A hot yoga class is a strenuous activity that requires a fuel strategy. Whether you're taking one of our heated Barkan yoga classes, a Bikram class, or one of our high-intensity interval training classes, it's important to properly fuel up before stepping on your mat. Properly preparing for your class can give you the energy to do that last rep, or sustain that challenging pose. If you're heading to our hot yoga studio any time soon, it's important to consider how to eat and drink for fuel and recovery.
Before Your Yoga Class
Some people prefer not to eat before exercising, especially if they exercise early in the morning. But if you tend to feel like you lose energy throughout your workout, consider eating a snack about 1-2 hours beforehand. Whole and/or light options, such as a banana or 2-3 rice cakes, are best. If that doesn't feel like enough, add a small spread of protein. Peanut butter, almond butter, or avocado are all great options. It's also important to avoid simple sugars that could lead to a crash later on.
Additionally, make sure to hydrate before class. Without proper hydration, you might feel fatigued or overly thirsty as the class progresses. You may also experience dizziness or headaches. Remember that the room will be very hot, so drink water like you would on a late summer day.
After Your Yoga Class
When class ends, pick up where you left off - with water, water, and more water! Chances are, you became sweaty and dehydrated as your hot yoga class increased in intensity. You don't have to drink a certain amount - just drink to satisfy your thirst. But even if you didn't sweat much, drink at least a glass to ensure you don't become dehydrated as you cool off. You could also pick up a sports recovery drink, which will replace lost electrolytes faster than plain water.
As far as food, you can eat a bit heavier after class than you did beforehand - especially since you'll probably be hungrier. Try to eat a good mix of carbs, fat, and protein for muscle recovery and satiety. If you took a morning hot yoga class, maybe put together some oatmeal with milk and fruit. If it's later in the day, try a sandwich with a lean protein (perhaps chicken, or a meat substitute if you're vegetarian), a good source of fat such as avocado, and veggie toppings as you like.
As you go to more classes, you can try all of these suggestions and see how you feel best. Eating, not eating, different foods and water amounts - every person will respond differently. It's most important to listen to your body and do what works for you to get your optimal workout.
Ready to try your first yoga class? Learn more about our new client special, and check out The Hot Yoga Spot near you today!