Pin Me

How to Stop Overeating after a Workout: Managing the Post-Workout Munchies

written by: Cheryl Gabbert • edited by: KJ Fitness,Ink • updated: 5/3/2010

I know you've been there. You had a great workout. Tons of calories were burned. You head in for a shower, and an hour later, it hits, the post-workout munchies! You can hardly contain yourself, grabbing everything in sight. Here's how to stop overeating after exercise.

  • slide 1 of 4

    The Post-Workout Munchies

    What are the post-workout munchies? If you regularly exercise, I probably don't even have to explain. It's that voracious appetite that comes about an hour or so after a great workout. If I had a dime for every time I ate twice the calories I had just burned with exercise during one of those post-workout eating binges, I'd be rich. It's so easy to foil every calorie burning effort by over eating after exercise. That's why it's imperative to learn how to stop overeating during those crucial hours after a workout.

  • slide 2 of 4

    Plan a Better Workout Time

    When you exercise, you are probably going to end up hungry within an hour or two, so why not use a little strategy and plan to exercise an hour or so before mealtime. That way, the calories you'll be eating are already planned into your allotted daily calorie count. A post workout meal is a great way to combat those munchies and stay on target. Begin your meal within a half hour of completing your workout for best results, according to researcher, Joel Stager, PH.D. You could choose to eat breakfast an hour or so after that early morning run, or save dinner for after your trip to the gym. Which meal you eat isn't important. The important thing is to take advantage of already planned meals, and eat them after strenuous exercise.

  • slide 3 of 4

    Post-Workout Eating Strategy

    Sometimes a full meal can't be planned around your workout. In this case, plan a healthy post-workout snack. How much you eat after a workout should be determined by the amount and intensity of exercise you have completed. Not all exercise is strenuous enough to require a full meal, but you should have something to offset those inevitable munchies. A glass of water and piece of fruit may be all you need for a 30 minute walk, while 45 minutes of cardio justifies a 100-calorie snack, like cereal or yogurt. Ninety minutes of exercise, such as power walking may require a 150 calorie snack.

    If you've just finished an hour's worth of heavy strength training, you'll need a regular meal within an hour of completing your workout session. This meal should contain a combination of protein and carbohydrates. Lean protein, such as chicken, turkey, or tuna along with carbohydrates like whole grain breads, brown rice, as well as potassium-rich potatoes or fruit make great post-exercise meals. Eating after exercise will make it easier to stick to a healthy eating plan. Just be sure to include your post-exercise meal in your total calorie plan for the day. This will ensure that you don't offset the calorie burn with extra food.

  • slide 4 of 4

    Resources

    1. U.S. News: www.usnews.com

    2. Prevention: www.prevention.com

    3. Women's Fitness: www.womensfitness.net/eating