What Fuels Muscles?
Electrolytes are minerals that carry an electric charge when dissolved in water: Sodium, potassium, magnesium, phosphate, bicarbonate, calcium and chloride.
Energy sources utilized by the muscular system derived from various sources. Muscle glycogen is the most important energy source used. Stored in muscles by consuming foods rich in carbohydrates: Whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Proteins cannot be utilized efficiently without carbohydrates. Without carbs, the body consumes muscle for energy.
Macronutrients play key role in muscular and bodily maintenance. Balanced diet is essential. Plant-based diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, whole grains and lean meats recommended.
How Muscles' Needs Change with Intense Activity
The body expends lots of vital nutrients through sweating, especially sodium + chloride (hence sweat's saltiness). Electrolytes restored by eating foods containing essential minerals and drinking sport drinks.
Replacing glycogen stores 30-60 minutes after athletic pursuits essential to recovery.
The greater the frequency/intensity of exercise, the more protein required. Recommended daily minimum consumption is 0.36 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. Can fine-tune ratio based on physical activity.
Factors that Contribute to Muscle Fatigue:
- Overtraining disrupts hormonal changes that occur during exercise. Can cause exhaustion, irritability, impaired immune function and poor performance.
- Poor quality/quantity of sleep can lead to risk of injury, motor function, reaction times, low availability of muscle glycogen and poor muscle recovery.
- Dehydration disturbs various processes. Blood concentration becomes thicker due to insufficient fluid. Results in lessened blood plasma volume;puts pressure on the heart for supplying oxygen and nutrients throughout body. Circulation requires excess energy, exacerbating fatigue.
- Nutritional deficiencies come in all shapes and sizes. For example, magnesium deficiency stymies appetite and causes nausea/vomiting and fatigue. Vitamin B12 assists with DNA and neurotransmitter production; without enough, paranoia, hallucinations and memory loss may occur. Iron is necessary for oxygen-rich blood and avoiding anemia, and therefore fatigue. For every deficiency comes serious short- and long-term problems!
- Stress can compound muscle weakness, delaying recovery and hindering performance