Avoid feeling famished when you ramp up your workouts

These post-workout pangs are a matter of physiology; exercise initially suppresses our appetite but throughout the day hunger hormones can surge making you want to eat.


Simultaneously, the body’s satiety hormones — the ones that signal that you’re full — may decrease.  The really unfair part is that the desire to eat more after exercising hits women harder than men.  But we can do something about it.

In a new collaboration with Dietitians Association Australia, Eat Right provides expert nutrition and diet advice on a range of niche’ exercise, and health condition topics.


1. Work out right before a meal

By exercising right before one of your main meals, you can refuel with kilojoules you would have consumed anyway, without having to add extra snacking into your day.

2. Portion control

To avoid undoing all your hard work, stick with the normal amount of food you would’ve consumed if you hadn’t exercised.  Wait at least 20 minutes and help yourself to more if you’re still hungry. This should keep you from automatically supersizing your meals.

3. Snack throughout the day

If you tend to pig out post-workout, eating more throughout the day may be your ticket to consuming fewer kilojoules overall.  Incorporating two to three healthy snacks throughout the day can help eliminate hunger pangs, increase energy, and keep your metabolism firing.

4. Stop eating out of habit

Sometimes, overeating after exercise is more a consequence of routine than anything else.  It is super important to always pay attention to your hunger cues.  Learn to eat in response to hunger, versus eating in response to boredom, stress, or the idea of rewarding yourself for exercising.

5. Rid yourself of the ‘reward’ mentality

You must have sweated off a million kilojoules during that step class, so it’s totally okay to indulge in whatever tickles you fancy when you get home—right? WRONG!  This ‘reward mentality’ is really letting us down.  There’s nothing more disappointing than working your butt off and not reaping the rewards so keep this in mind next time your treat yourself following a gruelling workout.

6. Drink Up!

Replacing fluids lost during exercise is very important.  Having water in your stomach may also decrease appetite.   A lot of people confuse thirst for hunger.  Guzzle water throughout your workouts and have at least a full glass afterwards to make sure you’re truly hungry and not thirsty.

7. Make your workout fun

Thinking about exercise less as a chore and more as something you do because you enjoy it can help you eat less later.  After all, do you really see sense in doing it just so you can “have your cake and eat it too”?

Now there’s nothing wrong with small snack or a filling meal after exercising but before you dig in, you have to understand your body’s true nutrition needs so you don’t end up gaining weight despite all your hard work.

I know it’s hard…the food-exercise equation is imbalanced. It may take an hour to burn 1000 kilojoules but remember it only takes five minutes (sometimes less) to eat them all back.  With a pinch of will power and some savvy strategies by your side, be confident that you can smash out those squats AND halt those harrowing hunger pangs.