You work out, you feel great. But after a while, you find yourself intensely hungry, and if you’re not careful, you’re going to be eating back all the calories you’ve worked so hard to burn. Fortunately, there are ways to curb these hunger pangs, and here’s how.
#1 Do HIIT three times a week
In a study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, people who did three weekly 30-40 mins HIIT sessions on a stationary bike ate about 120 calories less during their post-workout meals than those who pedaled continuously at a moderate pace. Turn any cardio session into a HIIT workout by alternating going hard for 15 to 30 seconds and going easy for one to two minutes.
#2 Bounce more, sit less
In a study published in the journal Appetite, exercisers who jumped rope for 30 minutes were less hungry for fatty foods afterwards than those who spent that time cycling. Researchers theorise that the gut jiggling caused by jumping may lower the production of ghrelin, the hunger hormone.
#3 Stay on dry land
In a study at Loughborough University in England, exercisers experienced a boost in appetite after an hour long swim workout. Previous research found that water temperature might be a factor; in one study, people consumed 44% more calories after exercising in a 20-degree celsius pool than when they did the same workout in 33-degree celsius water. If your pool isn’t heated, hop into a sauna or a hot shower afterward.
#4 Fill up on protein and healthy fat
Eating protein after a workout helps your muscles recover, and because it’s so satiating, it also helps you from feeling ravenous six to eight hours later, says sports nutritionist Lauren Antonucci, R.D.N., Nutrition Energy director. Healthy fat is filling and rebounds hunger as well. Make sure you get both nutrients ASAP after a workout (within 30 to 60 mins). When a meal in that time isn’t realistic, have a 100 to 150 calorie snack, such as Greek yoghurt or half a protein bar.
#5 Refuel during long, hard workouts
If you’re exercising strenuously for more than an hour, and especially if you’re training for a race, taking in some fuel during your session will help stave off intense hunger, so you’ll eat less later. Pack some some gels or a sports drink but if your workout is 45 minutes to an hour or is only moderately intense, skip the snacks. You don’t need those extra calories.