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10 Steps to Becoming a Vegan Athlete

10 Steps to Becoming a Vegan Athlete

1. Find your passion

We evolve all the time and so do our passions. Transitioning from dance to bodybuilding may sound strange but both use the same drive and physical stamina. Golfer? Your ability to fine-tune the smallest curve of the wrist translates into being able to make a muscle-mind connection like nobodies business. Gamer? Operating in an ever-changing reality where adaption and recovery is king is a core function of athleticism. If you want it you can build it. Try a quick online quiz like “Olympisize Me” for fun to see what sport your personality suits.

2. Gear

You’re going to need some sturdy and breathable track shoes that absorb shock and are perfectly fit for Vegans at Brooks.com or the Vegan section of Planetshoes.com. Keeping comfortable in sweat-wicking tops and bottoms is essential because cotton kills. Try Veganathleticapparel.com for cycling gear or Veganscene.com for amazing activewear. Try before you buy with rentals. Once you’ve hit some of your benchmarks, reward yourself with the latest weight belt or sweet stack of carabiners.

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3. Make an investment

Athletes spend a considerable amount on nutrition as opposed to beer and ice cream. To start off on the right track, add BCAA’s to fuel muscles on a cellular level; Glutamine, for recovery; key vitamins like B12, Iron and a Multi to your daily ritual. Don’t forget your probiotics and digestive enzymes to keep your system regular. Vitasave.com has a laundry list of veg-friendly supplements that won’t break the bank. The cherry on top of all of this will be your motivational tunes. Subscribe to Spotify.com for access to more music than you can handle.

4. Stay natural with whole food supplements

Fuel and refuel with healthy options to improve your performance and gains. When whole foods aren’t enough, look to supplements. Not all products are created equal, vegan or not. Good for you protein powders only such as Iron Vegan, Aloha, and Kaizen brands. Avoid 500 calorie sugar-laden bars you find on the shelves. Those are training no-no’s unless you’re a long distance runner or Tour de France cyclist.

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5. Fuel up your F1 machine

Athletes are fuelling Ferraris not Pintos and premium fuel is the rule. Deciding which body type you have (Mesomorph/Ectomorph/Endomorph or hybrid) is a great place to start building your nutrition plan from. Fats, proteins, and carbs need to be tailored to your body and timed well for maximum results. Carbs pre and post workout and fats that help you burn fat. You’ll find the best nutrition in the form of coconut oil, tempeh or tofu, rice, quinoa and heaps of veggies. Minimum water requirements to keep a consistent flush should be 4 liters or 1 gallon per day.

    Homemade whole foods for the win!

    6. Pick an idol

    Vegan athletes Dave Zabriskie, Steph Davis are accomplished and humble. When you’re choosing a sport, check out its grandaddy and learn their stories. The ability to overcome adversity hasn’t changed in millennia. How did they achieve greatness? Follow in their footsteps and avoid their missteps. Visit Greatveganathletes.com to see a listing of inspirational warriors.

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    7. Find a coach or mentor

    You need constant check-ins, pats on the back and constructive criticism to grow as an athlete and so enlist someone who has been in your shoes. For vegans, that means finding value for your dollar with a plant-powered coach. If you’re well versed in the gym you should be able to find a great coach online that will supply you with a meal plan and training program for around $150-250 per month. In person, look to spend no more than $80 per hour with a trainer for building your skills.

    8. Support

    Training alone isn’t easy, especially if you’ve chosen a sport that makes you a one man army. Be sure to find a training facility that’s simple to get to (no excuses please). Try out the app MyFitnessPal.com where you can find others like you on a fitness journey. Facebook also has groups for everything from Vegan Bodybuilding to Vegan Square Dancing enthusiasts.

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    9. Celebrate your wins

    Feeling like you’re falling flat can lead up to 70% of would-be athletes to drop off of the bandwagon. Measure small successes or enter a contest. Celebrate new PR’s (personal records) regularly. Added 5 lbs to your deadlift? Win. Sign up for a boxing match or bodybuilding competition. Long range goals with the possibility of failure or embarrassment fuels athlete brains to go hard and win. Use the JEFIT app in the iTunes store to track your workout progress.

    10. Educate yourself

    Never take anyone’s word for it. If it feels bad, research and adapt. An athlete is in a constant state of discovery of their sport and their place in it. You become a greater athlete, a better mentor, and a wise old teacher by forging your own path during your journey. Never stop learning.

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    Last Updated on October 15, 2020

    10 Lower Body Workouts Anyone Can Try at Home

    10 Lower Body Workouts Anyone Can Try at Home

    Are you having a hard time going to the gym for strength and conditioning? Do you want to work on your lower body strength but aren’t sure where to start? In this article, we’ll be breaking down 10 lower body workouts anyone can try at home. No gear is needed for these workouts, just some space and a bottle of water waiting nearby.

    What Do Lower Body Workouts Target?

    When you tackle a lower body workout, you’ll be focusing mostly on leg workouts that strengthen your thighs and calves

    .

    However, a lower body workout can also be great for strengthening your hips, glutes, and core, as well as stabilizing your knee and ankle joints[1].

    Major muscle groups for lower body workout

      Building lower body strength is key to helping you move through your day without pain and stiffness[2]. It can also help you achieve your other workout goals.

      Do you want to train for a marathon? You’ll definitely need to build up your leg muscles. Do you want to start endurance training? It’s hard to do if your legs and glutes get tired before your heart rate goes up.

      To get started, try a lower body workout from the list below.

      10 Great Lower Body Workouts

      This will give you an overview of some workout combinations that will help you build lower body strength using your own body weight. In the next section, we’ll go deeper and give you an overview of each major exercise.

      1. The Starter Workout

      3 sets of 8-12 reps of:

      • Squat
      • Single Leg Deadlift
      • Glute Bridge

      (30 sec to 2 min rest between each set)

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      2. The 7-Minute Workout

      3 rounds of 30 seconds of each exercise:

      • Walking Lunges
      • Quarter Squat
      • Step Up
      • Single Leg Deadlift

      (1 min rest between each round)

      3. The Unilateral Workout

      4 sets of 16 reps of:

      • Reverse Lunges
      • Single Leg Deadlift
      • Skater Squat
      • Single Leg Glute Bridge

      (30 sec to 1 min rest between each set)

      4. The Endurance Workout

      2 sets of 20-50 reps of:

      • Squat
      • Walking Lunge
      • Single Leg Deadlift
      • Glute Bridge

      (1-2 min rest between each set)

      5. The Back-to-Back Lower Body Workout

      5 rounds of 10 to 20 seconds of each exercise:

      • Skater Squat
      • Step Up
      • Single Leg Deadlift
      • Single Leg Glute Bridge
      • Quarter Squat

      (30 min rest between each round)

      6. Strength Lower Body Workout

      5 to 10 sets of 4 reps of:

      • Walking Lunge
      • Single Leg Deadlift
      • Squat

      (30 sec to 2 mins of rest time between sets)

      7. Glute Burner Workout

      4 sets of 10-30 reps of:

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      • Walking Lunge
      • Single Leg Deadlift
      • Single Leg Glute Bridge
      • Quarter Squat

      (1 min of rest time between sets)

      8. The Advanced Lower Body Workout

      3 rounds of 20 seconds of:

      • Squat
      • Walking Lunge
      • Skater Squat
      • Reverse Lunge
      • Glute Bridge
      • Single Leg Deadlift

      (2 mins of rest time between sets)

      9. The Quick Lower Body Workout

      2 sets of 10 reps of:

      • Reverse Lunge
      • Step Up
      • Single Leg Deadlift

      10. The 100 Repetition Challenge

      2 sets of 50 reps on each leg of:

      • Walking Lunge
      • Single Leg Deadlift

      (4 mins of rest time between sets)

      Lower Body Workout Exercise Breakdown

      Here’s the breakdown of the lower body exercises[3] that you found in the workouts listed above.

      1. Squat

      Squat
        A squat is a compound movement which uses the major muscle groups of the lower body (quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteal muscles, spinal erectors).
        How to Do a Squat

        Place feet hip-width apart or a little wider. Your toes should be pointed slightly out, arms out in front of you. Sit into your heels until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Drive through the heels, return to the starting position, and repeat.

        2. Walking Lunges

        Walking lunge for lower body workout

          A lunge is a complex movement that focuses mostly on thigh and knee strength, but it also gets into the glutes and core.

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          The walking lunges are a harder version of a split squat, which is stationary. It then adds the component of stepping and keeping balance, which engages the gluteus medius, as well as allowing a larger range of motion.

          3. Reverse Lunge

          Reverse lunge

            A reverse lunge is very similar to the split squat, but instead, after every rep, you are returning to the starting position and stepping back.

            By reverse stepping, you are allowing for more emphasis on the hamstrings and gluteal muscles as opposed to the quadriceps muscles in a forward stepping lunge.

            4. Quarter Squat

            Quarter squat for lower body workout

              A quarter squat is the top ¼ movement of a squat. This will work mainly the gluteal muscles as it emphasizes the hip extension and not a lot of range of motion on the quadriceps.

              5. Skater Squat

              Skater squat

                A skater squat is a unilateral variation of the squat, this squat really engages the gluteus medius and hamstrings as it works unilateral stability and hip flexion, which fires up both the hamstrings and glutes.

                6. Step up

                Step up for lower body workout

                  The step up is the greatest balance of getting the glutes and quadriceps muscles firing. Doing steps up during a lower body workout will not only get the glutes going, but the quadriceps as well.

                  7. Glute Bridge

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                  Glute bridge

                    Glute bridges are a great way to nearly isolate the glutes and build a great butt. This entire movement works through hip extension, which the main movement of the gluteal muscles.

                    8. Single Leg Glute Bridge

                    Single leg glute bridge for lower body workout

                      Single leg glute bridge ensures that we are evenly building the glutes and not relying too heavily on our dominant leg and symmetrical butt.

                      9. Single Leg Deadlift

                      Single leg deadlift

                        Single leg deadlifts engage the entire booty and hamstrings, especially the gluteus medius due to its unilateral stability property. This is a great way to spice up some routine deadlifts and engage the core while you’re at it.

                        Before and After Working Out

                        Before engaging in any physical activity, consult a doctor if you have not worked out in years. However, if you want to go at it without consulting a doctor, start slow and build your way up.

                        Even if you’re doing an at-home workout, use dynamic stretching or some light jogging[4] as a warm up before starting the lower body workouts.

                        Try these quad stretches to get started:

                        Finally, at the end of the lower body workout, use static stretching to reduce injuries and to calm down your heart rate gradually.

                        Final Thoughts

                        Completing a lower body workout can help you look and feel great, but it can also help you engage more fully with your daily activities and keep you healthier in the long run. Get started with any of the above exercises today.

                        More on Strengthening the Lower Body

                        Featured photo credit: Benjamin Klaver via unsplash.com

                        Reference

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