Why You Crave Fruit During A Workout

Have you ever noticed mid-workout that you've developed a sudden hankering for something fruity? Well, there's a reason for this. In fact, PopSugar outlines a few causes for fruit cravings during a workout. The first is simply that your training session has left you dehydrated. Due to the high-water content of most fruits and their concentrated electrolyte levels, your body may be steering you in the direction of something extra hydrating.

While water or electrolyte drinks may also do the trick in this case, fruit contains something else that your body needs during and after a workout: carbohydrates (via PopSugar). Not only does fruit deliver an adequate dose of carbs to replenish the energy you've lost during your workout, but they are also super easy to digest. This makes them available as an energy source quickly after consumption. Registered dietician Justine Chan adds that fruit can also balance out low blood sugar, which is a common result of not providing the body with enough fuel before a workout. 

Sometimes, your fruit cravings may be related to a desire for something sweet. One 2016 study published in the Journal of Health Psychology found that people crave sweet foods following a training session. A second 2017 study published in Appetite discovered that post-workout, there is increased activity in the part of the brain responsible for food-pleasure cravings. Researchers believe these findings support a hypothesis that the body is looking to replenish the sugar (glycogen) burned during physical activity, as per Well+Good.

Best foods to eat post-workout

While fruit is definitely a healthy snack to grab following a workout, you should consider pairing it with a protein-rich food for the best nutritional punch, explains PopSugar. If you don't eat a snack with the right ratio of macronutrients, you risk leaving your body to devour precious muscle tissue instead, as per Healthline.

Protein, in particular, will not only prevent your body from looking to muscle tissue for fuel, but it will also help you build new muscle (via Healthline). The ideal protein source will have anywhere from 0.14–0.23 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Your body will also need a decent amount of carbs post-workout to replenish glycogen stores, which is where that fruit can come into play. Eating 0.5–0.7 grams of carbs per pound of body weight should do the trick. You also won't want to exclude fat from your post-training snack. One 2006 study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise showed that consuming foods rich in fat helped participants promote muscle growth.

The American Council on Exercise names some of the best snacks to make after a workout. Perfect to satisfy those fruit cravings and provide additional nutrition is lean deli ham with a side of grapes. Alternatively, you can switch out the ham for some beef jerky or a hard-boiled egg and substitute the grapes for orange slices. Another popular choice is a smoothie blended with fresh or frozen fruit and protein powder.