Why is Exercise Making Me More Hungry?!

How to Avoid Overeating After Workouts.

In today’s VLOG, Cat Kom is joined by the popular Studio SWEAT Trainer, known as Olganator, to answer this question that came in from Donna:

“I want to trim a few pounds, but the more I exercise, the hungrier I am. If I cut back on calories, I don’t have the energy to push through a hard workout. Is there a better solution than being miserable while trimming down?”

If you’re experiencing the same, read on. Don’t be miserable.

It’s common and valid to have these feelings, so Cat and Olga want to help you dig into some causes and solutions. Like, are you truly hungry, or could it be something else? It often takes your body more time to return to your natural pre-workout state, and when you’re newer to working out you may experience more hunger issues at the beginning of your fitness journey, so give yourself time to adjust.

Common Issues and Solutions:

1) Hydration – consider whether you are actually hungry, or instead dehydrated. You need even more water when exercising than the recommended daily intake, so be sure to hydrate before, during, and after exercise. 

2) Duration & timing – the longer your workout, the longer it takes to return to your pre-workout state. Depending on the time of day, you may consider opting for a small pre-workout snack. And to curb that famished fate, be ready with a small post-workout snack made of good quality carbs and protein to curve the craving to crush those cookies. Olga mentioned that “Some trainers will recommend chocolate milk for post-workout, but watch the sugar content.” You can see some more ideas below or do a Google search for more ideas. Just plan ahead and you’ll be much better off!

pre and post workout meals

3) Intensity – more intense workouts may suppress your appetite (your blood is going to your muscles, not your stomach), whereas lower intensity workouts like a LISS ride or a walk at the park may stimulate your appetite.

4) Daily caloric intake – figure out your calorie needs for the day (Google “calorie calculator”), and break it up around your workouts. Eat. Just don’t overindulge. Play around with portion sizes and timing.

5) H.A.L.T. – don’t let yourself get too:

a. Hungry
b. Angry
c. Lonely
d. Tired

or you will tend to make non-beneficial food choices. R.D. Miriam uses the hunger scale found here to keep out of the HALT Zone.

6) “I earned it” – be careful of this mental/psychological response by avoiding a less healthy food-based reward for a tough workout. Prepare a healthy snack ahead so you’re set up for success.

7) Men vs Women – women tend to be hungrier than men post workout. This is just simple biology, as women’s bodies want to retain fat.

If YOU find yourself unexpectedly hungry, or too hungry to exercise, check your hydration, workout intensity and duration, and your mental state. Set yourself up for success with healthy snacks. Don’t settle and don’t be miserable.

And for body sculpting, fat-torching workouts, check out Studio SWEAT onDemand! Download the app, or if you happen to live in southern California, visit us in our San Diego studio.