One of the worst things you could be doing if you practice yoga is not feeding your body before and after your practice. Regularly practicing on an empty stomach can actually decrease your metabolism and muscle mass, and not eating afterwards can leave you exhausted. If you don’t refuel, you will build overall strength but your muscles will not develop, which will leave you weak throughout your practice and daily life. If you want to build that yoga body and succeed in your practice, fueling up with the proper nutrients is a must. I practice power yoga in a heated room and along with being super conscious about hydrating, I plan each of my “before and after” yoga snacks so that I feel powerful and energetic throughout and after. Since I either practice in the morning or in the evening, I’ll breakdown my favorite meal ideas by time of day so that you can pick one or two snacks out of the couple I list, or be inspired to create your own power snacks based off of these suggestions.
An early morning class:
Pre-yoga: if you are doing an early morning class (most likely between 5-9 am), then it is likely that you will be practicing on an empty stomach. This can make you feel tired and groggy, rather than awake! Here are a few things you can do that are quick, and pack a punch:
One hour – 45 minutes before practice:
- Drink 8 oz. of water
- One piece of fruit (apple, banana, avocado, water rich fruits like melons, etc.)
- A handful of almonds, or trail mix with almonds and dried fruit. Almonds are rich in vitamin E, potassium, and magnesium which will give you energy and stamina. Dried fruits are low in acidity and have natural sugars that will give you energy without heartburn.
- Rehydrate with 8-16 oz. water, coconut water, or electrolyte water
- Smoothies: this is my favorite because they are fast and easy to make, are a “grab-and-go”, and you can throw in amazing nutrients to replenish your body. There are many recipes out there for power smoothies and everyone is a little different in what they like. To get inspiration for ingredients, check out my Pinterest Board for Power Drinks.
- A bowl of oatmeal or quinoa cooked with almond milk
- Peanut butter and bananas
- Hard boiled or scrambled eggs
- Omelet with veggies
An evening class:
Pre-yoga: hopefully you are doing an evening class before eating dinner. Doing yoga on a full stomach (like any other workout) will slow you down, make you possibly feel nauseous, and make it difficult to engage your core. Here are a few snack ideas to power you up before the evening class:
One hour before practice:
- Hydrate your body (especially if you’ve had coffee) with 8 oz of water, coconut water, water-based fruits (melons), electrolytes, pre-workout protein mixed with water, etc.
- Plain greek yogurt mixed with dried fruit, coconut slices, and almond butter
- A piece of fruit: (apple, banana, avocado, water rich fruits like melons, etc.)
- One piece of 15-grain toast with nut butter of choice
After practice, you want to eat a meal that is high in protein, which helps your muscles recover, and low in carbs and fats:
- Hydrate again with water, coconut water, electrolytes.
- Lean protein foods: chicken, eggs, lean beef, turkey, beans and lentils, tofu, edamame, etc.
- A brown rice bowl with leafy green veggies and a protein element
- Grilled salmon
- Sauteed veggies
- Sweet potatoes
- A salad with avocado, quinoa, broccoli, and a protein element
These are my go-to food ideas for a healthy, balanced, and powerful practice! I would love to hear from you guys too: what do you like to eat after practice? Do you struggle with post-practice nutrition and building a routine? Do you have something you swear by and would like to share? Leave me a comment below!