What to Eat Before and After Hot Yoga Class

Hot yoga classes have become all the rage lately, and regardless of if you’re a hot yoga newbie or a seasoned vet, it’s important to make sure you take special care to fuel yourself well both before and after class. Why? Well, the hot room is great for loosening up muscles, but all that sweating can take a toll on your body’s hydration and electrolyte balance. Before you hit the mat, make sure you’re ready for a good sweat session.

What to Eat Before

You want to skip heavy foods before you take part in hot yoga. The heaviness can rest in your gut for the entire class and make you feel queasy. Instead, try having a light snack at least an hour before you head to the studio. This gives your digestive system enough time to do some work to get the food out of your tummy, while still allowing you to reap the benefits from the jump in blood sugar.

apple-peanut-butter-snack-idea

Stick with foods that you know are easy on your system. If you’re worried that those refried beans you had at lunch are going to cause embarrassment during your yoga practice, you might want to skip class that day. Eat foods that you know your body agrees with, and you can count on to not impact your practice. You want to be focusing on your practice, not worried about how your belly feels.

For quick energy, try eating foods that have both complex carbs and simple sugars.

Here are some good options:

  • Banana or apple slices dipped in peanut butter
  • Pitted Medjool date stuffed with almond butter
  • Healthy granola bars and energy bites are also good options

Make sure you stay well hydrated before your class—but DON’T overdo it. Practicing yoga with a belly (or bladder) full of water is uncomfortable. Instead, take small sips throughout the hours before your class to make sure your body is in shape to do a lot of sweating.

What to Eat After

Probably the first thing you’ll want to do post-hot yoga is drink some H20! Some instructors frown upon drinking water during a practice, but if you feel like you need to drink during your practice—drink. You know your body better than the yoga instructor does, so make sure you listen to it! And once you’re out of the studio, drink up. You can even try some other naturally-hydrating drinks like fruit juices or coconut water. Hydrating foods like watermelon or cucumber can also be a nice post-yoga treat, too (especially if they’re chilled).

After a workout is the time to stock your body up on protein. Protein is required to help rebuild cells, and rebuilding cells is how your muscles recover from a tough workout. Try to stock up on lean protein by drinking lowfat milk, eating a yogurt, or snacking on turkey jerky, hardboiled eggs, or sliced cheese. Since you’ve sweat through so much of your energy stores, you might want to get in some simple sugars—like fruit—to help you feel more normal quickly. And remember—keep drinking! Your body is going to be craving water for the rest of the day, and it’s important that you listen to it.

Image credit: DigBoston

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Cassie Johnston is an award-winning food writer and recipe developer living and working in Southern Indiana. Her work has been feature in national publications such as Gourmet Magazine and The Huffington Post. Cassie’s a big fan of strenuous hikes, cheese, watching sports, Brussels sprouts, and craft beer, and she’ll talk your ear off about her love of local food and seasonal eating. She’s obsessed with social media and loves connecting with new friends!