Do you struggle with your appetite?
While it is important to create a diet that meets your training, health, metabolic and daily needs, many athletes struggle with their appetite - not fully understanding, respecting or acknowledging hunger and satisfaction cues.
Whereas some athletes eat mindlessly out of emotions, boredom or stress, use food as a reward or overeat for fear of not having enough energy for a workout, other athletes have a disconnect with the body and will many times go too long without eating, ignore hunger cues or undereat due to fear of feeling too full or uncomfortable.
If you feel hungry all the time, feel that you are constantly eating or grazing or feel that you have no or little appetite and food simply doesn't interest you, something needs to change.
It's time to better understand and fix your appetite.
As an athlete, food is your fuel. Therefore, it is important to recognize that you need to eat a lot more than the sedentary individual. However, what, when and how much you eat is important.
Recognizing that it is normal to feel more hungry on certain days of the week when it's reflective of higher intensity or longer workouts, it is also normal for athletes to lose the appetite after a strenuous, long or intense workouts.
Because of this, it's understandable that athletes will often struggle to honor hunger in a smart, proactive, performance-enhancing and healthy way.
The athlete who has no appetite after a workout misses a prime opportunity to rehydrate, refuel and recover from a workout. Whereas the athlete who eats all day, may feel too full or uncomfortable before a workout and may restrict sport nutrition or the intake of any additional nutrition while training and this can make it difficult to understand if energy needs are being met properly before, during and after workouts.
It is important that you learn how to create an eating style that works for your body, your life and your needs.
No diet fad will do this for you.
You have to take the necessary time to understand your body, your appetite and your hunger.
Use the next few weeks to understand your appetite. Learn to create meals that will not only keep your body energized and well-nourished but will also satisfy your biological hunger so you feel comfortably full and satiated.
On Tuesday evening, Karel and I did a group ride on our tri bikes which started at 6pm and we followed the 1:40 hr ride with a 15 min run. This was a very hard workout for me and even though we didn't finish our workout until close to 8pm, I didn't have much of an appetite due to the intensity and warmer weather. However, I started with liquid nutrition (2 scoops Clif Recovery protein + water) first as I knew that would be easiest to digest. Then on the way home (25-30 minute drive) I had a banana and a few dates that I brought with me.
When we got home, it was close to 9pm by the time we cleaned up from the workout and our bedtime is around 10pm. To ensure easy digestion, I made the most delicious sandwich with rosemary bread, melted Swiss cheese, arugula, hummus and smashed avocado with a glass of 1% Organic cow's milk.
It was a delicious dinner.
Even though I understood that I didn't have much of an appetite, I knew that after a hard workout, eating nothing is not performance enhancing.
The recovery drink + sandwich did the trick and I was able to wake up Wednesday morning with my normal appetite to eat something before my Wed am workout (I always, 100% of the time, eat before I workout).