Nine self-help tips to combat post-workout fatigue

VIVA Team | 29th October 2015

One of the things you can expect after a good workout is to feel more energised given that the heart and lungs are stimulated following exercise. However, on some days, we lack energy altogether. You know that feeling, as if all energy has been zapped out of you, or where you find yourself having to combat ‘post-workout fatigue?!’


This can happen to even the biggest fitness gurus, who often face complete exhaustion due to their heavy training regimes. It’s normal to feel some kind of tiredness after a workout because of all the energy that has been expelled. And, if you aren’t feeling tired, it could be because your exercise routine isn’t challenging enough.


But when exhaustion happens too often, you should be make changes to your routine for improve health and prevent the risk of an injury.


Taking simple steps before and after working-out can help combat fatigue.


  1. Hydration


It’s important it is to stay hydrated throughout the day. Lack of hydration is the main reason for post-workout fatigue. You will sustain energy levels if you stay hydrated during and after workouts. You can simply go for water, but taking a BCAA (branched-chain amino acid) supplement can help you even more. There are 20 types of amino acids that make up proteins in our body, and nine of them are essential amino acids, which aren’t produced by the body. They have to be attained through diet or supplements. With so many products out there to choose from, you should do some research and study these rankings of supplements to know which one suits you best. In addition to the hydration benefits, research suggests that BCAAs also reduce soreness, build muscles and decrease muscle fatigue.


  1. Diet


You can also reduce fatigue by improving your diet. What you eat can determine whether you’re feeling active or sluggish. A good diet should be well-balanced in proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Your body’s main energy source is glucose, which is used up a lot when you exercise. This lost glucose could be compensated by consuming carbs 30 minutes after exercising.


  1. Eating schedule


Aside from what you eat, when you eat throughout the day also plays a role in how active you feel. Eating more frequently than three square meals a day can help, because it boosts your metabolism. Try having a light snack or meal an hour or two before you exercise, and then another light meal around one hour post-exercise. This will help repair and replenish the muscles that are worn out due to exercising. The meals should be light in quality and quantity.


  1. Changing the exercise routine


You might be doing too much too soon, which can tire you out early. There is such a thing as over-exercising, which needs to be avoided. There are ways to increase your endurance, such as gradually increasing aerobic workouts with interval training. Endurance increases the additional boost of oxygen in your blood, which will keep your muscles working for longer periods of time. Make sure your routine isn’t putting too much strain on your body.


  1. Body mechanics


You could be doing some forms of exercise the wrong way. Your positioning might not be right, or your movement patterns are incorrect. When you exercise the wrong way, this actually makes you burn more energy than necessary. You might need to modify some of your moves to do them in proper form or reduce the weight when exercising.


  1. Introducing new activities


Energy generates energy, and the less you move, the more tired you become. Find ways to keep active during any given day. Introducing a different sport into your life can help, because some sports have been shown to fight fatigue better than others. Running, low to moderate intensity walking, yoga, and boxing are some of those activities. For example, yoga releases a lot of stored energy in your muscles and joints, by moving your body in ways you normally don’t. It also requires focus, leading to a more relaxed state.


  1. Stress relief


We know the many negative effects of this 21st-century silent killer. These effects are too many to name in one article, but we know that stress affects all aspects of your life. It can easily manifest itself in physical ways, including: changes in appetite; digestive problems; headaches; heart palpitations; weight loss or weight gain.


All this—and much more—will undoubtedly cause fatigue because of the physical, emotional and cognitive changes that happen to us when we are under stress for a long period of time.


  1. Rest and recovery


Some people actually feel guilty if they take a day off from their fitness routine. Exercising every single day is a negative course of action, just as working 7 days a week would lessen your efficiency and productivity. The body repairs and strengthens itself in the time between workouts. Continuous training can actually weaken even the strongest athletes. Recovery also allows the body to replenish muscles and heal damaged tissues.


  1. Sleep


You have to get enough sleep to combat fatigue. Enough sleep means 7 to 9 hours daily. Besides the necessary amount of sleep, it’s also important to sleep during the right time. It’s advised to go to bed and get up at around the same time every day, sleep early, relax before you sleep, and avoid taking naps.


If a doctor has ruled out any underlying physical condition for your post-workout fatigue, then simple changes in diet, supplements, new activities and resting patterns can be incorporated into your lifestyle to help you. Your body has its limits, so don’t overwork it; remember to listen to it and rest when you need to. The same way your body can get exhausted, it will also be a weapon to combat fatigue when you take care of it.