As trainers, we are always seeing people having problems with their exercise. Aside from finding time, a main problem is that people many times find themselves not feeling as good as they thought they would.
Soreness or just feeling worn out, tired, fatigued can be a real threat. Here are some ideas on how to deal with that. These range from prevention to treatments afterward.
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#1: Avoid fatigue in the first place
Believe it or not, I spend more time slowing clients down, than I do pushing them. Many times people just try to do way too much at the gym! Remember, the human body responds best to small increments of progress. Workouts should not last two hours! Aim for 30-40 minutes and you’ll find that your body will quickly settle in and adapt to this approach.
#2: Arrange muscle groups to allow sufficient recovery
Plan your weekly exercise. I have found that doing three days of resistance training works wonderfully. For example, Mon, Wed, Fri, try the following arrangement: Mon: Chest & Shoulders, Wed: Back and Arms, Fri: Legs. Just be sure to set up at least 3-5 days to recover. I have also found that working each muscle group once per week works fine,,,and assures no “overtraining”.
#3: Make sure you have had enough nutrition prior to exercise.
Don’t skip meals. Now, you do have to digest food ahead of exercise but don’t spend too many waking hours starving and not expect to be very tired after a workout. If your exercise is done first thing in the morning, you’ll still want to get just a bit of something before starting…perhaps half a banana for example, in order to feel your best.
#4: Fuel the body after exercise
When you perform resistance training, you are using sugar as the primary energy source. It is imperative that we feed the body sugars and amino acids (protein building blocks) in order to see proper recovery, repair, and building of lean tissues.
This must be done within approximately 30-40 minutes of training. Now there is a lot of opinion and discussion on this particular subject, but numerous scientific studies have concluded this to be true. A simple serving of low-fat chocolate milk works quite well. This is also where the engineered foods and drinks can be helpful.
Don’t ingest some mammoth calorie-rich carton but do get a small serving of both sugars and protein…4:1 down to 2:1 ratio in that order.
#5: Get plenty of sleep
Adequate nightly sleep is a major factor in fending off fatigue. If you’re tired to begin with, you’ll just be that much more tired after a workout, so make sure you get some shut-eye!
#6: Get a nice, hot shower
This will settle the entire body down. It is soothing and allows the nervous system to get back to a more restful state.
#7: Go for a short swim
Particularly in warm weather, a nice refreshing dip in a pool can be just the trick. We’re not talking about swimming laps here…rather just a leisurely dip.
#8: Mix it up
Don’t fall into the same old exact routine each and every time you exercise. Mix up some exercises. Instead of doing lunges, for example, try a single-leg Leg Press instead.
Stay with the changing of training factors (periodization), number of reps, etc. You’ll find that a little variety keeps the body working in different ways, and this will avoid overtraining and excess fatigue.