There are plenty of health benefits to following a vegan diet. From lowering cholesterol and blood pressure to helping with weight loss and reducing your heart disease risk, skipping out on meat, eggs and dairy can have a positive impact on your health and well-being. Veganism has even reached the sporting community, with many bodybuilders and fitness fanatics now following a plant-based diet to enhance both physique and performance.
After following months of plant-based eating, vegan athletes can experience reduced muscle soreness, fatigue, recovery time and injuries. Yet anyone who is training on a vegan diet needs to make sure they include a wide variety of nutrient-dense foods, as well as consuming enough energy to meet high-training demands. Ensure you’re getting everything you need from your diet to help maximise your workouts with these vegan supplements.
Omega-3 fatty acids can help the body when you exercise in many ways. They can help lose fat, build muscle and avoid injuries, yet taking fish oil to boost the diet isn’t an option when you’re training as a vegan. Instead, you can add flaxseed oil, which is loaded with omega-3s, fibre and lignans, to your meals. You could also try a tablespoon of chia seeds, six walnut halves or two tablespoons of linseeds every day.
There are lots of reasons why you should be taking creatine before you work out. Mixed in with water or a plant-based milk, it can assist anaerobic endurance by working as an energy buffer for your muscles. Studies have shown that taking creatine can also increase your strength. “Taking creatine as a supplement could offset the decline in muscle, which can happen when you’ve over-exercised,” said Joanne Williams at SUPPLEMENTNATION.
Vegan protein supplements
To build muscle, you’ll need to ensure you include lots of protein in your diet. As protein is one of the basic building blocks of the human body, it’s difficult to overestimate the importance of getting enough. Many think you need to eat copious amounts of meat to get enough protein for your workouts, but you can actually get it from tofu, beans, vegetables and meat substitutes too. You can also get all the protein you need from including enough oats, peanut butter, spinach and pumpkin seeds into your diet. Eating protein-rich food isn’t always enough to build muscle mass, and taking whey protein powder is a common supplement. As whey isn’t something a vegan can take, there are plenty of vegan protein powder options available as an alternative.
If you’re trying to build muscle mass as a vegan, you’ll need to provide the body with all the essential amino acids it requires at each meal. Although making sure you’re having enough protein is a priority, you should also give your body all the essential amino acids it needs to for the muscle protein synthesis (MPS) process. MPS helps create new muscle. As a vegan, you can get your essential amino acids from chia, quinoa and soy.