Hey Angels and Alphas,
Have you ever had such a tough workout that you felt like eating is the last thing on your mind after a weight loss workout? Some people experience decreased appetite after they train, and this is clinically known as exercise-induced anorexia. It’s a pretty common and normal phenomenon.
While some people in the weight loss community might tell you that exercising leads you to feel hungry, most exercises actually lead to suppressed hunger after physical activity.
It happens right after various training sessions including weightlifting, HIIT, cardio.
But why are most people not hungry after working out?
While you’re working out, several natural physiological adaptations take place that have to do with your hormones, high body temperature, and more. When you’re training, you’re generating a higher body temperature. To avoid overheating, your body will focus more energy on cooling down, blunting the neural receptors that signal for hunger.
And not to mention, some high-impact sports that involve running for a long time will actually create so much stomach movement that people might start feeling nauseous which is obviously linked to a decreased desire to eat.
There’s another natural effect of exercise, and that’s the effect it has on our blood volume. When our blood flow gets diverted away from the gut so it can bring in more oxygen to the muscles you’re trying to train, this leads to a sensation of fullness caused by the slowing down of the digestive system.
To actually support your performance, your hormones are also disrupted in various ways. This includes the hormones that regulate your appetite such as the hormone ghrelin, a hunger-promoting hormone.
It really comes down to the individual and the type of training, but one or all of these factors might be to blame for the appetite slump you get after you work out.
But we should still strive to fuel after a workout, right?
Of course! Whether you’re an athlete focused on performance and longevity or an everyday gymgoer who wants to get fit and improve their health, consuming nutrition after you train is essential. Insufficient energy intake after training leads to a disruption in the process known as muscle protein synthesis. This means you’ll accumulate more fatigue and reduce your future capacity for training.
And knowing this, many athletes still skip immediately refueling after they train just because they don’t feel hungry.
It might be counterintuitive, but it’s always important to eat after a big workout. Even when you’re not hungry. You might have been taught that it’s more respectful of your body if you eat only when you’re hungry, but this doesn’t make sense from the perspective of an athlete. If you follow a recovery nutrition protocol regardless of whether you’re hungry or not, you will promote positive adaptations and improve your ability to perform in the long term.
Even if you’re training for weight loss, you still need to refuel.
Countless studies have proved that even though appetite might be suppressed immediately after a workout, this does not translate to an overall caloric deficit. In some cases, you get an appetite rebound a few hours later, causing even more cravings. Instead of aimlessly snacking, you can use this to your advantage and plan a small recovery snack so your calories actually go toward building your body.
Here’s how to fuel properly after a workout…
You don’t need to immediately replenish every single workout you do. But if it’s longer than 30 minutes, very high in intensity, or takes place within 24 hours of another workout, that’s a green light to plan for a recovery meal. This will promote your lean tissue building, injury prevention, performance improvements, and good health.
Most endurance athletes should just opt for a 3:1 ratio carbohydrates to protein. Strength athletes or those training for hypertrophy should aim for a 2:1 ratio. Professional athletes can just refuel post-workout with a mix of protein, water, and a carbohydrate sports drink. It’s not necessarily the most flavorful option but it’s efficient. Eggs, jam and toast, Greek yoghurt with fruit, or a simple turkey sandwich could be all you really need to get in a good recovery.
At the end of the day, just the fact that a small snack after your workout can increase your results in the long term will lead you to achieve so much more results – it’s really a no-brainer.