Fitness means a lot to all the health enthusiasts nowadays, but vegans are undoubtedly the ones who are very serious about vegan fitness – they know every bite they take matters. And, every move they make will influence their physical health. While they take extra precautions about the food they eat, when it comes to fitness, the sphere of concern broadens in every paradigm: physical activity, mental health, muscle buildup, and supplementation.
Vegans Dietary Intake for Muscle Buildup
The best state of fitness develops when your muscle to fat ratio is distributed in a normal proportion. The muscle mass or the lean body weight should always be more than the fat mass, especially in men, and for that, you will need to increase your protein intake. Now, protein for vegans is often argued among many people, especially non-vegans, who claim that there is no way vegans can build muscles by avoiding animal meat. Science proves them wrong – plant foods are abundant with essential amino acids, and some vegan athletes solely dependent on such foods for their protein requirements.
The best state of fitness develops when your muscle to fat ratio is distributed in a normal proportion. The muscle mass or the lean body weight should always be more than the fat mass, especially in men. For that, you will need to increase your protein intake. Now, protein for vegans is often argued among many people, especially non-vegans, who claim that there is no way that vegans can build muscles by avoiding animal meat. Science proves them wrong – plant foods are abundant with essential amino acids, and there are vegan athletes who are solely dependent on such foods for their protein requirements.
- A quarter cup of cooked lentils, beans, chickpeas, and black peas contain 4 grams of protein
- Green peas contain 8 grams of protein per cup
- Chia seeds have 3 grams of protein in each tablespoon
- Almonds contain 3 grams of protein in every half ounce
- Quinoa contains 8 grams of protein in one cup cooked
- Unsweetened soymilk contains 14 grams of protein per 250 ml
- Tofu (firm) cup contains 43.5 grams of protein
Physical Activity for Vegans
Workouts for vegans include a wide range of physical exercises. For example, calisthenics, resistance training with the help of additional equipment, and aerobics. However, just like everyone else, a vegan must take care of building enough stamina to build core strength and improve their muscle mass. For this, we always recommend to start from low-intensity exercises and gradually move to a moderate level.
Low-intensity exercises include going for a walk, doing house chores, and stretching exercises. As you improve your stamina, you can move on to the exercises that involve more muscles. For example, swimming, jogging, aerobics, and so on. Make sure you eat a good carb food half an hour before an exercise. A banana would be a good example to follow.
When you move to high-strength training exercises, we advise you to take out some time for recovery as well. Your muscles go underwear and tear during the process of exercise. That is why they need some time to recover so new muscle cells can integrate and form a better, stronger musculature. Take a recovery break for a day or two and limit your high-strength training program to a maximum of 4 to 5 days a week.
Supplementation for Vegan Fitness
There are some vitamins and minerals that lack in a vegan diet. Thanks to the supplements that are available today vegans no longer have to worry about this lack in their diet.
The Top 5 Minerals and Vitamins for Vegan Fitness
- Vitamin B12 – The gut bacteria of animals specifically produce Vitamin B12. For example, chicken, cow, buffalo, and so on. So, a vegan diet does not contain the vitamin B12 necessary for humans to function at their best. You can get a vegan supplement for vitamin B12 that is available in the market easily.
- Vitamin D – Vitamin D is typically present in animal fat, milk, and eggs, all who are no suitable in a vegan diet. You can take your daily dose of vitamin D from sitting in the sun during the sunrise and sunset. Vegans should always keep their vitamin D levels monitored. If they find their plasma vitamin D levels are significantly low, they can opt for vegan vitamin D supplements.
- Calcium – Calcium is extremely important for better bone health. People who don’t take care of their calcium are at a high risk of developing osteoporosis. It leads to easy bone fractures and disability. To make sure you get your calcium intake appropriate as a vegan, you take cashews and tofu to make up for the mineral deficit. However, you can also opt for vegan fitness calcium supplements that would make up for your mineral deficiency.
- Iron – We find Iron mostly in animal foods, especially the haem-iron. It is responsible for making hemoglobin cells (red blood cells) in the body. Although plants do contain some amount of iron in them, it is the non-haem group which is responsible for other functions in the body rather than making blood cells. Therefore, taking vegan haem-iron supplements can help you make up for this deficiency.
- Zinc – We find Zinc mainly in seafood which is prohibited in a vegan diet. You can take vegan zinc supplements to make up for the deficiency.
Mental Health for Vegans
Just like everyone else, vegans also need to take care of their mental health with a special focus on finding relaxation remedies for vegan fitness. This comprises various techniques that help alleviate stress levels in a person, so they don’t feel a lot of fatigue. The food they take generally gets digested sooner than the food taken by non-vegans. They need to feel active throughout the day, especially when they digest their meals.
One can do meditation techniques to alleviate stress levels in the body. For example, Tai-Chi, Yoga, Rhythmic Breathing, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques. This way, you can feel refreshed and energized as ever and have low levels of stress and anxiety.
Contrary to the popular belief or myth as one might say, following a fitness regime as a vegan is not difficult at all. Rather, your life becomes much simpler and stress-free as you go to adapt a simpler, healthier vegan lifestyle. Just following some fundamental steps and going with a steady phase will bring you much health and fitness as you anticipate having in your life. We hope you got some valuable insight into what things you need to take care of to improve your fitness as a vegan.
We encourage you to consult with your physician about anything discussed in this article!