My Transition into Veganism
For the last couple months, I have made significant progress eating vegan and maintaining my regular bodybuilding routine at the gym.
The changes in my body composition have drastically improved. I have also added increased the intensity in my training and decreased the duration as I find that I get tired more quickly. I have decreased the amount of cardio sessions and make sure to have protein before the workout as well as after, so that I do not risk losing some of the muscle I have worked very hard for.
I have compiled a list of tips for women and men who want to reach their fitness goals without sacrificing their hard earned muscles on a vegan diet.
Remember: A well-planning vegan diet is crucial for long-term success and health
For starters, if you have just recently transitioned into a vegan diet, like myself, please bare in mind that planning is absolutely critical. I thought I knew everything there is to learn about veganism, after spending hours reading upon the changes I would have to make. I, however, found out that my training style had to change as well as attitude regarding my training. You definitely will not feel the need to stay longer at the gym, these modifications are worth it, in my opinion. Why, you may ask?
For starters, I began to realize that a lot of the vegan way of life is about having a positive mindset. I value the ethical and health reasons behind my transition.
If I were to only focus on the superficial part of the transition, like the plant-based weight loss or the claims that veganism can reduce the signs of ageing, then I would not be enjoying the process as much.
I therefore had to remind myself as I was planning that there are ethical reasons that can propagate a sense of justice that require the effort such as reducing my carbon footprint and contributing to an environmental cause for generations to come. As a socialising tip, please bare in mind the importance of being positive and enthusiastic about your lifestyle as this can help ease the discomfort of the vegan debate at a social event. By positive, I mean reminding yourself of your reasons for going into veganism, so as to not become defensive around people who may question your reasons for not consuming meat.
To say that my transition is a purely altruistic thing is not really being honest with myself. I have heard of a plant-based diet reversing the risk of coronary disease and diabetes, and after being a vegan for a couple of months, I have noticed a lot of positive changes in my physical and mental wellbeing, although it is not at all rosy and positive all of the time.
I know that my body has undergone some massive changes, I have to bare in mind that my consumption of fruits, vegetables, lentils and grains can greatly reduce the risk of these diseases based on the reduction of saturated fats alone. That definitely does give me incentive to keep going.
Starter Guide for Fit Vegans:
Now, onto the fitness routine changes and nutritional vegan advice.
The first thing I googled when I first started training as a vegan (on top of three years of fitness as a meat-eater) was: Is it possible to gain lean muscle mass on a vegan diet? I found that I have been able to be consistent with my training and make additional gains.
Set yourself up for success by having a positive vision for yourself becoming stronger and fitter as a vegan.
You will not need to spend half as much time at the gym, in fact, I recommend 45-60 minute long strength training workouts. I find that a shorter workout and recently a high volume training session works for me. However, depending on your goals, higher volume or lower volume will work for you in conjunction to good recovery periods as well as diet. For the sake of not depleting your energy and muscles, I thus recommend a shorter duration, 45 minutes to one hour max workout with shorter rests in order for you not to waste your precious gym time.
I find that less cardio, specifically, around 20 minutes maximum for about 3 to 4 times a week works well for me. I recommend having a protein shake before said cardio sessions, baring in mind that there are hemp, pea and soy protein powders available that also taste great. I highly recommend Vivo Life’s Maca Caramel Flavored Hemp and Pea Protein Powder.
I have it right before my cardio sessions and it tastes really good.
Food and Lifestyle
As for food, I have provided a list of sources of plant-protein sources. Below is a chart that includes vegetable sources, protein powders, breads, grains and pasta, beans, legumes and nuts and seeds that can help you reach your fitness/health goals.
Finally, I have linked below a wonderful resource with plenty of vegan recipes that you can use to make vegan meals.
As far as supplementation goes, I recommend buying some Creatine. I find that a 5mg serving helps my performance at the gym and maintain my muscle. Also, a Vitamin B12 supplement is absolutely necessary. Remember that a multivitamin and Omega 3 are still important, granted food sources can provide you with adequate vitamins (with the exception of vitamin b12), I highly recommend a well-rounded and balanced approach towards your transition into a more cruelty-free, and honest way of life.
I have provided a link to a well-rounded guide about supplementation as a Vegan bodybuilder below.