If you’ve recently transitioned to a vegan diet, you may be wondering what extra steps you need to take if you exercise regularly. When beginning a plant based diet, you may notice your performance drop or extra aches and pains if you’re not eating enough protein or vitamin and mineral rich food. The vitamin and supplement experts at Vitabiotics have put together some simple steps you can take to stay on top form whilst exercising on a vegan diet.
- Vegan protein sources
Despite widespread belief, protein sources are plentiful for those following a plant based diet. Vegan sources of protein include:
- Soya milk
- Green veggies
- Nuts and seeds
Protein is key if you’re taking part in regular exercise as it aids muscle recovery, helping you to avoid those post-workout aches and pains.
If you’re male and taking part in intense exercise on a regular basis, you should be aiming to consume 0.55g of protein per pound of bodyweight per day. If you’d like to find specific protein recommendations for your exercise regime, check out an online calculator here that will help you work out your protein needs.
- Pre-workout prep
Having a pre-workout snack or smoothie can help give you an energy boost to go a little further in the gym, and can provide nutrients to help your body recover in record time.
Instead of buying expensive bars or supplements, or grabbing something unhealthy on the go, try making your own pre-workout snack, such as apple slices and peanut butter, or a handful of nuts and dried fruits to provide essential fats and carbohydrates.
- Post-workout recovery
Following a workout, it’s important to quickly refuel your body to support recovery. A 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein is recommended for optimum muscle repair. You can still get your protein fix even if you are on a vegan diet. Try adding a scoop of vegan protein powder to your favourite superfood smoothie, or for something a little more substantial, dip veggie sticks in hummus.
- Adding supplements to your routine
The sports nutrition industry is becoming increasingly inclusive for vegans. From plant based protein powders to vegan sports bars, there is an abundance of nutritional support to take advantage of, so being vegan doesn’t mean you have to miss out.
If you’re considering adding a vitamin or supplement to your daily routine, do your homework to make sure these are vegan-friendly. Many supplements contain animal products or gelatin in their coatings. To find out more about vegan-friendly vitamins, take a look at Vitabiotics’ guide to vegan supplements.
- Know your nutrients
If you suffer from post-exercise soreness, also known as DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), upping your intake of anti-inflammatory nutrients can help your recovery. Nutrients which can help you avoid the dreaded DOMS include:
- Catechins – found in teas, and particularly in green tea, apples and pears.
- Isoflavones – found in edamame beans, soya milk, tofu and soy sauce.
- Carotenoids – found in carrots, sweet potatoes and tomatoes.
- Vitamin C – found in leafy greens, citrus fruits and peppers.
These five simple tips will help you to stay on top form, and reap the benefits of your exercise regime, whilst helping you to avoid post-workout aches and pains.