While it’s definitely possible to work out and get strong on a vegan diet, it’s not necessarily easy (seriously, how many pre- and post-workout supplements contain whey protein, anyway?). Check out these three simple tips which can help you thrive on your diet plan of choice.
3 Tips for Exercising On a Vegan or Vegetarian Diet
1. Stick to whole foods for pre-workout snacks
Depending on the intensity and length of your workout, it can be helpful to consume some carbohydrates before exercise so you’ll have enough energy to keep the intensity up. When you actually consume this meal and how much of it you eat depends on your unique tolerance, but many experts advise a snack or small meal no sooner than 45 minutes to an hour prior your sweat sesh.
For a better bang for your nutritional buck, go for real foods instead of mass-produced shakes and supplements (even vegan ones, although these can be handy in a pinch). Try oatmeal mixed with walnuts, cinnamon, and raisins or a single serving of fruit with salted avocado slices.
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2. Load up your post-workout smoothie with healthy protein and carbs
Vegan and vegetarian-friendly foods containing protein include legumes, lentils, soy, and whole grains. While you should always pay attention to your body to make sure you’re tolerating these foods well (some people find them to be problematic for their gut health, hormone health, portion control, etc.), make some of these your diet staples to ensure you’re getting enough protein for strong muscle and lean body mass.
And since protein within that 30-45 minute post-workout window is essential for aiding muscle synthesis and growth, we recommend consuming your fave source of plant protein ASAP following your session. Whip up a smoothie with your favorite nut milk, ground flaxseed, and berries, or pop some steamed edamame with salt.
3. Consume fat-rich snacks to give yourself plenty of energy
Food is fuel, but eating unhealthy food (even if it’s vegan) is like putting diesel in a car that runs on gasoline. So for snack time, avoid highly processed options and go for foods like nuts, nut butters, and seeds. Their high fat and protein content will keep you feeling fuller and more energized, plus if you consume them with a fruit or some other complex carbohydrate, they can help blunt your body’s insulin response (thus preventing a sugar-induced crash and burn cycle).
Be sure to share this with your veggie-friendly friends, and let us know if you have any vegan-friendly fitness tips of your own!