Strength Training and Vegetarianism

by Jessica B. | June 7th, 2012 | Strength Training

The main goal of strength training is to build muscle tone. In order to build muscles, you need to combine repeated exercise with stretching, rest, and a healthy diet. Whether or not you are building muscle for bulk or definition, a protein rich diet can speed up the process and make your diet more effective. Many people are skeptical of getting enough protein in a vegetarian diet, but here are some every day tips vegetarian and some vegan athletes can use to make sure they are getting enough protein to optimize their workout.

1) Nuts, nuts, nuts – Before we turn to powders and potions, may I remind you of nature’s best and healthiest source of protein? Study after study has shown that diets rich in nuts can boost health. Keep a bag of cashews or walnuts on hand and grab some whenever you are hungry or after a workout. Keep a jar of organic peanut butter on hand, and have a little bit on an apple or cracker.

2) Protein powder – These days there are a wide variety of vegan protein powders to help boost your protein and vitamin intake. Rice protein and yellow pea protein are optimal since they are non-dairy, but come from natural resources. They also don’t have a heavy flavor or after taste, so you can add the powder to a glass of juice or water.

3) Quinoa – This stuff is divine for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a snack. Keep some in your fridge, and mix it with whatever you have on hand. I sometimes throw in a handful of raisins and walnuts, and sweeten it with a bit of orange juice or a honey (not vegan, sorry) and some pistachio nuts.

4) Smoothies – Mix a whole fat organic yogurt  (substitute with almond or soy milk) with fruits and berries, consider adding a scoop of protein powder. Add a spoonful of peanut butter or almond butter for an extra protein kick.

5) Make your own energy bars – I like to play around with making my own energy bars. I use honey, but this can be replaced with another kind of corn syrup. I just throw what  I have in my pantry into a baking tin and see what happens. Typically this includes oats, grains, dried fruit, and other nuts. After the bars have baked, cut them into squares and eat after your big workout.

Protein after a big strength-training routine is necessary and certainly possible as a vegetarian or vegan.

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.