If you have recently turned vegan or you are still considering adopting a plant-based diet, but are concerned about your level of activity and keeping an active and athletic lifestyle, then this article is for you.
It is true that there are some concerns around changing diets and veganism specifically, but there are some successful athletes who do not eat animal products and they are thriving. The key is to know what you are getting into and do it well.
Can vegans lead an active lifestyle?
Of course, while getting proper nutrients is an essential step for developing and maintaining a healthy active lifestyle, the type of diet rarely prevents you from accomplishing that. Even people who eat meat and other animal products might run into problems if they do not eat right. Furthermore, there are many successful and well-known athletes and sports figures who adopt a plant-based diet. So, veganism does not prevent that kind of physical development in any way.
What are the health issues I should watch out for?
While our bodies are certainly capable from adapting to change in many different ways, it is only natural that you would have to make certain changes to your eating and exercising habits as you transition to the new diet. A few key things to watch out for include:
Caloric vs. protein intake: like in any other diet, you need additional calories if you are training on a regular basis. This is not to be confused with the increased protein intake, which is also essential. People with plant-based diets tend to get less whole proteins that are essential for the body especially when training, so it is important that you get more calories and a higher percentage of protein.
Minerals: many minerals that are highly important for training such as iron and calcium are found in higher quantities in animal products, which means that it is more difficult to get them through a vegan diet. Include foods that are high in minerals in your diet and resort to supplements when necessary.
Change your approach on fitness: Shorter more intense workouts are recommended for people on a vegan diet because they are far more likely to be in sync with your protein levels. This is important because with less protein you run the risk of losing muscle mass when exercising.
Photo Credit: Marcel Aniceto