Why do I feel so hungry after exercise?

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Have you ever finished a BB HIIT Class and found yourself ravenous with hunger about half an hour later? That feeling where you’re so hungry you would eat whatever is the quickest to obtain and fills you up the fastest?

Rest assured, you’re not alone. Some people find this feeling of increased hunger can occur regularly, some only find it after particular classes and others not at all.  It is normal however there isn’t one particular reason for it. Below we explain what may be the reason you’re ready to down a 6 pack of donuts after BB Bootcamp!

Sometimes it’s psychological

We promise you’re not going crazy. Our minds work in wonderful ways, and often when we are conscious of the calorie burn from a workout we can sub-consciously convince ourselves that those calories need to be replaced. This can lead to a feeling of hunger without actually being hungry.

It could be due to the time of day you exercised

Most of our group fitness classes are held around breakfast and dinner time. If you normally eat your breakfast at 8am and you’re up early for a 6am class without fuelling your body it sends a reminder that you need to eat. It’s the same at night, where you might fit in a six o’clock class on your way home from work, keeping your mind occupied during the class but after it’s finished you get the reminder that it’s time for dinner!

You could be dehydrated

It’s not unusual for thirst to be confused as hunger. When you exercise your core body temperature increases, causing your body to sweat to try to cool you down. This can lead to a loss of bodily fluid and electrolytes which can usually be replaced with a glass of water. It can also continue throughout the day if you don’t regularly drink water.

Our body wants to replace energy that we’ve burned – and quickly!

During high intensity exercise we burn energy we have stored in our body (called glucose). When our energy sources are being quickly depleted through exercise, our body automatically starts to think about replenishing the energy stores in order to replace what was lost – hence, hunger! Eating is our way of providing energy to our bodies. People who haven’t worked out in a while or who aren’t used to high intensity workouts may find this effects them for the first few weeks until their body gets used to the feeling of burning energy.

So what can you do to stop this feeling of hunger and ensure that you don’t unnecessarily overindulge? Here are our tips:

  • Before you eat anything, have a glass of water. You could even include additional electrolytes such as Hydralyte (not energy drinks – they’re full of added sugar). Wait 10 minutes and see if this curbs the feeling of hunger. If it does you were obviously dehydrated. To avoid this in the future take small sips of water during your group fitness class – just like the trainer tells you to.
  • Don’t eat a huge meal, it will only make you feel sick. The same goes for the type of food you choose, don’t get takeaway simply because it’s convenient.
  • Refuel with protein and carbohydrates in smaller meals or snacks such as a protein smoothie or protein bars. An egg on toast will also work well.
  • Try to eat before you exercise. This doesn’t need to be a full meal, but even a snack of yoghurt or a boiled egg will keep the hunger at bay for a couple of hours.

These tips will help you avoid overeating after exercise, and assist you on your health and fitness journey.

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