In my experience as a personal trainer, women like to blame exercise for a lot of things: making them tired, making them bulk through muscle gain (oh, please), and making them overeat. The last one is when I like to politely remind them that we, as humans, do in fact possess the gift of freewill, and exercise is not what brings the chips to their lips after a workout, it’s their brain, which makes the decision to eat it sound okay.
This doesn’t mean, however, that the hunger is not real. Women especially experience energy cravings after tough workouts, which can be hard to suppress. According to an article in the ACSM Exercise and Sports Sciences Reviews, there are several studies that suggest exercise promotes higher responses in energy-regulating hormones in women than it does in men. The more calories women burn, the more calories they crave after exercise. The result? Women crave more food after exercise than men, making them more likely to overeat after a workout which can have disastrous effects on their goals.
Just one more biological reason men can lose weight easier and faster than women.
But don’t get me wrong, this isn’t an excuse. While the craving is real, it doesn’t mean you need to give in. Being healthy means making healthy decisions every day. Our bodies are smart and tell us what they want. But in this case, they want to cancel out our workouts. If weight loss is your goal, that calorie deficit is what you need, and post-workout snacks are one of the quickest ways to make it disappear.
Impulse control is the key to a proper diet and successful weight loss. So, instead of scarfing cookies after a treadmill session, choose a low-calorie, protein-rich snack to refuel your muscles without undoing all your hard work.