Is post-workout hunger a thing? While different studies related to the query yield different results, many of us that experience an increased appetite post-workout would certainly answer with a “yes.”
According to research, there are two hormones that regulate hunger in the body: gherlin, which stimulates appetite in the short term, and peptide YY, which suppresses appetite. Depending on which workout you are choosing, you may be producing either more gherlin or peptide YY.
Hormones aside, an increased appetite as a result of working out may stem from how intense your activity levels are. Higher-intensity workouts will yield higher rates of hunger, whereas lower-intensity workouts (think jogging, yoga, etc.) may result in suppressed hunger levels.
So if you experience hunger pangs after your workout, what can you do to combat cravings? We have a few suggestions.
Make healthy snacks pre-workout
If you’re constantly hungry after a workout, try having responsible options on hand whenever hunger strikes. That way, if you are refueling, at least you’re doing it right.
Try a workout proven to decrease appetite
Lower-intensity workouts are proven to help suppress hunger — if you’re stuck in a cycle where you absolutely must eat after activity, try incorporating one or two of the following routines into your schedule: yoga, a light walk, swimming, and anything that keeps your heart rate between 40 to 50 percent of your max.
Avoid “treating” yourself after an intense workout with unhealthy options
You may think you’ve “earned” that cookie after your run, but think again. Filling your body with unhealthy fuel after burning calories doesn’t mean you’re breaking even. There are still negative effects, no matter how hard you push yourself.
There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself now and then, but if you’re eating junk food after every session, you may be training your body to crave those foods automatically, whether you truly want them or not.