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A couple of years ago, my husband offered me a protein shake after our workout. It was an awful experience. Not only did the shake taste terrible, it had an unrecognizable laundry list of ingredients. Although I knew that some form of post-workout protein was good for me, I still had a mental hang-up about consuming calories after I just worked so hard to burn them off.
There can be a stigma around eating or drinking protein post-workout. I used to worry about calories in versus calories out, not to mention the "bulk and biceps" that many assume come along with an imbalance. After receiving my health coaching certification, it became even more apparent to me how essential consuming protein is to an individual’s fitness routine. I quickly learned that my clients were just as confused about the benefits of post-workout protein as I had been!
This thinking sound familiar? The truth is that post-workout recovery isn't a game of math, and contrary to popular belief, protein won't bulk you up (it doesn’t help that most commercial protein shakes include elements we can barely pronounce). That’s why we created Après—clean, plant-based protein beverages with minimal ingredients. We are all about whole body replenishment. Here’s how Après can help you upgrade your current thinking about protein shakes and benefit your fitness routine:
Whether you just finished a hardcore HIIT class, hot yoga or a new Pilates sequence, working out breaks down your muscles. These muscles will either grow back stronger than they were before or break down even more. It all depends on how and when you feed them. Within the first 30 minutes of completing your workout, your muscles are best primed to absorb nutrients—especially protein.
When your muscles are properly fed, they grow back stronger than they did before. Stronger muscles improve your metabolic rate, which helps burn more calories throughout the day. Let's be clear though; strong muscles don't necessarily mean bigger, bulkier muscles. At Après, we are particularly obsessed with plant proteins (obviously) and combine the best of the best from organic pea, chia, cacao, and hemp. This means a robust BCAA profile plus added vitamins and minerals. Our drinks are good for your body and your palate.
You just burned 400 calories in your workout—so why put calories back into your body right away? It can seem counterintuitive, but when you eat the right post-workout snack, not only are you fueling your muscles, but you're substituting fewer current calories in place of more in the future. Protein helps control ghrelin, your hunger hormone, so try consuming around 13 grams of protein post-workout (exactly how many are in an Après!) to keep you full, energized and out of the office snack drawer.
As they say, you are what you eat. Your hair is made of proteins, so when you don't eat enough, your locks suffer. At Après, we love adding a plant protein like hemp into our drinks because it's rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3's contain GLA (or gamma-linolenic acid), which can help your hair grow faster. Plus, as you already know, your body is ready to absorb more protein and nutrition than usual after a workout, so drinking Après can benefit more than just your muscles.
Adding protein to your fitness routine can help your body in more ways than one. It's also great for skin and nails, keeps you energized and can even help you think more clearly. When you don't consume protein immediately post-workout, you're doing more harm than good. So, give back to your body and sip on that Après protein shake with style.
If you’ve ever taken a hot yoga class, you know it’s always going to be one thing—outrageously hot. Not the “let’s hang by the pool and get that sun-kissed glow” kind of hot either. I’m talking that “I can't believe I have this much sweat in my body” and “I may or may not pass out” kind of hot. It’s nothing to mess around with, and after a year or so of not being able to go, it’s easy to forget just how serious that heat can be.
To get the maximum enjoyment and benefits out of your heated yoga classes, you need to prepare yourself before and take care of yourself afterward. Luckily, I’ve been taking some classes (sweating enough for the both of us) and I’ve listed my five favorite must-dos to help you readjust to your heated classes and get back to the hot yoga summer that we all want.
Heated classes are difficult in nature. The normal difficulty of regular poses is mixed in with the added challenges of sweating and dealing with the humidity and the heat (at times, I’ve seen the thermostat climb to 108 degrees—yikes!). Depending on what type of yoga class you’re taking (sculpt, Bikram, power vinyasa), the difficulty level and temperature are going to vary. It’s also important to remember that each person in the room is going to practice in a way that’s unique to them. Hours slept, hydration levels, food intake, and different lifestyles are all contributing factors that make our practices different. What you practice on your mat is your own––trust your body and only do what feels right to you. And remember, it’s okay to take breaks!
The rise in temperature mixed in with the humidity that we all know and love creates the perfect recipe for sweating—like A LOT. You go into a heated class dry and come out feeling like you just took a dip in the pool. Before heated classes, I had no idea it was physically possible to sweat that much. If you’re going to a heated class, especially after a long break, it’s easy to forget just how much you might sweat. Is it possible to lose that much water if you haven’t consumed it first? Trust me, going into your heated class super hydrated is going to make a world of difference and help you feel good throughout your practice. And don’t forget to take some sips of H2O while you’re practicing!
Heated classes are challenging, but I can’t stop going. Nothing quite compares to overcoming the challenge— and experiencing the cleanse my body feels after I’m done. It’s the perfect blend of hard and rewarding, but I couldn’t do it if my body wasn’t properly nourished. On the days I know I have a heated class booked; I like to make sure I am eating right. I make sure to take my vitamins and fuel my body with fruits, vegetables, and my favorite superfood shake. I hold off on food about an hour before my practice, so I feel comfortable. After the class, I like to replenish with a big protein shake (boosted with collagen to aid with muscle recovery and skin elasticity). There is no one-way path for properly nourishing your body but making sure you’re fueled for the challenge of a heated class is essential for getting the most out of your practice and feeling good on and off your mat.
Increasing and maintaining your water intake on the days you take a heated class is important, but sometimes you need something a little extra. If you’re sweating that much, you’re basically an athlete (at least in my book) and if you’re performing like a rockstar yogi, you need to hydrate like one as well. That means replenishing those lost electrolytes. Reward yourself and your body for the hard work and treat yourself to your favorite drink. I switch off between electrolyte-boosting drinks and coconut water depending on what I’m in the mood for that day. Adding these to my post-practice self-care routine has helped me feel more hydrated after and ready to take on the world again after especially sweaty classes.
Usually, a yoga mat is all you need for your practice––but heated classes are a different ballgame. I’ve gone with just a mat, and I’ve slipped all over the place. Let me tell you, there’s nothing worse than having sweat drip all over the place while you’re trying to hold a pose that makes you grip your mat for dear life (never again). Make sure you bring a towel to place over your mat, this will help with support and grip. Bringing a smaller towel is also a good idea. You can use the smaller towel to dry yourself off during water breaks or whenever you’re feeling just a bit too sweaty. This is a small step that makes a world of difference during those super-hot classes.
So, there you have it. Five of my favorite tips (more like lifesavers) that have helped me readjust to those heated classes I love so much. Getting back into it is a challenge for us all, so know you’re not alone. No matter where you’re at in your practice, remember to be kind and gentle to yourself––celebrating your health and your body’s ability to do what you love. We’re all just getting back out there, together.
Ready to jump back into your hot yoga routine? Browse Mindbody to find the perfect class for you.
While you’re at it, check out some Intro Offers near you that can help you get back to your cadence of hot yoga classes.