Are you one of those people who finish a workout and by the time you get home could devour everything in sight? Think of it this way, our body is like a car and the more we drive it, the more we need to fill up with petrol. If you have just started a new workout routine, you may find yourself experiencing elevated hunger levels post-workout. Can anyone say hello hangry?
The most common mistakes people make when faced with this hunger is to overeat or feed themselves with naughty foods. There are two parts to this, when you overeat it may be because you are not eating the right types of foods to keep you feeling full and satisfied. The second part is if you like to indulge in naughty foods post gym sesh, it may be because you have the ‘reward mentality’. Essentially this means you tell yourself “I have worked so hard, I deserve this”. Whilst I do believe in treating yourself once in a while, if you do it after each workout session, you are developing an unhealthy mentality that may cause you to gain weight rather than lose it.
So how do I stop overeating after my workout?
Choose The Right Foods
If your idea of a post-workout snack is a slice of cake washed down with a soda, then no wonder you are hungry! Eating foods that are full of refined sugars, additives and that are heavily processed will be of little nutritional benefit and may not be the best way to aid in your recovery. Your blood sugar levels may spike and you will feel hungry again an hour later, which may lead to more unhealthy snacking. This is where choosing the right post-workout snack is of utmost importance. I usually like to snack on something that contains both carbohydrates and protein, because this will help to keep me satisfied and also aid my muscles in their recovery. Some post-workout snack examples are a can of tuna or lean turkey with wholegrain crackers or peanut butter topped banana or celery sticks.
Workout Before A Main Meal
If you tend to workout after dinner or breakfast, try to switch this up so you are working out before a main meal. This can really help if you are one of those people who constantly finds themselves hungry post-workout regardless of whether or not you have eaten beforehand. This means that training before a main meal could potentially reduce unwanted snacking. To make it easier for yourself, have breakfast ready to go or dinner ready to heat up when you get home. Another idea is to eat a small pre-workout snack such as a banana so you don’t feel as famished during or after your workout. It is super important that the meal you are consuming after training has enough calories and nutrients to fuel your body for the rest of the day. So if you train before breakfast, don’t just settle on a single piece of fruit! Make sure that your meal is balanced and wholesome - for example, adding fruit to natural yoghurt and oats.
Don’t Forget To Rehydrate
During a workout, you lose fluids as you sweat and push your body to its limit. It is super important to rehydrate after a workout by drinking plenty of water. Sometimes our body mistakes dehydration for hunger so make sure you are drinking plenty throughout the entire day!
Try Not To Overestimate
Whilst that half an hour of working out may have soaked your tee with sweat, we often tend to think we have burned a ton more calories than we actually have. Whilst I don’t think it is necessary to count calories, sometimes our mindset is what can hold us back on our weight loss journeys. If you are only exercising to be able to eat junk food afterwards, it might be helpful to ask yourself what your goals are and how you wish to achieve them. Exercise because you love your body and want to stay fit and healthy, and eat for the same reasons. If healthy eating seems boring or unappetising to you, experiment with different herbs and spices and buy recipe books to give you ideas! If you follow my HELP plan, I have recently released a new Recipe Guide that gives you even more delicious food ideas.
Remember, girls, your mindset is just as important as exercise and the foods that you eat when it comes to health and fitness. While having a treat from time to time may help you stay on track, if you find yourself snacking after every workout, then you may need to reassess what it is that’s causing you to do this. Make small changes in your daily lifestyle that you can maintain as these will eventually become habits. If you are feeling super hungry after a workout, try training before one of your main meals instead or have your snacks prepped and ready to eat. Give yourself the best chance possible to succeed, because YOU deserve it!Love, Kayla xx