1. Expert Advice
3rd of April, 2024

Fuelling Your Training

Fuelling Your Training - Athena Nutrition

Why am I so hungry when I train more?

Do you find the more active you are the louder that little voice tells you to eat more?!

Your appetite can be a friend or foe if you don’t understand what it’s trying to tell you. Appetite does have the potential to send some mixed messages, there are times to listen to appetite, learn from appetite or to override appetite. So, choosing what to do and how to manage appetite can be a valuable part of mastering your training and nutrition strategies.

If you are trying to manage body composition, it can feel a contradiction to eat more when you feel like you should be eating less and being hungry is like a constant reminder to make that harder. Adding to this, appetite can switch off or not be as present during activity and then dials up the volume to tell you to eat away from the times you train.

This can lead to convenience or poor food choices or can make you feel confused like you are doing something wrong or shouldn’t be eating at that time, and none of these things promote a healthy relationship with food. Again, with the mixed messages from the body.

There is a solution to manage hunger and still see results!

Rather than trying to limit intake around activity, eat mostly around the time when you are most active. This means you are less likely to overcompensate for what fuel you missed later in the day. The delivery of carbohydrates and proteins at the right times around training is what makes the difference to manage appetite.

If you are training first thing in the morning and then frequently feeling hungry or getting sweet cravings towards the end of the day take this as a sign from the body and notice the trend to consider what the cause might be. Most frequently it’s because you haven’t recovered effectively or eaten enough around your morning training session. So rather than finding snacks later in the day it's better to increase the protein source ASAP after training in the morning and additionally having a substantial balanced mid-morning snack with a wholegrain carbohydrate and protein source which might fall about 4 hours after you have finished training. This provides fuel at the right time for the body to access for muscle recovery.

If you are training late in the day, then there are more opportunities to prepare for training over the day. Having more meals over the day before training means you have adequate stores so you actually have fuel to burn, meaning you won’t be getting as snacky right before bed.

Listening to what the body is telling you is great feedback to adjust your eating habits to suit your training as times or intensity change and refining practices over time.