Now more than ever, people are learning about the relevance of their own wellbeing and investing in their long-term fitness and health. One of the most Earth-friendly and health-boosting ways to do that is to turn to a vegan menu, to transform your diet into a plant-based one, to reflect your values.
However, if your workouts are intense and you love weightlifting as well as other forms of training that are exceptionally taxing on your mind and your body, you might worry about your energy levels and if you’re able to consume all the core nutrients your body needs.
The short answer is: yes. Absolutely, you can continue training the way you love, and you can build up your vegan lifestyle with care. Let’s cover a few main strategies to allow you to build a plant-based diet and keep up with your fitness routine.
Make the transition slowly
If you’ve decided you want to cut out meat, dairy and all other animal-related products, you need to remember that you cannot do that overnight. Any sudden changes in your diet can impact your energy levels, your immune system strength, and your ability to safely perform your workouts, which can then lead to an increased risk of injuries.
While it’s true that you can boost your health with plant-based foods, you should do so gradually, by slowly swapping out meat and dairy with satiating, protein-packed meals. Make sure to monitor your macronutrient and micronutrient intake, so that you don’t cause a deficiency, which can be rather common among vegans when they don’t structure their diet with care.
Explore protein supplementation
One of the safest, most effective strategies to help you transition to a vegan diet while maintaining your training performance at the highest possible level is to turn to protein supplements. As the building blocks of life, proteins are vital for muscle development, but also for the most basic metabolic functions of your body.
You can easily introduce vegan protein powder into your diet and make tasty and nutritious protein shakes to fuel your workouts. They come in various flavors, so that you can make your menu more interesting for your taste buds, but most of all, they are nutrient-dense, and they ensure that you bring enough essential amino acids into your meals.
Focus on diversity in your eating
Being a vegan is by no means a dull choice. In fact, you have a wide array of plants at your disposal to boost the taste and the nutritional value of all your meals. That said, you first need to learn about the various plants you can introduce into your diet and make sure that your diet is brimming with all the right nutrients.
In addition to protein-packed meals, make sure that you don’t overdo with unnecessary carbs, but instead choose filling, nutrient-dense options. Add spices to make your dishes more interesting and flavorful, and experiment with food combinations to find what gives you the most energy you need.
Reach for satiating, energy-boosting snacks
When you’re new to vegan eating and you’re trying your best to stay active, you might find yourself feeling those sugar cravings, energy slumps, or fatigue. In such situations, you can prepare yourself and organize your daily menu to include organic energy boosters that will keep your appetite under control and give you ample energy for your training sessions.
Protein-packed goodies such as various nuts, but filling nut butters are another great option for an afternoon snack to keep you going. The vegan diet can be truly versatile, as we’ve already mentioned, but when you plan your snacks as well as your meals, you can maintain your energy levels, as well as your muscle-building potential.
Scale down with training until you adapt
Sometimes, when you are about to switch to an entirely new lifestyle, in this case to vegan nutrition, you should give your body ample time to adapt. In addition to slowly abandoning animal products and byproducts, you should scale back with your workout routine until you can safely train at your regular pace without feeling overwhelmed or overly tired every single day. For example, if you enjoy strength training (especially with resistance), you can reduce the weights with which you work and then slowly work your way up over time.
The same goes for the duration of your Pilates workouts or the difficulty levels of your yoga asanas. When you scale back, you can start journaling or use an app to monitor your progress. Gradually adding weight to the bar or returning to complex bodyweight workouts while you persist with your vegan diet can be an arduous process, so planning and taking it slowly will be best for your body.
Arm yourself with knowledge and you’ll be ready to switch to a vegan diet, maintain your workout style, and stay on track with your fitness goals. Whether you want to build muscle, be lean, or simply stay strong and resilient, a vegan diet can help you stay true to your aspirations when you take a smart and mindful approach. Above all, listen to your body and make sure that you pace yourself. That will allow you to stay healthy and strong while you make the most of your vegan lifestyle.