Insatiable, day after training

Hi all - hope you’re doing well :slight_smile: I’ve posted this question to be discussed in the podcast, but doesn’t seem to make it so let’s see what you all say. The below is a bit outdated, my FTP is back on the rise again. Question remains the same though:

While using TR I made significant FTP gains, but have lost some fitness recently due to buying a house, moving there and everything that comes with that, and most importantly, happily welcoming a baby into the family.

I decided proactively not to schedule any events (mine would be half-distance tri) for 2022, and I still now got the energy, enthusiasm, and discipline to sort of ‘start over’.

Immediately after starting structured training again, I’ve run into an issue I’ve been wondering about before. I have some assumptions but am wondering if there’s any research done on the subject, or that you would have anecdotal support.

Here goes: I typically fuel my cycling workouts by having food - carb heavy - quite shortly before my rides. (For running it’s different because of GI issues, there I take in food around 2 hours before.) I do the work, get home or off the trainer, rehydrate, replenish carbs, and later take in protein-dense food. The rest of the day I then eat regularly, paying attention to protein if the work was particularly long and/or tough. All is fine. The next day however, while most of the time not suffering from muscle soreness, more-than-normal fatigue, or whatever, I sometimes feel insatiable…! Whatever I eat, whatever macros involved, I continue to be hungry. As a rider who wants to lose some weight, I am afraid that this hurts my goal. My assumption is that I either underfuel my rides or I don’t replenish enough after my rides. Any support would be appreciated.

Kindest greetings,


I have this as well, and my advice would be to significantly increase what you’re taking in before, during, and after the ride. It’s almost impossible to overdo it here, and it will not negatively impact your body comp goals. If anything, it might help by quelling hunger later in the day and the following days. I’d work your way toward 100g/hr during, PLUS something before and after. Good luck!

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I get this as well, though not necessarily the day after training. It seems to strike at random, I’ll just have days where I’m absolutely ravenous. I find supplementing with protein helps, but I don’t really restrict what I eat. If I’m hungry, I figure it’s for a reason :man_shrugging:t2:. Might as well make the most of it and stuff myself!:grin:

I don’t have answers, but I do have questions.

How many carbs? What sorts of carbs? How shortly before? What type of rides are we talking about here? What time of day are you doing your rides–i.e., are you eating lunch x hours before or doing them first thing in the morning before breakfast?

Are you hydrating enough during the work? Are you eating/drinking any carbs during the work?

How much later? What kind of carbs are you eating to replenish after?

How much protein are you getting?

This happened to me the other day. But I did 3.5 hours of more-than-the-zone-2-I-was-promised on a 29g granola bar and about 10g of carb mix (oops).

I’ve read about this and can confirm it in my own life/training.

I could eat half the fridge on my day off, and still feel exactly as hungry at the end of eating as the beginning.

The feeling of hunger is often simply tiredness/fatigue, and not actually true hunger for food. Our bodies/brains are bad at telling the difference. There may not be any amount of food or ratio of macros that will make you feel less hungry. You have to learn to tune in to actual hunger cues of ‘my stomach is empty, I’m physically hungry because I have not eaten enough’ vs. ‘I feel hungry mentally because I’m tired/fatigued from life stress and/or bored because I’m not training’…and perhaps that may be mentally accepting that it’s okay to feel slightly hungry at times and knowing that’s slightly uncomfortable.

To be clear that doesn’t mean starving yourself or depriving yourself all the time or not eating enough and then failing your next workouts because you have nothing in your glycogen stores because you didn’t eat enough. It’s just knowing you have eaten an appropriate amount of food and the feeling of hunger is coming from a different place.

I would focus on a couple things in the off days…
Eating higher quality and higher fiber/voluminous foods. It’ll make your stomach feel fuller, and should be providing all the quality caloric nutrition you need. Junk food will be soaked right up, but won’t make you feel any more satiated.
Try to eliminate snacking. Three healthy, full meals. Maybe a protein shake or two as well.
Focus on those hunger cues and try to separate the physical from the mental hunger.
Sleeping more

I know eating more carbs x1000 is a popular opinion on this forum and the TR podcast, but that’s not always the right answer.

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A good starting point could be to track your diet using something like MyFitnessPal during a typical training week so you have a clearer idea of what you’re actually taking in relative to your needs- once it’s all laid out in front of you it can be a lot easier to identify patterns or things you can improve upon (protein intake, fiber, making sure you’re not in too extreme a deficit etc.)

Hearing what works for other people can be really helpful, but it’s also heavily influenced by their own experience, so if you have a clearer understanding of what areas you want to address it can be easier to pick out the bits that are more relevant/useful to your situation.

EDIT: congrats on the new addition to the family!


if you listen to the “carb loading” part of the latest podcast, you’ll hear that isn’t quite true. In fact they say a lot of the same things as you’re saying but in the form of “The carbs you eat during the week vs. before or during a race can (and should) be quite different.”

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Thanks all for the useful input! Glad I’m not alone on this :wink:

To answer some questions to further help the conversation:

Understood and agree - the taking in more after the ride sounds contradictory to the weight loss / body comp goal. Of course you mean taking in healthy foods - protein and good carbs. Since I don’t go about my food scientifically, so to speak, I’m afraid I might take in too many calories throughout the day as a result. I know I should cut on some things, like treats in the evening. But then there’s the partner and the evening hanging out :sweat_smile: I’ve asked her to support me (and us, although she’s lucky with her genetics) more, but in fact I should be as disciplined with eating as I am with training.

No specific amount, bur surely carb heavy - think of bread, jam, sometimes bananas (don’t like those) or other fruits in addition. Time before a workout depends on context - am I short on time or not? Did I have the chance to eat well in advance, or was I more crunched for time? I ride any hour, just not typically early in the morning. I probably had breakfast and lunch at least. I do consider lunch my fueling if I then train an hour or so later, don’t take in anything more.

One bottle of 700ml, most of the time with a syrup. It tastes sweet but there’s not a lot of calories in them.

I like a protein mix that contains skimmed milk, whey, coco powder and cinnamon. Sometimes chocolate milk if we have it. Also I might have some bread or a wrap with chicken.

I aim between 1.2gr/kg and 1.8gr/kg depending on the intensity of the workout. As I said I don’t typically have muscle soreness to compensate for - which is a simplification, I know. Again I don’t approach this scientifically and frankly I don’t want to either. I’ve kept track of food (calories and macros) for some time and yes it provides me with an insight in what’s good or not so good for me, but it also makes me anxious.

Very good point. You know if I’m behind my computer typing all this, I don’t feel hungry at all even though I’ve been awake two hours because of my son (it’s around 06:45 in my timezone).
Will focus on fibers and maybe an additional protein shake, good advice.

Thank you!

Happens to me too. One part of it, I think, is that you’re running a calorie deficit after the first day, even if you eat a lot. That’s especially likely if the workout is 2 hours +. 2nd part (and this is more intuitive) is that my body seems to get used to a certain amount of intake, and on a rest day I still want to eat just as much.

This seems to be the place where you yourself acknowledge you are potentially under-fuelling. Also pretty easy to do an experiment: change nothing else, but fill that bottle chock full of liquid carbs during every workout for a week or two. You’ll still be in deficit, so no need to worry about weight.

See if that changes your cravings at all. If that’s it then maybe you can slowly back off the drink mix for the easier workouts and see whether you really need it for everything or not.

Seems to make a big difference for me anyway, but n=1 on my ‘study’ :wink:

I haven’t read through the entire thread, so you might have your answer. If not, I recently increased my salt intake on the bike and I have not had a day where I feel insatiable since.

I definitely think my hunger was my body telling me I need more salt (before anyone says anything I eat plenty). I am using lmnt tea, or however they spell it. If you don’t mind salty drinks, it might be worth giving it a go!

Haven’t read the whole thread of responses, and saw you addressed it somewhat, but I think it is worth restating: make sure you’re getting enough protein.

Here’s the gist of it: If you don’t get enough protein, your body continues to crave it and keeps you hungry. You keep binge eating carb-heavy foods and you’re still not getting the protein your body needs so it keeps asking for more…

I personally am shooting for 120-150 grams of protein per day. Especially with hard workouts. And, I’m trying to spread it out into no more than ~30-40 gr at a time.


Fascinating topic and replies / thanks for opening this up. Here is my take…

I do share the same “attacks” and they come w/o notice and I cant predict. Nevertheless when going thru this type of training and nutrition you have to accept that your body (AND mind) isn’t just a machine and working every day/week the same. You are trying to add about 1000kc per day in average on top and your body/mind has some work to do with that.
As much as I have the attacks to eat I also have days where I am not proportionally hungry at all - so my body/mind takes a break in the other direction.
Net-net and to simplify - as long as it works out in general and I am on target I dont bother about some of these “outages”…I actually embrace them and take them as another simple mechanism of my “fantastic” body system :joy::relaxed::wink:

Really try eating 1. 2kg of fatty meat or 10 eggs with 200g of bacon and 200g of cheese and see how long it takes you before you eat again…

I would argue this applies to all nutrients generally. I’d like to believe we are wired to seek out anything that will replenish us, protein fits that bill perfectly, but in the absence of massively distorted signalling (e.g., SAD) the body will crave a multitude of things.

Interesting is that Layne Norton said recently that exercise increases sensitivity to satiatey. However, this doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily eat less.

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Yeah, but the reason the focus is on Protein is it’s generally really easy to get adequate carbs and fat (especially carbs with the typical “endurance” diet) but that’s not the case with protein.

From the article: “It’s increasingly clear that our bodies eat to satisfy a protein target,” added Professor David Raubenheimer, the Leonard Ullmann Chair in Nutritional Ecology at the School of Life and Environmental Sciences. “But the problem is that the food in Western diets has increasingly less protein. So, you have to consume more of it to reach your protein target, which effectively elevates your daily energy intake.”

I find when I’m fueling my rides to get adequate carbs, it actually takes effort to make sure I get enough protein daily.

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True. If you ride a lot though, the sheer amount you eat ends up with usually protein also taking care of itself, at least in my case.