If you want to reduce fatigue after your workout perhaps taking a supplement containing both Zinc and Magnesium will help alleviate the symptoms.
Lets look at how both minerals can aid in your recovery post-workout:
Reduce fatigue with Magnesium
Magnesium is a mineral in the body that is required for over 300 essential biochemical reactions.
These biochemical reactions include protein and fats synthesis, testosterone production, insulin sensitivity, muscle contractions and relaxation, calcium absorption, regulation of blood pressure, cardiac activity and maintenance of the sympathetic nervous system.
Magnesium plays a key role in muscle function and some strength athletes maybe deficient because of the high turnover and usage of this mineral when training.
It is vital for energy metabolism by the activation of ATPase, which is required to produce ATP (adenosine triphosphate).
When ATP is broken down, energy is released to facilitate muscle contraction and when exercising at a high intensity, turn-over of this vital mineral is high.
Therefore, ATP production has to be quick so that supply can meet demand when exercising and if there is a lack of magnesium that can lead to fatigue due to limited energy production.
Fatigue is multi-factorial in nature and other issues do play a role in the athlete feeling lethargic and not being able to perform at their optimal physical level.
However, research has indicated that athletes who are deficient in magnesium are more prone to muscle cramps, poor immunity and irregular heartbeats; such its impact on virtually every system in the body.
Magnesium deficiency can also lead to more sleep patterns, depression, anxiety, osteoporosis and anaemia, which are all issues that are detrimental to athletic performance.
There is some evidence to suggest that magnesium intake should be increased in athletes or weight trainers not only due to the increase in energy production but it is also crucial in decreasing the accumulation of lactic acid.
Lactic acid accumulation can reduce your training potential especially when exercising at high intensities and magnesium does reduce your perception of fatigue when training hard.
It also mops up and reduces cortisol levels; cortisol is a stress hormone that tries to break the muscle proteins to be used as energy.
Magnesium is a key component that is lost when we sweat, so if you are combining cardio HIIT with your resistance training then supplementation is a must.
Training benefits of Magnesium
Research has indicated that magnesium has two main training benefits in relation to strength and muscle mass gains.
The first benefit is that magnesium can boost testosterone levels and we all know how vital this anabolic hormone is when building muscle.
The other training benefit is that magnesium supplementation can improve protein synthesis at the ribosomal level within the muscle cells; this in turn leads to increased strength and muscle gains.
How to gain Magnesium naturally?
Magnesium is not made in the body, so it needs to be ingested by eating foods that are magnesium rich. These include the following:
- Pumpkin seeds
- Walnuts & Brazil nuts
- Sesame seeds
Unfortunately, many people eat a junk diet that is based around processed, high starch and refined foods.
The RDA for magnesium is 300-350 mgs for a woman and 400-450 mgs for a man, but if you are training strenuously then add another 150 mgs into the equation to help prevent fatigue.
Reduce fatigue with Zinc
Zinc is a mineral found in nearly every cell within the body and is made up of over 300 enzymes.
It is an important mineral that is overlooked by many people and it is involved in cell division, maintenance of the endocrine system, stabilises hormone levels and is involved in building muscle.
Zinc deficiency can lead to a poor immune system, skin problems, issues with taste, hair loss, reduced efficiency of wound healing and fatigue.
One of the main roles of zinc is to regulate the function of insulin and this is performed in three ways. These are as follows:
- It binds to the insulin, so that it can be stored in the pancreas and secreted when blood sugars are raised
- Creates a component of the enzyme which is essential for insulin to bond with the cells, so that the glucose can be used as a fuel. This mechanism is termed ‘insulin sensitivity’ and poor control of insulin can lead to fat gain, type 2 diabetes and fatigue
- It mops up any inflammatory markers within the cells, which also helps with insulin sensitivity.
Maintenance of the right levels of insulin with the blood is key to helping you to train longer and harder, aid muscle growth, reduce fat storage and prevent fatigue.
Zinc supplementation also plays a vital role in the production of the anabolic hormones i.e. testosterone, human growth hormone and IGF-1 and these aid muscle growth/repair.
Therefore, if you are deficient in zinc, then your muscle gains will be hindered and your hard work at the gym maybe in vain.
Zinc has a pivotal role in metabolism and immune function. It helps to regulate your body’s T cells and when elevated these cells help to fight viruses, bacteria and many other illnesses.
After a bout of strenuous exercise your immune system is very vulnerable and this is the window of opportunity for bacteria and viruses to attack your body.
In addition, if your zinc levels are low or deficient, then this will allow the viruses and bacteria to take hold and for fatigue to set in e.g. adrenal fatigue.
Therefore, zinc is absolutely vital for maintenance of health, for keeping metabolism high, for fighting infections and reducing fatigue.
Without, zinc in your diet your insulin sensitivity is reduced, your ability to fight infection is decreased and you can’t train at a higher intensity for longer periods of time which will stunt muscle growth.
As mentioned previously fatigue is multi-factorial in nature and by supplementing with zinc tablets does eradicate one piece of the complex jigsaw.