Knew it.

Words by

Eliza Sholly

Finding the right post-workout snack can be quite the dilemma. On one hand you’re the hungriest person to ever roam the planet, but on the other, you don’t want to counteract all the calories you’ve worked so hard to burn. This dilemma is especially #real when you crave sweet things as much as I do. 

In order to make myself feel better, I turned to a small study that the Journal of Health Psychology recently conducted. After undergoing their research, they saw that doing exercise makes people more likely to crave dessert later on. Who am I to argue with science?

Authors of the study recruited 88-college students for a test called the “approach avoidance task,” used in past research to measure people’s automatic reactions to certain stimuli. The volunteers were asked to hold a joystick as they looked at pictures of dessert foods, interspersed with shots of everyday household objects, like clocks and light bulbs. For each image, the researchers monitored their hand movements, noting if they pulled the joystick closer to their bodies, which indicated positive feelings toward whatever was in the photo. Half the participants then did a quick workout on a stationary bike, while the other half completed a series of memory puzzles. Afterwards, all of them took the same joystick test for a second time.

As predicted, compared to the people that had completed the memory tasks, members of the exercise group were more attracted to dessert when completing the second test. 

By using a test to capture immediate and subtle reactions, researchers were able to measure the participants’ implicit food motivations. These are described as “bottom-up processes that underlie our behaviour and are not influenced by our personality differences, goals or attitudes.” 

So basically, this 100 per cent justifies any post-workout craving for sweet food that I, or you, may have in the future. It’s studies like this that make the world go round. 

Holly Engelhardt

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