January is a big fitness motivator. Hopefully you’re still as committed to these goals as you were on December 31st. Exercise and nutrition are the two key components of weight management. Whether you are hoping to increase your strength-to-weight ratio, improve endurance, bulk up or lean out, nutrient-dense meals will help to get you there...
The high net-gain nutrition abundant in plant-based, whole foods and supplements are the best construction materials for building strong muscles and maintaining your optimal weight.
If you work out, you’re not just eating food—you’re actually using it. People who exercise regularly breakdown cellular tissue with every workout and what you eat provides the nutrients that are the foundation of cellular regeneration. Give your body the highest quality building materials you can, and your body will use them to rebuild the strongest version of you possible.
Whether your goal is to build muscle mass, lean out or increase endurance, these three key principles form the basis of whole food, plant-based sport nutrition:
1. Choose Nutrient Dense Foods
Plant-based whole foods are nutrient dense and the best construction materials for building strong muscles. While many athletes focus exclusively on protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, antioxidants, and electrolytes form the basis of functional fuel. Rely on fruit, vegetables (both starchy and non-starchy), nuts, seeds, and sprouted whole grains as your staples to fuel everyday activities.
2. Pay Attention to Timing
Fueling before even starting your workout is essential to make effective use of exercise. Pre-workout fuel should provide immediate and sustained energy. Immediately before a workout, clean, simple carbohydrates, such as fruit and sprouted seeds are best for an instant burst of energy.
Mid-workout fuel and electrolyte enhanced hydration can help you go the distance. Simple carbohydrates are the primary source of clean-burning, easily digestible fuel during exercise. Grab dried fruit to eat along the way, or make a carbohydrate-rich beverage before starting your workout.
Faster recovery allows for you to train again sooner and ultimately make gains faster. Post-workout recovery is not just about consuming protein for building muscle— it’s also critical to replenish muscle glycogen, reduce inflammation, repair soft tissue, and provide immune system support.
3. Focus on Recovery
Faster recovery allows you to work out again sooner, train more in less time and ultimately make gains faster. While most athletes focus on protein after a workout to build and repair muscle, there are actually six key elements of recovery. These key elements of recovery are directly affected by well-timed nutrition and can mean the difference between average and elite performance.
Muscle glycogen replenishment, muscle tissue repair and protein synthesis: First replenish the fuel stored in your muscles with carbohydrates, then you repair and build muscle with a plant-based protein
Hormonal support: exercise is a stress that raises cortisol levels. Elevated cortisol levels impact hormone production and balance
Soft-tissue repair: support the ongoing function of tendons, ligaments, and connective tissue
Immune system support: heavy exercise can impair the immune system response. Fight back with high net gain nutrition to support immune function
Inflammation reduction: inflammation hinders muscle and joint functionality; antioxidants help to reduce inflammation throughout your body
Rehydration: replenish not just water, but also electrolytes To build muscle mass, you need to first replenish muscle glycogen (with a 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein) and then focus on high-quality protein. Plant-based foods rich in protein help your body build muscle, without going into nutritional debt. Try to avoid highly acid-forming proteins, such as heavily processed protein isolates, meat and dairy. The quality of a minimally processed alkaline-forming protein matters even more than the quantity. Look for raw, minimally processed proteins rich in chlorophyll, such as hemp, pea, algae, legumes and dark leafy greens.
The Vega Sport Performance System
Vega Sport is the first, complete, all-natural, plant-based sport performance system specifically developed to help athletes perform at their best, with the assurance of being certified through sport by Informed Choice. Each Vega Sport product is formulated so its ingredients work in synergy within the individual product—and across the system as a whole—for maximum impact (so you get better returns on your workouts). Plus, the entire line of Vega Sport products is gluten-free, made without dairy or soy, and contains no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.
Because nutrient timing is an essential element of sport nutrition, the Vega Sport System is designed in three sequential stages—Prepare, Sustain, and Recover. Taken backward, the system won’t work; the products in each stage are designed to enhance workouts by giving you the ideal macronutrients in the ratio your body needs to perform at its best during that stage. Start your workout with a boost from Pre-Workout Energizer or Sugar-Free Energizer. Electrolyte Hydrator, Endurance Gels and Endurance Bars help to you to take it to the next level during training. Recovery Accelerator, Performance Protein and Protein Bar replenishes you, repair muscle tissue, and reduce inflammation so you can do it all again, sooner.
By following the principles of clean, plant-based sports nutrition you can see significant improvements in performance. But, you don’t have to make drastic changes to see results. Start with one change, such as adding a plant-based recovery meal or swapping out a gel loaded with artificial flavours, and see what difference that can make.