I was speaking with one of our awesome clients today and we talked about something that probably relates to a lot of you. To protect the innocent, we’ll call this client Joe. Joe, who we met at one of the seminars we do for the Footworks Marathon runners, has gotten in great shape since he began training with us and is now in heavy preparation for a full marathon in a couple of weeks. As you can imagine, his running mileage has been increasing steadily over the last few weeks.
“You look great Joe. How’s it going?” I asked.
“It’s going well but I have to tell you Scott, I’ve really been having trouble sticking to my diet. I’ve been having really bad sugar cravings lately.”
“Hmnn..” I said, “Is this happening more now that you are running so much more?”
“Yes”, he answered. “Now that you mention it, it has been happening ever since my mileage has increased. I just can’t resist the doughnuts and other sweet treats that I know I should be avoiding.”
“That is not surprising” I replied and here is what I explained to Joe.
When you are doing a high volume of exercise, ie: running, spinning, resistance training, playing soccer, whatever.., your body’s need for glucose (sugar) increases dramatically. Your muscles need glucose for fuel and your brain needs glucose to function (ie:think!). When your muscles are eating up all of the sugar that you have stored (you store sugar in the muscles and the liver), it needs more sugar from somewhere. So guess why you are craving those doughnuts and candies? SUGAR.
In order to eliminate those cravings, you need to feed your body more “good” carbohydrates. Eat a large bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, eat some sweet potatoes or brown rice with dinner and/or lunch, and eat fruit for your snacks. You will see your sugar cravings go away almost immediately as you will be providing your body with all of the carbohydrates (sugar) it needs, but in a form that is healthier and more effective for athletic performance and staying trim. Bye bye doughnuts!
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