If you're hoping to lose weight with physical exercise, experts have suggested you should plan what to eat post-workout before you begin otherwise you'll likely be tempted to overeat.
Scientists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the University of Nebraska conducted a study that investigated the influence of exercise on hypothetical decisions regarding the amount of food a person wants to eat after a workout, and they found that exercising for 45 minutes instead of resting led to a greater increase in the amount of food chosen, both immediately after exercise and 30 minutes afterwards.
Physical activity also resulted in a greater increase in preference for immediate food consumption both straight after exercise and 30 minutes afterwards.
"Based on this study, we were able to show for the first time that certain characteristics, such as the amount and 'urgency' with which a person wants to eat, change over the course of physical exertion," said Professor Köhler, Professor of Exercise, Nutrition and Health at TUM. "These findings help us develop new interventions to optimise weight loss through exercise.
"The actual results suggest that physical exertion can entice those who do sport to eat larger amounts of food more quickly after the training session. Since weight loss is a main motivation for exercising for many, and failure to achieve the desired weight loss makes it likely to quit exercising, it could be a good strategy to think about what you want to eat afterwards before you start to exercise."
For their study, the research team recruited 41 healthy participants aged between 19 and 29 years old. They were randomly assigned to either a 45-minute exercise session on a bicycle ergometer or a rest period of equal duration at the first visit and completed the other study condition at the second visit. They completed questionnaires throughout their visits.