What Supplements to Take if You Get Tired After Exercising
After completing intense exercise, it's normal to experience a level of fatigue. Acidosis, reduced glycogen and increased cortisol levels all contribute to soreness and tiredness after a workout. As your body adapts to the demands of your training regimen, you will naturally get stronger and fatigue less quickly -- but in addition to building up your base of aerobic and muscular strength, there are some supplements that may also help reduce post-exercise fatigue. Remember to talk with your doctor before beginning a new exercise program or adding supplements to your diet.
COQ10 is a naturally occurring enzyme that helps convert water, oxygen and nutrients into the substances needed for cell function. Its natural sources include salmon, mackerel, beef, peanuts and spinach. According to a 2008 study published in "Nutrition," COQ10 may help to sideline exercise-induced fatigue. Study participants exercised on stationary bikes for two hours, twice a day at 80 percent of their maximum heart rate. The group that had received a 300 mg supplement of COQ10 reported 22 percent less post-exercise fatigue than the placebo group. Researchers concluded that COQ10 may improve fatigue and physical performance during and after exercise. To receive these fatigue-reducing benefits, take 100 to 300 mg of COQ10 per day.
Phosphatidylserine is a natural phospholipid that's responsible for many cellular functions, including membrane fluidity and receptor signaling. As a supplement, it's typically available as a soy derivative. Phosphatidylserine has been studied for its performance-enhancing benefits, including the reduction of the muscle-destroying stress hormone, cortisol. By inhibiting cortisol production, Phosphatidylserine helps reduce muscle fatigue and improve recovery. Participants of a 2006 study in "Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise" were given 750 milligrams of phosphatidylserine for 10 days and were monitored during intermittent exercise. Researchers found that the supplement had a significant effect on exercise time to exhaustion. The recommended dosage is 400 to 800 milligrams per day during intense exercise.
Creatine plays an important role in muscle growth and the production of energy. The body manufactures it during protein metabolism and it can be found in meat and fish. Creatine has been thoroughly researched and its performance-enhancing benefits are well-documented in scientific studies. A 2011 study in "Nutrition" was conducted to determine if creatine could reduce muscle fatigue. Participants of the double-blind study were given either .03 grams of creatine or a placebo per kilogram of body weight for six weeks. The results indicated significant increases in resistance to muscle fatigue among the creatine group. Researchers concluded that a low daily dose of creatine is effective for combating fatigue following repeated bouts of high-intensity exercise. Typical dosage includes a loading dose of 20 grams per day for three to five days, followed by a maintenance dose of 5 to 10 grams per day. Creatine should be taken with carbohydrates to increase muscle uptake.
Caffeine is one of the most popular stimulants in the world, and is often used by athletes as a performance enhancer. Caffeine is helpful in reducing fatigue that results from endurance exercises and, to a lesser extent, short-duration, high-intensity activities. In addition to fatigue reduction, caffeine improves alertness and concentration. The supplement can also lower perceived exertion rates during exercise and helps mobilize fat as a secondary fuel source once glycogen stores have been depleted.
- Nutrition; Antifatigue Effects of Coenzyme Q10 During Physical Fatigue; K. Mizuno et al.
- Sport Supplement Reference Guide; William Llewellyn (pp.
- Nutrition; Low-Dose Creatine Supplementation Enhances Fatigue Resistance in the Absence of Weight Gain; E.S. Rawson et al.
- Current Sports Medicine Reports; Caffeine and Exercise; S.A. Paluska
- Bodybuilding.com: Fatigue and Exercise
- Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise; Effects of Phosphatidylserine on Exercise Capacity During Cycling in Active Males; M.I. Kingsley et al.
- Rice.edu: Caffeine and the Athlete
Jessica Bell has been working in the health and fitness industry since 2002. She has served as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor. Bell holds an M.A. in communications and a B.A. in English.