Does Exercise Increase Hunger and Appetite?

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A healthy lifestyle requires a balance between good eating habits and regular exercise. For some individuals, exercise seems to increase appetite, making dieting more challenging. However, for others, specific workouts feel like they suppress hunger. So which one is it- does exercise increase a person's hunger and appetite or stifle it? Christopher Lee, Buffalo, New York Fitness Trainer, will use science to explain what's really going on here.

Factors That Affect Hunger

For starters, it's essential to know that the scientific research regarding this topic is quite mixed. Some studies show that exercise can decrease a hormone in your system called ghrelin that acts as an appetite suppressor. Other studies concluded that this response might be valid for leaner women but not for obese women.

Simply put, many factors go into how your body responds to exercise and how it affects your appetite. Below are some of the most common factors to keep in mind for your circumstances.

Extent of Exercise

The longer you work out, the longer it will take your body to return to homeostasis or balance itself out again. For instance, a 30-minute hot yoga session may make you feel ravished on your way home, while training for a marathon allows you to wait an hour or two before feeling any hunger pains.

Christopher Lee, Buffalo Fitness Trainer, states that doesn't mean you shouldn't eat after a lengthy workout. Instead, take advantage of your body's current state by having something easy to digest, such as a protein shake or smoothie, within 30 minutes of finishing your fitness routine.

Intensity of Exercise

Like with the duration of your exercise, the intensity of what you're doing will also impact your hunger levels afterward. Hit intensity training causes your body to focus a lot of your blood and energy on your heart, lungs, and muscles, leaving your digestive tract on the back burner and you without hunger pangs. But if you go on a leisurely bike ride for 15 minutes, you might find yourself craving a snack upon arrival.

In other words, the more intense your workout, the less hungry you will feel immediately afterward. Just like with your workout's length, though, it's best to consume something healthy within 30 minutes of finishing your routine rather than waiting until your system balances out again and then you're starving.

Your Mental State

How often have you truly experienced hunger for more than an hour or two? For many of us, it's rarely. Since we aren't really familiar with what true hunger feels like, we often convince ourselves we're hungry (or starving!) when that's not the case.

Without a proper plan or exercise coach to assess your situation, you could negate all the exercise you've done with a poor diet or vice versa. That's because when you just wing it and do whatever you think is best, you might be taking the wrong cues from your body instead.

While listening to your inner voice isn't always a bad thing, it's better to have a professionally trained fitness coach or personal trainer assist you in forming routines and habits that will be effective and worth your time and energy.

About Christopher Lee

Christopher Lee is a certified personal trainer and fitness guru from Buffalo, New York. He uses a multifaceted approach to help his clients achieve and maintain their fitness goals. Mr. Lee's areas of expertise include athletic performance, science-based nutrition, functional training, and weight loss.