So you’ve just finished your Bikram yoga class, you’re sweaty and probably really hungry. After all, you did spend 90 minutes following a sequence of 26 asanas while correcting yourself in the mirror. The room was heated up, and humidity was higher than what you’d be used to, outside the studio. Hungry might be an understatement for what you’re feeling, you’re probably famished. So the questions arise of what to eat after Bikram yoga without damaging the outcomes just received.
Due to the intense workout that comes through practising hot yoga, after a class, your muscles might feel sore from all the stretching, and on a level, your eye can’t perceive there might some small tears in the tissue. Rest assured this is the normal part of building muscles. These “micro-tears” happen due to heavy workouts, and with the amount of blood pumping around your body, a couple of hours after, the tissue starts to repair itself, giving you muscle growth, which is the pain you feel in the body.
Bikram yoga is designed around heating your body with an intense workout to promote muscle growth and improved circulations. Keeping this in mind, it’s just as important to know what to eat post-workout to prepare your diet for the pre-workout period.
When to eat after Bikram yoga?
Your body will be in the best phase of absorbing nutrients around a period of 30-60 minutes post-workout. Eating around this time will have a great impact on your next class and aid in improving your performance. If you want to succeed in your yoga practice, you need to fuel your body with the proper nutrients. Yoga will give you overall body strength, but without the right intake, your muscles will not develop and you will feel weak throughout your practice and daily life.
What to eat after Bikram yoga?
Keeping with the Bikram yoga theme of muscle growth the three main food groups you will be focusing on are:
Fat: A key player in muscle building is the hormone testosterone, a low-fat diet can impede your muscle growth by lowering testosterone production. Healthy fats should be 15-20% of your daily calorie intake.
Proteins: Consuming proteins provides the body with essential amino acids that are required for building new muscle tissue and assisting with repairs. You should be consuming a range of 1.2-1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, or 0.5 to 0.8 grams per pound of body weight.
Carbohydrates: Carbs provide your body with the energy it needs for tough workouts and to replenish the energy stores in muscles. You need carbs to be able to exercise longer and more effectively. For hot yoga, you should be consuming 6-10 grams per kilogram of body weight per day or 2 to 2.5 grams of carbs per pound of body weight.
Timing of your class and Diet: Not everyone shares the same timing or manages to get the class of their preferred time, which is okay as far as your diet goes because depending on when you have your class your diet just needs to be adjusted accordingly to make the most of your workout. Let’s look at your nutritional schedule by class:
1. An early morning class
If you signed up for the early morning class of 4-8 am then you are probably someone that has a tight schedule set up for rest of the day, you will need to eat a balanced meal after the hot yoga class that will get you through until lunchtime. Ideally, it would be best to have a proper dinner a night before your morning class.
For your diet we recommend:
- The first thing you should do post hot yoga class is hydrate yourself, drink at least half a litre of water, or cool lemonade.
- Some scrambled eggs with veggies with whole-grain toast.
- Green vegetables that are stir-fried and a handful of nuts like almonds.
- Fresh fruit juice or almond milk.
- Oatmeal with berries and nuts.
2. Lunchtime class
While everyone else wants to take some time to break away from work, you are determined to make most of your free time, and you wanted to use this time and burn off some steam. But hey there is a reason most of society eats around this time, after all the work you did in the morning you will be hungry right about now. Or maybe you already had a meal?
If you didn’t eat lunch:
You burned off breakfast, so it’s time to filler up. Here are our recommendations for a post-class lunch meal:
- Hummus with veggies and a side of fruit.
- Sprouted Grain wrap with black beans, salsa, and guacamole.
- Large green salad with cooked grains or beans and sliced avocado.
If you had lunch:
If you already lunch and breakfast before that, then your stomach is still busy digesting the food, and that got you through the class, but you did have an intense workout, so you need some snacks to keep your energy up. Here is what we think you should have:
- Some whole-grain crackers.
- A bowl of salad with veggies.
- A small bag of trail mix with nuts, seeds, and fruits.
3. Evening class
You’ve had a long day and it’s time to burn off all that stress with an evening class, just what the doctor ordered, and here is what we recommend you order for your meal after an evening class:
- A rice bowl with a nut or tahini-based sauce and lots of veggies.
- A big plate of steamed veggies with avocado.
- Soup with vegetables, bean/lentils, and barley or quinoa.
- A banana with almond butter.
Sweating is your body’s natural way of cooling down the body’s external temperature by releasing the water stored, through the pores in your skin. During a hot yoga class, you will be sweating – A LOT. When you lose the water, your body is already very heated up. To keep it going after your workout, you need to replenish water and electrolytes, regulate nerve and muscle function, hydrate the body, and help repair muscles. So you need to make sure to stay hydrated to stay in the hot yoga game.
Sports drinks have electrolytes, but unfortunately, these drinks also come with excessive sugar and other chemicals which will only hold you back from achieving your fitness goals. So here is what we recommend:
- Drink coconut water
- Fresh fruit juices
- Juice milkshakes
- Chocolate milk
It might seem odd to see chocolate milk included in the list, but it includes fats, proteins, and carbs, this makes it a perfect drink after class.
Foods to avoid
Doing hot yoga will challenge you in many ways, one of those things will be temptations to consume food items that might contain a high amount of sugar and fats that are difficult for your body to breakdown. Sugar and fat are important for your body but only in moderate amounts, too much of these in your diet will make you lethargic and might even increase your weight despite your intense hot yoga classes. So avoid processed chips or fries and put down that cheesecake. Ensure you keep nourishing foods as part of your regimen and stick to healthy snacks like nuts and fruits.
Remember that Bikram yoga is about mental discipline and fortitude, it plays like an intense workout and that means you will have to maintain a diet that supports, not only, your yoga classes but also your goals. To make the most of your hot yoga, you will have to discipline your mind and body. And you can do this by focusing on what you eat after your classes. By eating the right type of food groups you can guarantee that it gets the nutrients it needs to achieve the goals you set out for yourself. No matter what time you have a class, make sure your food consists of all three: Fats, Carbohydrates, and Proteins. Your body will need all three along with hydration from water and the assistance or electrolytes to build your muscles and repair the micro-tears that you’ll get during your workout. Due to this very reason, a close look should be given to what to eat after Bikram yoga to satisfy your body nutrient needs properly. Please avoid doing hot yoga on a diet that is limited to just fruits or liquids, you will be burning through a lot of your body’s energy and will need to replenish it by eating the right type of food along with the right amounts.
Arrange your diet according to your class timings and also consult a doctor in case you have pre-existing conditions to make sure you are eating foods that don’t affect your condition. It is also advisable to consult your yoga teacher and a nutritionist to get the best possible advice and a health plan that caters to your body and the needs of your body specifically.