What should I eat before a Hot Yoga Class?
Nutrition and Bikram Yoga
Bikram Yoga is a rigorous yoga practice, which requires a bit of dietary planning in order to facilitate the optimal experience during and after your yoga class. The foods you eat should agree with your stomach and promote feeling well during your experience. This being noted, it is not recommended to eat any meal at least 2 hours before your first class and to avoid too much caffeine and caffeinated drinks. This gives your stomach enough time to digest whatever food you've eaten that day and to avoiding unwanted stomach upset from trying to exercise and digest food at the same time. Some students may need a completely empty stomach before class, while others may be able to snack on a small piece of fruit an hour before an early-morning class.
Here are some of the optimal foods:
Fruits are a healthy option to eat before and after a Bikram yoga class. Bananas, a source of potassium and sodium, make an ideal snack to restore the electrolytes lost from sweating during class. Fruits are low in calories and have little to no fat, making them a light snack to eat that won't weigh you down or leave you feeling heavy. Fruits contain carbohydrates and provide a natural source of sugar to give you the energy needed to perform asanas and concentrate during class. Dates, raisins, apricots and water-rich plums and peaches also make for healthy yogi snacks.
Practitioners should avoid eating heavy, fatty foods because of how long it takes to digest fats. However, this doesn't mean you should avoid fats altogether. Rather, healthy fats in moderation can create a feeling of fullness, stabilizing blood sugar levels and preventing hunger pangs during or after classes. Snack on a handful of nuts hours before class or top a light, leafy-green salad with a quarter of an avocado or a drizzle of olive oil.
Whole-grain carbohydrates provide a source of energy to get you through a 90-minute Bikram yoga class. Unlike refined carbs such as white bread, whole grains contain fiber, which slows down the rate at which energy is released into the body. This helps keep blood sugar levels steady, avoiding fluctuations that lead to energy crashes and hunger cravings. For breakfast or a snack a few hours before class, enjoy a serving of oatmeal topped with a few nuts for added protein and healthy fats. Pair carbs such as a sweet potato or brown rice with lean protein after class to restore glycogen and aid in muscle recovery.
Please take the time to speak to your instructor before or after class to voice any concerns or questions about your optimal diet and hydration.