Hot yoga classes perform yoga postures in a heated room, leading to an intense sweat session. With temperatures reaching 105°F or higher, what you eat before hot yoga can make a big difference in how you feel during your practice. Follow these diet tips to fuel up properly and have an enjoyable hot yoga experience.
Why Your Pre-Hot Yoga Meal Matters
Hot yoga places greater physical and mental demands on the body than a regular yoga class. The heat intensifies your workout, testing both cardiovascular endurance and muscular strength. You also lose more fluids and electrolytes through heavy sweating.
That’s why what you eat before class is so important. The right pre-hot yoga snacks and meals can:
Provide long-lasting energy to get you through a rigorous practice
Hydrate and replace electrolytes lost from sweating
Help you stay mentally focused in the heat
Aid in muscle recovery post-class
Prevent dizziness, nausea, and fatigue during class
On the flip side, the wrong pre-yoga foods can leave you feeling sluggish, lightheaded and unable to get the most out of your practice.
What to Eat Before Hot Yoga ?
Aim for foods that provide slow-burning fuel for sustained energy. Choose easily digested nutrients that won’t lead to GI distress. Here are some specific options:
- Whole Grains : Oatmeal, whole grain toast, granola, and quinoa are excellent sources of complex carbs. Pair with fruit and nuts for added nutrition. The fiber will keep you satiated.
- Fruit : Fruit like bananas, berries, apples, avocado and citrus provide quick digesting carbs. They also have antioxidants and hydrating properties.
- Eggs : Eggs are rich in protein, giving you strength and endurance to hold poses. Go for poached, boiled or scrambled eggs on whole grain toast.
- Yogurt : Yogurt has carbs for energy along with protein, probiotics, and calcium. Greek yogurt provides extra thickness and protein.
- Nut Butters : A whole grain bagel, toast or apple with nut butter supplies protein and healthy fats to control hunger.
- Veggies and Hummus : Carrots, bell peppers, cucumbers with hummus make for easy-to-digest pre-yoga veggies. They have fiber, vitamins and minerals.
- Smoothies : Blend fruits, veggies, protein powder, nut butter or yogurt for a nourishing smoothie. They provide hydration as well. Let dense smoothies digest for at least 2 to 3 hours pre-class though.
- Hydrating Foods : Watermelon, grapes, celery, strawberries, beans, coconut water and broth-based soups will all help hydrate before sweating.
When to Eat Before Hot Yoga
Most experts recommend eating a light meal 2 to 3 hours before your hot yoga class. This gives your body enough time to digest so you don’t feel uncomfortable or nauseous when flowing through postures.
If you tend to have a sensitive stomach, err on the longer end and allow 3 to 4 hours for digestion. You want the hardest part of digestion to be completed before twisting and compressing the abdomen.
For early morning classes, a small snack 30 to 60 minutes prior is appropriate if you don’t have time for a bigger meal. Just be sure to hydrate with some water upon waking.
What to Avoid Before Hot Yoga ?
Steer clear of these foods that can cause GI upset and leave you feeling sluggish:
- Spicy foods
- High fat meals
- Heavy meats that take long to digest
- Carbonated beverages
- Fiber-rich raw salads and veggies
Hydrating for Hot Yoga
Drink plenty of water in the 2 to 3 hours before your hot yoga class to ensure you’re well hydrated. Aim to drink about 17 to 20 ounces. Electrolyte drinks can also help replenish lost salts and minerals post-sweating.
Some other hydrating tips:
Drink water soon upon waking if doing an early morning class
Sip water up until 30 minutes prior, then stop so you don’t feel sloshy
Eat hydrating fruits and veggies that have high water content
Drink electrolyte water during and after class to rehydrate
Proper hydration is key to feeling energized during hot yoga and recovering quickly. Pay close attention to your hydration needs.
Sample Pre-Hot Yoga Meals
Here are some balanced meal ideas in the 2 to 3 hour range before class:
Yogurt parfait with berries, nuts, oats
Veggie omelet with whole grain toast
Banana protein pancakes
Peanut butter and banana toast
Quinoa bowl with avocado, egg, salsa
Tofu veggie stir fry with brown rice
Chicken breast with roasted veggies
Lentil soup with whole grain bread
Oatmeal with walnuts, chia seeds, fruit
Hummus wrap with turkey, veggies
Focus on getting nutrition from whole food sources. Supplement with hydrating snacks as needed closer to class time.
Listen to Your Body
Pay attention to how your body responds to certain foods before hot yoga. You may need to experiment to find what works best for your digestion. Ideally you’ll feel energized, light and ready to flow freely. With the proper fuel and hydration going into class, you’ll sweat, strengthen, detoxify and have an amazing hot yoga experience.