Muscle Fatigue? You know what it is.
It’s the feeling of stumbling down the hallway to the bathroom, the morning after you wake up from leg day.
Your muscles are tired and achy from working out.
It’s that tiredness you feel when you try to shampoo your hair after a killer arm workout.
It’s the grunts and groans you make when you try to do the simplest of tasks after using muscles you didn’t even know you had. It’s a complete feeling of lack of energy and the ability to complete any normal task.
Muscle fatigue affects you after your workouts. Don’t worry, it happens to everybody. It’s natural and it’s your body’s way of communicating something to you. It’s telling that you’ve reached your limit. Fatigue after a workout is normal and it shouldn’t discourage you from trying again tomorrow.
But sometimes, it happens in the middle of a workout. The day before, you were strong, you were motivated, you were crushing it.
You got winded walking up the stairs to the entrance. You couldn’t even think about lifting your water bottle. And the only thing you’re crushing is your will to continue. This is fatigue during a workout, and it’s the worst.
How do you avoid muscle fatigue? How do you prepare, and even prevent, your body for that feeling of having no energy and no power left inside.
You can do it.
Because fatigue during a workout is inevitable, you can take measurable steps to keep your recovery times shorter, your fatigue less powerful and your energy levels up.
But when we go to the gym, we don’t see that many people being proactive about their bodies. And they will be feeling the burn tomorrow.
But you don’t have to be like them. After reading this article, you can take what you’ve learned about post workout fatigue (or even mid-workout exercise burnout) and deal with it.
What Is Muscle Fatigue?
If you’ve ever felt like you’re trapped sitting on the toilet because your legs don’t want to work, you might find yourself pondering the question, “What is muscle fatigue?”
You usually notice it first in your workout. As you rush through those last few reps, your body is trying to fight against you. Pushing out the last curl or squat is murder on your tired muscles.
You’ll feel it hard the next day as well. In the industry, they might call this DOMS or Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness. It usually starts the next day, but in seasoned athletes, it might hit its peak as long as 72 hours after a gruelling workout.
But no matter when it happens, it’s usually the same reason. There are two causes (that we know of) for muscle fatigue.
- Build-up of metabolic waste in your body
This is what muscle fatigue during a workout feels like. It’s that sensation that you simply can’t do one more lift or push-up.
- Lack of essential nutrients being delivered to your muscles
Muscle fatigue after exercise is usually because of scary sounding microtraumas. It is little tears in your muscle fibre from performing strenuous exercise. For some, that stiffness and soreness can be felt for many days afterwards.
But this is an essential part of your workout life. Those microtraumas are important because they activate your body’s response team. Your cells work to repair the damage done, rebuilding stronger, more elastic muscle fibre.
Have you ever heard the phrase “pain is just weakness leaving the body?” We have, and we hate it. But it’s kinda, sorta true.
Don’t hate the muscle fatigue. Learn to manage it.
Tips to Reduce Fatigue During Workouts
There are a few ways to learn how to reduce fatigue during workouts. But no matter what we advise, you must remember one thing:
You will get sore.
Yes, you absolutely will get sore.
It’s normal. It’s part of your body’s healthy response. It’s pain leaving the body.
(Sorry, we had to say it)
But you can reduce that soreness, shortening the time you spend in agony and stiffness.
Your diet can play a huge part in helping you manage it well.
- Maintain a healthy balanced diet. Your diet should consist of fats, proteins, fruits, vegetables, and yes, even some carbohydrates – they are not the devil.By keeping a good ratio of these essential building blocks, you can ensure your muscles get the nutrients they need to rebuild faster. Protein is crucial to this process and we’ve talked about protein supplements extensively in the past.
- Eat on a schedule. Plan your eating around when you’ll be working out to ensure your nutrients are hitting your bloodstream exactly when they need it most.If your starved, aching muscles get those nutrients quickly, they will rebuild quicker. That means less soreness and fatigue for you.
- Drink lots of water. This shouldn’t even have to be said, but we’re saying it anyway. It’s crucial that you have enough water in your system because a loss of water causes a dangerous imbalance in your electrolytes and fluids.Try to drink an electrolyte-rich during your workout. Plan on drinking around 1.5L an hour.
Regulate Your Workouts
It could be that your workouts themselves are the bane of your muscle fatigue. Recovery times and session times are both integral to reducing the stress your body is under.
- Shorten your workouts. Your body can’t handle 2-hour workout sessions. You think you’re pushing it, but you’re actually doing more harm than you may realise.To maximise the body’s hormones and response to the microtrauma, try to limit your workout sessions to 60 minutes. Try it out for a few weeks to notice a difference.
- Practice good form. It could be that you’re putting undue stress on your body because your form isn’t right. Take some time with a trained specialist to see if your form is where it should be and correct it if need be.This is one piece of advice that goes beyond reducing muscle fatigue. This is about looking after your body and preventing injuries from improper form.
- Use proper rest and recovery times. If you work your body too hard, it will push back, in the form of injuries. Your body will get its rest, one way or another. Give yourself, at the very minimum, a full day between strenuous workouts. Muscle fatigue can compound if you’re stacking on one big workout after another.
- Don’t neglect your warm-up and cool down periods. You may think that they’re geeky and unnecessary. Maybe you’re just hankering to get into your workout. But don’t skip that warm up beforehand.You may also be tempted to throw down that last weight, wipe your sweaty brow and stroll out of the gym. You’re done, right?Cool down exercises help ease your body out of “stress mode” and into the recovery it needs. Keep these exercises as an essential part of your whole workout times.
Supplements for Muscle Fatigue
If you’re interested, we’ve come across some exciting science when talking about reducing your body’s recovery time. Those tips and tricks will help reduce that feeling of soreness between and during your workouts, but what about supplements for muscle fatigue?
Yes, we have come across some supplements for fatigue and low energy. Alongside those proper practices and techniques, supplements will aid your times and pick up your energy levels during those hard workouts.
But…a word of warning.
A handful of supplements for muscle fatigue will not be an adequate replacement for things like proper form, recovery days and drinking enough fluids. Those are all “musts” and pills can’t replace that. All they can is enhance (hence the name “supplement”) what you’re already doing well.
That being said, let’s have a look at the best energy supplements for fatigue.
Profuel’s Beta-Alanine Supplement (For Muscle Energy during workouts)
If you’re going to focus on your workout performance, we’d highly recommend using some form of a beta-alanine (or sometimes known as Carnosyn). It’s one of the most researched, most widely accepted supplements to help get your body on track.
Beta-alanine has been demonstrated to reduce muscle fatigue and boost the acid inhibitors in your muscle tissue. Because a large part of the pain of muscle fatigue is a build-up of metabolic waste (acids), beta-alanine directly blocks that acid from forming and causing you excessive tiredness and aches the next day.
Bulk Powder’s Choline Bitartrate
Need some more energy during your workouts? It could because you have a build-up of acetylcholine in your muscles. The science is too advanced for this article, but using 500-1000 milligrams of choline has been shown to boost the energy of your workouts.
Push out one more rep. Do one more pull-up. Your choline supplement should make a difference to how you feel during those strenuous exercises.
Optimum Nutrition Creatine Monohydrate
It’s been said so often that it’s hardly worth repeating…
But we’ll repeat it anyway.
Creatine is an essential supplement to your workout routine. We can’t stress that enough. There’s a reason that every supplement store, online or around the corner, is fully stocked with creatine. It’s the number one researched supplement to boost your muscles regrowth and energy levels.
Creatine does promote lean body mass, boosts your strength, and most importantly, boost the power in your muscles. It keeps you lean and strong, both on the day of and the day after your workout.
Jarrow TMG Tablets
We love the TMG (trimethylglycine) tablets because they’re an underused, but a highly favoured supplement to reduce muscle fatigue. In terms of supplements for muscle fatigue, this little tablet contains the powerful additives of dopamine and adrenaline to boost your mental and physical game.
We know how crucial your mental strength is to your workout routine. If you’re not there mentally, you’re never going to make it physically.
As a side note, we also love straightforward caffeine. A good cup of Joe in the morning does wonders to boost your energy and fade the pain of a strong workout routine. If anything, it’s a good incentive to continue drinking it.
We’re passionate about getting bigger and better. We want you to feel the same way, which is why want to prevent that muscle fatigue from setting in and preventing you from achieving all you can do and be.
Taking a few steps of prevention, and while there is no cure, preparing your body is as good as any treatment. Happy lifting!