Do you feel hungry after an intense workout at your gym? These feelings of hunger are normal, but simply giving in to your cravings could cause you to put back all the calories you just burned off! It’s important to address hunger before, during, and after you exercise! Consider using these strategies to control your cravings.

1. Eat more protein. Consuming protein after a workout can help you satisfy the hunger in your stomach. Protein also helps your muscles rebuild themselves. Pack in the protein with nuts, seeds, peanut butter, eggs, or cheese. Protein shakes are fine also, as long as you avoid shakes with high levels of sugar. 

2. Eat more healthy fats. This may seem counterintuitive, but eating more fats can actually help you fight hunger and avoid gaining weight. The key is to focus only on healthy fats. You’ll find healthy fats in avocados, seeds, nuts, eggs, fish, and dairy. Eating some almonds or adding some chia seeds to your drinks is a smart way to get more fats. 

3. Eat within an hour. Most experts share that you should eat 30 minutes after a workout. However, you can stretch this to an hour if you’re very busy. If you wait too long to eat after a workout, your hunger will only increase, and this can lead you to eat unhealthy junk food and sweets. If you can’t eat a complete meal after your workout, bring healthy snacks with you to the gym. 

4. Refuel while you work out. During intense workouts, your body uses a large amount of energy and nutrients, so you may need to refuel midway. Take a short break during your workout to have a snack or drink. This may also prevent muscle damage and further issues. Experts recommend using this strategy for workouts that are an hour or longer. 

5. Stay hydrated. It’s important to drink water before you exercise, while you exercise, and after you’re done. Drink water instead of juice, shakes, or smoothies. Staying hydrated is essential for fighting hunger cravings. In many cases, you may feel hunger, but it’s actually thirst and dehydration. Some experts suggest drinking at least eight ounces of water before you even reach for food. 

6. Go to bed earlier. According to research, going to bed earlier after exercising during the day can help you curb hunger. The longer you stay up, the more likely you are to overeat. If you go to bed earlier, then you won’t be tempted by the treats in your kitchen or what is hiding in your fridge. In addition, research shows that lack of sleep raises the hormones that are responsible for signaling hunger in your body. 

After an intense workout at the gym, you certainly don’t want to skimp on sleep and waste your hard work by filling up on excess calories! If you work out on a regular basis, you’ll notice hunger cravings. You might even wonder why you bother to work out at all if it just makes you want to eat more calories! 

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