Yoga is almost inescapable at this point. It’s become so popular that you’ll see the classes being offered up left, right, and center. And with good reason too – there is no end to the benefits that the practice offers.
But we’re not really here to talk about the wonders of yoga today. We’re talking about how you should fuel yourself for the session ahead. And it can be somewhat of a fine line to tread.
You want to make sure that you’ve eaten before you start, as you should with any exercise. Food is fuel for the body, and you don’t want to be putting your body under pressure and strain if it doesn’t have the fuel to get through it. That’s a surefire when to pass out, and that doesn’t exactly align with the relaxing process of yoga.
But you also don’t want to scoff down a three-course meal before you start, either. If you do, you’re going to have a very heavy stomach and you’re going to feel pretty uncomfortable throughout your session. And then you won’t get the most out of it. Plus, it could even make you nauseated and you’re definitely not going to want to stretch and pose on a vomit-soaked mat…ew.
So, what is the perfect balance between the two? And what should you eat? Let’s find out.
What You Should Be Eating In General
Now, this might be any younger child’s worst nightmare, but we’re older now and we know better than to throw a fit at getting in our veggies. But yes, leafy greens are the way to go.
Leafy greens are literally the best friend of yoga. Why? Well, because it will skyrocket your body’s mineral content. We’re talking calcium, magnesium, potassium, and the like. Minerals have many benefits to the body already, but they definitely help to keep our adrenals nice and happy.
For those who may not know, adrenals are small glands in our body that produce steroid hormones such as adrenaline. And these help to control heart rate, blood pressure, and other important bodily functions.
Then it’s really a case of just upkeeping a balanced diet. Now, we hear this term a lot, but admittedly it’s pretty vague, so let’s take a look at what a balanced diet consists of.
- Proteins – These can be animal proteins such as chicken, beef, and fish. Or alternatively, you can opt for protein powders if you are vegetarian or vegan.
- Carbohydrates – You can get these from plenty of different sources such as some fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes.
- Fats – Ideally these will come from options such as nuts, avocados, natural butters, etc. You don’t want to be eating lots of saturated fats though.
- Fruits & Vegetables – You also want to be aiming to include your five-a-day into your meals throughout the day.
A combination of a healthy diet, plenty of water, and a great sleep routine will set you up amazingly to unleash the power of yoga at its full potential.
What To Eat Before A Yoga Session
Okay, so now that we know how we should be eating on a daily basis, how about just before you roll out that mat and get your meditation on?
Nothing too heavy, that’s for sure. You don’t want a big meal to be sitting stodgily in your stomach just as you start to stretch and bend. That’s going to leave you feeling very uncomfortable and sick.
But as we mentioned earlier, working out on a completely empty stomach is also far from ideal. Instead, you’re going to want to opt for a light meal or a small snack around 60 minutes before you plan on stepping on the mat.
This is because you want to leave enough time for your digestive tract to get to work and remove the food from sitting heavy in your stomach during the workout. But you don’t want to leave it too much longer than this either since you want to reap all the benefits from having that safe blood sugar spike.
You’ll want to opt for food that is easy on your system and stomach. Choose foods that you know will sit well with you while providing sustainable energy from complex carbs, simple sugars, and good fats.
Examples Of What To Eat Before A Yoga Session
You might be sitting here thinking okay that’s all well and good but I don’t know what foods sit well and provide sustainable energy. Well, don’t worry, we’re getting to it now, we promise.
Below are some of the best examples of what to eat pre-yoga workout.
- Apples or bananas with peanut butter
- Pitted Medjool dates stuffed with almond butter
- Granola Bars (just make sure they’re the healthy versions – not all of them are)
- Nuts and fresh fruit
- Smoothies & Protein shakes (preferably homemade to ensure they’re containing the right ingredients)
- Hard-boiled eggs and carrot sticks
Making sure you stay hydrated is also super important when it comes to yoga but again, you need to tread the line with your water intake carefully too. You don’t want a full belly of water sloshing around as you move into all your many different shapes and poses. Plus, you’ll likely be interrupting the session every 5 minutes to go to the bathroom.
Instead, it’s best to take small sips throughout the day before your session
When it comes to doing yoga, you definitely want to make sure that there’s something in your stomach before you begin. If you don’t you’re likely to feel pretty light-headed and exhausted. With that being said, though, you also don’t want to gorge yourself on tons of snacks or a hearty meal before you begin.
Or you’ll end up with a painful stitch, an uncomfortable stomach, and some pretty nauseating feelings too.
So, ideally, you want to opt for a light snack or meal that is going to give you just the right amount of fuel and energy before you begin. Opt for foods with plenty of complex carbohydrates, simple sugars, and good fats and you should be ready for the session ahead.