For anyone in a bulking phase, or simply someone that is having difficulty making their maintenance caloric threshold, appetite can be a big issue. If you don’t have the appetite to sustain the intake of enough food to meet your caloric needs for your goals, you won’t be making any gains, and you could likely lose the muscle that you do have if your calories drop significantly.
Some people naturally have a large appetite. For the rest of us, it’s not as easy to get our intake of enough food to support our caloric needs. Whether it’s just the genetic hand you were dealt, or factors of your daily life that is to blame for your small appetite, you’ll need to make some changes to reach fitness goals like gaining muscle or strength.
Let’s look at the best supplements to increase appetite, plus some factors to be aware of and positive, appetite-boosting changes to make.
|Black Hole by Controlled Labs||Eatmor by VH Nutrition||Dr. Tobias Triple Strength Omega 3 Fish Oil||Plum Flower Yin Chiao Chieh Tu Pien Extract Tablets|
|Increases appetite; contains digestive enzymes; supports joint health||Increases appetite; increases energy; promotes weight gain||Increases appetite; supports bone health; aids in healthy cholesterol management||Increases appetite; provides immune boosting and support|
Supplements To Increase Appetite
You’ve tried everything. You’ve added 2 sets of high-rep back squats into your workout and you’ve been eating 6 small deals per day – still no appetite. In cases like this, taking supplements to increase your appetite is perfectly acceptable. There aren’t a slew of appetite increasing supplements on the market, but here are a few options:
Black Hole by Controlled LabsBlack Hole by Controlled Labs is the most popular appetite increasing supplement in the fitness industry, ranking in at 6.6/10 on bodybuilding.com. In addition to increasing your appetite, Black Hole also has several other benefits; for example, it contains digestive enzymes and is a natural joint supplement as well. View more details on it here.
Eatmor Appetite Supplement by VH Nutrition
Slightly less expensive than Black Hole and boasting a slightly higher customer review rating, Eatmor by VH Nutrition is another popular supplement to increase appetite. Although it doesn’t have much of a bodybuilding following, there are many positive reviews that have earned this a product a score of 3.5/5 on Amazon. Check out the 300+ customer reviews and see more details on it here.
Although not its direct use, fish oil does have appetite increasing properties and is a great standalone supplement with many other benefits such as bone health and healthy cholesterol support. Fish oil also helps support serotonin levels, which can boost your mood, manage your stress and ultimately raise your appetite. The most popular fish oil supplement by far is the Dr. Tobias Omega 3 Triple Strength Softgels.
Plum extract probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of supplements to increase appetite, but believe it or not, it’s true. This is commonly found in most of the existing appetite-increasing supplements, but can easily be used on its own to provide the same benefits. Take this about 30 minutes before eating in order to spark your hunger by the time your meal is ready. You can typically find plum extract at your local health foods store or even on Amazon, but Plum Flower Yin Chiao Chieh Tu Extract Tablets are great.
Factors That Can Affect Appetite
Appetite, although largely determined by genetics, can be greatly affected by day-to-day life and factors contained therein. Recognizing these factors can help you to identify some simple changes you can make to get your appetite up and hit those goals in the gym. Here are some common causes of a loss of appetite:
Anxiety, in addition to affecting your personal and professional life, can take a huge toll on your appetite. This decrease in appetite can be sharp and sudden and can cause dramatic weight loss if you’re not seeking treatment. Treatment for anxiety will not only improve your day-to-day interactions and thoughts, but will increase your appetite naturally.
In the same vein as anxiety, depression is another mood disorder that can greatly affect appetite. As also with anxiety, the appetite loss can be drastic and endanger your personal health. With treatment, appetite will return.
Are you a female lifter getting close to your menstrual cycle and you’ve noticed a sharp decrease in appetite? This is perfectly normal and your appetite (and potential for gains) should increase as your start and end your cycle.
Having a few drinks here and there is fine (red wine even lowers cholesterol), but excessive alcohol consumption has several health risks. In addition to putting you at risk for liver failure or cirrhosis, excessive alcohol consumption can drastically lower your appetite and hurt your performance in the gym in the not-so-long term.
Acid reflux, for those who experience it, can be a great source of daily discomfort. This occurs when contents of the stomach (including acid) flow back up into the esophagus from the stomach, causing discomfort, a burning sensation and gas. In addition to these unpleasant symptoms, acid reflux can shrink your appetite.
Natural Appetite Boosters
Before turning to supplements to increase your appetite, there are several changes you can make to your daily life to increase your appetite, which will assist in taking in all of those calories that you need to consume to build muscle and put on some weight. Here are some natural ways to boost your appetite:
Alright, easier said than done; however, if you have unnecessary stressors and you’re finding your fitness progress halting or regressing, working on either making that stressor less stressful or completely removing it can often make a big impact on appetite. Whether work, or family related, stress can be a killer, and attending to and dissipating that stress can do wonders for your mind and body.
If removing stressors is something you struggle with, check out TIME Magazine’s 14 Ways To Be A Happier Person.
Change Meal Frequency & Size
If you work long hours, or you simply have a very busy schedule, you might only be getting 1 or 2 meals per day. This kills your appetite, as well as your metabolism. If you find yourself having difficulty consuming large meals, break up your meals into 5 or 6 small meals per day. This kind of portion control and frequent meal timing can drastically improve your appetite and allow you to reach your caloric goals without struggling through a huge, heavy meal at the end of the day.
Add Compound or Olympic Lifts Into Your Workout Regimen
Working out burns calories and increases your appetite, but if you’re focusing on mainly isolation lifts, your appetite isn’t being affected as much as it would with more involving lifts, even with high volume. Adding some compound or Olympic lifts such as squats, power cleans, snatches, etc. to your lifts is a time-tested method of increasing a lifter’s appetite (as well as functional strength).
Appetite, for the fitness enthusiast, plays a huge part in reaching your goals. If you want to pack on some lean mass or simply maintain your current body, getting enough calories is non-negotiable. However, if you can’t seem to consume enough, it’s time to make a change. If following natural methods of boosting your appetite bear no fruit, then appetite supplements are a great way to kick your body into calorie intake mode, and get those gains you’re working so hard for.