Why You Feel Sluggish When Training
Wanting to be healthier, fitter and stronger is an amazing goal to have and usually getting through the gym door is the hardest part, but sometimes once you get there, you may find yourself struggling to get through the workout and it can sometimes put you off altogether. There are a few reasons why this may be happening, the key is to understand why so that you can prevent it or fix it when it does happen.
- SLEEP – not getting enough sleep the night before or previous few nights is usually the main culprit when it comes to struggling through a workout. When we exercise we are pushing our bodies and muscles to work really hard and it’s vital that they have the time to recover during sleep. Keep a note of how you are feeling after each workout and also keep track of stress levels and sleep to see if the two correlate. Sleep tracker apps are really good to keep an eye on quality of sleep as well.
- DEHYDRATION – when we don’t get enough water in our body, our blood becomes thicker which makes it harder for the heart to pump and send it where it needs to go. When you sweat, it’s not just water we lose but also electrolytes which are the key to muscles cells performing well. Make sure to stay hydrated throughout the day and during your workout, if you sweat a lot it may be a good idea to drink electrolyte drinks or sports drinks instead of water to replenish what you sweat out (keep an eye on sugar intake with these drinks though).
- ASTHMA/ALLERGIES – both of these things can make it difficult to get air and muscles won’t function correctly without sufficient oxygen as muscles, organs and cells in the body all need air to perform efficiently. If you notice coughing, wheezing, a tight chest or shortness of breath during or after a workout you should see a GP as it could be an exercised-induced asthma or bronchoconstriction, which is where the airways in your lungs narrow after exercise.
- OVERTRAINING – if you are pushing yourself to the limit in every single workout and training every day, your body’s reaction will be be to slow itself down. It is vital that if you are someone that pushes your body to the absolute limit during a workout, give yourself 48hr rest before training again or if you want to just have 24hr rest don’t push so hard in the workout.
- pH LEVELS – when exercising, most of us tend to hit a metaphorical “wall” which is a normal biological process. When your body converts carbohydrates into fuel during exercise, the by-products that get made are called hydrogen ions and the harder you work, the more you get building up in the body. Consequently, this can lead to your body’s pH levels dropping and becoming more acidic which causes everything to slow down and the enzymes that supply the muscles with energy don’t work as well. The fitter you get, the better your body will become at sorting out those hydrogen ions!
- NOT ENOUGH CARBS – a common myth is to lose fat we need to cut out carbs. The key is being in a calorie deficit which essentially means burning off more calories than you take in from food. However, you need a varied and balanced diet, including plenty of carbohydrates, in order to fuel your body and fuel workouts to then be able to burn them off in the gym. If you find you are struggling with training, have a look at your calorie intake and carbohydrate intake as you may not be eating enough to reflect the exercise you are doing.
- ANEMIA – being anaemic means your blood doesn’t have enough oxygen-carrying red blood cells and therefore limits the amount of oxygen the cells can get which reduces their effectiveness and mean struggling through a workout will be common. The most common cause of anaemia is low iron levels, this can happen after cutting certain foods from your diet such as meat and animal products or women having heavy periods. Iron tablets are available to purchase in most chemists or supermarkets. Some common symptoms of anaemia include struggling to sleep, feeling dizzy, leg cramps, pale skin and bruising easily.