Eating a vegan diet when you’re not working up a sweat or training for an upcoming race feels easier than when you need the extra energy. But it’s really a myth to think that athletes or people who are trying to build muscle can’t do so on a vegan diet. Here are some energy hacks when you’re hitting the track or gym hard.
- You need to focus on consuming more calories. Sometimes you might get bogged down about the whole 'am I getting enough protein?' question, but the key is to eat more and at regular intervals to sustain your energy - this is often the reason why you might feel a lack of energy. Get into the habit of eating every two to three hours, and focus on light, healthy snacks that will sustain your energy.
- Add good fats to your diet, as these are vital to ensure that your muscles will get enough energy to sustain you during your workouts. Some great vegan sources of good fats include avocados, olive oil, and nuts such as almonds.
- Eat carbs before and after a workout. Carbs are basically the fuel your body needs before a hectic session at the gym so you should ensure that you have enough of them. What are good carbs for vegans? Bananas are one of the best foods you can eat before a workout because they’ve got digestible carbs and potassium, which helps your muscles function optimally. They also keep your energy up. After a workout, you need to replenish your muscles and energy stores. Hummus on a whole grain snack is great because it offers you a mix of proteins and carbs, plus it’s delicious!
- Channel your inner Popeye! Iron is a mineral that can help improve your athletic performance because it gets oxygen to your muscles, so reach for leafy green veggies, seeds, grains that are fortified and beans. Without iron, your body will not have enough energy. But remember: your body can’t absorb iron effectively without being paired with Vitamin C, so squeeze some orange juice over your green salad or add strawberries to your iron-rich morning cereal to maximize your intake and then you're good to go.
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