Refueling After a Yoga Class: Why It Matters
We tend to think of yoga as a low-intensity, relaxing, and meditative practice. And that’s certainly an accurate description of many types of yoga. But no matter what type of yoga you practice, if you’re trying to master demanding poses or practicing in a heated studio, yoga can also be quite challenging for the mind and body.
While your mind and body may feel relaxed and calm, it’s not at all uncommon to be famished after class. All that movement from one pose to the next, holding difficult poses, and deep concentration results in a need for fuel. So, if your first stop after yoga practice is the kitchen, you’re not alone.
Here’s why you need to refuel after yoga class and how to choose your post-workout snack or meal wisely.
Why You Need to Refuel After Yoga Class
Practicing yoga is a fantastic way to strengthen, tone, and stretch your muscles while calming your mind and managing stress. But if you want to get the most out of your practice, providing your body with the right nutrition is crucial. While eating a meal right before class isn’t generally recommended, refueling your body after a yoga class is a must.
When you work your muscles hard, as you do in some yoga practices, your muscles and tendons can develop microscopic tears. You may not even notice them, but it’s not uncommon to feel a little sore after a challenging session. If you fail to refuel your body properly after class, muscle recovery will take longer, and you will be more susceptible to injury.
In fact, yoga can be every bit as demanding as strength training or cardio, and refueling at the end of your yoga session is just as important as it is after any high-intensity workout. Whether you’re testing your focus during a vinyasa sequence or working your muscles in an Ashtanga session, yoga requires both mental and physical energy.
Prioritizing nutrition after yoga class can make all the difference in how quickly you recover, and how you feel as you go about the rest of your day. It can even play a role in how you perform in your next class, too.
How to Refuel After Yoga Class
Proper hydration both before and after yoga practice is absolutely essential. Staying hydrated is key for keeping your muscles functioning smoothly and it will have a major impact on your mental and physical performance. If plain water isn’t your thing, consider adding lemon or try electrolyte-rich coconut water.
Your post-yoga food selections may differ a bit depending on the time of day and what type of yoga you practice but it’s important to include both carbohydrates and protein to refuel your mind and body after class.
Keep in mind that your body will get the most benefit if you provide the right nutrients within two hours of your session. If you can, bring a meal or snack with you and eat it right after class. This will help refuel your energy levels and rebuild and repair any damaged muscle tissues.
Here are the three most important things to think about when you’re planning your post-yoga meals and snacks:
Feed Your Muscles After a Yoga Class
Feeding your muscles is key after any type of exercise, and that includes yoga. Muscle is made of protein, so it only makes sense that protein should be the key component of your post-yoga meal or snack. High-quality, plant-based protein will help your muscles recover quickly and help you build new muscle so you’re even stronger in your next class.
Protein powders made from soy are an easy way to get the protein you need and refuel your muscles quickly. They can be added to juice, a smoothie, or a shake and they’re easy to take with you on the go. They also come in a variety of delicious flavors and provide additional nutrients and antioxidants your body needs for recovery.
Other good sources of protein include Greek yogurt, hummus, nuts, seeds, eggs, cheese, nut butters, and nut milks. Shoot for around 10 to 20 grams of protein to build and repair muscle after yoga.
Add Slow-Burning Carbs to Replenish Your Energy Levels – After a Yoga Class
With all the twisting, turning, stretching, and holding that goes on in yoga class, it’s no wonder that your energy level is depleted after a challenging yoga session. They also help to refuel your muscles, give your brain a boost, and support the nervous system.
In addition to being a fantastic source of plant-based protein, Soy protein meal replacement powders are also a great source of slow-burning carbs to keep your energy level up as you go through the rest of your day.
Whole grains, such as oatmeal, are also packed with complex carbs for long-lasting energy. Fruit is another great choice because it’s packed with simple carbs to give you a quick boost. It also provides hydration, electrolytes, and vitamins, and minerals to replenish what you’ve lost during your session.
A Few Final Tips for Refueling After Yoga -After a Yoga Class
Knowing what and when to eat after yoga is key for the success of your practice. Remember that your body is the most receptive to absorbing nutrients within two hours of practice. Eating as soon as possible after class not only supports recovery, it also plays a role in how you perform throughout the rest of your day and even in your next class.
Combining carbs, protein, vitamins, minerals, and hydration will help you recover and heal faster. This combination will help your muscle rebuild glycogen which is basically stored fuel for your muscles. Replenishing your glycogen stores is key for preventing fatigue, burnout, and lowering your risk of injury.
Remember that rest and sleep are also important for recovery. In fact, proper diet, exercise, and sleep are the key components of any healthy lifestyle. Prioritizing these essentials will keep you energized and performing at your best for the long haul.