How to control sugar cravings after a workout?

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Published: November 2, 2021

Picture if you will. You just finished a very intensive workout, and your body is spent. Now, it is time to recover your energy with a hearty meal. However, there is a problem. You prepared a delicious chicken salad full of protein, but your eyes go right past that and focus on the delicious apple pie on your counter. Or, you finished your salad and decided that it would be excellent to top it off with chocolate ice cream. You might feel like a bad person for having these thoughts, but don’t worry. It is perfectly natural, and DubaiPT is here to help you out! We’ll take a deep dive into the science of why this happens, and what you can do to control sugar cravings after a workout. So let’s get into it!

What are sugar cravings and how do they happen?

Simply put, whenever you’re in the middle of an intensive workout, your body burns through a lot of energy. And, in a way, damages itself in order to further strengthen itself. Once that happens, your basic instincts kick in, and your body looks for a quick way to regain fuel and repair itself. Your body, and primarily your muscles, prefer carbohydrates as a source of energy. During intense exercise, or while doing arm workouts for women, you create tears in your muscles, repairing which requires protein. And this is where the sugar cravings come in. They are caused by your muscles’ need to replenish their carbohydrates and repair the muscles post-exercise.

person satisfying a sugar craving after a workout
It is perfectly natural to crave sweets after exercising

Desserts are full of fast-releasing carbs, and even though they won’t give you a lot of nutrition, they will quickly replenish your energy. And that’s how sugar cravings after a workout happen! What you need to do at this point, is prepare a healthy post-workout meal for yourself and stay true to your regiment. This is easier said than done, but luckily there are other ways to control sugar cravings after a workout. With diet tips and healthy lifestyle hacks, you can easily keep your sweet tooth at bay, and maintain perfect form. All of the things we’ll mention are very simple to do, ad most are probably already a part of your daily routine.

Control sugar cravings after a workout by occupying your mind with other tasks

An idle mind can sometimes be errant, and if you’re not careful, you can catch yourself doing something you shouldn’t, like eating sweets after a workout. So what you need to do, is prevent yourself from thinking about those forbidden treats. This is best done by simply diverting your attention to some other daily life task. Once you’re done working out, eat your regular meal, and then immediately move on to doing something else. Pay your bills, do a bit of office work, read your favorite book, or walk your dog. These things will keep you focused, and away from those dangerous cravings. If you just plop down on the couch after an exercise, you’re more than likely to want to eat more. And, according to studies, if you do a bit of mental work before exercise, you will eat at least 100 calories less in your next meal!

man working on a laptop
Get busy as soon as you’re done exercising and push those sugar thoughts away!

Divide your meals into smaller, evenly spaced out portions

During and after exercise, providing your body with a steady supply of calories keeps your blood sugar in check. This, in turn, keeps those nasty cravings at bay. Furthermore, it can prevent a high insulin response during your next meal, which is what encourages excess body fat. Your body needs recovery once you’re done working out, so it’s both natural and recommended that you eat. However, if you do decide to eat multiple times a day, remember to keep your portions in check. Try to limit your calory intake to roughly 500 per meal, and 200 when eating snacks. This limits your daily caloric intake to around 1600 to 1800.

Add protein to your meals

Proteins serve a dual purpose when it comes to fueling your body. Mainly, they replenish your muscles after exercising, but they also increase your satiety and control your appetite. They achieve this by stimulating your gut hormones which in turn makes you feel full. For your post-workout meal, consider things like eggs, milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, and oatmeal. Other meals may include nuts, fish, beans, lean meats, and poultry. A protein-rich diet will surely help you stay in shape and keep the sweet tooth in check.

person drinking water after exercising
Water helps you suppress cravings, lose weight, and stay healthy

Introduce fiber to your diet to control sugar cravings after a workout

When eating bulky foods, you will get full quicker, and consume fewer calories at the same time. If you eat a lot of fermentable fibers, such as fruits, vegetables, flax seeds, avocados, and beans, you boost your gut health thanks to the fermentation of these same fibers. This helps gain less weight but also reduces your risk of diabetes. For best results, try to add between 25 and 30 grams of fibers to your daily diet. We talked about portion rationing before, so a good rule of thumb is to have around 5 grams per meal or snack. Add half a cup of black beans to your meal, or a cup of steamed spinach. For snacks, an apple with a handful of nuts, or some rye bread and a pear, will do wonders for your gut flora.

Always remember to stay hydrated

One of the things that exercising does is drastically increase your thirst. And in some cases, people tend to easily mistake thirst for hunger. Drinking plenty of fluids is probably the best way to control sugar cravings after a workout. So, the next time you feel peckish after your session, try not to reach for that ice cream. Instead, treat yourself to some delicious, calorie-free water. Even though you lose electrolytes through sweat, we advise against reaching for sugary sports drinks. Try adding a bit of sea salt to your water or eat a banana. Of course, you shouldn’t drink water only when exercising. The best way to curb snacking is to carry a water bottle with you and take a sip every 15 to 20 minutes.


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