So you’ve started a plant based diet, and are looking for ways to enhance your workouts on your new healthy regimen. Anyone that tells you you can’t physically perform well on a plant-based diet is lying to you! It’s actually better for your joints, mood, energy levels and your workouts when you eat more plant-based than filling up on processed foods, abundance of animal foods, and the like. Your body actually runs off living energy instead of stimulants such as caffeine and sugar. If you need some simple ways to enhance your workouts on a plant-based diet, then check out these tips. I hope you’ll see that it truly is much easier than you think!
1. Eat Whole Foods
One of the first tips to keep in mind when you enhance your workouts on a plant-based diet is to be sure you focus on whole foods, not processed foods. Eating foods rich in nutrients like whole vegetables, fruits, nuts seeds, gluten-free oats, quinoa, wild rice, etc. will help you receive much more energy to workout than processed snacks, or processed plant-based foods like veggie crackers. Don’t expect to fill up on processed foods, whether they’re vegan or not, and still have a successful workout. Our bodies prefer living, whole foods and operate on an optimal level when we give them just that.
2. Stay Hydrated
Just like you should stay hydrated on a regular nutrition plan, you should also be sure to make this priority on a plant-based diet. Be sure you stay hydrated to maintain optimal energy levels. When we’re thirsty, we often mistake this as hunger, so to see whether you’re truly hungry or tired, have a glass of water first and see if you don’t perk up. Your body needs water for cellular energy, and especially during a workout when your fluids are lost. Drink up all day long, and eliminate caffeine for the best effects.
3. Consider a Multivitamin
You should also consider taking a multivitamin when you are looking to enhance your workouts on a plant-based diet. Don’t just expect to wing it and get all your nutritional needs. Though studies now say multivitamins aren’t necessary, I hesitate towards believing this is true for everyone. If you’re a picky eater, or allergic or sensitive to many foods, it severely limits what foods your body can get nutrients through. I suggest taking a whole foods multivitamin, not one made of synthetics. I like Garden of Life brand, which is made from 100% foods and soil-bound nutrients, for the best effect, or another brand you like made from whole foods. This will expose your body to all the nutrients it needs to run at optimal levels.
4. Plant-based Protein Powders
Certain protein powders out there are nothing more than processed junk, but there are a few good ones in the mix of the bad ones. My favorite clean plant-based protein powders include Vega One, Vega Energizing Smoothie Protein mix, Sunwarrior Raw Warrior Blend Protein, and Garden of Life Raw Meal and Garden of Life Protein. These powders are made from whole foods, and most the ingredients are raw, and all are free of sugar, GMOs, pesticides, fillers, dairy, gluten, soy and corn. Protein powders aren’t necessary by any means, but I’ve noticed a huge difference in my workouts with these three clean brands above all animal based types, or not including any. I find my lean muscle is more preserved with the use of these and my metabolism is much better as well. If you’re a regular exerciser, be sure that you consider these if you’re not sure if you get enough protein from your food choices. Since I don’t digest beans or legumes well, I find these work well for me to ensure I get enough clean protein. Leafy greens are rich in protein, but if you workout heavily, you might need a little additional help.
5. Eat Enough Carbs
Also, don’t try to go low carb and plant-based at the same time! In fact, I don’t suggest cutting all your carbs at any given time, but especially while eating plant-based. That being said, you should choose your carbs carefully to take care of your blood sugar levels. If your insulin rises and falls too quickly by eating processed carbs and high glycemic carbs, it can cause fatigue, diabetes, and weight gain. It will also hurt your workouts. Not not eating carbs however, can cause fatigue, and hinder your workouts, along with making you moody! So, the best option is to choose complex carbs and always include a little protein and plenty of vegetables when you eat. These options include sweet potatoes, winter squash, carrots, beets, oats, quinoa, nuts and seeds, berries, apples, oranges and bananas. These foods are easier on your blood sugar than starches like bread, white potatoes, chips, crackers and processed carbs. Also be sure to include plenty of green veggies in your diet. Your workouts will improve with good carbs in your life and you’ll see much better results with them than without.
6. Consider Maca
Maca is a superfood pretty popular today, and with good reason. Maca is known as an energy booster, libido enhancer, mood booster and more. I like Vega One meal replacement powder for the maca it includes, and I notice so much energy when I consume this with my smoothies, than when I don’t. You can also just add maca powder to your smoothies, or use it in oatmeal, yogurt, etc. I always suggest starting with a small teaspoon and working your way up to 1 tbsp. Maca is a very energizing food, but also very calming at the same time. It provides steady energy, making it ideal for workout enthusiasts of all kinds, but especially those on a plant-based diet.
7. Consider Superfoods
Along with maca, I also suggest considering other whole food superfoods to add to your diet. What are these? Superfoods like spirulina, acai and goji berries, along with cacao powder are all excellent whole food superfoods to add to your diet. These are 100% whole foods in living form, and contain more nutrients than most common plant foods. Adding these to smoothies, yogurt, oatmeal, or just mixing them with almond milk or water are a great way to get the benefits. These foods are rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals your body can use to fight disease and much more. They’re also rich in energizing properties that enhance your workouts, and help you recover.
8. Get Enough Rest
Always be sure to get enough rest, whether you’re eating plant-based or not to ensure a good workout. Rest is essential to muscle repair, and without enough of it, your mood, workouts and metabolism will suffer. Most likely, you’ll have more energy on a plant-based diet, which is great, but you need to be sure to get enough rest to repair your muscles though you might not feel like you need it. Be sure to clock at least 8 hours a night for the best results.
9. Stay Balanced
When starting or living on a plant-based diet, be sure you stay balanced. It can be easy to either not eat enough balanced nutrients like fats, carbs or protein and can be easy to add small bits of processed junk food to your diet. Keep your diet clean and balanced for the best workouts. Doing so will ensure a constant source of energy during all your workouts and keep your body running at its peak energy levels.
If you eat a plant-based diet, I’d like to hear your thoughts. What foods or tips do you suggest to enhance workouts on a plant-based diet? To learn more about the products I mentioned, feel free to visit the links below.