Ravenous after a workout? Here’s why & how to stop overeating

It can happen quite suddenly. You’ve just finished an intense workout, entirely spent and then what seems to happen? Your tummy starts to grumble, and you begin to think about what you might eat. If you exercise in a fasted state (which I do all the time), then, of course, you will be starving and want to eat pretty much straight away. That hunger can become quenched by having lots of water when working out. But there will come the point when you do need some food. Having a recovery snack of some good quality protein, carbs, and healthy fats is excellent. Most of us have to resort to a protein shake before we can get to some good food. That’s perfectly alright. If you are pretty ravenous after a workout, you may need some tips that will help stop you from overeating. You may notice that during the time you are exercising, your appetite decreases. This appetite suppressing effect may be slightly less pronounced in women than men. We poor women will have a more challenging time resisting refilling those depleted energy stores of food and calories.

What’s the deal with being so hungry

Because exercise burns calories, you will naturally start to deplete your energy stores, and that signal will start flaring up to encourage food consumption. After about 45 minutes of exercise, glycogen stores in the muscles and liver become depleted. The body wants to refill these stores. If you lift weights, more blood and fluid fill in your muscles, causing inflammation and leading to a surge in cortisol. This increases appetite, and a post-workout snack is encouraged. Exercise that is intense, such as sprinting, boxing, weight training, running long distances, and anything that increases your heart rate & challenges you, will increase your appetite. Perhaps this may not happen instantly, but you will increase your appetite over time as you keep exercising and increasing the intensity. The good news is that you can always opt for the best and lowest caloric protein foods to refuel. Perhaps you prefer a protein shake. Most shakes are pretty standard in calories and have all the nutrients you need to refuel until you can get to some good quality food sources. When it comes to protein-rich foods, always go for a low caloric source (if you are trying to lose body fat) like chicken breast, scrambled eggs, white fish or turkey. They are all so readily available, and you can add a good source of carbs and some veggies. Just be sure not to think of eating after a workout as a reward and increase your caloric rate. Try to allow some form of a deficit in calories. For some people, it does take longer to trigger the deficit towards weight loss. There is no need for a dramatic loss; choose to eat lower caloric protein sources regularly. They will keep your appetite suppressed and meet your nutritional needs. There is also the option of incidental exercise, like walking. This is a great way to add a bit more caloric burn into your day to decrease your reserves. I prefer this and using intermittent fasting daily, as I know I’m always creating some deficit in calories. This helps to keep body fat at bay and stabilise your weight.The lowdown here is that all kinds of exercise will increase your appetite. The more intense it is, the more hungry you will become. If you commit to filling on protein first, you should maintain your weight loss and build muscle and strength in the process (if you are lifting weights). Just be sure not to overdo any cardio whilst dieting. This can lead to losing muscle mass. We want to keep our muscle so that we are always burning more calories at rest.

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