Experiencing hunger is totally normal. Being an athlete comes with an appetite and the harder you train, the more you eat. But why? What happens within the body? And how can you prevent this from affecting your progress? Read more to find out.
Hunger is good
How many times have you said in an angry voice “why am I so hungry all the time”? Hunger is usually seen as the bad guy. But actually hunger is good. It’s a sign that your body is using your food as fuel, the way that it’s supposed to. And when you’re hungry, this means it needs more. So as long as you know the right things to eat and how to tell the difference between real hunger and just being bored, being hungry is definitely not a bad thing and you certainly shouldn’t ignore it.
When your muscles are hungry, you’ll know
Weight lifting and strength training are likely to leave you with a big appetite afterwards. As your muscle tissue repairs, it cries out for food to help it regain strength. And the more muscle you have, the more hungry you are. So keep your fridge filled with healthy protein-rich foods to keep the beasts at bay.
Hunger or dehydration?
If you’re used to training in summer, you might know the feeling of starvation after a sweaty workout. Approach this hunger with care because sometimes, it’s dehydration in disguise. When we sweat we lose sodium and this can cause us to develop cravings for sugar or salt. Next time you come home from a summer run, take a big drink of water before deciding what to eat. You might just find you weren’t so hungry after all.
Fear of overeating?
Of course, hunger isn’t good if every time you’re hungry, you dive straight into unhealthy snacks and eat until you’re full to bursting. Overeating is counter-productive, but it’s also worth avoiding undereating. This will just leave you feeling hungry again in an hour.
It’s a mixture of quality, quantity, the right time and the right place. Choose nutritious, protein-rich foods to leave you feeling fuller for longer. It’s also a good idea to work out right before a meal as this means you’ll get even more from the afterburn effect.
Don’t expect your body to perform at its best if you don’t provide it with enough fuel.