Does Weight Training Make You Hungrier than Cardio?

Many people engage in various forms of exercise to maintain a healthy lifestyle and achieve their fitness goals. Two popular types of workouts are weight training and cardio exercises.

While both have their unique benefits, one question that often comes up is whether weight training makes you hungrier than cardio. In this article, we’ll explore the relationship between these two types of exercises and their potential effects on your appetite.

The Science of Hunger

Before diving into the debate, it’s essential to understand the science of hunger. Hunger is regulated by various complex mechanisms in your body, primarily involving hormones like ghrelin and leptin. These hormones communicate with your brain to signal hunger and fullness.

Your body’s energy expenditure, including through exercise, plays a role in these hunger signals. When you engage in physical activity, your body burns calories, and this can affect your appetite.

Weight Training: Does It Boost Appetite?

Weight training, also known as resistance training, involves lifting weights to build and tone muscles. Many people believe that weight training can make them hungrier than other forms of exercise. While there is some truth to this belief, it’s important to understand the nuances.

The Afterburn Effect

Weight training can increase your metabolic rate temporarily after your workout, a phenomenon often referred to as the “afterburn effect” or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC).

This means that your body continues to burn calories even after you’ve finished your weight training session. Some individuals may experience increased hunger following weight training as their bodies require energy for recovery.

Muscle Growth

Weight training is essential for building and maintaining muscle mass. As muscles require more energy at rest than fat, having more muscle can increase your basal metabolic rate (BMR). This means that you burn more calories even when you’re not exercising.

However, the muscle-building process may also contribute to increased appetite as your body seeks additional nutrients to support muscle repair and growth.

Cardio Exercise: Does It Suppress Appetite?

Cardiovascular exercises, often referred to as cardio, include activities like running, swimming, and cycling. Some people claim that cardio exercises can suppress appetite, leading to fewer post-workout cravings.

Appetite Suppression Hormones

Cardio exercises may affect appetite hormones differently than weight training. Research suggests that intense cardio workouts can temporarily reduce appetite by decreasing the levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone. However, this effect may vary from person to person.

Caloric Expenditure

Cardio exercises can also help you burn calories, contributing to a calorie deficit that may lead to weight loss. When you’re in a calorie deficit, it’s common to experience some level of appetite suppression because your body is using its energy reserves.

The Verdict

So, does weight training make you hungrier than cardio? The answer isn’t black and white. While some individuals may feel hungrier after weight training due to the afterburn effect and muscle growth, others may experience appetite suppression during cardio workouts.

Ultimately, the impact of exercise on appetite varies from person to person. Your genetics, fitness level, and individual response to exercise all play a role in how your body reacts to different types of workouts.


The relationship between exercise and appetite is complex, and there is no one-size-fits-all answer to whether weight training or cardio makes you hungrier. What’s most important is finding an exercise routine that you enjoy and that aligns with your fitness goals.

Whether you prefer lifting weights or going for a run, staying active and making healthy dietary choices are key factors in achieving and maintaining a balanced, healthy lifestyle.

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