Objective To explore whether exercise motivation predicted two of the potential mechanisms that may explain why individuals engage in unhealthy compensatory snack consumption following exercise; specifically (a) post-exercise conscious licensing beliefs, and (b) post-exercise implicit attitudes toward unhealthy snacks. Design Observational study. Method One hundred and nineteen healthy participants completed a 40-min session of moderate intensity stationary cycling, and subsequently completed measures of explicit licensing and implicit associations toward unhealthy snack foods and drinks. Results Individuals driven by more controlled (relative to autonomous) forms of exercise motivation reported greater compensatory licensing beliefs (Est = −0.08, p < 0.001) even after accounting for a number of relevant covariates. No significant relationship emerged between exercise motivation and implicit associations toward unhealthy snacks (Est = 0.12, p = 0.81). Conclusion The findings demonstrate that exercise motivation may predict conscious licensing beliefs toward unhealthy snack foods and drinks post-exercise. Understanding the modifiable factors – such as exercise motivation – that predict post-exercise dietary beliefs is important for supporting individuals’ weight loss and health goals.