How to Stop Eating Everything after a Big Training Session
The human body is an amazing machine with sophisticated ways of regulating itself. When you’re too hot you begin to sweat, the sweat evaporates and you start to cool down. Get too cold and you start to shiver, which makes you warm up. Burn lots of energy during a workout and your body tells you to replace it. This one’s called hunger, and I’m sure you know what that feels like!
Although the human body is a complex, intelligent and down right awesome machine, it doesn’t realise the fact you have a fridge full of food and a never ending supply at your supermarket down the road. The only thing it recognises is some of its energy reserves have been depleted and they need topping up.
HUNGER & SURVIVAL
As a species, we haven’t evolved all that much from our caveman and cavewoman ancestors. This means our number one instinctive priority is still survival.
Food was scarce for our ancestors – they had to eat what they could, when they had it. Their bodies would store fat in preparation for the long winter when food wasn’t as readily available, and cannibalise this fat and muscle tissue to get essential nutrients and calories to survive.
Because we haven’t evolved that much these triggers still stand today. Ever get so hungry that all you could think about was eating? I bet the food you were craving wasn’t white fish and salad or chicken breast and spinach. I imagine you were craving something that was high in fat, sugar and calories. Am I right?
Again this is just your inner-survivor triggering cravings for high calorie food.
If you’re on a weight loss journey or fat loss programme then eating all the calories you just burned off while training would be very counter productive.
Yes, post training is about refuelling your body, but it’s also about resisting those cravings!
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO AVOID CRAVINGS?
Having a meal ready to eat post workout is a great way to monitor what you eat and crush those pesky cravings. After a training session your blood sugar will be low, which is why your body tells you you need to eat. Having a quick source of protein like a shake after training will help to regulate your blood sugar. Protein also helps with satiety, meaning it will help fill you up until you can get your hands on a proper meal.
When it comes to food choices you need to consider what your body needs, not just what you want. Craving chocolate chip cookies? You need some carbs, so have a sweet potato instead. Not as delicious I know but in 20 minutes time when the cookie cravings have passed you will be glad you avoided them and stayed on plan.
Ideally you want a lean source of protein (meat/fish/veggie alternative), a clean complex carbohydrate (sweet potato/rice/oats) and plenty of vegetables.
You’re trying to replace the glycogen used for energy during your workout, repair muscle damage with protein and reduce inflammation with the micronutrients from the vegetables.
It’s as easy as that!
Preparation really is key. If you find yourself trying to find food there is a greater chance of you falling off the wagon, so knowing what or where you are going to eat puts you at a huge advantage.