Bikram Yoga is a great way to stay fit, but what you eat before and after your 90 minute class can also impact your fitness. In fact, these pre and post workout meals and snacks can not only make a difference in the quality of your workouts, but also the results and benefits you wish to obtain.
It is vital to fuel your body with the right nutrients to gain muscle strength, endurance and energy. Due to the time it takes the body to digest a meal, it is best to eat two hours prior to your Bikram yoga class. The optimal meal should contain a simple carbohydrate and a lean protein. Stay clear from the “slower to digest” foods such as high fat foods and even some high fiber foods.
Pre Workout ideas:
English muffin + 1-2 Tbsp peanut butter + banana
Egg whites + 2 slices of whole wheat toast + 6oz fruit juice
Fruit and low fat-yogurt smoothie + low fat granola
Oatmeal with walnuts + skim milk + grapes
It is best to consume your post workout meal within 30-60 minutes after your workout. During this period, you want to consume foods which will be quickly absorbed into your digestive system supplying your muscles with vital nutrients, fast. After your workout, it’s important to restore your muscle glycogens so that your muscle tissue doesn’t breakdown. For that purpose, carbohydrates are the best to eat, which will help push nutrients into your muscle tissue faster. Protein intake during this time will help to build muscle, recover and adapt.
Post Workout ideas:
2 soft tacos + grilled chicken + lettuce + tomato + salsa and Mexican rice
Grilled chicken/beef/turkey/fish (choose any) + rice + steamed vegetables
Egg white omelet packed with vegetables and Swiss cheese + 6oz fruit juice
Deli sandwich on whole wheat bread with turkey, lettuce, tomato, extra veggies, mustard and baked chips
If achieving optimal fitness is your goal, then carefully plan your pre and post workout nutrition. If you don’t supply your body with the proper nutrients necessary to repair, replenish, recover and adapt to the training stimulus, such as Bikram yoga, it will be that much more difficult to reach your goals. Think: quality in, quality out. The better quality nutrition you provide your body with, the better quality outcome you will achieve.
Laurie Taunton MS R.D.
Laurie Taunton is a Registered Dietitian with her Master’s of Science in Sports Nutrition. She has been working as a clinical dietitian at Winthrop University Hospital for the last 6 years. In addition, she is a guest lecturer for undergraduate classes at C.W. Post. Laurie practices what she preaches by living an active and healthy lifestyle. Laurie enjoys many activities such as soccer, running, weight lifting, spinning and most recently Bikram Yoga. Laurie started Bikram Yoga in February of 2011 and hasn’t looked back. She has completed half marathons, tough mudders and summer series running events which have all taken a toll on her legs and knees. Since taking Bikram yoga, not only has Laurie experienced mental clarity, weight loss, and flexibility but it has strengthened her legs and knees. In essence, this has helped her achieve a deeper stretch to help her muscles recover and complete long runs with less aches and pains. Every month she researches and writes nutrition articles with up to date information for our yoga students. These articles provide each one of us with healthy information to improve our yoga practice. It’s important to realize it’s not only what we do inside the yoga room, but also the nutrition we put in our bodies as well that can help improve our postures, breathing, and achieve optimal results of all our hard work.