When it comes to fitness, the foods you eat are just as important as the exercises you’re performing. Most athletes emphasize protein intake, which helps with muscle recovery and endurance. This important macronutrient is plentiful in meat, fish, and dairy, but what if you follow a vegan diet? Fortunately, it’s still possible to achieve those gains with just a few tweaks in your diet plan. If you’re vegan, here are five easy tips to help you reach your fitness goals.
1. Load Up on Plant-Based Protein
As a vegan, you can get your protein from where animals get their protein, which is from plants. Some plant-based sources of protein include legumes, green peas, oats, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and kale. By-products of these plants, like tofu and plant-based protein powders, are also excellent vegan sources of protein.
2. Don’t Skip Meals
Calories from food provide the fuel to power your workouts, but they also give your body the energy it needs to build muscle. While vegan diets tend to be healthier overall with plenty of fiber and micronutrients, they are usually much lower in calories compared to omnivorous diets. To stay on track, be sure to eat regular meals and snacks with a good balance of carbohydrates, healthy fats, and protein.
3. Consider Taking Supplements
Vitamin B12, vitamin D, and creatine are three nutrients that play key roles in performance and recovery. They also happen to be most plentiful in animal products, which means vegans are more likely to have a deficit in these three nutrients compared to omnivores. If you’re looking to build muscle or add some intensity to your workouts, adding these supplements to your diet can give you an extra push towards your fitness goals.
4. Level up Your Workouts
Although healthy, vegan diets can be limited in calories. Therefore, it’s vital to workout strategically to ensure you’re not burning needless energy. Look at evidence-based exercises that strengthen, condition, and burn calories at a higher rate, such as high-intensity interval training or compound movement exercises with weights. Alternatively, try exercising with a calorie-burning and therapeutic focus with infrared fitness, which combats inflammation and improves circulation.
5. Don’t Forget to Rest
With all the supposed limitations of a vegan diet, it may be tempting to intensify your workouts to make up the difference. However, resting is just as important as exercising when it comes to your health. Taking a break gives your body a chance to recover and recalibrate. On the other hand, pushing yourself too far can lead to burnout or serious injuries. Some people may opt to rest every other day, while others may choose to rest every third or fourth day. When in doubt, listen to your body to determine the right schedule that works for you.
Whether you’re vegan for ethical, environmental, or health-related reasons, there’s no reason you should be excluded from the benefits of an active lifestyle. By following the above five tips, you can blast through your fitness goals without compromising your values.