Fatigue is an integral part of exercise that often occurs after exercise. Sometimes it happens during a workout.
Although accompanied by exercise, regular physical activity makes many people feel more energized throughout the day. Sports activities increase energy levels by accelerating blood flow and the activity of certain hormones and neurotransmitters.
But sometimes, fatigue after class is so strong that you want to go to bed faster. What causes such fatigue, and what to do?
Fatigue after a workout – causes
Physical activities can be characterized by different specificity and intensity. The reaction of the body depends on the type of exercise performed, as well as the duration.
A session that is not too long, during which there is no near loss of consciousness, does not cause severe exhaustion, the effects of which last for many hours.
On the contrary, training on the verge of possibly leads to an overload of both the motor apparatus and the nervous system. The consequences of such a trip to the gym can be felt in the form of fatigue that persists after a short rest.
Of course, much depends on the degree of fitness and a person’s adaptive and regenerative abilities.
The above question does not only apply to one-time workouts but primarily concerns loads in the long term.
Over weeks and months, workouts that used to bring pleasure and “energize” at some point become destructive.
Ignoring this issue can lead to serious violations of systemic homeostasis and contribute to the emergence of overtraining syndrome. As a result, not only a deterioration in well-being and a lack of energy after training but also stagnation or a consistent regression in training.
Fatigue can be inextricably linked to using pre-workout supplements containing high doses of stimulants.
Unfortunately, “nothing in life is free.” Therefore, if additional stimulant drugs give you the energy to go to the gym after work, you must remember that you will have to pay for it on the same day.
The higher the dose of stimulants and fatigue-reducing agents before exercise, the more likely it is that more fatigue will occur after exercise.
Factors affecting post-workout fatigue
The cause of fatigue may not only be in overtraining and taking stimulants. Other factors affect the state after exercising in the gym.
Lack of sleep
A factor that can significantly affect how you feel after a workout is lack of sleep. If the sleep is short, as a rule, the psychophysical state is worse than a normal 7-8 hour sleep.
Even a single reduction in night rest can create an urgent need for compensation soon after the end of work.
Constant lack of sleep significantly affects the ability to engage in physical and mental activity.
Sleep deprivation patients are also more likely to use higher doses of stimulants that contribute to the post-exercise decline.
The regenerative abilities of the body are also reduced.
Nutrition similarly affects the processes of adaptation to physical activity and well-being after training.
The relationship between nutrition and training can be viewed at many levels, which may involve both short-term and long-term factors.
Short-term factors include insufficient energy intake in the time preceding training, especially if this period exceeds a day.
Eating too much or too late before a workout can also lead to increased fatigue after exercising in the gym. Exercising with a full stomach is inconvenient and burdens the body.
About long-term factors, not only insufficient energy supply, characteristic of diets for weight loss but also associated with the accumulation of deficiencies in key non-energy nutrients, such as vitamins or minerals, may play a role.
Too low intake of magnesium and B vitamins can lead to disruption of many metabolic processes associated with the release of energy, as well as disruption of the nervous system.
As a result, the psychophysical state decreases. A lack of vitamin C and omega-3 fatty acids can contribute to the excessive production of catabolic cortisol.
Vitamin D deficiency has also been associated with lower testosterone levels in men.
The cause of problems with poor health after exercise can also be water and electrolyte imbalances associated not only with insufficient fluid intake but also with improper excretion.
Drinking salty water as your main fluid source, especially during intense workouts, is not a good idea. Drinking medium and high mineralization water are recommended, rich in sodium, magnesium, and calcium.
These three elements and potassium (found mainly in fruits and vegetables) are essential for maintaining the body’s acid-base balance. The lack of adequate alkaline reserves in the body means that many enzymatic reactions do not proceed correctly,
How to relieve post-workout fatigue
The secretion of endorphins stimulates intense physical training. Unfortunately, soon after this, severe fatigue sets in, which makes daily activities difficult, and after the slightest effort, one feels sleepy and exhausted.
Regardless of the type of workout, a few key strategies can help fight fatigue.
Sleep is the basis of recovery.
Sleep deprivation or poor quality sleep has a significant impact on the recovery of the body. On average, the body needs 7-8 hours to recover. Some need 6-7 hours.
However, if sleep lasts about 3 hours a day while we train and work intensively, it is not surprising that in the end, the body says a firm “STOP.”
It’s not just the right amount of sleep that matters; it’s the quality. That is why it is necessary:
- Ventilate the bedroom;
- calm down;
- Avoid external stimuli that affect the brain;
- Take care of peace.
Quality sleep will affect physical and mental performance and promote the recovery of muscles, joints, and the whole body.
Recovery after a workout or fighting fatigue is not just about sleeping or lying on the couch. It is also a gentler form of physical activity, such as walking, cycling, rollerblading, or yoga.
Despite small efforts, the heart rate increases but does not cause fatigue. Often there is an improvement in well-being, recovery, and body preparation for the next, more intense workout.
Acupressure or acupressure mat
- Relaxes tense muscles and joints;
- Relieves pain;
- Strengthens the skin;
- Improves mood;
- Facilitates falling asleep.
Ideal for athletes and amateurs involved in individual sports. Relaxes and activates muscles, reduces muscle tension and relieves pain and muscle stiffness.
Hydration before and during exercise prevents skin drying and reduces stress and fatigue, affecting the body’s recovery.
It should be remembered that the regeneration of the body is an individual matter. What works well for one person might not work at all for another.
In addition to sleep, another factor influencing recovery is a diet rich in nutrients necessary for the proper functioning of the body.
Most high-intensity athletes follow a personalized nutrition plan tailored to the body’s needs.
On the other hand, people who don’t exercise regularly, especially beginners, make mistakes when it comes to food.
Nutrition can be conditionally divided into two steps:
- Step 1 refers to a properly balanced meal that should be consumed 2-3 hours before training;
- Step 2 is related to nutrients and supplements consumed no later than an hour before the start of the workout.
Both strategies will give energy, motivation, and strength during physical activities.
The right meal plan allows you to:
- Build and protect muscles;
- Improve hydration;
- Maintain normal glucose concentration;
- Balance cortisol and insulin, which improves fat loss;
- Maintain concentration;
- Strengthen the immune system.
2-3 hours before training is when you need to consume large servings. Remember also to replenish the liquid in an amount of about 500 ml.
Maintaining an appropriate time frame will allow food to be absorbed and digested, water to be absorbed, and insulin levels to return to baseline before exercise.
Pre-workout meals should be easily digestible and consist mainly of carbohydrates and proteins. The exact amount of macronutrients depends on:
- training experience;
- current diet;
- type of training;
- Degrees of preparation.
Therefore, the values below should only be considered a guide, a starting point. Observing the body’s reaction and responding to changes is a way to identify needs correctly.
To properly balance the diet, start by recalculating the content of individual nutrients, primarily protein and carbohydrates.
Avoid excessive fat. It is better to make up for the lack after training. Excess fat can:
- Slow down digestion;
- Cause stagnation of food in the stomach;
- Difficulty absorbing nutrients.
Choose protein foods that are lower in fat but rich in tyrosine and other amino acids that stimulate the secretion of neurotransmitters such as adrenaline and dopamine, which will increase motivation and energy.
Foods high in tyrosine:
- Egg white;
- Cottage cheese;
- Chicken breast;
- Fish, especially cod and tuna.
Salmon also contains a relatively high tyrosine content but more fat, which should be avoided before training.
From carbohydrates, try to choose with a longer digestion time but not containing an excessive amount of fiber, especially insoluble.
The reason is simple – it can cause digestive discomfort. For this reason, it is better to include such foods in the diet at longer intervals.
Pay attention to how the food is cooked as well. Avoid frying and stewing with the addition of a large amount of fat and baking. Replace with steaming, baking in foil or parchment. It is possible to stew without adding fat or with a minimum amount.
In the pre-workout period, avoid hot spices and slow-digesting foods that can further increase bloating, such as cabbage, beans, corn, and peas.
The 60 minutes before your workout is when you need to replenish your body with additional nutrients and compounds to combat fatigue and sleepiness. These products will provide:
- Energy charge;
- Increased blood flow through the muscles.
And after training, they will accelerate the recovery of the body.
There are two ways to replenish the body with the necessary substances to achieve the best result. Which one is right depends on:
- Base muscle mass;
- Glycogen content;
- The nature of the training;
- The duration of the lessons.
You may try both options and choose the one that best matches your needs.
Take 7-10 grams of exogenous amino acids (EAAs) containing significant amounts of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs).
Mix 250 ml of water with a protein supplement and drink no later than 60 minutes before training.
At this time, choose nutrients with a relatively short absorption period that do not require long digestion and additional energy.
Best Sources of Essential Amino Acids:
- EAA in its purest form;
- Whey protein isolate, which the body will quickly absorb;
- Whey protein hydrolyzate.
Depending on the diet, you can take 5-10 grams.
See how it affects physical performance and choose the right dose or skip it.
Unlike the previous one, it is necessary to include additional carbohydrates. You can consume 10-15 grams of fast-digesting carbohydrates half an hour before training and combine them with a mixture of exogenous amino acids and a protein supplement.
Carbohydrates with a short absorption time include:
- Waxy corn starch.
You can also choose ready-made carbohydrate supplements that contain easily digestible sugars. Carbohydrates can also be included in other supplements, including pre-workout supplements.
The first method is suitable for those engaged in strength training for an hour and a half or less.
Second to those who:
- Is on a low-carbohydrate diet rich in protein, the effect of which is to reduce glycogen in the muscles and liver;
- Starts training in the morning without breakfast;
- Overreacts to changes in glucose levels, including dizziness and lethargy.
Both methods are suitable if the training:
- Lasts over 90 minutes;
- High-intensity minimum 30 minutes;
- Endurance lasts 60-90 minutes and longer.
- High-Intensity Interval.
What else can help
Other supplements for athletes can be included to stimulate the body and relieve fatigue. This is, for example:
- Citrulline malate – will help increase training effectiveness; stimulates the production of nitric oxide, which causes blood vessels to dilate and increases blood flow to working muscles. Recent studies show that it allows you to fight muscle fatigue up to 40% within 24-48 hours after training. The optimal norm before training is 3-4 grams;
- Olive leaf extract – supports the immune system, promotes recovery, and influences cortisol regulation. Helps fight stress and, according to some studies, reduces irritability;
- Acetyl L-carnitine – not only affects the development of muscle mass but also participates in the regulation of adrenaline, the low content of which contributes to increased fatigue and poor training results;
- Beta-alanine is one of the most sought-after supplements by athletes. It has been repeatedly proven that the supplement enhances the synthesis of carnosine, a natural compound that allows you to maintain a normal pH inside the muscles. Due to this, it has a beneficial effect on endurance. The optimal norm before training is 1.6-2 grams;
- Creatine monohydrate is a compound that promotes strength and muscle development;
- Trimethylglycine betaine – is involved in regulating the secretion of adrenaline and dopamine – hormones that stimulate the body and concentration. Additionally prevents cell dehydration, supports muscle synthesis, and indirectly affects creatine synthesis;
- Caffeine is a stimulant that provides a burst of energy. To get the most benefit, avoid caffeinated drinks throughout the day. It is advisable not to drink coffee on non-training days or limit consumption.
Can post-workout fatigue be a medical problem?
Several medical conditions and chronic, unnoticed health problems can cause fatigue or drowsiness after exercise.
One of the premenopausal women’s most common health problems is iron deficiency anemia. With iron deficiency, red blood cells cannot carry enough oxygen to the tissues, which causes drowsiness and fatigue.
If severe anemia, shortness of breath during exercise is also possible.
The way to find out is to consult a doctor who will refer you to the appropriate blood tests.
Blood sugar problems such as prediabetes and diabetes can also cause excessive sleepiness and fatigue.
Another reason is hypothyroidism. For diagnosis, a doctor’s consultation and appropriate tests are necessary.
Some medicines can cause drowsiness, including:
- antihistamines to treat allergies;
- Beta-blockers are used to treat heart disease.
These drugs tire you after a workout because they slow your heart rate, making it harder to reach your target heart rate during exercise. Make exercise difficult.
It is impossible to stop treatment so as not to get unpleasant consequences.
Fatigue after a workout can have various causes. More often, this is due to overloading the body and ignoring the issue of providing appropriate conditions for the proper flow of regenerative processes.
Often the problem lies in the use of too strong stimulants before training. Then the feeling of total fatigue is associated, on the one hand, with the cessation of the action of the pathogen and, on the other hand, overloading the body with the action of the additive.
Rest is the best technique to alleviate weariness. Reduce stress or rethink nutrition. It is possible to forego supplements and pay attention to the right amount of sleep.