It isn’t abnormal to experience sugar cravings from your workout. In fact, if you do, you’re in the majority. However, when you’re exercising as a part of weight management, these cravings can be the last thing you need. After all, what good will that workout be if all you do is follow it up with a doughnut?
Fortunately, getting sugar cravings from your workout doesn’t mean all is lost. There is some fantastic science to explain why it happens. Moreover, there’s also a lot of science to show you how to recover from it. You don’t need to reach for a desert every time you exercise. However, you can still grab a post workout treat!
A study published in the Journal of Health Psychology showed that a group of healthy individuals felt far more positive feelings toward sugary foods after a 20-minute workout than they did beforehand. The researchers explained it as an evolutionary drive.
After all, our long-distant ancestors didn’t exercise to get fit. They did it to get food or escape from danger. They did it because they were traveling to somewhere new and better. Whatever the reason, it was out of necessity. Those who were driven to replenish their energy after exerting themselves survived. Those without the inclination to refuel, likely didn’t make it.
This explains why your body gives you sugar cravings from your workout. It’s a left-over instinct to survive.
While it’s wonderful news to know why you’re experiencing the sugar cravings from your workout, that doesn’t actually stop them. Just because you know why you had a hamburger and milkshake after your gym session doesn’t reduce its caloric impact.
The key to overcoming those cravings is to plan ahead. Know that they are natural and they will happen. Make sure that you have a fantastic option in place to eat before they drive your food choices. Instead of waiting until you’re famished and hit the fast food place across from the gym, pack a nutrient-dense, calorically appropriate snack.
Pack a fantastic post-workout snack with a moderate calorie density and bring it with you. As soon as you’re done with your workout, eat it! If you aren’t ready to have the whole thing right away, have a few bites to dull the future cravings. Then, after you’re all showered, have the rest.