When to Eat Before Yoga Practice and After

When to Eat Before Yoga Practice and After
Eating to support your yoga lifestyle will further enhance your experience. The kinds of food you eat and when you eat them are very important factors when planning a healthy diet and exercise plan. Many people say you shouldn’t eat before exercising in general, while others encourage it. Like many other aspects of yoga, there is always a balance you can strike to form the healthiest lifestyle.

When To Eat Before Yoga and After Yoga

When to eat before yoga can vary based on individual body types, capabilities and goals. If you are practicing yoga for weight loss, you are likely to burn more fat if there is less food in your system. This causes your body to use stored energy during exercise, expediting the weight loss process. A recent study performed on 12 active men showed that those exercising before eating breakfast burn 20% more body fat than those that exercised after eating. However, it’s pretty common for people to become overly fatigued during exercise and therefore deliver a weaker performance. If this is the case for you, having something in your system is probably better; there’s no sense in exercising on an empty stomach if you can’t even muster the energy to exercise!

The problem with eating immediately before any workout is related to digestion. Your stomach is entering the digestive process after ingesting food, and this requires significant blood flow — but so do working muscles! Once you start exercising the blood flow redirects to the muscles, hindering digestion in the process. This can cause mild to severe discomfort, especially in the form of abdominal cramping. Severe cramping can even be dangerous; if you’re trying out a more advanced position and suddenly cramp up, there are many ways that you could end up injuring yourself.

With that being said, exercising requires energy, and we get our energy from food! If you’re hungry and have a yoga session coming up, you can choose the proper types and amounts of food you should eat based on the amount of time you have before your workout. Generally, try not to eat anything significant after an hour before your workout. If you have an hour and need a snack, go for something rich with nutrients but easy to digest, such as bananas, plain almonds, or avocados. If you need a more significant meal, specifically ones that include veggies, grains or anything starchy, try to allow at least 2 hours before your workout. These foods can make you feel weighed down and therefore restrict your workout. For heavier meals including meat (or meals for non-meat eaters who enjoy eating their way into food comas), try to allow 3-4 hours between eating and your workout. If you have missed the mark and have less than an hour before your workout, decide what’s more important: eating something or exercising. You have to choose one or the other in this case, and it’s much better to skip a workout than disrupt your digestion, or to exercise with zero energy to expend.Keep in mind, these times are great guidelines but are very relative– not only does it depend on your natural metabolism, but it also depends on your activity. If you ate a huge meal 3 hours ago, watched some tv and took a nap, your body most likely won’t be as ready to exercise as it would if you had eaten, taken the dog for a walk and did some laundry. You may want to follow these time rules to begin with, but definitely adjust based on your personal results. Just remember this standard rule of thumb: the closer you get to the workout, the less you should be eating!

What to Eat Before Yoga and After Yoga

If you are trying to find delicious, heart-healthy, nutrient-rich foods to enhance your yoga lifestyle, there’s a world of amazing and accessible options! As listed above, bananas, almonds and avocados are great — they are rich in nutrients and the potassium in bananas help prevent cramping. 100% fruit juice or green juices are also amazing and a great way to get a lot of energy in your system if you’re close to a workout (though even juices should have about an hour to set). There are hundreds of green juice recipes out there, chock-full of veggie and fruity goodness, and can always be altered to fit your tastes! While being a vegan or vegetarian is by no means a requirement for doing yoga, it does help promote an even healthier yoga lifestyle. However, the risk of not getting enough protein can be high for vegetarians and vegans especially, and protein is essential in body repair and metabolic function. Because it can be difficult to get a sufficient amount of protein from plants, try a 100% plant-based protein powder! Healthy and easy to add to all kinds of foods and beverages, it’s a perfect way to supplement your diet with the essentials.