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How exhausted should you feel after a good workout?

The question: I do full body weights twice a week, golf once a week and ride my bike twice a week. After workouts my body aches, I am physically exhausted and want to sleep. How can I avoid this feeling?

The answer: First, go to your doctor so that he or she can rule out any potential medical irregularities.

Your exhaustion could be a result of something easily detectable, like a micronutrient deficiency in iron or zinc. A couple of months ago I was feeling unusually tired, and after some testing, I discovered that my magnesium and iron levels were low. Simply adding foods that were high in these micronutrients drastically increased my energy levels.

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Once your doctor give you the all clear, analyze your workout regimen. The three things I most worry about are that you are not getting enough recovery relative to the high amount of activity you are doing; your post-workout nutrition is not adequate; and you are pushing yourself too hard during your strength-training sessions.

In terms of your workouts, make sure the weights you are lifting and the training methods you are using are appropriate for your fitness level. It can be counterproductive to increase your workload too quickly. The key is appropriate progression. You may be feeling exhausted simply because you increased the amount of weight you are lifting, or the complexity of your training method too quickly. Advanced training methods such as pyramid sets, high-intensity intervals or drop sets may not be appropriate for your current fitness level.

Make sure you are taking enough recovery time between sets, and more importantly, in-between workouts. Rest 48 hours between your full-body weight workouts.

Finally, make sure you are getting a minimum of seven hours of sleep a night – your muscles need sleep to recover.

If you have proper nutrition and rest, you should be able to handle the amount of activity that you've described. Most of my clients golf a couple of times per week and do weights twice a week, and that routine always energizes them, not exhausts them.

Trainer's Tip: To allow for recovery, structure your workouts in advance. Plan for periods of intense work, but also recovery. Personally, I like to alternate three weeks of heavier training with one "down" week of lighter training. This allows me to feel physically and mentally recovered when I return to my next block of heavier training.

Kathleen Trotter has been a personal trainer and Pilates equipment specialist for 10 years. Her web site is

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