Is Weight Lifting a Natural Appetite Suppressant?

Why strength training may actually help keep your appetite in check.

Muscular man working out in a gym gets ready for strength training as a way to reduce appetite and build muscle.

Medically reviewed in December 2019

Updated on February 1, 2021

Sure, strength training and aerobic exercise can help you work off those extra calories. But does being active and lifting weights increase hunger? Well, it might help you say no to those extra calories in the first place. 

That's just what a small 2008 study showed. People who lifted weights for 90 minutes—or ran on a treadmill for 60—felt less hungry than those who didn't work out. 

When your heart is pumping 
In fact, a good workout could suppress your appetite for as long as two hours afterward. Researchers speculate that the effect could have something to do with ghrelin—an appetite-stimulating hormone. Exercise seems to suppress it. But to see the benefits of strength training and appetite reduction you may have to do both strength training and cardio.  

Other hunger hitters 
Give cravings the heave-ho with these two other I-feel-full, mind-over-matter tricks:  

  • Drink a glass of water. Really! Some people find it helps them eat less.  
  • Eat an egg for breakfast. It could help you bypass junk-food cravings later in the day. 

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