Fitness myth: exercise will stop me craving ‘bad foods’ post workout

January 10th, 2013 · by Josh · Blog, Nutrition and Diet

I am often asked, “If I exercise regularly will it stop my desire to eat high sugary snacks?” I wanted to look at a number of fitness myths on the blog in 2013 to kick-start the year with a bit of clarity!

The problem with this particular fitness myth is it’s not that ‘black and white’. I find people often confuse the great post-workout feeling with the fact that they want to eat ‘clean’ as well after exercise. However, this is not always the case.

Exerciser’s high

One of the great things about exercise is the post-workout feeling:Girl jumping up the feeling of achievement, feeling fresh, clean and energised. This is caused by a rush of endorphins, which are chemicals that can pass through the gaps between neurons so as to transmit a message from one to the next.

Endorphins have many different purposes and functions but commonly they make you feel good! Exercise stimulates endorphin production as the pay-off for your body’s reward system. You may have heard people talk about ‘exerciser’s high’, which refers to the euphoric feeling you can get when exercising. The release of endorphins triggers this feeling and encourages you to exercise again sometime soon.

Curbing the cravings

While this is all good, it doesn’t automatically address your cravings and you will still need to make a conscious choice regarding your eating habits. What’s more, you may often find that exercise will stimulate your hunger due to the fuels burnt during your workout. This can lead you to feel low on energy as your body yearns for calories post-workout.

The challenge here is to ensure your pre and post-workout diet is efficient so that your body has the right food stuffs to fuel the workout and similarly the correct fuels during the recovery period.

  • Your pre-workout diet therefore needs to include slow release carbohydrates such as brown rice and protein
  • During your workout session it’s vital you remain hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids
  • Post-workout, I would recommend eating carb/protein combos such as a banana and a protein shake, hummus with pita bread or low fat yoghurt with fresh berries
  • Eating these types of foods within an hour of exercise will help to prevent the cravings for the high sugary alternatives later in the day.

    One Response to “Fitness myth: exercise will stop me craving ‘bad foods’ post workout”

    1. Interesting review, I think when people exercise they are filled with a virtuousity and a desire to eat will if they can. Pre and post workout nutrition needs to give thought what the workout involves. A heavy lifting workout might survive on a small amount of carb, some berries of even some BCAA for the sup fan (this will release glycogen into your bloodstream). The post workout window does need a good carb and protien intake but I would recommend something higher GI sweet potato, white rice. The nutrients from brown rice are mostly bound to phytic acid and therefore not available for absorption. You could soak and ferment the rice but that does seem like a lot of work.

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