Nothing beats completing a totally kickass workout. Your energy is up, your endorphins are flowing, your muscles feel sore for a day or two, and you feel all smug and accomplished cause you are AWESOME. These are all very positive immediate effects of exercising. However, there is one very noticeable, treacherous side effect of exercising, and that is that you are So Damn Hungry.
HEY NO PROBLEM, EATING WILL FIX THAT
Exactly. EXACTLY. Being hungrier means wanting to eat more, which means that if you aren’t careful, you could be well on your way to undoing all of that superfine fitnessing. Especially if you are just starting a workout regimen, or upping your workout game — you can really start to feel the hungry in a big way, and easily eat double the calories you just burned in your ravenous, musclebound haze.
GREAT THEN I WILL PREVAIL BY EATING NOTHING
Well the thing is that you feel hungrier for a reason. Your body is telling you that it needs fuel and nourishment. This is definitely something you should listen to. However, you still need to show your body who’s boss, and only give it food that is ACTUALLY nourishing, and that will fill you up. A bowl of cereal and leftover pizza don’t count.
BUT I JUST WORKED MY ASS OFF….PRETTY SURE I CAN HAVE THAT PIZZA ALL THE TIME
You can, if you want to completely negate all that work you did and don’t mind adding a warm, flabby insulation layer over that muscle you’re working so hard to build. Granted, working out a lot will make your body a little more forgiving of what you eat, but there are still limits, and they’re probably a little more strict than you think. You do not need to “carb up” every night with an Olive Garden-sized bowl of pasta now that you’re working out everyday. This will probably put you in worse shape than if you weren’t working out at all. But you do need to make sure you’re giving your body the right amount of fuel, so your workouts (and just life) are kickass.
I hate hearing this as an answer, but part of what you should do is try certain things, and take note of how you feel. There are a few easy guidelines, but really you should pay attention to what actually quenches your foodthirst (hunger, I guess, but whatever) and remember that for the future. The guidelines are fairly consistent with things we’ve covered before:
- Go for high fiber. Fiber makes you feel fuller longer. Foods like avocado, hummus, broccoli, almonds, and apples are high in fiber and easy to incorporate into snacks and meals. Some cucumber or broccoli dipped in hummus, or apple with almond butter, or sliced avocado and tomato are great snacks on days you’ve blasted your traps. Also, all of these things are easily incorporated into a salad.
- Go for high protein. Your muscles are begging you for protein, because after you shredded them, they need it to repair and get bigger. So, give them what they want while also filling up. Any lean protein will help fill you up and give your body what it needs. Go for chicken or turkey breast, or some 0% greek yogurt to make sure you get those protein grams.
- Go for low sugar. Sugar makes you hungrier. If you eat a bowl of cereal (we all know most cereals are just sugar, right?), you will be just as hungry, if not more, in 30 minutes. Don’t do that. Natural sugars, like in fruits, are okay, but won’t do much to fill you up. Any sort of protein or granola bars, check your labels, they can get dangerous. Anything with more than a few grams of sugar, don’t bother.
Like I said, these are pretty basic. But make sure you pay attention. If you worked out for an hour and are just SO HUNGRY ALL DAY, and dammit REALLY WANT SOME BREAD, then try some almond butter on toast as a snack, or eat a sandwich instead of a salad at lunch, and see if it actually makes you feel full. If it does, remember that for next time. Don’t force yourself to only eat apples when you’re hungry, since they’re high in fiber and should be enough anyway and hey why am I still hungry 8 apples later oh well haha guess I’ll try another and then you explode and eat three bowls of pasta. If you hold out all day, you will almost definitely crash and burn in a sugar / simple carb relapse. If you want to eat a really big lunch cause you know that if you don’t, you’ll snack all day, then do that. Just fill it with healthy, substantial things. Then by the afternoon, your body is over the fact that you WERKED IT earlier and you’ll be back to normal hunger level. Eating the right things will usually mean eating less in the long run, because if you get it right the first time you don’t have to go back for more. So GET IT RIGHT you guys. We don’t use pencils here, know what I mean? (only write in pen? no mistakes? yeah?)
WAIT SO REALLY I CAN’T HAVE PIZZA?
Sooooooooo…….. Sort of. You can sort of have pizza. If you are working out several hours a week, and want to indulge in pizza once or twice a month, then I can condone that. But really, pay attention and find a balance. You can’t just choose nutrition or exercising, you’ve gotta do both. But, you also have to live a superfun life in NYC (or wherever… apparently some of you live in France? and England?) and eat things that you find delicious. You just have to limit them, and don’t fool yourself into thinking that now that you work out there is no consequence on your body, cause there is. So, bottom line, work out enough to make your body strong, eat foods that give your body the nutrients it needs, and indulge enough to enjoy your life, but not so much that you undo the first two parts. YOU TOO CAN HAVE IT ALL.