Why am I hungrier on rest days?

Do you find that on days you aren’t training, all you want to do is eat? Our nutritionist, Marie Farag, is giving us the low-down on why we might feel that bit more peckish on a rest day.

Although you would expect to be less hungry when you are having a day off exercising, there are a range of factors that contribute to appetite regulation. Hunger hormones, muscle mass and metabolic rate play a role in our appetite.

Post-exercise

You may find that after you exercise you aren’t that hungry. This could be related to the redistribution of blood flow to the gastrointestinal tract. As a result your hunger from exercising could be delayed.

After we exercise, our glycogen stores are depleted so our body may seek specific foods to restore blood sugar and glycogen. This may suggest why we have preferences for certain foods after we exercise.

Another factor is timing. If you exercise at a time that you would usually be having a meal, your body is in a state of energy deficit. As a result this can increase hunger a few days following exercise.

Hunger hormones

On the day after exercising our body is in a state of energy deficit. This can trigger our hunger hormones to turn on, which leads to increased hunger.

It is important to listen to your body and give it what it needs. Just because you exercised less on a particular day doesn’t mean that you need to restrict your food intake if you are hungry. Eating balanced meals without restricting yourself on a rest day will help to aid recovery, so you can perform at your best in your following training sessions.

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