Is Exercise Exhausting You?
Whether you love working out or not, I bet most of you love the exhilarating feeling you get when it’s over! But for some of you, just the thought of exercise is exhausting. And if you are able to drag yourself to the gym, it’s a struggle to get through your workout. Forget about post-exercise exhilaration – all you want is a nap! While it is normal to feel some fatigue in your muscles when exercising, it shouldn’t be overwhelming. Read on to learn about causes of exercise- related fatigue and what you can do about it.
Think of your body like a finely tuned car. How you take care of it and the kind of fuel you put in the tank will affect how it runs. Certain lifestyle habits including what and when you eat and drink, your sleep habits and exercise routine will all have an effect on your energy levels during and after working out. The good news is that by making a few simple changes, you can become an energizer bunny!
Here are common causes of exercise related fatigue along with my proposed solutions:
1. Problem: Inadequate sleep. This may sound obvious but often times we forget our bodies need adequate sleep to repair muscles and help rejuvenate us for the day. How can you expect to get in your 10 mile run if you only had 5 hours of sleep?
Solution: I know that everyone has a busy schedule, but make it point to get in an
extra hour or so of sleep a night. Make it a priority!
2. Problem: Eating too few calories in a day. Do you expect your car to run on an empty tank? Well, you can’t expect your body to function well without adequate fuel. An inadequate caloric intake is a major cause of fatigue and doesn’t allow you to reach your peak athletic performance. It addition, it can slow down your metabolism and may actually end up causing weight gain!
Solution: Get rid of the deprivation mentality. Eat a healthy balanced diet during the day, especially pre and post exercise. If you’re trying to lose weight, cut back on alcohol, processed foods and foods high in added sugar and fats.
3. Problem: Eating too few carbs. Do you think the night before a marathon the runners eat just salad and fish? Nope – they are stuffing themselves full of pasta! Carbs are a major source of fuel during exercise. If you’re on a low carb diet and exercise on a regular basis (especially if you exercise intensely or for a long duration), chances are that you will feel quite fatigued during and after exercise.
Solution: Avoid carb phobic behavior. Focus on eating healthier carbs like whole grains, whole grain cereals and bread, fruit, legumes, yogurt, etc. To maximize your energy levels, eat some carbs before and after your workout to help fuel and replenish your muscles and energy stores.If you are exercising for more than 60 minutes, you would even benefit from eating carbs like a sports gel/bar or drinking a sports beverage while working out.
4. Problem: Not consuming adequate protein. Our bodies need protein to build and repair muscles. This is especially important if you are strength training. Protein also helps keep us feeling full longer.
Solution: Include protein rich foods in your diet several times a day. Examples include: meat, fish, poultry, eggs, yogurt (especially Greek yogurt), cheese, milk, tofu and other soy products, legumes, nuts, seeds, quinoa, etc. An average 130 pound female performing aerobic and strength training several times a week should aim for 70 – 80 grams of protein a day and a male weighing 180 pound should aim for 100 – 120. grams a day
5. Problem: Overtraining. There are no benefits to training 7 days a week. Even hard core Iron Man Competitors take a day off once a week. Training too often will eventually take a toll on your body and mind. You’ll decrease your immune system, increase your chances of getting sick or sustaining an injury.
Solution: Take a day or two off a week. Rest is an important part of improving your performance as well as maximizing muscle growth. In addition rest days are important to prevent you getting burned out from a psychological standpoint.
6. Problem: Boredom. Sometimes you can be so bored with your activity that you feel totally unmotivated to exercise. I would call this mental fatigue!
Solution: Find a new activity. Sign up for a race. Hire a personal trainer. Find an exercise buddy to help motivate you.
7.Problem: Medical reason There may be a medical reason for your fatigue including anemia, chronic fatigue syndrome, Epstein Barr, hypothyroidism … to name a few
Solution: Make an appointment with your physician!
This post was written by guest contributor Martha McKittrick, R.D., C.D.E
Visit her blog: www.citygirlbites.com