Here's Why You're So Hungry After A Workout – Kayla Itsines

Why Am I So Hungry After My Workout?

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Why Am I So Hungry After My Workout?
Why Am I So Hungry After My Workout

Are you one of those people who finish a workout and by the time you get home, you want to devour everything in sight? If you’re wondering why exercise increases your appetite, think of it this way: your body is like a car and the more you drive it, the more you need to fill it up with petrol. 

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If you have just started a new workout routine, you may be asking 'Why am I so hungry?'. Yes, you might find that working out makes you hungrier than usual. This is totally normal! Read on to find out why this is the case, as well as what you can do about it to stay on track with your health and fitness goals.

Why does exercise increase appetite? 

When you are working out, or immediately afterwards, exercise may actually suppress your hunger. However, a little while after finishing a workout, many women may experience feelings of increased hunger. This is because the hormones that cause you to feel hungry surge post-exercise. While this happens to men too, studies have shown that for women there can be a much bigger surge in the hormones that increase appetite. 

Why am I so hungry after working out?

While I’ve just provided you with a biological explanation why you might be feeling so hungry, there are a number of other reasons that might also contribute to being hungry after exercise. Here are just a few:

Hungry After Workout

1. You’re not eating enough food

You might not be fueling your body with enough calories before your workout, or afterwards, which can deplete your energy. If fat loss is your goal, maintaining a healthy caloric intake is important. It will ensure you can get through your workouts with as much energy as possible and will also help avoid your body getting so hungry that it craves any food.

Solution: Workout before a main meal

Obviously, ensure you are eating enough energy-dense food throughout the day.

Another idea is to eat a small snack, such as a banana, pre-workout so you don’t feel as famished during or after your workout. It is super important that the meal you are consuming after training has enough calories and nutrients to fuel your body for the rest of the day. So if you train before breakfast, don’t just settle on a single piece of fruit! Make sure that your meal is balanced and filling — for example, adding fruit to natural yoghurt and oats.

Can Working Out Make You More Hungry

2. You're rewarding yourself and overeating post-workout

You might find yourself overeating or indulging in anything you feel like because you’ve gotten a workout in — this is often referred to as having a ‘reward mentality’. While you should be really proud of your efforts to work out, it shouldn’t be taken as an excuse to eat a lot of extra food that isn’t healthy. While it's okay to treat yourself once in a while, if you do it after each workout session, you can develop an unhealthy mindset that may cause you to gain weight rather than lose it.

Solution: Change your routine up slightly

If you tend to work out after dinner or breakfast, try to switch this up so you are working out before a meal. This can really help if you are one of those people who constantly finds themselves hungry after a workout, regardless of whether or not you have eaten beforehand. This also means that training before a meal could potentially reduce unwanted snacking. To make it easier for yourself, meal prep beforehand so that your food is almost ready to eat when you get home. 

Why Does Exercise Increase Appetite

3. You're not eating the right foods to fuel you

Post-workout, you might not be eating the types of filling foods that will keep you feeling satisfied. 

Solution: Be mindful of your food choices 

If your idea of a post-workout snack is a slice of cake washed down with a soda, then no wonder you are hungry after your workout! Eating foods that are full of refined sugars, additives and that are heavily processed will be of little nutritional benefit and may not be the best way to aid in your recovery. Your blood sugar levels may spike and you will feel hungry again an hour later, which may lead to more unhealthy snacking.

This is where choosing the right pre- and post-workout snacks is so important. I usually like to snack on something that contains both carbohydrates and protein, because this will help to keep me satisfied and also aid my muscles in their recovery.

Some post-workout snack examples are a can of tuna or lean turkey with wholegrain crackers or peanut-butter-topped banana or celery sticks.

What Is The Best Thing To Eat After A Workout

4. You’re thirsty

During a workout, you lose fluids as you sweat and push your body to its limit so it is super important to rehydrate after a workout by drinking plenty of water. Sometimes our body mistakes dehydration for hunger so make sure you are mindful of your water intake throughout the entire day.

Solution: Make hydration a priority

Look out for the signs that you’re dehydrated and make sure you are sipping on water regularly throughout the day.

Hungry After Exercise

5. You’re overestimating how hard you worked out

We often tend to think we have burned a ton more calories than we actually have. While I don’t believe it is necessary to count calories, sometimes our mindset is what can hold us back on our health and fitness journey. If you are exercising to be able to eat junk food afterwards, it might be helpful to ask yourself what your goals are and how you wish to achieve them. 

Solution: Adjust your mindset

Exercise because you love your body and want to stay fit and healthy — and eat for the same reasons. If healthy eating seems boring or unappetising to you, experiment with different herbs and spices and buy recipe books to give you ideas! If you follow my HELP plan, I have a range of recipes that give you even more delicious food ideas.

If you’re really hungry after a workout, fuel your body right

Remember, girls, your mindset is just as important as exercise and the foods that you eat when it comes to health and fitness. While having a treat from time to time may help you stay on track, if you find yourself super hungry after every workout and snacking because of it, then you may need to reassess what it is that’s causing you to do this. 

Make small changes in your daily lifestyle that you can maintain as these can eventually form into habits. If you are feeling super hungry after a workout, try training before one of your meals instead or have your snacks prepped and ready to eat. Give yourself the best chance possible to succeed because YOU deserve it!

* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.

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