Archive for December, 2014

Life of a Vegan part 3: Where’s the Muscle?

Posted on December 19th, 2014 by Shari┬┤ Parks

Another huge misconception of vegan’s is that we are thin, frail and lack muscle mass. Or that you need meat to build muscles. Nothing could be further from the truth. While it is factual that animal products do support muscle growth, but they also support disease growth such as heart disease and diabetes. Just to name a few.
Whole plant base diet supports lean muscle gains with none of those risks. It also wards off chronic disease and enhances the immune system.

Some steps that vegans take to aid muscle growth are:

* Create the demand for more muscle by increasing the intensity of strength training. For me, LesMills BodyPump weight training regimen serves as my strength training. I see and feel positive results.

* Take in enough calories and protein from whole plant foods so your body has the energy need to build more muscle tissue.

* Get rest. Muscle growth doesn’t happen when the system is fatigued.

I personally get a kick out of telling people in my group fitness classes that I’m a vegan. Because I teach BodyPump, I set a wonderful example for vegans. By eating smart, one can have outstanding lean muscle mass on a plant based diet.

There you have it. The framework is set. Now all you need is to follow through with these key steps for lean vegan muscles. Sit back and reap the positive changes you will feel in your body.

Vegan Health and Fitness Magazine, Fall 2012 edition

Life of a Vegan part 2: Vegan Athlete

Posted on December 6th, 2014 by Shari┬┤ Parks

When you think athlete you think piles and piles of meat? Protein right? Meat is not needed to sustain a vegan active lifestyle. As a vegan athlete I have to be even more prepared and proactive than I’d say the sedentary vegan. Competing and training in multisport competitions can get tricky with my food choices. Sure, it’s simple when I’m at home gearing up for a long run. Everything I need is at the palms of my hand; however well planned out fuel food must be put into consideration when I’m hoping in my car to stay at a hotel or traveling by plane to the next big race. I admit, this is one of the biggest inconveniences of being vegan. Travel just might be the toughest to deal with. Usually, I find a decent organic plant based grocery store to buy what’s needed. Which also puts into play, preparation. The internet is my favorite tool when scooping out grocery stores near the hotel.

So, you ask what do I eat? To fuel my body for such intense activities? One of my staples is a a green smoothie. A wonderful blend of leafy greens, some fruit, almond milk or coconut water with a variety of other goodness like tumeric, garlic, chia seeds, flax seeds and ginger. Yum. After that I’m good to go after a heavy workout. Another staple of mine are raw fruits and vegetables. The list wouldn’t be complete without carbohydrates. That’s my fuel of choice. It most readily turns into energy. The key is to select the right carbs for energy. My favorites are sweet potatoes, whole grain pastas, quinoa and legumes.

In plant based nutrition, the emphasis is on variety because there’s many nutrient dense plant foods. Plant based whole foods are rich sources of vitamins and minerals that the body needs. Also, a varied diet acts as insurance against nutritional deficiency.

So, there you go. With the right food choices vegan athletes can thrive and kick butt just like their meat eating competitors.


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