You're not alone if a hard workout yields hunger comparable to three Venice Beach body builders: A recent study found that women who exercise the most (194 minutes) lost only half the weight that researchers expected because of this very reason (check out more exercise dos and don'ts). It's also common to overeat before a big workout with the hopes of getting some extra fuel, which instead can cause nausea and cramping, according to ChicagoHealers.com Practitioner Dr. Martha Howard MD, Dipl. Ac. NCCAOM . What should you do to prevent these pre- or post-exercise binges? Howard offers up the foods that are best to consume before hitting the gym, which can help eliminate overeating later and will help you get the most of your workout. Many of these foods you can simply keep at work or bring along on errands, and be sure to always stay hydrated before and during your workout.
4 hours before: Fresh fruit, bread, bagels, pasta and tomato sauce, baked potato, energy bar, cereal and lowfat milk, lowfat yogurt, whole grain bread with a small slice of lean meat, almond or peanut butter, or lowfat cheese
2 to 3 hours before: Fresh fruit, lowfat yogurt, pasta, bread, bagels, water
1 hour before: Up to 12 oz of a natural sports drink that doesn't contain refined sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, or dyes; fresh fruit like apples, watermelon, peaches, grapes, oranges