The ultimate competition: yoga vs. HIIT
Download the app
Fitness memberships, workout classes, wellness services, beauty appointments and more.
While you might be wreaking havoc in the gym, research shows that what you eat before, during and after a sweat session is vital to your progress. Here are a few quick tips on how to harness the power of nutrition during your next workout.
Tip #1 - Consume carbs – There’s nothing worse than feeling full during your fitness routine. Avoid foods higher in fat and fiber before your workout to avoid the bloat. Pre-workout nutrition should consist mainly of foods that are higher in carbohydrates. About 30 minutes before your workout, grab 15-20 grams of easy-to-digest carbs like Greek yogurt, fruit smoothies and sweet potatoes and 10-15 grams of moderate protein like 2-3 ounces of chicken (the size of your palm or less) or two eggs to fuel your body for peak performance. Whether it’s Greek yogurt or a whey protein powder smoothie with fruit, nourish yourself with sufficient sources of both carbs and protein.
Tip #2 - Fight that hungry feeling – Feeling extra hungry after that last rep? It’s time to get a handle on that post-workout hunger. Fat and fiber should be consumed in moderation as they can slow down the absorption of the carbs and proteins your body needs.
Tip #3 - Eating aids recovery – Pending bodyweight goals and exercise intensity, you’ll want to focus on consuming roughly 25-35 grams of carbs and 20 grams of protein like sweet potatoes or brown rice with 2-3 ounces of chicken breast or a tuna sandwich on whole wheat bread and low-fat mayo within 1-2 hours post-workout to help restore glycogen and aid in muscle repair and recovery. If you are short on time or don’t have any sources of carbs and protein within reach, protein bars (like Quest or Pure Protein that are also higher in fiber) are a great on-the-go option.
Tip #4 - Stay hydrated –If you train hard by incorporating bouts of moderate intensity for 75 minutes or more and shorter bouts of HIIT or more intense interval training, you may want to try adding a low-sugar electrolyte + amino acid powder blend to your water for extra hydration. Including this tip into your fitness out routine can help to keep you properly fueled, maximizing your workout intensity. I prefer the powder blends, like Xtend, over the sugary Gatorade drinks.
Tip #5 - Avoid empty calories – If you are working out with the goal of losing weight, avoid or limit calories found in beverages like alcohol, soda, and coffee with creamers or sugar. They provide little to no nutritional value and do not benefit your fitness routine.
Tip #6 - Overcome that weight loss plateau – If training and/or dieting for weight loss, concentrate on eating most (if not all) of your carbs before and after your workout, snacking on small amounts of fruits and veggies throughout the day. Focusing your carb intake around your fitness schedule can be especially helpful if you have hit a weight loss plateau or are having trouble losing those last few pounds.
Tip #7 - Watch your carb intake on rest days – Your carb intake should mirror your activity level. On rest days, lower your carb consumption since extra carbs aren’t needed for workout fuel or recovery. Even on off days, I generally don’t recommend going lower than 75 grams of carbs because your brain and body still need carbs to function adequately.
Tip #8 - Maximize muscle gain – If your workout routine includes intermediate or advanced weight + strength training, and muscle growth is one of your goals, mix 20 grams of casein protein powder like Optimum Nutrition or Muscletech in water, unsweetened almond milk or low-fat milk within 15-30 minutes before bed. This helps maximize muscle repair, growth and synthesis—which mostly occurs while sleeping.
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.