Does exercise make you more or less hungry? This is the question I asked in my last two blogs, and many of you responded by describing your personal experience with exercise hunger. More input came from The Bar Method Southern California facebook page, which polled its fans on this issue.
If you’re one who wrote in either to the blog or facebook that exercise makes you more hungry, you’re not alone. Ninety-five percent of the facebook respondents said that exercise definitely makes them “more hungry.” Some of the specific comments were:
“I’m a monster when I work out, all I want to do is eat. :(”
“a LOT hungrier, such a bummer.”
“More hungry. It sucks.”
“insatiable after Bar…..during abs all I think about is what I wanna eat…”
The Bar Method clearly can make students very hungry! What about the alleged appetite-suppressing power of exercise (see blog-before-last)? Is the Bar Method doing something in particular that makes people feel starving? In fact it is. The human body is genetically programmed to preserve homeostasis — that is, to change as little as possible in order to keep all its internal systems in a steady state. That’s why habits, both good and bad, get so entrenched. Activities that cause quick change set off metabolic alarm bells. It follows that the rapid increase in firm muscle that the Bar Method initiates in students’ bodies sometimes causes them to feel somewhat disoriented, which can translate into hunger.
Now for the good news: A number of the responses I got were from students who’d figured out by trial and error some effective ways of beating their exercise hunger. Their solutions are worth sharing:
1. Make sure to eat some healthy food before or after working out.
Ellen: I have a snack before I work out and then eat breakfast after, usually egg whites, oatmeal and berries and it seems to keep me satisfied
Ilona: I’m always hungry right after a work out so I make sure to pack a banana in my bag to munch on afterwards.
Vera: Since I started doing early a.m. Bar Method, I was starving, half way through class. Now I drink a protein shake before class and it makes all the difference in the world in my workout, appetite, weight, and strength. Now I’m seeing results!
2. Eat small meals more often.
Kelly: …small more frequent meals help me to not feel so hungry after my bar method workouts! Love the bar method 🙂
3. Try changing the time of day you work out.
Harmony (right): I noticed that the time of day I work out affects my appetite. If I work out early morning, I am more hungry throughout the day, but if I workout after lunch or at the end of the day, it suppresses my appetite. That gives me one more piece of information to work with when trying to balance exercise and calorie intake for overall results.
4. Go to sleep a bit hungry.
Daisy (left): Totally agree about the tidbit about going to sleep a bit hungry, but not ravenous! I have found if I do that consistently, I can eat a healthy balanced meal of protein, fiber and sweet and still look awesome (don’t forget my bar method work outs!)
5. Take a serious look at your relationship with food.
Rali: Being ravenous after workouts used to be my MO until I realized I had an eating disorder. It took years to rebalance body and mind, but the result is that I now eat whatever I want and whenever I want it without adding weight. Funny how the mind works…
6. Stick with it! (and stay away from sugar).
Julie (right): The Bar Method has really changed the way my body looks and feels. Doing the workout 3 to 4 times a week has added muscle and cut down on the hunger. I do agree with Burr cutting out the white sugar is very important and eating healthy foods in key. At 51 years old I have never felt so good!
Read how the production of lactic acid in intense exercise helps you lose weight!