There is a direct link between how you feel about your workout and how it influences your food choices. If you view your workout as a chore, a task or an obligation, then you're more likely to make a poor food choice. You will seek pleasure and joy from FOOD indulgences if you don't enjoy your workouts.
There are several different studies that show if people perceive their workout as FUN then they:
-Choose less junk food during meals.
-Eat less candy when offered a snack from a self-serve container.
-Choose "healthy" snacks more often than "unhealthy" snacks.
Why? Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic rewards.
- Intrinsic rewards mean we do things for a personal, inner reason. Because it's fun or brings us joy. It's interesting. Even if nobody sees us doing these things, we do them because it makes us feel good. AND you enjoy and value the entire process, regardless of the result.
- Extrinsic rewards mean that we do things for outside approval, external validation. Public recognition, rewards, medals. You want to hear "good job!" from people. Those are your motives.
We humans seek pleasure. We will find it from some source. And if we feel like we "lose out" on pleasure in one area, we look to compensate for it elsewhere.
Ever thought to yourself "I've had a shitty day. I deserve this brownie"? That thought process is the theory of hedonism at work.
Back to Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic....
If you view your workouts as Intrinsically rewarding, then we don't feel the need to compensate for that reward elsewhere in our day.
If you view your workouts as Extrinsically rewarding, we'll naturally seek an EXTERNAL reward to follow that task (you dutifully worked out today so you DESERVE that treat).
If you love what you do, you don't need the "strong willpower" mindset to avoid the hedonic compensation effect afterward.
Now, this doesn't mean you will ALWAYS love every minute and aspect of your workout regimen. But you need to truly find some joy and satisfaction of the process of working out. What are some ways to learn to love your workouts?
- Make it social. Workout with friends. They'll push you, you push them.
- Celebrate the small victories (improved your 5k run by 30 secs or hit a 5Ibs PR on your squat? GET STOKED ABOUT IT!)
- Having a workout regimen that rewards and values performance over looks is way more gratifying. You'll never LOOK exactly how you would like (you'll always want more) but checking out performance based goals from your list is extremely satisfying.
Do you want to know why Crossfitters never stop talking about Crossfit? Because they LOVE IT! All of those bullet points apply to how committed Crossfitters feel about their workouts.
If you're ready to try something new, get out of your comfort zone AND have fun.. then Crossfit may be your thing. You'll never know if you don't try. Click here to see what all the hype is about for yourself.
-Nicole Race, Co-Owner/Coach at St. Pete Strength and Conditioning, home of SPSC Crossfit