If you exercise daily or if you are just starting out, there are a few reasons why you could feel shaky or weak after a workout according to J.P. Rodriguez, MD, board-certified orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist.
The most common reason to blame is fatigue. “However, it’s important to know that other, less common causes of shaking can be at play,” he says.
Dr. Rodriguez offers more insight on the top reasons why you might be shaking after workouts to Women’s Health online.
4 Reasons You Might Be Shaking After Workouts
1. You’re seriously fatigued.
According to Dr. Rodriguez, in some cases, shaking is the result of your muscles having burned through their energy reserves. But it’s also a possibility that your actual nerves are fatigued. The chemicals exchanged between your spinal cord and the nerves in your muscles can diminish during a workout session, he explains. As a result, your body may tremble.
“When these chemicals become depleted or small groups of muscles in large muscle units become exhausted, uncoordinated movement occurs, giving the appearance of shaking,” Rodriguez says.
2. You’re dehydrated.
Your muscles are composed of 75 percent water, which is used to transport important nutrients and waste. When you are low on fluids, your muscles can’t perform at their best.
The American Council on Exercise (ACE) recommends drinking 17 to 20 ounces of water a couple of hours before exercise, followed by another eight ounces 30 minutes before. During exercise, they recommend drinking seven to 10 ounces every 10 to 20 minutes.
3. You went overboard on caffeine.
The FDA suggests that most healthy adults can safely consume up to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day (about four cups of coffee). Even so, everyone handles the caffeine differently. Although studies have shown that taking 200 milligrams of caffeine within 60 minutes of exercise can help boost performance, it may not the best move for sensitive folks, suggests Rodriguez.
If you’re taking a pre-workout product, you should be even more cautious. “Some pre-workouts can increase adrenaline in the body and contribute to jitteriness,” Rodriguez adds. When in doubt, stick to plain water.
4. Your blood sugar is low.
True hypoglycemia (medically diagnosed low blood sugar) is pretty rare in otherwise healthy people and an unlikely cause of shakiness during or after a workout, Rodriguez says. However, if you have diabetes or suspect you might, your blood sugar could factor into occasional trembling.
It is always important to chat with your doctor when participating in a fitness regimen. Sticking to a routine of regular exercise, eating, drinking, and medication can also be helpful.
How To Stop Shaking During and After Workouts
If you find yourself shaking mid-workout in a situation that could be dangerous (if you’re rock-climbing or lifting heavy weights), it’s important to stop as soon as possible, Rodriguez says. “If you find yourself shaking mid-workout, the most important thing to understand is that your muscle control is failing,” he explains.
While rest is your best bet to stop the shaking, consuming electrolytes and carbohydrates to refill your energy reserves can sometimes help speed up your recovery, Rodriguez says.
The Best Way to Prevent Post-Workout Shakes
While some minor muscle shaking after exercise may be unavoidable, if you know you’re going to do a demanding workout in the next few days, leave some gas in the tank during your workouts before then, Rodriguez says.
You can also take some steps to prepare yourself day-of. “Maintaining a healthy diet balanced with nutrients, vitamins, and minerals is the best way to ensure your body is ready to perform,” he explains. You may also want to consider sipping an electrolyte drink or adding some extra carbohydrates (think bananas or potatoes) to your pre-workout snack or meal.
When To Seek Professional Help
While some mild shaking during and after challenging workouts is no cause for concern, it’s important to know when to consult a medical professional.
“Persistent shaking or shaking that does not resolve after rest and recovery should be investigated,” Rodriguez says. Same goes for any trembling or convulsions in parts of your body that you’re not working (like your hands during squats).
You can read the entire Women’s Health article here.