Fight workout fatigue with these 8 tips
Stress, sleep deprivation, poor diet or even just working out too much could all be the reason you feel exhausted everytime you hit the gym. Workout fatigue is a real problem and you might think it's a good enough reason to skip that training session altogether - but we have some helpful tips that will get your body back on track, boost your flagging energy levels and leave you raring to go, no caffeine required!
To make sure you perform your best at every workout and get the most out of your training, fight fatigue with these 8 tips.
#1. Eat the right foods
When you're planning a high-intensity workout, you need to ensure you fuel your body the right way, or let's face it, you'll feel thoroughly destroyed! You need fats (medium chained) and carbohydrates (higher glycaemic). Carbs give you immediate energy, whilst fats provide your body with sustainable energy, so a combo of the two is ideal if you want to get the most from an HIIT training session. Try some nuts, eggs or foods containing omega fatty acids for your fats, and stick to natural fruit juice mixed with water, coconut water or fruit for your carbs. Try adding a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar or a pinch of salt to water to replace the electrolytes your body loses through training.
#2. Practice 'active recovery'
What is active recovery? Well, it means carrying out physical activities other than your regular training. So if you're regularly at the gym lifting heavy weights all week long, you could try squash, running or swimming as your 'active rest'. The activity must be completed unrelated to your regular training in order to be classed as active recovery. Using this technique can help you to stay fit and healthy whilst boosting your energy levels - without being at the gym lifting 6 days a week.
#3. Give it 100%
Too often we waste time at the gym when we don't give 100% to our workout. Don't become sidetracked by other things at the gyn; forget socialising and focus 100% on your workout to get the most back. Create a training plan and fitness goals and stick to them! It's important to push your limits to get the most out of your workout. If you need a bit of extra motivation or help establishing goals and implementing a training plan, hire a personal trainer - that's what they're there for! Giving 100% to your workout means you'll get 100% back and notice the benefits more quickly.
#4. Get enough rest days
The age old question when it comes to working out - how many days is enough? It really depends on your individual goals and again this is something a personal trainer can help with. For those training lighter and looking to lose fat and improve muscular endurance, there's no reason why you can't train at the gym 5 to 6 days a week (provided you have time!). If you're strength training using moderately heavy weights, aim for around 4 to 5 days. For those lifting very heavy weights, it's recommended you train no more than 3 to 4 days a week. Heavy lifting requires more rest time as even though you may notice less muscle soreness, your nervous system and brain require more time to recover.
#5. Make sure you rest adequately between sets
Depending on your goals, rest time can vary. As a rule of thumb though, if your aim is weight loss, keep your rest time shorter - around 30 to 60 seconds. For strength gains/moderate weight training, around 60 to 90 seconds between sets is ideal, whilst for power gains and heavy weight lifting, longer rest periods of 2 minutes or more is advised.
#6. Try citrulline malate
Did you know that citrulline malate (an amino acid derivative) can help your body to clear metabolic waste more quickly and efficiently, so your muscles take longer to send out fatigue signals? The result? You could find yourself able to workout longer and harder. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning (1) published research revealing that taking 8g of citrulline malate prior to a chest workout meant lifters could perform more reps. By the time they reached their 16th set, those who took the citrulline malate had performed 50% more reps than those who took the placebo. They also reported experiencing less muscle soreness in the days following their workout.
#7. Keep workouts short and sweet
Regularly performing 1.5 to 2 hour workouts and long, marathon training sessions could be doing your body more harm than good, making it harder to achieve your goals. Struggling to make it through long training sessions could be linked to hormonal issues. To optimise your anabolic hormones, it's recommended you keep your weight training sessions to around 60 minutes or so. Make sure you fuel up properly first too!
#8. Stay hydrated
We know the importance of staying hydrated on a daily basis, but it's even more important when you exercise. Drink plenty of water throughout the day and turn to sports drinks or coconut water during exercise to prevent muscle fatigue and electrolyte loss. We should all be drinking between 10 to 12 8oz glasses of water a day and whilst exercising, aim for 125-250ml of electrolyte-rich sports drinks every 20 minutes or so (around 1.5 litres an hour). This helps to replenish nutrients and water that your body loses through sweating and can help you to stay energised and fight muscle fatigue.
Try out these 8 tips and see if you notice a difference in your workouts - if you have any tips of your own, Tweet us and let us know!
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