When it comes to eating, I’m all about listening to hunger and fullness cues. Our bodies usually do a good job of letting us know when we are hungry and full. However, there is one situation in which our hunger and fullness cues can’t be trusted. This is post-workout. Read on to find out why.
Hard or long workouts can lead to a suppression in appetite. This tends to be especially true for exercise such as running. As a result, there can be a lack of hunger and athletes sometimes have no interest in food despite expending a large number of calories. However, after these workouts, post-workout nutrition is vital to help the body start to recover. The muscles are in a prime state to use the food we eat to replenish depleted glycogen stores and re-build broken down muscle. If no food is consumed after a hard or long workout, this prime recovery time is missed.
Another issue with not fuelling properly after a long or hard workout is that it often leads to what I like to call rebound hunger. A lack of proper fuelling can lead to feeling ravenous later in the day or in following days. I think that we can all collectively agree that food decisions in these states are never good food decisions. Properly fuelling after a hard or long workout can help to prevent rebound hunger.
Instead of listening to your deceiving hunger and fullness cues, have a pre-planned post-workout nutrition plan. This should include a mixture of carbohydrates and high-quality protein. Here are some of my favourite go-to examples:
- Fruit smoothie (checkout my recipe here)
- Homemade protein bar (checkout my recipe here)
- Greek yogurt with fruit
Don’t be fooled by post-workout hunger cues as they can be misleading. Have a planned recovery nutrition plan so that you can get the most out of your workout.