Over the past few years, the idea of all vegans being weak, pale, skinny individuals has slowly but surely faded into the background.We now know that vegans exist in all shapes and sizes, follow all sorts of (plant-based) diets and make up some of the world’s top athletes.
However, there still seem to be large amounts of people who are holding onto the belief that, to do the more intense workouts that are currently so popular, you require lots and lots of animal protein. At least part of this thinking is the fact that many of these exercise regimes become lifestyles rather than being ‘just’ a sport – something that is generally to be applauded, as combining exercise with proper nutrition is a cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle for many. The popularity of things like that Paleo diet, however, make it hard for vegans to join the club, as it is so heavily based on animal products.
For their January/February 2016 issue, Vegan Life Magazine have taken a closer look at both CrossFit and bodybuilding, interviewing Mr Universe 2014 himself, Barny du Plessis. He grew up vegetarian but, like many members of the fitness community, was made to believe that only animal products could give him the results he needed. After years of consuming them, he became more and more uncomfortable with the choice and has since turned completely vegan. His story is a fantastic reminder that hard work and correct nutrition are what really matter when trying to increase fitness and make those much-discussed ‘gains’, and that chicken breast will not help you gain more muscle than the huge variety of vegan protein sources available to us. Barry even offers vegan coaching to those who are finding it a struggle!
Recently, I’ve really been enjoying the health and fitness focussed articles in Vegan Life Magazine. While I was incredibly active in 2014, 2015 was a bit of an ‘off year’ due to numerous complications, a pregnancy and a little tiny baby! I’m back on track now, but I’ve been thinking a lot about how best to fully re-commit to a healthy lifestyle. I love my treats and don’t want to miss out on them, but I also love eating well and feeling energetic and lively all the time. I’ve already taken some of the advice in this issue on board and am excited to read more about vegan sports nutrition in future issues!
What are your experiences with vegan nutrition and exercise? And what are your favourite pre- and post-workout foods?