Does HIIT make you hangry?

And how to tame the beast.

Hi friends! How’s the day going so far? Hope you’re having a great morning. We are enjoying the week with our newest little family member, and looking forward to Halloweekend. Also, MY MOM COMES IN TODAY! We can’t wait to see her. 

Right about now, you’d usually see a post with Friday Faves. My faves this week are easy to summarize: having P here, baby snuggles, seeing Liv again (even though she visited, I really, really missed her this week), sleeping in my own bed after leaving the hospital, and eating normal food. (Why is all hospital food brown? Thank goodness for the Pilot’s frequent hot bar runs, and to Whitters for bring snacks and kombucha.) I’m not hard to please. 😉

escaping the hospital

IMG_6366

(Gluten-free pizza + the glass of wine I’ve waited 9 months to drink)

baby p(Thank you, Julie for the sweet lemon onesie!)

Instead, let’s talk about HIIT training… and hanger. 

As you guys know, I’m a huge fan of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). I love it soooooo much, I could write a book about it, and spent months immersing myself in the latest HIIT research and knowledge. It’s a central component of my own routine, and I’ve always been fascinated about different HIIT strategies and why it works so well. 

Why do I love HIIT?

-The workouts are short, efficient, and SWEATY. Just the way I like it. 🙂

-They’re usually a lot less boring than traditional cardio. Intervals seem to fly by!

-You can lose fat while maintaining muscle

-It’s a great way to improve cardiovascular efficiency and fitness (run faster, jump higher!)

aaaaand

-I feel like it’s the best way to shake up a routine and get results from your work.

Fitnessista (High Res)-10

(Apparently really happy to be doing squat jumps haha)

I’m so happy that so many of you have fallen in love with HIIT, too, and I’ve actually received a few emails about what to do about the hanger (ferocious hunger) that can follow a HIIT sesh.

Please keep in mind that I’m not a medical doctor nor Registered Dietitian, so if you have any questions pertaining to your unique situation and needs, seek out the help or a doctor or RD in your area!
Some of the things I’ve noticed:

-After a super intense workout (whether it’s HIIT, a long run, or a hard Orangetheory class), one of two things will usually happen:

1) my hunger is depleted or

2) there isn’t enough food in the house to tame the beast.

As far as #1 goes, here’s an interesting study through the International Journal of Obesity. They studied a group of 17 overweight male participants, and their caloric intake following a variety of workouts (resting, continuous moderate activity, high intensity intervals and very high intensity intervals). While they didn’t find that their perceived appetite was any different, their caloric intake was less. The hunger-stimulating hormone ghrelin was suppressed, and their levels of blood glucose and bolo lactate were all increased; all of these factors would encourage a lower caloric intake.

For the times when I feel like there isn’t enough food to feed me following a workout, the explanation could be through increased EPOC (your oxygen consumption following exercise) and the fact that your body is working harder (burning calories) to bring your body back to its pre-workout state (lowering heart rate, tissue temperature, etc.) Weight gain or loss is all about calories in vs. calories out, so the post-workout hunger could lead to potential weight gain even when you’re following a solid training plan, which is why nutrition is so important.

Some of the things that I’ve found to help:

-Focus on hydration. It’s easy to confuse hunger with thirst, so I like to make sure that I’m properly hydrated. My goal is 96oz of water each day.

-Eat nutrient-dense foods. Fueling with quality nutrition and a balance of macronutrients (carbs, protein and fats) makes me feel more satisfied.

-Make a giant smoothie. This is a great way to get in extra nutrition and also satisfies me, since it’s usually a mix of fruit, protein powder, almond milk, almond butter or coconut oil and greens. Between the fiber and protein, I usually feel pretty happy and satisfied afterwards. Another option is a salad with a mix of greens, chopped veggies, protein (chicken, turkey, tempeh, hard-boiled eggs) and a serving of nuts. 

-If I’m still hangry despite eating nutrient-dense foods and drinking plenty of water, I keep munching until I feel satisfied. I really feel like everything balances out, and if I have days where I consume more, there are also days where I’m not quite as hungry. If you find that nothing is helping, I strongly suggest talking to a doc, as hormone levels or deficiences can dramatically impact hunger levels.

So what do you think? 

Do hard workouts or interval training make you hangry, or do they suppress your appetite? What’s your favorite option when you find that you can’t tame the beast?

Happy Friday and hope you have a very happy Halloween! Hope you have a safe and wonderful weekend. <3

xoxo

Gina

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Comments

  1. Omg judging from the pictures she kind of looks like your mom! What a cutie!! 🙂

  2. I so hear you on this! After HIIT (or a long run, actually) I either have zero appetite or want to eat an entire pizza. Also… Penelope is so freaking precious! Congratulations!

  3. Penelope is adorable! I can’t believe she was really 10 pounds. Wow! Have a fun weekend snuggling with the family and eating whatever you want again.

  4. Glad you’re home. Ms. P is adorable. 🙂

  5. HIIT workouts with weights are my absolute favorite. I even teach a number of classes during the week that follow that format. Usually after those classes I’m not hungry at all, but make sure to have at least a green protein smoothie until I do get hungry a couple hours later. They are by far my favorite type of workout and the one that has given me the best results!

  6. She’s beautiful, congratulations!! Enjoy the wine!

  7. Little sis is adorable! And it makes me hungry! !! I started a group workout back in january that incorporates lots of HIIT. By March i had gained 10lbs that i still can’t seem to drop despite my best efforts. So frustrating.

  8. Ahh Baby P’s little chubby cheeks! She’s just adorable. 😀

    Glad you are back home and settling in! Your pizza and wine meal looks AWESOME too.

  9. I just got back to Orangetheory this week in preparation for the Marine Corps Ball and the upcoming holidays. It’s been AMAZING to be back… but the hangry definitely comes back. Yesterday I was a nothing-is-enough beast and I could NOT stop snacking. Today is already better but it’s a good reminder of balance! Now on to day 4 of Hell Week!

  10. Water is definitely a big one for me! I always have a bottle next to me to make sure I’m drinking enough and staying hydrated (especially since I drink a lot of coffee). From there, a giant smoothie has been my thing lately and even more having it in a BOWL. When I do that, it slows down my eating and gives me time to realize that I AM indeed getting FULL.

  11. I can’t wait to read baby P’s birth story! and p.s. if you ever need a sitter for Livi – call me! Whit will vouch for me. 😉

  12. I bet that wine was DELICIOUS! I’m seven months and seriously cannot wait for my first glass of wine after Princess Jules makes her arrival. And a pumpkin beer. And sushi. And baby cuddles (of course).

  13. Penelope looks so cute and healthy!

  14. Ok first off, baby P is so sweet! I miss when my niece was tiny and she had the best newborn scent 🙂

    And omg You literally described me today! So hangry can’t-eat-enough-food after my HIIT workout! I loved what you mentioned too, often people are freaked out by feeling more hungry and not knowing how to respond. Our bodies are super smart, so some days we feel ravishingly hungry and others not-so-much! That’s why I’m allll about intuitive (whatever you want to call it) eating. Not getting hung up on the numbers or points allows us to simply be in tune with our bodies and respond accordingly!

    Happy settling in and happy Halloween, I’m sure there’s lots of excitement going on for you guys!

  15. Omg baby P is soooo cute and chubby and smushy ahhhh thanks a lot for giving me baby fever!!

    Whenever I do hiit or some other intense workout, I usually have zero appetite right after but it always catches up with me after a couple hours. I usually try to eat an apple or banana or something right after even if I’m not hungry.

  16. The word hangry makes me angry. lol

  17. Kelsey Halena says:

    Do you just kiss those cheeks all day long?? I probably would.

    Working out usually suppresses my appetite temporarily, for maybe 30 minutes afterward, but then the beast unleashes… so I know to start prepping food right away 🙂 A winner for me (at all times, really) is usually chicken or salmon, sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts or asparagus… with a side of chocolate chips.

  18. My go-to PWO snack lately has been….sweet potato + Greek yogurt blended w a little cinnamon and nutmeg. Tastes JUST like pumpkin cheesecake filling/dip. You’re welcome! ☺️

  19. Penelope is such a doll! Enjoy every second!

    I normally like to follow any workout with a quick protein shake and if I’m still hungry than Ezekial toast with peanut butter (sometimes I just want carbs!).

  20. Okay that pizza looks delicious. Are those artichokes I spy? Can’t wait to hear more about baby Penelope! Glad to know all is well with you and your family. Have a wonderful holiday weekend, Gina! 🙂

  21. Oh thank you so much for this blogpost. I thought I was the only person that had to deal with enormous hanger after intervall sessions. Good to know that it is something common.

    Filling up my stomach with water is what helps me most!

  22. Aww, baby Penelope is so cute. Congratulations to the entire family!

    Since I still can’t run or jump (with the toe surgery recovery still ongoing) I have been doing short workouts HIIT style. I feel I am getting more bang for my buck and being able to keep some of my cardio fitness from declining is a big deal. It is amazing how easily you can work out a sweat by adding tempo to my workouts.

    HIIT usually suppresses my hunger. But I sometimes get super hangry on my off day and feel like nothing I eat helps. I track my eats and have noticed that on off days I tend to skip added protein and that might be causing the “hangry – no cure” feeling. I am guessing (not a nutritionist here either) that my body is doing some serious afterburn or muscle repair and needs nutritious food to recover.

  23. I have been really hungry after OrangeTheory. Since I read this post I paid attention to my water intake after class yesterday. It really helped and I wasn’t ravenous at all. I was able to wait.

  24. Faye Holloway says:

    I love Orange Theory and was doing it a lot at the beginning of this year, but it made me so ravenous that I gained weight from it and decided to stop so that I could find a better balance of intensity that left me able to eat like a normal person and not overcompensate for the calories I burned. This works better, but I really do miss those classes…

  25. congratulations on the arrival of baby P & glad you got to leave the hospital… i’m often hangry after HIIT workouts. i also focus on hydration on those days (although i need to work on this more), and try to fill up on veggies & dip instead of eating everything in my house.

  26. Hi Gina,
    I haven’t been visiting your blog for a lonnnng time, but until a few months ago I had been following you for years, before Livi’s birth. I had some time today and thought I could come and see if you are still blogging, and OMG there is a new member in your family !! I had never commented any of your post before (too shy …), but I had to say congratulations to you and your family 🙂

    About HIIT, I just did one HIIT session this morning, and like always, it suppressed my appetite. But I am like you, I like HIIT because it is short, not boring, and efficient. What else could we ask ?

  27. Would love a pot about fueling for breastfeeding. I have a 2.5 month old, exclusively breastfeeding on demand. I can’t seem to satisfy my hunger despite healthy eating, snacking, hydration…would love to know what works for you?

  28. I always make sure I eat a good amount of carbs about an hour before my workouts so I have enough energy. Morning fasted workouts are another thing…definitely hangry during those!

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