If you have zero appetite after intense training sessions, games or competitions…read on.
For athletes who have high training demands and urgent recovery needs, this poses a serious problem as their ability to get back to ‘baseline’ becomes impaired.
i.e. you’re not going to recover optimally if you’re unable to eat.
This issue is called ‘Exercise Induced Appetite Suppression’.
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.
Post their hard running session, their appetite stimulating hormone (Ghrelin) became supressed, which was most likely caused by high lactate levels (McCarthy et al, 2020).
The reduced Ghrelin levels may also 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 (those who went to the buffet without doing the running session).
Therefore, the players were in a significant calorie deficit and wouldn’t have been able to recovery and regenerate maximally through taking advantage of the first phase of glycogen replenishment.
If these players had a tight turn around in games (tournament) or hard training days, their performance within the following 24 hours would have been sub-par due to sub-optimal recovery.
i.e. Recovery = Fuelling = Recovery = Fuelling.
Therefore, I always suggest drinking your calories post training or competition if you don’t have an appetite as we can, to a large extent, bypass the need of hunger to drive food consumption.
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