vegan muscle building

Vegan Muscle Building: A Plant-Based Diet

Many people believe that you need a diet including meat when you want to build muscle. Although it’s easier to get all the right nutrients when you include meat in your diet, it’s not the only way to build muscle. Vegans and vegetarians can build enough muscle to even become bodybuilders!

 

Read: Famous vegan bodybuilders

 

When you want to gain muscle on a plant-based diet, you just need to ensure that you get enough calories and other nutrients each day. Important nutrients to focus on include the following:

 

Protein

Athletes need more protein compared to non-athletes. Protein assists the body by promoting lean mass and exercise recovery. Make sure that you eat a wide variety of plant-based proteins, as certain plant products have limited amounts of certain essential amino acids like lysine, methionine, isoleucine, threonine, and tryptophan.

Plant-based protein sources:

  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Lentils
  • Black beans
  • Almonds
  • Tempeh
  • Tofu
  • Oats
  • Quinoa

 

Fatty acids

Plant-based diets are usually high in n-6 fats. These fats are found in oils, avocados, nuts, and seeds. However, plant-based diets contain fewer n-3 fatty acids than which are needed for optimal functioning. These fats are mainly found in fish. The amounts found in plants might not be enough, so consider taking a supplement to ensure you get adequate amounts of n-3.

Plant-based n-3 fatty acid sources:

  • Flax seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Chia seeds
  • Seaweed

 

Iron

Plant-based eaters should prioritise their iron intake. Although there are plants that contain iron, the bioavailability of iron in plants is limited. Iron deficiency can lead to various health conditions including anaemia (decrease in red blood cells) with symptoms like fatigue, shortness of breath, and reduced exercise tolerance.

Plant-based iron sources:

  • Legumes and grains (see protein sources above)
  • Nuts and seeds (pistachio, pumpkin, sunflower)
  • Green vegetables (spinach, kale, swiss chard, collard, beet greens, broccoli, cabbage)
  • Tomato paste (dried and concentrated tomatoes)
  • Potato skins
  • White mushrooms
  • Prune juice
  • Olives
  • Mulberries
  • Coconut milk
  • Dark chocolate

 

Vitamin B12

Plants don’t contain B12 – it is only found in animal products. If you don’t include dairy and eggs in your diet, you should take a supplement; B12 deficiency can lead to irreversible neurological damage.

Vitamin B12 sources:

  • Foods fortified with B12 (fortified almond milk, fortified cereals)
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Dietary supplements

 

Other nutrients

Certain other micronutrients are also in short supply on a plant-based diet. These include zinc, calcium, iodine, and vitamin D. When you include enough of the abovementioned foods, you should be getting enough of these nutrients as well – except for vitamin D which you should also consider supplementing.

 

You still need to consume more calories than you burn if you want to build muscle, so be sure to eat enough. Focus on consuming carbohydrates before exercising rather than after, and include plant-based protein shakes if you need to increase your calorie intake.

 

Read: Vegan diets: practical advice for athletes and exercisers

 

 

gain muscle

Best Foods To Help You Gain Muscle

Many people include exercise and healthy eating on their new year’s resolutions list. Most of us want to lose fat while building muscle. While you do need to work out to build muscle mass, your diet can help you to gain muscle. But what should you focus on? Here are some suggestions to implement in your diet:

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healthy eating rules

Healthy Eating Rules For The Holiday Season

Some people dread the holidays, simply because they are afraid of the “inevitable” weight gain. We get confronted with ice-cream, puddings, and other sweets being shoved in our faces. If that’s not bad enough, we’re either too lazy to prepare food and just get burgers and pizza, or we cook way too much food and stuff ourselves. But it doesn’t have to be that bad. Here are some healthy eating rules for the holiday season:

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post-workout smoothies

Post-Workout Smoothies: 5 Healthy Recipes

No workout is complete without a post-workout smoothie, is what we always say. In fact, your body needs the wholesome goodness of fresh fruit and antioxidants in order to recover faster and maintain your health to keep you in the gym for longer. Knowing full-well that boxing takes it out of you, you’re going to need some help after the fact.

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weight-loss tips

How To Maintain Your Weight This Festive Season

It’s nearly time to let loose a little bit and enjoy the pleasures of comfort and joy in the form of your favourite snacks and holiday carbs. However, you’ve worked your butt off all year to obtain your figure only to be bombarded with all the things you know you shouldn’t have.

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post workout recovery

Post-Workout Recovery 101: How To Get Back In The Gym Faster

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle through daily exercise is a must; especially if you spend the majority of your time in an office setting. However, with every workout done properly comes a series of sore and stiff muscles; leaving you slightly immobile for a few days. That doesn’t have to be the case. There are a few things you can do to speed up your recovery outside of the gym, improving the overall quality of your gym workout.

Here’s how:

1. Incorporate chocolate!

Turns out, chocolate can be good for you after all; especially in the form of chocolate milk as a post-workout snack. You don’t have to feel guilty about consuming a little bit of chocolate after your gym workout as the protein help your muscles recover faster.

2. Get enough peaceful rest

Not only does enough sleep help your mind function properly throughout the day, it’s also linked to protein synthesis which helps your muscles recover faster. So make sure you get enough beauty sleep in to look good inside and outside of the gym.

Read: 6 Summer Weight-Loss Tips

3. Implement plenty of protein

This relates to consuming enough protein pre-workout, post-workout, in your breakfast, and right before bed. Protein is great for rebuilding muscles; helping you get rid of the soreness faster. So don’t be shy, protein is good for you!

4. Consume tart cherry juice

Hydration is important, but if you can fill up on something tasty, why not? Tart cherry juice might help reduce the swelling that occurs from injuring muscles. It’s a win-win situation. So instead of dealing with the pain, why not consume a tasty tart cherry drink.

5. Remember to stretch

Stretching, in any sense, is great for maximising your workout and prevent unnecessary injuries. However, stretching may also relieve some of the pain from a post-workout session. According to Barbara Bolotte, IFBB pro, “Make sure you allot at least 20 minutes after a workout to cool down and stretch. If you don’t plan for it, you are more likely to skip it.”

Read: Boxing Nutrition: What You Should Be Eating

Why not join one of our fun boxing classes to improve your overall health and fitness levels. You won’t regret it!