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Feeling run-down at the gym can make your workout a grueling, rather than enjoyable, event. Many factors play a role in causing fatigue while playing a sport. Your diet may not be sufficient to support your activity level, or you may be dehydrated. Resting and taking a day off here and there are also important lifestyle elements to keep your energy levels up during your activity.
Inadequate Carbohydrate Intake
Carbohydrates are your body's main energy source. When you don't have enough in your diet to sustain your physical activities, you may crash halfway through your game. As much as 55 to 60 percent of an athlete's total calories need to come from carbohydrates, explains The President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. Carbohydrates have 4 calories per gram, so if your coach has you on a 3,000-calorie-per-day diet during training, you need 412 to 450 grams of carbs each day. Opt for carbs from whole foods, such as vegetables, whole grains, fresh fruits and beans, instead of processed carbohydrates from junk foods that are full of fat.
No Backup Fuel
Your body automatically breaks carbohydrates into glucose and uses up what it needs right away. Whatever glucose isn't immediately needed is converted into glycogen, a complex carbohydrate. Glycogen is a backup type of fuel that quickly breaks down into glucose when carbohydrates from your diet aren't around. Typically, you have enough glycogen in your liver and muscles to fuel up to two hours of vigorous activity. If you are an endurance athlete or are involved in a sport that requires several hours of exercise, you may burn through your glycogen stores. When this happens, fatigue sets in as your body is forced to turn to stored fat and protein for energy. Top off your glycogen stores by consuming a sugar-rich food, such as fruit or sports drinks, both during and after your event. Sugar rapidly converts to glucose so your body can use what it needs and then use the rest to refill glycogen levels.
When you start feeling thirsty, your body already is dehydrated. You may notice feeling sluggish and unable to focus on your match. Drinking water before, during and after your event prevents dehydration. Men typically need 13 8-ounce glasses of fluid each day, while women require nine 8-ounce servings, according to MayoClinic.com. However, exercise and sports activities up your fluid recommendation by 2 1/2 cups or more. Juice and other beverages contribute to your fluid recommendation, but these drinks are often full of unnecessary sugar and calories. Water should make up the majority of your fluid intake; during a marathon or long sporting event, opt for a sports drink that replenishes the electrolytes you lose from sweating.
Inadequate Recovery Period
Resting between events is essential to give your body enough time to recover. Without proper recovery time, your body could be fatigued before your next game even begins. Sore muscles, stiffness and feeling groggy are warning signs that you are not getting enough rest. During your next game, you may not perform your best. Extreme fatigue from inadequate rest not only affects performance; it also can increase your risk of having an injury. Take a day off from the gym or ask your coach if you can sit out tomorrow's game to give your body time to recover.