Why Am I Hungry After My Workout?

If you’ve stuck to a new workout routine, chances are you know what the fuss is all about: the exercise-induced endorphins, the sense of accomplishment after you crush a workout, the realization that you actually like being sweaty. But one thing that may not make you love your workout routine: that ravenous, want-to-eat-everything feeling you get after a workout. Why am I so hungry?

Exercise uses up your glycogen and stimulates your appetite. It also dehydrates you and if you don’t drink enough water before, during and after your workout, you’re going to feel hungry. Also, improper pre-workout fueling can lead to increased hunger later in the day. Exercising in a fasted state will only make you feel hungrier. In some cases, appetite may be suppressed during or immediately after exercise. But hunger hormones may increase later in the day, making you want to eat. A lot. Satiety hormones can also decrease, making it harder to feel full and satisfied, especially for women.

Exercise works great for weight maintenance, but not weight loss. It’s also important for decreasing belly fat, reducing your risk of heart disease and diabetes, and increasing your level of happiness.

Giving up exercise is not an option—it’s part of a healthy lifestyle. Understanding that exercise will increase your appetite and arming yourself with steps to keep it in check is part of the plan for success.

Use these 3 strategies to outrun your hunger so you can finally cross your weight-loss finish line.

Choose The Right Foods

If your idea of a post-workout snack is a slice of cake washed down with a soda, then no wonder you are hungry! 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 post-workout snack is of utmost importance. 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.

Avoid a Reward Mentality

You killed it at your workout this morning, so at lunch you order the french fries instead of a side salad. Ring a bell? We feel that we’ve earned a treat or a big meal after a workout. According to a study in the journal Appetite, people who simply thought about exercise dished out 52 percent more of a snack mix than those who didn’t. The problem is that many women wind up taking in more calories than they burn. Falling into this trap is even easier when you’re training with friends; pasta dinners and post-workout brunches can create an atmosphere of indulgence.

To avoid undoing all your hard work, stick with your normal fare and portions, then wait 10 or 15 minutes and help yourself to more if you’re still hungry. This will keep you from automatically supersizing your meals. Feel you deserve a delicious reward, Upgrade quality, not quantity: Treat yourself to fresh blueberries instead of your usual apple for an afternoon snack, or toast a slice of whole-grain bread from the bakery instead of that supermarket loaf.

Don’t Forget To Rehydrate

During a workout, you lose fluids as you sweat and push your body to its limit. 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 drinking plenty throughout the entire day!

People can lose anywhere from 24 to 48 ounces of sweat for each hour of intense exercise. To avoid feeling like a water balloon, sip 16 to 24 ounces one to two hours beforehand, then have another eight ounces 15 minutes before you head out. During your workout, take a few swigs every 15 or 20 minutes, and drink up afterward. If you’re doing an intense workout, step on the scale before and after exercise. For every pound you’ve lost, sip 16 to 24 ounces of H2O to rehydrate.


Request a complimentary first session at Vertex Fitness, Voted the BEST Personal Training Studio on the Main Line
Click HERE and we will schedule a session to try it yourself

Complimentary First Workout Session

Vertex Fitness call to action