My clients and I joke that when they see plyometric exercises on the whiteboard, they’d better plan to have healthy snacks on hand for the rest of the day.  

But is that really true?  Does doing exercises like box jumps, burpees, and jumping lunges really make you hungry all day?

The answer is yes.  And no.

That’s what you wanted to hear, right?

Let’s break this down.

What are plyometric exercises?  

Think explosive power, and exercises that leave you breathless.  Squat jumps, vertical jumps, lunge to a knee up, burpees and half burpees, depth jumps, hurdles, and jump ropes are just a handful of examples.

What’s the advantage of incorporating plyometrics?  

When you push your body to its limits, in short, intense bursts, you are conditioning your body to burn fat more often when you are resting.  So the benefits of the workout last long after your sweat session. 

How can plyometric exercises improve my fitness level?

Jumping in all planes of motion increases muscle power, explosiveness, and body control.  Plyometric training trains the body as a system rather than isolating muscles.  And it’s functional, meaning it translates to real-life situations–like when you have to jump to catch a ball hurled by your teenager to avoid it breaking a lamp (true story).

And now for the good stuff…

Why am I so hungry on plyo days?

Maybe you’re not, actually.  There are a couple of reasons you may experience hunger you should act upon and a couple of instances when you should check in with yourself to make sure you are truly hungry.

You may be hungry if…

-you didn’t eat enough before the workout.

-you didn’t eat the right foods before the workout.

You may think you are hungry if…

-you are thirsty

-you think you should be hungry 

What if you truly are hungry?

If you did not eat enough of the right foods before your workout, you do need a snack.  And you should plan better next time!  Make sure to have a quality pre-workout snack at least 1-2 hours before your workout.  Complex carbohydrates with a low glycemic index are your best option.  They will provide the best fuel for your body and sustain your blood sugar levels throughout intense training.  Need some ideas on what is best to eat before a workout?  Check out my post, “Why You Should Eat Carbs.”

What if you just think you are hungry?

If you know you ate enough of the right foods and still feel those hunger pains, try drinking a glass of water.  Your body can get confused and think it’s hungry when it’s really thirsty. And, after an intense plyo workout, you will definitely need to hydrate.  So, if after you hydrate you are still hungry, have a healthy snack!  On the other hand, if you find that you are actually bored, trying to avoid doing something you don’t want to do, or just think you should be hungry–after all, you burned a TON of calories in your workout–go for a walk!  Get outside and get some fresh air.  Fold a load of laundry.  Often, the change of scenery or pace can be enough to make us realize it’s not hunger we’re dealing with at all.  Once you have tried all of these strategies, if you still feel hungry, have a snack!  

I LOVE a good plyo workout.  And I believe there is definitely a place for plyometrics in a balanced workout program.  What stands out to me most when I look back through client pictures and videos is their increase in body control as a result of the movements involved in plyometrics.  There’s a greater sense of how their body can move and that translates to being able to lift heavier with less risk of injury.  

So, go and get your plyometric workout on!  You’ll feel amazing afterward and bask in that post-exercise glow all day long.  Just be sure to have a few healthy snacks stashed in your favorite hiding spots.  Does anyone else have to hide food from their family…just me?

Til next time,