. Additionally, I would just fall asleep in random places in the evenings if I sat for longer than a few minutes. My partner would end up dragging me to bed.

So yeah, I’m a little more cheerful after I left that job (and the commute), stopped focusing on cutting calories, took supplements, and got a smart trainer for structured training.

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I think it’s normal… awareness will help you hold it back. For those who have kids, work a full time job, train 10-15 hours per week know how exhausting it is. I really try to hold back on being short with the kids and wife, especially after a hard ride or workout. I sometimes get dragged to a kids b-day party after a 5 hour hills ride and all I can is paste a smile on knowing it’s not their fault I feel like sh*t. :slight_smile:

So to the OP, don’t be too hard on yourself, but be aware of the impact it has on the others around you and try to perk up when they’re present.


I’d say over-training.

Just my n=1 observations but I know when I’m getting close to the danger zone I a) start to get cranky and b) start to procrastinate big time. These types of behaviours are most likely the brain’s way of trying to get you to stop doing things which are harming it. Training in general effects all kinds of chemicals and hormones in your body; over-training will do this to an even greater degree. Rest and recovery are a definite requirement.

Perhaps take a break, regroup, maybe come back with a different plan of attack. Good luck.

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A crucial release from what? That is the source of your stress and mood.

Secondary will be nutrition and recovery, like being “hangry” you will not be a happy bunny if you haven’t got the fuelling of your sessions right.


I am not a food/fueling expert, but would the composition of the post-workout fueling also have an effect?
Whether re-fueling with carbs, protein or sugar would have a direct impact on how long the mood last?


Lots of good help and support here.
Sounds like you need to do some sort of diary to show post-fuelling strategy, sleep patterns and mood swings.
After that analyze and see what you can spot.
Lack of asleep is the main starting point though


+1 For the diary idea.

If you have the ability to track your blood sugar I would give that a go too.


I would definitely have a good look at having enough fuel post-workout if you don’t ace that already

What are your coffee habits?

As mentioned by others, I do notice mood swings as well, more when training.

Yep, restoring blood sugar levels will be key…In a way that doesn’t just spike and fall.

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Just going to throw it out there, that are times it isn’t necessarily you, even if someone else’s perception is their reality.

For me, it’s generally tiredness that has me cranky. I’ve lost a significant amount of weight, in my 40’s I’m the fittest I’ve ever been, but I just can’t seem to nail getting enough sleep. Throw in early starts and training, it does make me cranky come the end of some days.

I would disagree with some on here that it’s normal for your mood to decline, exercise should coincide with a release of feel good endorphins If you aren’t over training and are well fueled. But I have recently read that if you are working too hard, especially around HIIT levels then it can cause negative emotions and also a reluctance to continue with your exercise.

You don’t say how your training is progressing, whether you are failing at tougher workouts for example.

I think the advice above about changing your workout time, and working on nutrition is great but you should also consider your workout intensity and how you are performing

News report on study:


Ask yourself are you fitting your your life around training, or fitting training around your life?

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I’d chalk it up to needing more sex! Try it for a few years.

Thank me later!