The Burnt Out Feeling After Workouts

The Burnt Out Feeling After Workouts

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Reduce your exercise workload, and you may find you have more energy.

Ian Wyatt/Photodisc/Getty Images

Exercise is supposed to give you more energy, but feeling fatigued and burned out after a workout might drive you to head for the couch rather than the gym. Instead of swearing off the gym and exercising your remote-pushing finger instead, figure out why your workouts are making you feel so tired. By switching up your routine and getting ample fuel and rest, you can continue a healthy relationship with exercise. Sorry, couch.

Workout Fuel

When you're not eating properly, a workout might leave you feeling tired and burned out. Make sure you're giving your body the fuel it needs to power through a workout and reap all of its benefits. The NCAA Sport Science Institute suggests topping off glycogen stores before a workout by eating a snack high in carbs to the tune of 1 gram of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight. One example is an apple with peanut butter. Finish your workout with a high-carbohydrate snack that contains some fiber or fat to help your body recover. You can also consume 15 to 25 grams of protein after a workout, which can help repair tired and sore muscles by providing them with the amino acids necessary to rebuild.

Too Much of a Good Thing

Staying active is an excellent way to keep your body in peak form -- unless you overdo it. Overtraining and compulsive exercise means your body doesn't get the time it needs to rest and recover after tough workouts. This can lead to feeling fatigued and tired after exercise. Mark Jenkins, director of the Student Health Service and associate team physician at Rice University, points out that the only prescription for a tired, overtrained body is rest. Take a couple of days off, and when you return to exercise, aim for 30 to 60 minutes each day.

Increasing Intensity

If you're training for a particular goal -- a competition or marathon, for instance -- you may be increasing your intensity too quickly, resulting in workout fatigue. The American Council on Exercise warns that you should take your time and increase effort and intensity incrementally to allow your body to adjust to the new level. Having exercise goals is a smart way to motivate yourself, but obsessing over those goals or setting unrealistic standards could backfire. Take your time, celebrate your small wins and you eventually will reach your goals without major wear and tear on your body.

Boredom Blues

If you've had the same exercise routine for a long time, the feeling you're having may not be the result of energy expenditure but simply workout burnout. Doing the same thing over and over can be boring and lead to lackluster workouts. Try shaking up your exercise by doing something new -- taking a class, finally trying that new piece of equipment or swapping your usual intense workout with some zen yoga. Trying something new can eliminate your workout funk and help you reap the positive benefits of exercise, including energy and a better mood.