July 11, 2017

Keeping Your HANGRY in Check!

Because a hard workout doesn’t warrant a food free-for-all!

You work out. Great. But then you’re ravenous. Which can make you frantically eat back the calories you burned. It’s the catch-22 of exercise. You sweat, burn off calories—and then want to inhale every single thing in sight.

Sometimes your rampant appetite kicks in fairly soon after you finish your workout, but often it strikes hours later or even the next morning, says sports nutritionist Lauren Antonucci, R.D.N., the director of Nutrition Energy in New York City. In fact, studies show that most workouts actually make you less hungry at first. “During and right after exercise, the hunger hormone ghrelin is suppressed, while PYY, a satiety hormone, is elevated,” explains Barry Braun, Ph.D., the head of health and exercise science at Colorado State University. “But then your appetite comes back to get you at some point,” Antonucci says. That’s why you’re voracious the day after a long run. And, she adds, you’ll really notice this rebound effect whenever you amp up your routine, like training for a race or starting intense CrossFit sessions.

Fortunately, you can make smart tweaks to your routine to prevent sabotaging all your efforts.

  1. Do HITT 3x Per Week

Your body reacts to tough workouts by curbing hunger, possibly because exercise diverts blood from your gastrointestinal system so more can go to your muscles. This helps suppress ghrelin and slows the absorption of food from your intestines. It may also dampen the system of the brain that thinks of food as a reward, making snacks and meals seem less tasty. In a study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, people who did three weekly 30-to 45-minute HIIT sessions on a stationary bike ate about 120 calories less during their post workout meals than those who pedaled continuously at a moderate pace. (Check out the 30-45 minute HIIT endurance sessions in the Fall Into Fitness program)

Turn any cardio session into a HIIT workout by alternating going hard for 15 to 30 seconds and then easy for one to two minutes, says study coauthor Timothy Fairchild, Ph.D., a senior lecturer in exercise physiology at Murdoch University in Australia. On non-HIIT days, make sure your steady-state workouts are intense. Another study found that women who ran for an hour didn’t eat more than usual, but those who walked did.

2. Bounce More, Sit Less

The type of movement you do also affects hunger. In a study published in the journal Appetite, exercisers who jumped rope for 30 minutes were less hungry for fatty foods afterward than those who spent that time cycling. Researchers theorize that the gut jiggling caused by jumping may lower the production of ghrelin. This also applies to running or any workout that bounces your belly. (Ever wondered why I make all of my clients TRY double-unders consistently? 😉

4. Fill up on Protein & Healthy Fats

Eating protein after a workout helps your muscles recover, and because it’s so satiating, it also helps keep you from feeling ravenous six to eight hours later, Antonucci says. Healthy fat is filling and fights rebound hunger,too. Make sure you get both nutrients ASAP post workout. (Try eggs and avocado for breakfast or chicken and veggies cooked in olive oil for dinner.) “If you don’t get the food you need within 30 to 60 minutes, you’ll be more likely to experience serious hunger later that day and overeat,” Antonucci explains. When a meal in that time frame isn’t realistic, have a 100- to 150-calorie snack, such as a Greek yogurt or half a protein bar.

5. Refuel During Long, Hard Workouts

If you’re exercising strenuously for more than an hour, and especially if you’re training for a race, taking in some fuel during your session will help stave off intense hunger, so you’ll eat less later on, Antonucci says. Pack some gels or gummies and a sports drink, and start eating them after the first half hour. But if your workout is 45 minutes to an hour or is only moderately intense, skip the snacks. Your body simply doesn’t need the extra calories.

* Article From Shape Magazine*

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