Hey Angels and Alphas,
From increasing muscle to burning off fat to keeping your heart healthy and strong, exercise will affect your body in many ways. Exercise – especially if it’s long and intense – will even change the ways your body responds to different hunger cues. At least for a certain time.
Here are all the details you need to know about how your workouts affect your hunger (and vice versa.)
EXERCISE HAS AN IMPACT ON CRAVINGS AND HUNGER AS A WHOLE
Changes are, you’re not going to feel hungry immediately after a workout, specifically because blood gets diverted away from your stomach so it can power your working muscles. That’s why it’s difficult to digest food when you’re training.
Incidentally, the fact that digestion slows down is one of the main culprits for nausea during exercise. This also makes it hard to perceive hunger when your gut feels nauseated or churny.
And let’s not forget, exercise also has an effect on the hormones that regulate hunger.
For example, research in the American Journal of Physiology has revealed that a 1-hour run can cause ghrelin, a hormone related to appetite, to drop, and increase the levels of peptide YY, a gut hormone that suppresses appetite. In just one 90-minute strength session, you can lower ghrelin levels, suggesting that mode of exercise could make a difference.
Another factor to consider here is the intensity of your training. A couple of small studies published in various publications have found that running for short durations at high intensities will affect ghrelin levels more than running for longer periods at a lesser intensity.
Your appetite will usually stay suppressed for a certain amount of time once your workout is over, but how long this period lasts will be determined by the duration and intensity of the exercises you do. Sometimes, people don’t feel hungry again until their body has had a chance to cool down and relax.
Short, low-intensity exercise could also play a role in suppressing hunger, but the higher the intensity and duration, the bigger the effect. This happens because you need to exert a certain amount of effort to achieve the same hormonal and blood shifts.
IF YOUR GOAL IS TO PERFORM BETTER AND LOSE WEIGHT…
Whether your exercise regime involves losing weight or increasing performance, it’s vital that you refuel after your workout. If you don’t have an appetite, this might be a tad harder to do, or you might usually assume that you don’t need to eat since you’re not hungry.
That being said, if you’re trying to build strength and improve your performance, you have to make an effort to get nutrients after a tough session. You’re going to need protein for repair and muscle recovery, as well as carbs to replenish your glycogen stores.
Glycogen is basically the form of carbohydrates your body uses for fuel in intense exercise. If you tend to skimp on your post-workout meal, you’ll either feel sluggish during your workout or feel cravings for carbs later on.
POST-WORKOUT NUTRITION IS VITAL
The longer and harder you train, the more important it becomes to eat a well-balanced snack or meal within an hour of finishing. Regardless if you’re hungry or not. If you’re not hungry, liquids may be an easier choice for easy digestion, such as a protein shake blended with fruit.
If you are someone who is hoping to use the appetite-suppressing powers of exercise to eat fewer calories throughout the day, and try to speed up your weight loss that way, you may have to rethink your approach.
You’re still going to need energy, and your body is still going to crave calories later on. And when your hunger returns, you may find it to be ravenous, making you less likely to make healthy food choices.
Also, you shouldn’t choose your exercises based solely on how well they’re going to suppress your appetite. It’s always healthy to include both cardio and strength training variations since they bring you different benefits, and along with that, it’s important to choose activities you truly enjoy so you find something you’re truly going to stick with in the long-term.