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.