Today is for those who have zero appetite after intense training sessions, games and competitions.
For athletes who have high training demands and urgent recovery needs, this poses a serious problem.
As mentioned in episode 15 of the Average to Elite podcast (Ultra-Fast Recovery), the hours after intense exercise is an opportunistic period to accelerate glycogen replenishment.
If you have another training session or event within a 24 hour period and you need to be at your absolute best, then we need to be consuming fluid and carbohydrates immediately after to take advantage.
However, many athletes experience ‘Exercise Induced Appetite Suppression’ following intense exercise.
So why is this?
A 2011 study by Vatansever-Ozen et al had ten elite soccer players run for 120 minutes at two different intensities: 105 mins at 50% VO2max followed by another 15 mins at 70% VO2max.
Upon completion, they were given a buffet style lunch and were told to eat until satisfied.
As expected, their appetite stimulating hormone (Ghrelin) became supressed after demanding exercise.
The reduced Ghrelin levels after intense exercise may be due to an increase in sympathetic nervous system activity (fight or flight) which is responsible for diverting blood from your gut (to aid digestion) towards your working muscles to support performance.
Interestingly, even though the footballers burnt ~1550kcal in the running session, they didn’t eat more food at post workout buffet when compared to the control group (who went to the buffet without doing the exercise).
In comparison, they were in a massive calorie deficit and wouldn’t have been driving the recovery and regeneration process optimally.
If these players had a tight turn around in games (tournament) or training sessions, their performance within the following 24 hours would have been pretty awful due to inadequate recovery.
i.e. the fuelling for your next session starts straight after your last session if time is limited.
This is why I always suggest drinking your calories post exercise if you don’t have an appetite as we can somewhat bypass the need of hunger to drive food consumption…
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