Being in the right state of mind and wanting to give it your all is a great thing when it comes to workouts. However, the truth is that the body often needs a boost for you to see the results you desire.
Whether you need a slimmer waistline, shredded torso, and arms, or you just need to lose the pounds, the right diet along with the best workout regimens. To boost your workouts, a high-quality supplement, or a pre-workout meal/ snack may be necessary.
Pre-workout meals or snacks are important as they are designed to help you build the desired lean muscle while also encouraging proper healing.
The pre-workout meal is also essential as it fuels the body before the workout, making it possible for you to enjoy the workout and have the energy to push through.
The pre-workout diet is the reason why most people will grab a banana or even a smoothie before they hit the gym or the running trail.
Without a pre-workout meal or with poor nutrition before a workout, you will be risking poor workout performance, or worse, cramping and nausea. Poor pre-workout diet also impairs your power and endurance.
Post-workout nutrition is also important, and failure to eat the right foods post-workout could result in delayed recovery or an increase in the degree of muscle soreness; such effects could impact your next workout, especially if your energy stores aren’t replenished well.
Best Time for a Pre-Workout Snack/ Meal
Generally, the pre-workout meal is light, but if you are taking a large meal before your workout, make sure that the meal has high-quality carbohydrates and moderate protein levels. Also, you should have this meal 3 or 4 hours before your workout.
But if you are having a light snack or meal before workouts, get this fuel in 1-2 hours before your workout. At the same time, if you’d like to gain muscle mass, then you must incorporate a pre-workout meal before each training/ workout session.
Do Vegan Diets Affect Gym Results?
Well, contrary to popular belief that vegans don’t really get enough proteins from the plant-based diet, vegans still attain their gym goals, given they consume the right plant proteins and eat the right foods all the time.
If you are vegan, you know that you have a number of plant-protein sources such as lentils and bean, tofu, tempeh, soy products, edamame, seeds like chia, flax and pumpkin seeds, whole grains like rice, quinoa, and oats, as well as nuts.
The only thing you need to do is to become aware of the foods you are eating and the nutrients you get from each meal.
The Best Vegan Pre-Workout Meals/ Snacks/ Supplements
In this article, we’ll take you through the pre-workouts vegan foods and supplements jungle to search for the best (and true) plant-based pre-workout products and foods.
Remember that being vegan or practicing veganism means that you do not consume food products from animals, often including eggs, dairy products, and for others, honey.
Therefore, your search for a vegan pre-workout supplement should be focused on plant-based ingredients only. But before we look at a few supplements, let’s first take a look at the best pre-work vegan foods and snacks.
Since most of these snacks and foods are readily available, we’ll go through them first.
Best Vegan Pre-Workout Foods and Snack
1. Overnight-Soaked Oats with Nuts and Fruits
Before you turn to supplements, you must try the vegan-friendly overnight soaked oats with dried fruits and nuts.
This is a filling pre-workout meal that has all the fiber, proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats you need to have a good workout session.
To prepare this pre-workout meal, soak 1/3 cup oats with ½ a cup of unsweetened almond milk, then toss in 2 tablespoons of walnuts, a handful of blueberries, and ½ banana.
The overnight soaking makes the whole meal tastier and the oats tastier, keeping you full and well-energized throughout your workout or even the run.
The best bit is that you will still feel full and energized after the workout since oats are complex carbs, and they don’t release all the sugars at once.
2. Trail Mix
The best trail mixes are made of a mix of pretzels, roasted chickpeas, dried fruit, seeds, and nuts. The trail mix is the perfect pre-workout snack that is easily customizable based on your fruits, seeds, cereals, or nuts preferences.
But customization is not all – this mix gives you everything you need to stay fueled throughout the workout.
The dried fruit and the pretzels are a great carbs source to keep you energized throughout the workout, the proteins from the chickpeas, nuts and the seeds will keep you fuller for longer and also encourage and support muscle growth/ recovery, while the healthy fats in the nuts encourage overall good cellular health.
3. Peanut Butter Toast with Apples
For that burst of energy you need before your workout, you could try peanut butter toast with an apple. Just make sure that you are using natural peanut butter that doesn’t have added sugars or additives.
You could also sprinkle some cinnamon on your apple slices and drizzle some maple or agave syrup on your toast.
The best part about this pre-workout meal is that a slice of toast is low in calories while the peanut butter is rich in healthy proteins and whole grains that will keep you energized to power through the toughest workout.
This snack will not weigh you down, and it’s loaded with enough carbs, fats, and proteins to keep you going, even after your workout.
4. Whole Grain Toast
Some days, you only need whole grain bread for the energy to push through your workout. You could slather avocado on the toast for extra energy.
Take this snack 1 or 2 hours before your workout. But don’t throw on too many additions since they take longer to digest, and you don’t want to drag your body in the gym because your avocado toast is still being digested.
5. Baked Sweet Potato
Vegan or not, sweet potatoes are excellent pre-workout options.
Having been long regarded as the superfood for the runners, eating some baked sweet potato pieces before your workout or run could be all the energy to keep you going through the training session.
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, and they are loaded with minerals and vitamins.
Pre-Workout Vegan Smoothies
While smoothies are always disguised as quick meals since you only need to throw a bunch of stuff in the blender and then call it a day, you cannot throw things in the blender blindly.
You need to make sure that the ingredients thrown in the blender will encourage optimal fitness performance, as well as recovery.
Therefore, you should pack your pre-workout smoothie with proteins from vegan yogurt, nut butters, soy/coconut/almond milk, or even silken tofu.
Besides proteins, throw in energy-boosting fruits and mix-ins like oats and fruits. But don’t overdo it. Slurping down a smoothie that could easily be a high-calorie sugar bomb will only affect your endurance and recovery negatively.
1. Banana-Walnut Bliss
Most gym junkies swear by bananas pre-workout, and it seems that their thoughts are accurate. But instead of eating plain bananas every day, why not try a banana-walnut smoothie?
With bananas regarded as beneficial as sports drinks, bananas are also packed with potassium and antioxidants, among other nutrients. And tossing in some walnuts is going to increase your intake of healthy fats and proteins.
For this smoothie, you will need coconut, almond, or soy milk, a sweetener, one banana, and walnuts.
2. Creamy Banana Strawberry Split
This smoothie is made of all the healthy vegan ingredients from almond milk, flax, and chia seeds to strawberries and protein powder (on occasion). For balancing of flavors, you could add some vanilla extract, maple/ agave syrup, and some cinnamon.
This smoothie tastes so good, and it’s very nutritious.
3. Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie
It doesn’t get any better with this classic. Bananas, as mentioned above, give you most of the energy you need for your workout. The addition of natural peanut butter means that you will also get your proteins for the healing of the muscles.
For milk, you could use soy, coconut, or almond milk. A sweetener is optional, but if you need to add it, then try maple syrup or agave syrup.
4. The Razzy Blue Smoothie
This smoothie is as sweet as it is creamy, and you only need one glass of frosty cold smoothie to enjoy all the nutrition and flavors in this smoothie. This smoothie offers everything you need for a good workout session.
It has oats, vegan yogurt, flax seeds, almonds, and bananas.
5. Banana-Pear Smoothie
This banana and pear pre-workout smoothie offers all you need to smash your workout, and the best bit is that you will be able to get about a quarter of your daily vitamin C requirements.
But besides vitamin C, this smoothie is also an excellent source of fiber, meaning that you not only get energy for your workout but also improve your digestive health. This smoothie also promises to boost your immune function.
6. Blueberry-Avocado layered smoothie
Blueberries are regarded as superfoods, and avocados are among the most vegan-friendly source of healthy fats.
A smoothie made of these two fruits will not just improve your performance and endurance at the gym, it will also improve your heart health by lowering the levels of bad cholesterol and also boost your cardio health.
The other ingredients to layer this smoothie include almond butter, vegan yogurt, lime juice, and almond milk.
Checkout the Plant-based Cookbook for more smoothie recipes.
Best Vegan Pre-Workout Supplements
Which are the best vegan pre-workout supplements? How do you choose the best vegan supplements? And most importantly, how do you avoid falling for the sneaky marketing gimmicks, tactics, and claims?
The truth is that although there are several pre-workout products labeled vegan, most of the time, you find that those products are not really vegan.
Even the products labeled vegetarian aren’t really vegetarian, since they may have animal products or animal by-products. So, with anything being possible out there, how do you ensure that the pre-workout supplement is actually vegan?
To find the best vegan pre-workout supplement, you need to keep the following in mind:
The supplement should be free of gelatin or any other ingredients derived from animals.
Natural/ Clean Ingredients
You need to avoid supplements with artificial flavoring, sweeteners, food dyes, additives, or any other unnecessary fillers.
A healthy mix of ingredients
By this, we mean that the pre-workout supplements you choose should be made using ingredients that are an excellent source of energy – clean carbs and proteins, as well as ingredients that are known to boost performance and endurance during a workout.
On the same note, the ingredients in the supplements should be in an efficient dose.
For example, if the supplement has caffeine, it must have something like 200mg and not 10mg of caffeine – you cannot feel the caffeine kick at 10mg, but 200mg or 400mg is good enough.
By safe ingredients, we mean that the supplement should be free of research chemicals or some other dubious ingredients.
So, you should avoid supplements with ingredients like PWO since this ingredient has been found to contain DMAA or the illegal amphetamine derivatives. You’d rather get a buzz from caffeine, but not drugs.
Ease of use and how the supplements dissolve and taste
The supplement must dissolve well and easily in liquids, and it should also taste great. Finally, make sure that the supplement you choose is right for you.
There are pre-workout supplements for men and women. Since they are formulated differently, make sure that you are using what’s right for you. And if the supplement can be used by men and women, check the dosage.
Potential Side Effects
While the best supplements shouldn’t have any side effects, it’s commonplace to find that some of the no-side-effects supplements would make you irritable, anxious, or jittery.
You don’t want to feel like you just had 8 cups of coffee, suffer severe crashes, or lack sleep completely. Looking at the different vegan pre-workout supplements on the market, the best supplement for women is Power pre-workout, while that for men is 4 Gauge.
Vegan pre-workout foods, snacks, smoothies, or supplements are safe, plant-based products that are created in safe environments with no animal cruelty or exploitation involved.