There’s a lot of information out there about the things we should and shouldn’t do for our health. It’s amazing to have access to these resources, but it can also be overwhelming… especially when that information conflicts with itself! Lately, we’ve been wondering about what we should and shouldn’t eat before and after taking online yoga classes.
As always when we have these kinds of nutrition-related questions, we turn to our in-house expert Haley Halteman! She’s been known to dish on her favorite healthy desserts, but now we’re calling her in for a more specific purpose — to tell us what’s best to eat before and after yoga.
Keep scrolling for Haley’s recommendations and prepare to add to your grocery list, since her suggestions are bound to set you up for the best online yoga workout ever.
What to eat before your online yoga class
If you have two hours before class…
Haley suggests going for a full, nutrient-dense meal that includes protein, fat, and carbs.
According to the American Heart Association, ideal ingredients to add to these nutrient-dense meals include whole-grain cereals with low-fat or skim milk, whole wheat toast (with some nut butter for added protein!), low-fat or fat-free yogurt, whole grain pasta, brown rice, fruits, and vegetables.
Don’t include butter, cheese, and red meat in your meal. These are high in saturated fats and should be avoided before an online yoga class if you want to get the most out of your workout.
If you’re in a rush…
Didn’t have time to plan ahead for a meal two hours before class? No worries! Haley recommends a protein bar — her favorites are Bulletproof bars and Primal Kitchen Collagen bars — or apple with nut butter to give yourself a little extra oomph!
Your worst options…
We’ve already told you about the importance of skipping saturated fats before class (you don’t want to counteract those online yoga health benefits!), but they’re not actually the worst way to go. Here’s what Haley has to say about her biggest “don’t” when it comes to pre-workout meals: “Eating nothing at all! This will make you feel weak and extra dizzy during class.”
Noted! Per Haley, the second-worst option would be to eat a meal high in refined sugar, which will give you lots of energy right away, then leave you crashing during class. Yikes! Healthline notes that foods including baked goods, sauces, candy, and sodas fall into this high-refined sugar category.
What to eat after your online yoga class
Your new go-to post-workout options…
Simple carbs. These carbohydrates, according to Haley, are exactly what you need to replenish your depleted glycogen stores and get your energy back up after an intense yoga workout. She recommends grapefruits and oranges. Yes, there are plenty of sugary snacks that technically fall into the bucket of simple carbs, but you’re better off sticking with whole fruits whenever possible.
High-quality protein. Collagen, bone broth, grass-fed whey, and eggs are Haley’s preferred options. According to Medical News Today, the body can only build on existing muscle growth after a workout if your muscles recover — and eating protein helps them do that! Eat protein if you really want to see some of the benefits of your online yoga class.
Water. This might sound like a no brainer, but all too often, people forget to rehydrate after a workout! You can make your water work even harder for you by adding lemon or making it coconut water, instead. Per Haley, these options can help your body to better replenish water and electrolytes. (Plus, drinking plenty of water gives you a great excuse to use your fave reusable water bottle!)
What not to eat…
“Once again, your worst option is eating or drinking nothing at all,” Haley says. “You gotta replenish those nutrients to build strength!”
After you sweat it out in an online yoga class, Haley also suggests steering clear of high-fat foods, including foods with healthy fats like avocado. Fat slows down the absorption of the nutrients you’re trying to take in and isn’t great to put in your body within the first 60 minutes after exercise.
“While in most instances, this is a great quality of fats, after a workout, your body is needing the protein and carbs quickly to recover,” Haley adds. “Save the healthy fat for about an hour post-workout.”
Other high-fat foods include cheese, dark chocolate, eggs, nuts, fatty fish, and olive oil.