Avoid Eating a HUGE meal even though you feel you have earned it
Photo by Cristiano Pinto on Unsplash
Of course, you believe that you have earned it but there are two reasons you shouldn’t consume a massive meal in response to a hard or long workout.
Firstly, it establishes a bad expectation that big efforts will be rewarded by big meals. Our expectations for a meal play a large role in determining how much we eat. Think about Christmas dinner (sorry for making you think that far ahead). You expect to eat a lot, therefore you do. When you spend the final hour of a long endurance workout dreaming about a pizza the size of your front wheel, guess what you’re going to eat? And don’t expect to stop eating when you feel full. We have been trained since childhood to finish what’s on our plates. When you couple the power of expectation with the social and financial pressure to finish what’s on the plate, you are very likely to eat everything in front of you.
The second reason it’s a bad idea to gorge yourself with a big meal immediately after training is that a normal-sized meal will meet all the goals for post-workout nutrition. It would be one thing if a huge post-workout meal reduced caloric consumption later in the day, but it doesn’t. You’re not likely to reduce the size of subsequent meals based on the fact you ate a large post-workout meal, which means you end the day with greater overall caloric consumption than necessary.
Aim to add in smart eating during your ride to reduce the body’s natural response of making you feel hungry. Remember that the body wants to maintain a steady state! It fights to prevent weight loss and weight gain. Yes! I know you may find that hard but its true. So, offset with smart eating during any ride that is post 2 hours. Consume your post ride drink or snack of around 20-30g in the first 20 mins of arriving home, along with your water and maybe some pink sea salt. Then follow normal meal plans throughout the day. If the ride was over 4 hours, then make sure you have your next meal within 2 hours of arriving home.