Does Exercise Leave You Feeling Wiped Out?

In their physical activity guidelines, the government currently recommend that adults should do at least 2 ½ hours of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of high intensity exercise per week. In addition to this, muscle strength exercises should be undertaken on at least 2 days during the week.

Some people can make light work of this, but if each session wipes you out for the next few days, then it may be a struggle to do even half of this amount of exercise. Your work outs should invigorate you, so if they feel like they are doing you more harm than good, then this could be a signal that you are doing something wrong.

Before you pack in your exercise regime entirely though, there are a few things that you can try to improve your energy levels and reduce fatigue caused by exercise.


If you don’t prepare your muscles properly for each exercise session, you can damage them. In this instance, the reason you feel so exhausted afterwards is because your body is working hard to repair the muscle tissue, sapping your energy; and depending on the extent of the damage, this can take days. Make sure you stretch your muscles out thoroughly before and after each exercise session, taking care to work all of the muscles.

Nutritional Demands

Nutrition is a complex field, as everyone is different, however there are a few easy steps that you can take that may improve your ability to cope with bouts of exercise.

One of the reasons you may be feeling exhausted after exercise is because you have depleted all of the glycogen stored in your muscles. This is a substance created within the body that is used as fuel for your workout. Low stores will leave you unable to meet your glucose needs while you are exercising, and feeling like you are running on empty. The way to ensure you have sufficient glycogen stored is by consuming carbohydrates well in advance of your work out, giving them time to be digested and converted into energy. Complex carbohydrates release energy more slowly, so choose wholegrain rice, bread and pasta, or potatoes to avoid the peaks and troughs that simple carbs can be responsible for.

If your energy stores are low, your muscles themselves could start being used as an energy source. Including protein in your pre-workout meal will help you to make sure that your muscles are prepared for such damage. The protein will help your body to recover more quickly, by rebuilding muscle tissue; and good food sources include turkey, chicken, salmon, tuna and soy beans.

To assist with the process of converting carbohydrate and protein into energy, the B vitamins can be vital. These can be found in beans, salmon, tuna, seeds and dark, leafy greens.

Another nutrient that is essential for creating energy within the body is iron. Insufficient stores can affect the metabolism of calories, leading to muscle fatigue. Iron is also needed to transport oxygen around the body, and it is well known that an iron deficiency can affect our ability to cope with physical activity. Red meat and soy beans are very good food sources.

In order to discover what works for you, start by consuming a meal that is packed full of protein and carbohydrates around 2 hours before you exercise. You may feel like you need to adjust the timing of this depending on how quickly you are able to digest food. You should also plan to have protein and carbohydrates that are easily and quickly digested after exercising as this will help restore and repair your muscles. Make sure your diet also includes a variety of fresh vegetables and fruit to keep your nutrient levels topped up.


It is easy to forget to drink enough water during and after exercise, but bear in mind that our bodies are composed of up to 65% water. It is therefore essential for a whole range of processes, including lubricating joints and regulating body temperature.

Low hydration levels can significantly impact our ability to perform physical tasks, and as perspiration from exercise causes water loss from the body, it is vital that you remember to keep these levels topped up.

Frequency and Intensity

One thing that you may be guilty of is overdoing it. If you have not exercised for a while, you may be inclined to compensate by doing vigorous activity, but if your body is ill-prepared for this level of intensity, it can leave you feeling fatigued. This will mean that there will be a gap before the next time you exercise, and the vicious cycle will start over again.

Try to exercise more frequently, but hold back on the intensity and length of your work out sessions. When you feel your fitness levels start to improve, you can gradually start to increase the level of exercise you do each session.

If you are considering joining a gym, be aware that the membership fee may make you feel like you need to get your money’s worth each time you able to attend, which can mean you push yourself too hard. A great alternative is to invest the money in home gym equipment, as then you will not feel under pressure to work out as hard, and for as long. At home, you can easily do a 10 minute work out session without having to consider travel times to and from the gym. Exercise bikes, treadmills and cross trainers are all popular items to start your home gym.

Stress and Illness

Another reason your energy levels may be sapped is as a result of stress or illness. In the case of stress, exercise can also be a antidote, so even though it may feel like hard work, it ultimately may benefit your stress levels. Improving your nutrition during bouts of stress may help you to gain enough energy to continue exercising. To find out more about the best diet to combat stress, visit the LoveMyGlow blog at LoveMyVouchers.co.uk. Items such as sardines and broccoli contain a variety of different stress-busting nutrients, and can also be good items to include in your pre-workout meal.

There are many steps you can take to improve your energy levels and reduce fatigue caused by exercise, however it is important to consult your doctor prior to carrying out intense physical activity if you have significant concerns.