Sunday, 14 February 2010

Sport and Food

Get the choice right

Now, THAT is interesting!

When Detlef looked up from his Sunday newspaper to tell me that according to an article he just read one develops particular food cravings depending on the chosen sport, I dived up from my fish tank cleaning and spontaneously said: Oh, like after swimming all you want is fries.

His answer: Yes, exactly!

Slightly confused from getting something this random right I asked for confirmation; ‘So, you mean: fries particularly after swimming and other stuff after different kinds of sport?’

Yep! Apparently I had got it right! And back my mind floated to the blissful university years where we had figures like goddesses, just that we didn’t know it. We thought we were fat, needed sport and figured that swimming would be fun. We actually did do some swimming and kept the girlish water splashing and flirting with boys activities short. But then the whole effect was reversed due to our rumbling stomachs and the chip shop in the pool’s amenity area.

The first one of us to get out of the changing room had the task to order a big portion each – German style – with loads of mayonnaise and ketchup, or better known red/white. These feasts were just divine since we were really hungry and hence thought: ‘Well, the body seems to need it.’ Just that the shaping up never happened, so clearly something was wrong with this conclusion.

And now, eventually 25 years later a newspaper article would reveal it all, would once and for all explain why I had developed an unconscious dislike of swimming.

It seems that – again – there is some silly hormone called Ghrelin involved. Telling you: Never underestimate these little buggers! This stuff influences hunger, the more of it there is the hungrier one feels.

At the moment they are trying to find out what it is that influences the hormone levels. One thought I that when the body has to work hard to stay warm – like swimming in water that is colder than body temperature - the Ghrelin levels are higher compared to when running on a warm day. Hence the hunger for greasy stuff like fries or heavy butter biscuits.

However, that would explain why one is more peckish after swimming than running, but not why one should be differently peckish. And it is true: After running I never want to eat heavy stuff but just fresh things while after weight lifting you can easily treat me with an egg or chicken.

So it is suggested that your brain guides you to the right food. If you are running you need to be light, no fat and slim muscles hence watery foods like fruit. If you are lifting weight you need big muscles thus everything protein and when swimming your brain might tell you to get a nice protective layer of blubber – like a seal.


Given that the swimming itself is fun, but not the packing and unpacking of swimming bags, that long wet hair is a nuisance, that one smells like chlorine for a week and that I usually get the allergic sniffles from inhaling the water, I herewith decide that the ‘getting peckish’ bit tips it over the edge and that I henceforth will withdraw from swimming – except if provided with a wet suit and dolphins as swimming companions.


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