Whether you’re concerned about the environment, animals, or your health, veganism has become a popular lifestyle for many. Whether your a hardcore gym rat or a casual jogger, exercising is a big part of your life. But can these two lifestyles collide? Will I get enough energy and nutrients? Can I exercise, build muscle and give my body what it needs if I’m vegan? The answer, of course, is a resounding yes!
There are 3 things you need to think about if you want to stay healthy and work out effectively: Your diet, your workout, and your aftercare. Staying healthy while working out on a vegan diet takes a lot of careful planning and determination. Your body will thank you, should you choose to take this path! Here’s everything you need to know about working out while being vegan.
Whether you’re a professional athlete or you want to live a healthier lifestyle, fueling your body is key. Most people struggle with adapting to a vegan lifestyle because it can be difficult to find food that you can eat. It can be daunting in the beginning but with a little research, you’ll be preparing meals and working out like a pro! There are thousands of informative classes and articles that can help with learning all about greens, legumes, and grains. When combining veganism and working out, you need to get creative and diligent with your food sources!
So let’s get started! One of the main concerns that people have when it comes to blending veganism and exercise, is energy intake. Before a workout, your body needs enough carbohydrates to stay healthy and have enough energy. Quick and simple carbohydrates, that your body can immediately use, should be your go-to. Try Medjool dates as a sweet pre-workout snack!
Protein is necessary to increase muscle mass, and to have an effective workout. Not only that but it also keeps you full while you work out. On a vegan diet, you can’t get your necessary protein from meat, fish, or eggs, so you have to look elsewhere. For vegans, a good place to look for plant-based protein is tempeh, tofu, or soybeans. As an added supplement, a plant-based protein powder is an easy way to go. Use it in the form of smoothies, mixed with water or in your oats. When it comes to planning your meals, and there will be a lot of it, make sure to learn about pre-workout meals and post-workout meals first!
Daily exercise is good for everyone, vegan or not. Moving your body and working up a sweat, raises your body’s metabolism and makes it easier to lose weight. To achieve any effective workout, proper planning and perseverance are necessary, especially when on a vegan diet. If you’re new to the world of exercise, the world of veganism, or both, you might want to take things slowly at first. Start small and work up your strength, stamina and give your body enough time to adjust to the tempo. To help build muscle strength and memory, experts suggest starting with frequent low-intensity exercises.
Exercises can be divided into three main categories: cardio, muscle building, and bone strengthening.
- Cardio exercises: cycling, jogging, walking, or swimming improve your stamina and heart strength.
- Muscle building exercises: push-ups, sit-ups, and light weight lifting tone and increases muscle mass.
- Bone strengthening exercises: jogging, tennis, yoga, or using resistance bands.
Pay attention to your body, and make sure that before you start, you keep it fueled with enough energy. Experts recommend working out for 30-45 minutes a day, 3-5 times a week to achieve the best results without taking too much of a toll on your body. Although exercising on a vegan diet is perfectly healthy, you do need to be a bit more careful and attentive!
Looking After Yourself
If diet and exercise are the foundation of being healthy, then sleep, vitamins and supplements are what keep it together. This applies to vegans especially! Working out is good for the body, but it does take a lot out of you. Getting enough rest ensures that your body has enough time to absorb, regenerate and recover. Overexerting yourself will result in both physical and mental fatigue, and you may hurt yourself. Have a break between workout sessions to ensure that you stay healthy while you get healthy!
As a vegan, it can be difficult to get all the necessary vitamins and minerals without animal products. A common vitamin that is essential to working out and staying healthy is vitamin B-12. Vitamin B-12 is most often absent from vegan diets. It plays a key role in your body in generating energy and can be found in the liver, eggs, and fish. As a vegan, to ensure that you don’t feel tired and sluggish, taking a daily dose will keep you covered. A common mineral that is often absent as well is Iron. If you can’t get your iron from meat, you can find it in nuts, seeds, tofu, lentils, and raisins. To keep your bones strong, don’t forget to get enough Vitamin D!
If you’re someone who not only wants to get fit but wants to gain muscle on a vegan diet, you may be missing some creatine. Creatine is an amino acid that is essential in the body for using energy and repairing and rebuilding muscle. If you can get it the easy way from meat, fish, and poultry, you can take it in the form of a powder or pill. Just make sure it says vegan on the bottle first!
So whether you’re a vegan athlete or a vegan yoga mom, exercising while being vegan requires a lot of planning. Providing your body with enough energy and fuel and planning your meals in advance is the first step. The second step is to watch your body and take it easy, and the third step is to fill in the gaps. These three steps should ensure that you work out safely and effectively, while you stay vegan! Always remember to do your research and good luck!