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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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    Sasha Williams

    Plant Powered Lifestyle Designer

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    Published on November 29, 2018

    When is the Best Time to Workout to Get Incredible Results

    When is the Best Time to Workout to Get Incredible Results

    “I don’t have time”

    is the number one excuse people give when they’re asked how come they don’t exercise.

    In the book The Power of Full Engagement by Tony Schwartz, it says that it’s management of our energy levels and not time that is the key to higher performance. If we kept our energy levels in check and made sure that every part of our lives contributed to positive energy levels, we would be able to get more done.

    One of those aspects that give us energy is exercise.

    Exercise is the fuel that gives us energy and an activity that keeps on giving even if we are sitting around day in the office and in meetings.

    Reaping the benefits of a good workout is immediate. We have better focus and concentration; we are more alert and awake; we manage our mood better and have more creativity after a good workout than if we skipped the gym.

    If you’d like to get started working out I’m going cover the pros and cons to exercising at different times of the day so that you can find a time that fits for your lifestyle and schedule.

    So, when is the best time to work out? Let’s get started!

    Working out in the Morning

    Most people aspire to exercise first thing in the morning and get it out of the way. If this is you, read on to find out the additional benefits of getting your workout done in the morning.

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    Benefits of Morning Workouts

    1. The rest of the day is yours

    Exercise and lifting weights is a staple and a habit in my life but it’s also the biggest to-do on my list. When I exercise first thing in the morning, then I’m free to do whatever I want the rest of the day. This is why I have a very strong preference of exercising in the morning as oppose to afternoons or evenings.

    I schedule my day with my biggest to-dos first while I have the energy and focus at the beginning of the day. But the more I procrastinate about my workout and putting it on my list for later, the bigger that reminder to exercise sits on my shoulder.

    My mind feels free when I finish my workout and this is the main reason I get my exercise in as soon as the day allows; and if I have to get up before the sun rises, then so be it.

    2. Gyms are less crowded and there is more equipment available

    Here’s the best part about working out early in the morning – there is not competition for equipment.

    Most people typically struggle with getting up early in the morning except for the elderly. And in the morning, the gym floors are pretty sparse, this means there is no wait for equipment or competing for floor space.

    I live in the crowded city of San Francisco where the gyms are packed once it gets to 9 AM, so the best times to get in if I want a squat rack is before 8 AM. Plus, the gym equipment is organized so I can find the free weights I want without much effort and there is usually a bench available.

    3. You have more energy and more clarity to fire up the day

    After you drag yourself to the gym at the crack of dawn, you will walk out of there with more energy and clarity then when you stepped in. Not only will you wide awake but you have extra energy on top of your cup of coffee.

    The extra burst of creativity and focus keeps you productive so that you’re able to make more progress on your projects at work and finish earlier.

    4. You become more consistent

    The ones who see results are the ones who are consistent and morning people are definitely more consistent than people who postpone their workouts later in the day.[1]

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    This is because as the day starts to unfold, unexpected meetings and events come up that can cut into or even eliminate gym time. If you want to workout more consistently, get your workout in first thing in the morning before life happens.

    Downsides of Morning Workouts

    1. You’re a zombie on the floor

    Of course dragging yourself out of bed before the sun rises is why most people struggle with morning workouts. Some of us, like me, don’t want to talk to anyone before a certain time and get really short on a lack of sleep.

    To combat morning zombie, make sure to get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep.

    2. Your preparation starts the night before

    Your workout may happen in the morning but your preparation starts the night before. If you’re a last minute person and not a planner, you will struggle in the mornings to get out the door in time.

    Packing everything you need for the gym in the morning is the key to getting to your workout in that day. Support successful mornings by modifying your night time routine in order to prepare for the next day.

    How to Make It Easier to Wake Up

    The first step is to make a commitment and stick with it. Don’t go back and forth the night before on whether you should go to the gym in the morning.

    Make the decision to go in the morning and focus your energy on making it happen.

    When you create that habit, you do it even if your workout is less than optimal and you’re not completely ‘all there’ or you’re a zombie in the morning. Just keep going because repetition makes it easier and the more often you go, the easier it gets.

    Eventually your brain will catch up and start to automatically be awake at those times.

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    A question you can ask yourself is what can you do to make it easier for you?

    Can you set your workout clothes out the night before? Or have your breakfast prepared the night before? Or if you’re an alarm snoozer, put your alarm across the room and set back up alarms to make sure you get out of bed to shut them off.

    Again, what can you do to make it 20 seconds easier to help you get up and out of the door in the morning?

    Working out in the Afternoon/Evening

    So what about working out in the evening? Is it a good time to help achieve your fitness goals?

    Benefits of Evening Workouts

    1. Your body performance is at its peak

    When you’re training in the afternoon, your warm ups can be shorter because your body temperature increases throughout the day.

    A higher body temperature leads to increased flexibility,[2] overall muscle strength,[3] and increased endurance.

    Not only does the combination of low blood pressure and heart rate in the afternoon lead to faster reaction times and better performance, but also less likelihood injury.

    At the same time the muscle growth hormone testosterone also peaks in the afternoon which is great for maximizing resistance training.

    2. An accountability partner is easier to come by

    If you’re someone who needs accountability partner to make it to the gym consistently, it could be easier to find a workout buddy in the afternoon than it is in the early morning. There is more flexibility in scheduling during lunch or after work as oppose to early mornings because it could cut into your sleep.

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    3. You have more class options

    If you’re a class person or like to attend group classes, I found that there are more class options in the afternoon/evening times versus mornings. So your favorite instructor may teach a couple more classes in the afternoon during the week giving you more flexibility in your schedule.

    4. It’s a great way to destress after a long day

    One of my favorite reasons to workout in the afternoon is the relief it provides after a long day at work. This is especially true for those who work long stressful hours. That hour you spend at the gym is dedicated you time to zone out is completely relaxing for the mind.[4]

    Downsides of Evening Workouts

    1. Consistency could take a back seat

    Postponing your workouts till later in the day means you are more likely to skip your workouts because of an unexpected event. You’re also more likely to be low on energy after a long stressful day or you have to stay late at work and cancel your workout.

    I find afternoon and evening workouts challenging because I’m ready to wind down after a long day and instead have to find the energy to wind up and be mentally prepared for my workout.

    2. Crowded gyms and classes

    For the most part, gyms are packed in the afternoon because of the after work crowd and in some cases gyms require you to RSVP to classes ahead of time due to limited spots. Majority of the people prefer working out after work and you’ll see an influx in crowds at the gym.

    3. Additional preparation required

    Working out after work means you need to be more mindful of your meals and make sure that you have prepared additional snacks to help you get through your workout.

    It also means lugging around an extra bag with your gym clothes and other essentials.

    Conclusion

    At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what time of day you workout because your body will adjust to your schedule when you go the same times every time. What’s important is that you find a time that you can go to the gym consistently that works with your schedule.

    It’s important to be consistent because consistency is what’s going to get you results. The road to results is simple but not easy. Mastering consistency year round is what is going to make you leaner and stronger one year from now.

    Featured photo credit: Autumn Goodman via unsplash.com

    Reference

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