Many bodybuilders take special supplements to maximize workout effects and promote muscle growth. With yoga classes in the mix, however, the supplementation issue is a tricky one: yogis advocate clean eating and the use of organic products, and many an instructor will frown at you if you ask them about supplements and protein powders. On the other hand, some Western yoga teachers advocate the use of protein powders and pill-shaped vitamins and minerals, because a diet lacking in essential nutrients can impact workout performance. So, the big question is: can yoga routines and diet alone produce optimal fitness results, or should a yogi use supplements, when, and which ones?
Yogi diet: One with Nature
The yogi diet is centered on organic foods which are free of harmful additives, dyes, and flavors. Many yogis are vegetarians or vegans, but a plant-based diet is not a hard-set rule. In case the yogi follows a balanced diet rich in all major nutrients, they do not need supplements, but if your menu is lacking in proteins, minerals, vitamins, or complex carbs, you should consider using natural supplements to avoid energy drain, underperformance, or illness.
Dietary supplements for yogis
In addition to vitamin and mineral supplements which can be used during winter months when viruses and infections often occur, yogis struggling to meet protein RDA can reach for protein powders after tough trainings. Protein shakes and smoothies pack muscle- and bone-building substances, and many powders are compatible with both plant-based diets and yoga principles.
One of the most common and cost-efficient protein powders on the market, whey protein is a by-product of cheese production and it contains complete amino acids which the muscles need to recover and grow. Whey powders are available in the isolate and concentrate form, and studies have shown that whey protein can improve muscle growth, prevent muscle soreness, and reduce recovery times after intense workouts. For optimal results, shakes enriched with whey protein such as optimum nutrition gold standard whey should be consumed two hours within the yoga class: this protein type digests relatively fast so it will not interfere with your asanas and stretches. Whey protein
Another dairy-based protein, casein powder takes more time to digest fully but it releases essential amino acids at a slower rate, so it should be consumed after the yoga class (preferably in the evening of before bedtime). The recommended casein portion for yogis ranges from 0.5-0.9 grams per pound of body weight, depending on workout intensity, duration, and diet.
Pea protein is a vegetarian- and vegan-friendly powder which promotes muscle and bone tissue buildup, repairs muscle damage, and enhances yoga performance. Unfortunately, it lacks one essential amino acid, cysteine, so it should be combined with foods that contain high cysteine quantities.
Soy protein lowers the risk of cardiovascular diseases and has been proven to produce similar effects on muscle mass as whey protein. Soy protein is a source of complete protein, but since it is high in isoflavones, it can lead to reduced testosterone levels, which is why men should use it in moderation.
Brown rice protein
Brown rice protein has almost the same benefits as whey powder, but it is deficient in lystine, so it should be paired with a plate rich in this essential amino acid. Since it is gluten-, lactose-, and GMO-free, it can be used by vegans, vegetarians, and yogis with food sensitivities alike.
When struggling with problems focusing, fatigue, headaches, muscle soreness, or joint pains, yogis can supplement their menu with quality protein powders. In addition to promoting muscle gain, added protein can deter muscle inflammations, keep the immune system in check, and prevent muscle building stagnation. For this reason, protein powders can be a yogi’s best ally on the quest for optimal fitness and good health – so shake yourself up a refreshing smoothie before the next yoga class!