Vegan Sports Nutrition

Vegan is becoming an increasingly popular diet and lifestyle, as people learn more about food processing and nutrition.

It is a diet absent of all animal by-products, notably meats, poultry, fish, dairy, and eggs.

Although there are many considerations to be made, a vegan diet can work for most lifestyles. If you are a vegan or considering becoming one, it is important to understand the essentials of vegan sports nutrition.

Vegan Sports Nutrition Fundamentals:
People become vegan for many different reasons. Most people note more energy, mental clarity, and an overall feeling of well-being with this lifestyle choice.

As someone who is very healthy conscious and determined to excel in your training; you need to be extra cautious to ensure that you are getting an adequate supply of vitamins and minerals.

A vegan diet is a big adjustment, for both your body and your mind. But there are a number of simple precautions that can be taken.

The nutrients in the following list are ones that vegans often miss out on. They are especially important for sports nutrition.

Vegan Sports Nutrition Tips:

  • Calcium is needed for maintaining strength and bone density. A deficiency in calcium could lead to osteoporosis (most common in women) and other bone diseases. Calcium supplements such as Nature’s Science Calcium Citrate are important because non-dairy sources of calcium are not as easily absorbed.
  • Iron supports important tissue and muscle growth. It can be obtained from natural food sources (leafy greens, dried fruits, etc.)  in adequate amounts, but it is advised that you take it with Vitamin C (for example: NOW C-1000) to increase absorption.
  • Taking a high quality multivitamin with B-complex is also highly advised for vegan diets. Try New Chapter Every Women’s One Daily or New Chapter’s Every Man’s One Daily.  Note: although vegetarian and not vegan certified it is the highest caliber of multi’s in the market right now. Highly recommended!

Vegan Sports Nutrition Tips For Your Workouts:
The same rules apply for vegan athletes as for non-vegan athletes when it comes to pre, post, and intra-workout fueling.

  • Your pre-workout meal should be consumed at least 1-2 hours before workout to allow for complete digestion. Eating clean unprocessed carbs which fuel your body is the best approach along with a vegan protein source – Vega Complete Whole Food Health Optimizer would be a great example of a complete vegan protein source.
  • During your workout you may also need to top up on carbs and water to prevent energy depletion.
  • Post-workout meals should include proteins that help rebuild your muscle and replenish glycogen stores. Good vegan sources of protein include beans/legumes, nuts/seeds, nut butters, soy/tofu, and certain cereals. Post-workout carbs should include whole grains and starchy vegetables as well.
  • It is advised that you take a good quality amino acid supplement while on a vegan diet. Try Scivation Xtend, which will support continued muscle growth.

Going vegan usually means getting adequate (and sometimes excessive) amounts of dietary fibre. Despite the health benefits, too much fibre is not always good for athletes as it can cause stomach problems and hinder performance. You may need to adjust your fibre intake accordingly so pay close attention to your body in this respect.

As with any new diet, your personal needs and goals should be considered. Keep in mind that going vegan is a major lifestyle choice and should be discussed with your doctor and a registered dietitian.

Have any questions or feedback about vegan sports nutrition? Please leave a comment below…