Does going hungry after working out sound familiar? Well, the good news is that you are not alone. It is common to feel extremely hungry after exercising.
Exercise tends to burn up calories using your stock of glycogen, which increases your appetite.
Exercise also leaves you dehydrated. Failure to drink enough water before, during, and after a workout will leave you feeling hungrier. Also, not drinking enough water before a workout leads to increased hunger pangs later. If you prefer to exercise while in a fasted state, you will end up feeling hungrier.
Sometimes, your appetite might go down during or just after exercising, but hunger hormones might be on the rise later in the day, making you overeat. Satiety hormone levels also tend to go down, which makes it harder for you to feel satiated.
Exercise has been found to help with weight maintenance and not weight loss. It also helps you to reduce belly fat and avoid getting diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular issues. Apart from this, you are bound to live a happier, healthier life.
You do not have to quit working out since it is a healthy habit. What you should understand is that exercise will definitely up your appetite and so, you should know how to deal with the situation. There are different circumstances that make you very hungry after a workout, and these include:
• Depleted glycogen levels
• Inadequate pre-workout fuel
• Exercise tends to increase appetite
How to Keep Your Hunger Pangs at Bay:
Choose the Right Meal
If you eat a piece of cake and wash it down with a soft drink after a workout, you will always feel hungry. Foods that are filled with refined sugars and additives don’t offer you the required nutrition. They tend to raise your blood sugar levels, making you feel hungry just an hour later. This will definitely lead to unhealthy snacking.
It is for this reason you should choose the right kind of snack after a workout. Such a snack should be rich in carbohydrates and proteins to keep you satiated, as well as help in muscle recovery. Such snacks include peanut butter with a banana or tuna or lean turkey accompanied by wholegrain crackers.
If you work out after a small meal, change the routine so that you exercise after the main ones. This really helps, especially if you tend to feel hungrier after a workout. Eating before a workout will help keep hunger pangs at bay, thus reducing the chances of snacking on the wrong foods. Ensure the meal you eat after a training session contains enough calories and nutrients to keep you going.
Assess Your Effort
If you don’t work out for more than an hour, there is no need to increase your daily food intake. However, make sure to have a complete post-workout meal that will help you refuel properly. The worst mistake you can make is going for a run on an empty stomach. Always work with a nutritionist before deciding to exercise on an empty stomach if your sole purpose is losing weight.
Timing Your Meals
While working out, it is very important to time your meals so that you can enhance performance and recovery. Since you will end up depleting your glycogen stores as you exercise, there is need to replenish them so that you will be strong enough to work out the following day.
Eat your initial post-workout meal within the next 30 to 60 minutes after the workout. You will need prior planning for this to be possible. If you an early person, have breakfast ready and if you tend to work out at lunchtime, ensure that you eat your lunch as your post-workout meal.
If you usually workout first thing in the morning, consuming a post-workout meal two hours later is important. Consuming most of your calories earlier in the day will help curb cravings that might arise later on. You should always eat the breakfast of a king, lunch of a prince, and dinner of a pauper. This means that breakfast should be your main meal of the day.
Hunger could be as a result of dehydration. It is common for most people not to drink enough water before, during, after exercising. Your brain will confuse your lack of fluids with hunger, which will trigger cravings.
If you find yourself hungry just an hour since your last meal, you should try drinking at least 12 ounces of water and then wait for around 15 minutes. Reassess your hunger situation. If you want to stay hydrated, start drinking 8 to 12 ounces one hour before a workout, and at least 24 ounces post-workout.
This way, you will have consumed between 2 to 3 liters of water by the end of the day. Other factors that affect the amount of water needed include pregnancy, illness, heat, and humidity. To determine whether you need another glass of water, observe the color of your urine; clear to light yellow means you are hydrated, anything darker than lemonade means you need to re-hydrate.
Keep Away from Cheat Meals
Avoid using the excuse of rewarding yourself to overindulge in all the wrong things post-workout. This will later make food a psychological reward for you once you complete a workout. With such a mentality, do not expect to lose weight. Keeping away from cheat meals will ensure that you don’t suffer from hunger pangs every time you step into the house from the gym.
Know the Lows
You should be able to differentiate between real intense hunger from cravings. Severe hunger can present itself through lack of concentration, dizziness, being extremely irritated, as well as feeling sleepy.
If you experience these symptoms, the culprit could be hypoglycemia, which comes as a result of depleting complex sugars.
However, if you had a meal or sports drink during your workout, try to wait at least an hour for hunger pangs to kick in. This will not only help avoid overeating but will also prevent that feeling that you must eat. If you are serious about your workouts, you should be eating to speed your recovery process and fuel your body. This will keep hunger cravings from affecting you.
If you follow the above guidelines keenly, you will be able to manage post-workout hunger better.