By Saiyed M. Fauzan Ali

Many conventionalists believe that an intense workout leads to famishment because of the tons of calories that you have burned. But ask any professional who has successfully survived a brutal training session and what he will tell you will be the exact opposite.
Let us understand the science behind starvation and workout. A study published in the Journal of Endocrinology opposed the conventional idea and proved that exercise can actually suppress our appetite. A workout session with an intensity of 75% of an individual’s peak oxygen uptake can vanquish the hunger (Broom, et al., 2017). The reason behind this phenomenon is that an intense workout temporarily reduces the level of ghrelin, which is a ‘hunger hormone’ and it takes up to two or three hours for the levels to return to their normal state.

With that said, there are numerous reasons that trigger your hunger even before you have finished cooling down. The first and foremost reason is the intensity of the workout. If your workout is more laid-back then you may not feel the effects of reduced hunger. Another factor is the chosen time for a workout session. For instance, many people including myself who perform intense cardio in the morning would often replenish with a healthy breakfast. Finished your weight training session at dinner? You don’t need to be surprised if you’ve got food on the mind. I often complete my weight training sessions at dinner time and I’m famished, especially when I haven’t eaten anything after lunch.

Nevertheless, whether you’re starved or not, you should have a post-workout meal plan. In order to boost your recovery process, it is highly important that you eat something within 30 to 60 minutes right after completing your workout session. During the first hour after your workout, the body is highly receptive to muscle recovery and replenishment of glycogen (a carb used for quick energy). If you skip eating after your workout then it is very much possible that your next workout will be compromised due to reduced energy levels, and the muscles will breakdown resulting in zero-gains. However, this doesn’t mean that you should sit down to a full meal right after you kick off those training shoes. All you need is a snack or drink that provides a shot of muscle replenishing protein and energy-restoring carbs. Having a recovery snack will help in the recovery process and take control of your hunger so that by the time you showered and changed, your appetite return doesn’t hit you so big that you lose your sense of decision, and end up eating everything on sight.

I recommend something that provides at least 15 grams of protein and 20 to 30 grams of nutrient-enriched carbohydrates. There are a number of supplementary drinks and protein snacks out there like whey protein or nutty protein bars that help you get a healthy dose of protein, fiber, and carbs. However, if you’re not into buying expensive protein supplements, then I recommend downing a glass of smoothie. You can try blending a banana, a tablespoon full of all natural peanut butter, one fourth cup chickpeas, half teaspoon cinnamon and a glass of milk for your post-workout recovery loaded with carbs, fiber, and plant-based protein. Another great option is to blend some Greek yogurt with 4 ounces of blueberries and half cup milk. You can pair your smoothie with a nutritious meal such as a hardboiled egg, 2 ounces of beef jerky or 3 ounces of broiled chicken alongside grilled vegetables, hummus, and brown/red rice. Let the Gains Begin!

Till Next time, stay Blessed and Live Strong.

Broom, D.R., et al., 2017. Acute effect of exercise intensity and duration on acylated ghrelin and hunger in men. Journal of Endocrinology, 232(3), pp.411-422

Saiyed M. Fauzan Ali is an MBA/M. Phil specialized in Supply Chain Management and a Certified LSS (USA). The Author has worked in the past as a research analyst and a critical reviewer. He is the founder of The Health Sphere and a fitness and writing enthusiast. You can follow the author on Instagram @saiyedfauzan or visit his Linkedin Profile

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