Eating a plant-based diet and building the body of your dreams may seem like two things that simply don’t go together, but in reality, they are two peas in a pod. Vegans have all the capabilities of growing lean muscle mass and elevating their cardio-vascular performance as vegetarians or meat-eaters. It simply comes to how well you educate yourself on proper nutrition and training that will help you reach your goals faster, with minimal risk of injury or setbacks.
That said, you need to understand that training and eating as a vegan can be challenging if you don’t optimize your exercise regime and adhere to the best possible diet to get as much quality protein and micro nutrients into your system as possible. With all of that in mind, here are the best tips for working out and eating properly as a vegan that will ensure you stay healthy and reach your fitness goals.
Know your protein sources
First things first, let’s start with the most important aspect of plant-based nutrition – the protein sources. As a vegan, you need to be very careful where you get the majority of your proteins from, because it’s important to remember that not all plan-based proteins are made the same. In fact, some are more valuable to you than others, and we can divide them into complete and incomplete proteins.
As you might have already guessed, complete proteins possess all nine essential amino acids you need to build lean muscle effectively and improve your performance in training. Complete protein sources include buckwheat, soy, quinoa, rice, beans and legumes, seitan, spirulina, and more.
On the other hand, incomplete protein sources are still good for you, but you will need to combine them with complete proteins to get the right amount and quality of protein in your diet.
Focus on carb-rich meals for endurance training
During long bouts of training or as you’re preparing for a physical competition, you not only want to maximize your protein intake but also the intake of slow-releasing carbohydrates to give your body the sustained energy it needs to perform at its best. A big part of long-term vegan wellness and the success of your fitness journey is knowing how to balance your proteins, carbs and fats for maximum performance in training and in life in general.
Needless to say, carbs will be instrumental in this regard, so make sure to examine your carb options. Typically, you will find that the majority of plan-based foods are already rich in carbohydrates, and some of the best sources include whole grains, various nuts and seeds, all beans and legumes, and vegetables. That said, be wary of fruits, for even though they are excellent sources of carbs, some will only provide you with fast-acting carbs that will leave you feeling depleted quickly.
Consider adding supplements to your routine
By and large, supplementation is not necessary to lead a thriving fitness lifestyle and excel in training. However, it’s important to note that supplementing with protein can be an excellent way to ensure you get enough protein in every day so that you can stay consistent in your training and nutrition.
There are many types of protein supplements and brands out there, so be sure to do your research and find the best plant protein guide that will convey all the necessary information about plant-based protein supplements. The key is to get a vegan-friendly, natural, and protein-rich supplement that will complement your training and nutrition nicely and ensure you get all the protein you need during the day, which is especially important if you’re leading a busy lifestyle.
Maximize protein intake for weight training
While you might be able to get by without worrying too much about your protein intake if you were only exercising sporadically and with low intensity, building muscle and sculpting an envious physique requires a considerable amount of protein per day. As a vegan, you don’t want to limit yourself to endurance training only, because weight training has its unique benefits that will help you lead a healthy and happy life.
If nothing else, you will become stronger and more resilient, creating a healthy foundation for the silver years in your future. If you want to make resistance training count, though, you need to focus heavily on protein consumption, so be sure to consume as many complete proteins as you can from the sources we mentioned above.
Ensure consistency with planning and preparation
Lastly, being consistent as a vegan is paramount to making your fitness journey a success. However, it can be difficult to adhere to your training and nutrition if you’re new to the vegan lifestyle or if you’re leading a hectic life in general. Be sure to schedule and plan your training sessions carefully to avoid burning out, and make sure to prep the majority of your meals over the weekend so that you’re able to uphold your plant-based diet without too much hassle.
Leading a vegan lifestyle is not as difficult as some make it out to be, but leading a fitness lifestyle as a vegan can be challenging. Be sure to use these tips to optimize your training and nutrition to become the healthiest vegan you can be.