Ever notice how your appetite seems to go through the roof the day after you hit your back muscles hard?

It’s not just in your head; there’s actually some science behind it. 

So, first off, when you go all-out on your back day, you’re putting some serious stress on those large muscle groups.

That means your body has to work overtime to repair and recover, and guess what — that takes energy. Lots of it. Hence, the raving hunger.

Then there’s this cool thing called EPOC, or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption.

It’s like your body’s way of saying, “Hey, I just worked dang hard, and now I need more oxygen and energy to get back to normal.”

Translation: You burn calories even after you’ve left the gym, and that can make you seriously hungry.

Of course, you’re burning calories 24/7, but following a workout of back-thrashing routines, your resting metabolism is much higher. This includes when having a seat to do some texting.

Muscle Repair

When you’re lifting heavy and intensely, you’re essentially causing tiny tears in your muscles (sounds bad, but it’s a good thing).

Your body needs to fix those tears, and it does that by calling in the nutrients: proteins, carbs, fats. Cue the craving for a hearty meal.

©Lorra Garrick

Oh, and don’t forget about glycogen, the body’s go-to energy source stored in your muscles.

Back workouts can deplete these glycogen stores, and your body’s way of asking for a refill is through, you guessed it, hunger.

And we can’t ignore the hormonal dance happening inside of your body.

After a workout, your hunger hormones, like ghrelin, can be all over the place. It’s like a hormonal rollercoaster that ends with your stomach growling.

Gnawing Hunger on or After Back Day

Feeling hungry after a good back day is pretty normal. Instead, focus on giving your body what it needs.

That means loading up on nutrient-rich foods – proteins, carbs, healthy fats – to fuel that recovery process.

©Lorra Garrick

And drink water. Plenty of it. Water is your go-to beverage as part of your overall recovery from a wicked back workout.

If the hunger becomes distracting even though just an hour ago you had a good dose of healthful protein and carbs, then go ahead and give your recovering body what it’s begging for.

But this doesn’t mean go overboard by eating the two big leftover slices of yesterday’s pizza or snarfing down a pint of ice cream.

Though that lingering hunger may be intense, this doesn’t mean it can’t be suppressed with a snack sized portion if you’re wanting to lose some fat. A handful of nuts or three hard boiled eggs may do the trick.

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified by the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness, where she was also a group fitness instructor, she trained clients of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health.
Top image: ©Lorra Garrick