man biting into a burger

Have you ever wondered why you feel so good when eating more food? You’re gaining weight, your lifts are going up, and you seem to have an endless supply of energy.

Everyday tasks seem easier, you recover better and can even train more frequently.

But as you start dieting to lose some fat, all of these benefits go away. Your lifts go down, you can’t do as much work, and everyday activities become increasingly difficult.

In this post, we’ll briefly look at what happens inside the body and why eating more food makes us feel so good.

Let’s dive in.

A Tale of Two Lifters
John spent yet another day dieting to attain those sweet abs. He had a small oatmeal for breakfast, a steak with salad for lunch, and a modest trail mix serving in the afternoon.

John then went to the gym and felt tired. His muscles were still sore from his previous workout; he was fatigued and barely had any motivation to do even more work. Despite that, he warmed up and had a decent workout.

Meanwhile, Eddie spent another day eating plenty of calories to gain weight and build muscle. He had lots of eggs and oatmeal in the morning, a colossal lunch meal consisting of meat and potatoes, and a generous afternoon snack.

When it came time to hit the gym, Eddie’s experience couldn’t have been different from John's. He didn’t feel exhausted. Instead, he felt full of energy, relaxed, and ready to attack the weights. He warmed up nicely, had a fantastic workout, and got back home, still feeling good and full of energy.

So, What Was So Different Between John and Eddie?
Many things impact our daily readiness: sleep, life stressors, hydration, and more. But perhaps the most significant predictor of athletic performance is the amount of food we consume. Is it the only thing that impacts how we feel? No. But it plays a massive role in that.

John and Eddie could mostly have similar lives: similar jobs, similar hobbies, similar activity levels, and similar gym histories. But while John is dieting to shed fat, Eddie is eating plenty of calories, recovering well, and still having energy left to support muscle growth.

So, Why Do We Feel So Good When Eating In a Surplus?
Most notably? Because we are consuming a lot of energy. But why is that important?

Each minute, your body carries out countless processes that keep you alive. These include:

  • Respiration
  • Heartbeat
  • Muscle contraction
  • Nerve function
  • Cell communication
  • Neurotransmitter, antibody, cell, and hormone production.

And many others. These processes fall into the basal metabolic rate (BMR) category and require energy, which you get from food and drinks.

Aside from these background processes, you also move, exercise, digest food, and do many different things each day, all of which require energy.

You can fuel all of these processes and still have calories left to build muscle by consuming more energy. As a result, you feel better, can do more before getting tired, and the extra muscle mass also helps you perform better in the gym.

August 20, 2021 — Daniel Felstein

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