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Prickly Pineapples is a vegan and wellness site. After graduating with a BA in Journalism, Aisling decided to study nutrition so she could help debunk diet culture, health myths, and share vegan food hacks.
Vegans get a lot of questions about what they eat, and where they get their protein. The reality is, it’s not actually as impossible to get enough protein or not be strong on a vegan diet. In fact, research is suggesting that vegan athletes can actually outperform their non-vegan competitors. Big names such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Venus Williams have even turned to veganism. Here are 5 vegan fitness tips to keep you healthy, happy, and strong.
You need to eat protein all-day
This isn’t just a tip that applies to vegans, but to everyone really. Here it is: you need to eat protein all day, with all your meals.
You still burn calories at a higher rate after you finish working out, and especially if you lift weights. What’s more is that you’ll get the best results if you eat protein within two to four hours after your session. But, it’s not just enough to eat protein after your workout.
When the body isn’t building muscle and using protein, it’s tearing it town. Which means you should have a source of protein with every meal.
Soy is a complete protein, but you can make others work.
Animal proteins are complete proteins, which means that they have all the essential amino acis. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for plant-based proteins. This doesn’t mean that you can’t be fit and vegan, or that you can’t get enough protein on a vegan diet – you just need to be smart about it.
The only two complete vegan proteins are soya and quinoa. In a fitness sense, soya is the most convenient as many protein powders are made from soy, or you can mix another protein powder with soya milk. Whereas, you can’t exactly take quinoa to the gym, unless you find a soya protein bar.
That said, you don’t need to consume proteins with all the essential amino acids in the same sitting. If you eat a good variety of plant-based proteins throughout the day you’ll be fine. Some of the plant-based combos to get all your essential amino acids are surprising like beans on toast!
After working out, have some carbs with your protein too to get your energy back!
Eat lots of fruit and veggies.
It’s very important to eat a wide range or fruit and veggies for general health. As vegans don’t get any vitamins and minerals from plant-based sources, they need to focus on eating a lot of fruit and veg to make sure they’re meeting their micro nutritional needs.
Fruit and vegetables are also important if you’re very active, as working out can cause free radical damage. The antioxidants in fruit and vegetables help to prevent free radical damage.
Make sure you’re getting enough calories.
A lot of vegan alternatives such as plant-based milk or meat alternatives are lower in caloires than their animal-based counterparts. If you’re trying to gain weight or muscle mass, there’s no point working out if you’re not eating enough.
The more you work out the hungrier you’ll be because of energy expenditure, so make sure you’re fueling yourself efficiently.
It’s a lifestyle, not just a diet.
Veganism is not just about eating a plant-based diet, it’s about living a life devoid of animal products. This means that your gym gear like shampoo and body wash should also be vegan and cruelty-free.