Workouts can boost your energy and mood along with all the other health benefits. But, sometimes our workout can make us hungrier and we end up eating enough food to more than undo our last sweat session. While exercise can actually be an awesome appetite suppressant, if you're making one of these mistakes you might find yourself stuck in a craving war with your body.
You’re not eating before your workouts
Food is fuel. If you start your workout on empty, you’re going to end it feeling hungrier than you normally would. When you wake up after getting a long night’s sleep, the body is essentially in a fasted state and it needs a top up.
Your body has already burned through everything you ate for dinner, your blood sugar and energy levels are low, and your body will have to dip into your reserves of stored carbs, or glycogen, to power your workout. This can be good for burning excess fat but if you’re eating twice as much when you finish then you won’t see the results in a hurry. After your workout, you crave food, especially sugar because your body is trying to restock your glycogen reserves and get your blood sugar levels back up where they should be.
At least an hour before your workout, eat a small snack that's packed with protein and carbs. Something light like a banana or Greek yogurt along with a big drink of water to kick start your body and avoid the post-workout munchies.
You’re not getting enough sleep
Waking up early to exercise is great, but only if you actually get a full night’s sleep first. Lack of sleep can cause an onslaught of hormonal responses that can make you hungrier than normal. People that don’t have a normal sleep schedule throw off their levels of the hunger-regulating hormones leptin and ghrelin and eat an average of 550 extra calories the next day.
While every person is unique in exactly how much sleep we need, here is a good rule to follow: If your morning workout requires you to wake up an hour early, plan to go to bed an hour early the night before. Easy as that.
You’re not managing your post-workout food
What you eat after your work out can have a huge impact on your hunger levels for the rest of the day. You need some carbs to restock your glycogen reserves and deliver protein to your recovering muscles after a sweating it out, but the kind of carbohydrates you eat really matter.
Within an hour after finishing your workout, eat a small post-workout snack or breakfast, depending on the time and how long it’s been since your last full meal. Either way, it’s important to eat both protein and unrefined carbohydrates, like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables to refuel and rebuild your muscles, so your body won’t have any reason to keep up the cravings.
You’re not staying hydrated
Your belly feels the same when it’s low on food or when it’s low on liquid. After a morning workout, it’s easy to be dehydrated. As soon as you woke up, you went and sweated out what little liquid you did have. Have a glass of water when you first wakeup and before your workout. Once you’re at the gym, make sure to hydrate and don’t use thirst as your guide. Drink before you're thirsty.
You’re not eating enough
When you start the day with a workout, it’s easy to get caught up wanting to stay in calorie-deficit territory. Not eating enough can have a reverse effect and have you eating more than you normally would later on. Eating balanced meals loaded with unrefined carbs, fibre, protein, and healthy fats should keep hunger at bay after your morning workout.
Walk a kilometre in their shoes
Remember, for the month of October starting from the 12th; we will be supporting the National Breast Cancer Foundation through our “Walk a kilometre in their shoes” fundraiser. Stop by a CardioTech Kiosk, say hi and have a walk on one of our treadmills and we will donate $1 to celebrate and support all of the women and families affected by breast cancer.