Should I Eat Before Or After Yoga?

Eating and exercise must maintain a close relationship for the best results. However, this relationship is usually better in a long-distance relationship. Okay, comparing these two to a relationship is a stretch, but the point still remains. 

If you’re going to exercise, your body needs adequate fuel to do so. However, you might not feel great if you eat too soon or right after exercise. So, it’s usually better to space it out a little. It varies from person to person, but we’ll explain the basics, so stick around to learn more!

Is It Good To Eat Before Yoga?

Eating before yoga is an excellent idea, as it gives your body the fuel it needs to perform in the upcoming exercise session. However, don’t pack in the calories. Instead, opt for a light, energizing snack that won’t weigh you down. 

Overeating before yoga can make you feel sick and even nauseous. So, it’s best to stick with a small, light snack about an hour before class. Avoid eating right before class, as you might feel sick moving so soon after eating. 

Remember how our moms insisted we couldn’t swim for at least 15 minutes after eating? While waiting the whole 15 minutes was excruciating for our little minds, mom was right (yet again). The same concept applies to your yoga schedule – try not to eat immediately before class. Even if you have a good 45 minutes to an hour before class starts, stick to a light snack. 

Should Yoga Be Done On An Empty Stomach?

In some traditions, yogis advocate practicing yoga in the early morning on an empty stomach. This is 100 percent doable, but you need to listen to your body. Some folks function perfectly fine on an empty stomach, while others rapidly lose energy, strength, and motivation. 

If you struggle to practice yoga on an empty stomach, that’s okay. Consider consuming a light snack before practice to give your body an extra boost. Or, if your yoga practice advocates for early morning sessions on an empty stomach, consider bumping the practice to a bit later after you’ve eaten. 

However, you don’t have to ditch that yoga practice altogether if you particularly enjoy it. Make it work for you – yoga is a versatile exercise, so adjust your plans to accommodate your body’s needs. When your body demands energy, don’t disregard the plea. 

What Should You Eat Before Yoga?

As mentioned, most folks are better off eating a small snack before their yoga classes. The little snack gives them a boost of energy and a source of fuel to power them through their classes. However, selecting this “little” snack can be tricky if you’re new to yoga. 

So, what should you eat before your yoga class? Here are a few excellent snack options that’ll provide the energy you need without bogging you down:

  • Fruits and protein: These two are a top-tier combination. Have a piece of high-fiber fruit with protein, like an apple with nut butter, or a bowl of berries with a bit of yogurt. 
  • Sports bars: If you’re on the go, sports bars are a great choice. Choose a high-fiber, high-protein, and low-sugar energy bar for a snack before class. Some folks choose to consume half of the bar before class, as it maintains energy levels without being too much. 
  • Nuts: A handful of almonds, cashews, or any of your favorite nuts are another healthy choice, perfect for folks on the go. Before you leave the house, toss a handful of nuts into a snack bag, then eat them about an hour before class. Nuts offer a great source of protein and healthy fat mixed with a small amount of carbs to power you through the session. 
  • Grains: While not ideal for busy folks, a small portion of oatmeal (or another cooked grain) can be an excellent choice for riding the wave of energy through your yoga class. The grains can offer just enough energy without making you feel too full. 

Don’t Forget To Stay Hydrated!

It’s easy to forget about hydration, especially when you’re caught up in the dilemma of when you should and shouldn’t eat. However, staying hydrated is equally as important (if not more so) as eating for energy before class. 

Many folks sweat quite a bit during yoga classes, which causes them to lose water, potentially dehydrating them. So, remember to stay hydrated before, during, and after class to avoid the potential side effects of dehydration.

Although you shouldn’t drink copious amounts of water right before or during class, as this can make you feel uncomfortable, it’s crucial to consume enough water throughout the day. 

Foods To Avoid Before Yoga

Yoga involves deep twists and forward bends, forcing your body to build strength, endurance, and flexibility. In these poses, you might be uncomfortable, especially if you ate a heavier meal beforehand. 

As a general rule of thumb, you should stick to light, easily digestible foods, like raw fruits and veggies with protein or a touch of carbs. Avoid heavier, full-sized meals, especially those that include greasy foods. 

Should I Eat After Yoga?

After you complete your yoga class, you can eat whatever you’d like. Since you won’t be contorting your body through another yoga class for a while, eating a full, heavier meal shouldn’t be an issue. 

That said, many yoga teachers recommend waiting about half an hour after you finish your yoga class before eating a main meal. This is primarily due to the poses you hold during yoga, some of which can work on the digestive tract. So, eating a large meal immediately after yoga could make you feel some discomfort. 

A small snack, similar to the one you had before class, is usually your better option here. Then, you won’t be ravenously hungry while you wait for the half-hour after class. 

When Should I Eat, Before Or After Yoga?

Now, we know a small snack before and after class is a good idea but is one better? The answer ultimately depends on you and your goals. For example, someone practicing yoga in the morning on an empty stomach may prefer to wait until afterward to eat. 

However, since not eating before class is detrimental to some folks, eating beforehand is essential. We recommend eating a small snack about an hour before class (unless you prefer fasting exercise), then consuming another small snack after class (if you’re hungry).

Avoid eating large, main meals right before or immediately after class, as doing so may make you uncomfortable. Try to eat large meals at least a few hours before class or at least half an hour after class. A light meal might be the better option after a session, but it’s up to you. 

As we said, it really depends on your body. If you don’t think you need to eat before class (maybe you had a large meal a few hours prior), then go ahead and skip the snack. You might find yourself hungry during class, so you might decide to integrate a snack before class in the future. 

The point here is you need to pay attention to your body. Some days might be different than others, so you may need to make minor adjustments to accommodate these needs.