Minimizing Muscle Fatigue

Have you ever showed up to the gym and felt like your muscles gave up before you did?

Muscle Fatigue is obviously part of the process, but to a degree we can strategize reducing this so that we can perform more reps, lift heavier loads and produce great force in the gym. When we do it right, we can optimize that hour in the gym and get the most out of the workouts. Muscle fatigue can occur due to various factors such as depletion of energy stores (like glycogen), buildup of metabolites (like lactic acid), or impaired neuromuscular transmission. Perception of muscle fatigue can be impacted by stress, lack of adequate sleep, emotional stress ect.

Think of glycogen storage in the muscles as a savings account for intermediate use. How can you save some energy for tomorrow? How can you replenish the accounts you just spent? How can you minimize glycogen depletion during workouts so you can maximize your time and outcomes?

  • Think about your carbohydrate Intake. Consume a diet rich in carbohydrates, particularly complex carbohydrates like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans. Carbohydrates are the primary source of energy for your muscles during exercise, and an adequate consistent intake helps replenish glycogen stores.

  • Think about pre and post-workout nutrition. Aim for a meal or snack containing carbohydrates and a moderate amount of protein within 2 hours before your workout. This provides your muscles with readily available energy and helps prevent glycogen depletion during exercise. Consume a combination of carbohydrates and protein after your workout to replenish glycogen stores and support muscle recovery especially if your workout was “brutal” lengthy (60+min) and/or you just happen to miss your preworkout yums, or your last meal has been over 3 hours.

  • Think about your timing of meals and snacks. If it will be more than two hours of eating before a workout, consuming simple carbohydrates within thirty minutes before exercise can help ensure that glycogen will be readily available for fuel. This can be an easy piece of fruit like an apple, banana or you can pick something like granola. If you want something like gummy bears, sour trolls (like you see many of us doing in the gym) this is a great time to have a small serving of that, about 15 minutes before you’re really into the gritty work.

  • Consider your hydration. This is so important, one of the easiest things we can consider, yet I find one of the most common things people fall short of. Maintaining proper hydration for 24 HOURS of a day is key. Not just the day of, prior to or during a workout. You can not enter a workout dehydrated and think that you can get caught up by guzzling water down while walking in the door. At this point, what you drink is almost pointless if you’re behind on your fluid intake. Dehydration can impair glycogen synthesis and utilization, so drink plenty of water throughout the entire day, entire week, entire month….. You get the point.

  • Some of you have asked about carbohydrate loading. For endurance events lasting longer than 90 minutes, consider carbohydrate loading in the days leading up to the event. This involves gradually increasing your carbohydrate intake to maximize glycogen stores.

By incorporating these strategies into your routine, you can help reduce glycogen depletion and optimize your performance during workouts. Let us know if this helps!

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