Are you worried about what going vegetarian/vegan will do to your fitness regimen? You want to eat clean, but at the same time, you want to make sure you're still getting the most out of your gym memberships. Don't worry — a veggie diet doesn't bar anyone from building muscle. You just have to do it the smart way.
High Protein Meat Substitutes
Clearly when it comes to working out or personal training, vegetarians needs to find a reliable source of protein. Without meat, there are a few common options you can choose. The best option is one you have probably already heard of — tofu. Tofu is available in many forms, though tempeh provides a more flavorful alternative. Beans are also a great source of protein, and nuts are perfect little powerhouses of protein for your body. You also might want to include some hummus and edamame. When it doubt, eggs are also an incredibly healthy alternative.
The other thing you can consider is whey protein. Whey is a byproduct of the cheese making process, which means its related to milk. If you are leaning more toward the vegan side of things then you'll want to say no to whey protein. If this is something that you are willing to accept, then that opens up a number of great protein powders that you can try both before and after workouts. If you want to avoid whey, you can investigate soy protein powder options, but they are a little harder to find and can be less effective.
Getting Your Calcium
Another important consideration is calcium. On a vegetarian diet, especially the stricter versions, calcium can be more difficult to come by, but your bones are need it to stay strong.
Fortunately milk and cheese still have plenty of calcium. For those who are avoiding dairy, your best bet is to turn to almonds, beans and green leafy veggies such as kale or other dark greens that are rich in vitamins. You can also try "calcium fortified" foods and milks, which were made just for this purpose.
Another concern while on a vegetarian diet is having enough energy to make it through your workout and beyond. Smoothies can be great for this because they can be made with veggies or fruit and still provide plenty of healthy energy to get through the day. As always, non-processed brown carbs from grain bread and rice can give you plenty of great long-term energy to get through the day. Frozen berries can provide an interesting twist on foods that also make for a great morning snack. And don't forget about healthy fats that you can find in avocado, olive oil and more.
Do you need to take daily vitamins? This is a personal decision. If you are getting plenty of protein and calcium from fruits, nuts, veggies and other foods suggested above, vitamin supplements shouldn't be an issue. There's plenty of research that suggests they aren't really necessary for people who eat balanced diets. If you are worried about missing out on a particular nutrient, supplements can be a fine way to go, but don't rely on them.
Get to the Gym
Vegetarians can lift weights and rock it in fitness classes just as well as any of the meat eaters out there. So what are you waiting for? Sign up for a membership at Forever Fitness and you'll have access to all of our cardio equipment, free weights and fitness classes, including zumba, spinning and kickboxing. We offer memberships for $10 per month, and that includes access to our Kid's Club, a complimentary child care program. Give us a call or stop by the gym today to sign up.