Hungry for More: How to Manage Post-Workout Cravings
The Importance of Staying Hydrated
But what if you eat a healthy snack after you exercise and an hour later you're hungry again? Your signals may be getting crossed with another sensation entirely. "Even the top athletes I advise need to pay more attention to hydration," Blatner says. "Most people don't drink enough before, during, and after their workout." The brain confuses a lack of liquid with not enough food, triggering hunger pains. To help yourself hydrate properly, when you grab your post-workout string cheese and fruit (or protein bar), guzzle water with them to help fill you up. As a rule of thumb, drink eight ounces of water before snacking to be sure you're truly hungry, not thirsty.
Properly hydrated, you should be able to get through an hour-long workout without breaking for food. But for cardio sessions lasting longer than 60 minutes, you may also need an extra jolt of fuel during your activity. "If I run more than an hour, I know I'm going to be really hungry the rest of the day and want to eat like a pig," Dr. Church says. His quick fix: Take a few bites of an energy bar along the trail. On your big exercise days -- a 90-minute weekend run or a three-hour mountain bike ride -- you'll need to fuel up differently than you would on a typical treadmill day. Carb-rich calories are what your body craves as your store of glycogen is depleted during endurance events. In general, aim for 100 calories of carbs and electrolytes for every additional half hour of exercise after your first hour of working out. "This is what sports drinks were designed for," Braun says. "A banana with water would have the same effect, but it's just not as convenient." Other options include dried fruit, energy gels, and jelly beans, which can quickly be converted from food to fuel for your muscles. For maximum benefits, stay well hydrated for the first 60 minutes. Then if you are still working out, take in carb calories and electrolytes, both of which are found in sports drinks.
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