Exercise Can Affect Our Motivation For Food, But Not In The Way You Would Expect

It is widely assumed that because of the energy expended during exercise you will ‘work up an appetite’. It makes sense. Our demands for energy have increased because of our level of activity which makes us hungry. However, for many of us, the last thing on our mind when we leave the gym is food.

New research shows that a 45 minute workout of moderate-to-vigorous exercise in the morning actually reduces a person’s motivation for food. The subjects of this research were shown images of food either following a morning workout or no exercise. The attention responses to the food pictures decreased after a brisk workout.

Not only did morning exercise reduce brain responses to images of food, it also resulted in an increase in total physical activity for the rest of the day, regardless of their fitness level or BMI (body mass index).


Larson M, LeCheminant J, Exercise may Affect Food Motivation, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 2012.

About the Author

Job Role Sports Nutritionist and Social Media Coordinator Qualifications Bsc Sport and Exercise Science Steph has a competitive athletic background which spans 19 years. As a child she performed with the English Youth Ballet and had performed on the West End stage by the age of 10. Her enthusiasm for sport and fitness continued to grow as she did, encouraging her to learn more about nutrition and training. She began using her knowledge and personal experience to help others when she began coaching at the age of 16. From here, she went on to study Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Essex during which time she also received the Most Promising Newcomer Award from her University to mark her outstanding contribution to sport. During her first year of study she was introduced to partner stunt acrobatics and artistic gymnastics. After one year of dedicating herself to a lifestyle revolving around her sport, she was training with the best team in the UK who are currently ranked fifth in the world. Steph has worked in both the private and public sector coaching children and adults from grassroot to elite level as well as providing them with cutting edge advice on how to reach their goals. Steph has received awards for her choreography and has competed nationally and internationally meaning that she can back up her scientific knowledge with a wealth of experience. As our resident Sports Nutritionist, Steph is here to provide the most current and evidence based fitness, health and nutrition information to help you reach your health and fitness goals.
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