Vegetarian fitness and mindset
Despite scientific evidence proving that vegetarianism is actually good for athletes, there remain a huge number of skeptics who think that the diet is too restricting and that it limits one’s physical prowess. If a vegetarian stepped into a gym and asked the trainer for a strength training program, the vegetarian will likely be asked in return if he is willing to make a few “concessions” in his diet.
Vegetarians who are into competitive sports or those who are taking on a fitness training program have long been contending with these myths. Along with these myths come pressures from misguided trainers who think they are doing vegetarians a favor by trying to convince them into reverting to a regular diet.
Such are the prevalence of the myths against vegetarian athletes that they often find themselves constantly struggling to stay focused and maintain a positive view on their training. Some may even give in to doubt and start thinking that the myths may be true after all.
Here are a few tips for vegetarians who are into sports activities and those who are planning to take on a fitness training regimen on how to keep a proper mindset throughout their training program.
- Myths will always be myths.
Myths against vegetarian athletes will probably linger on indefinitely. With society having a voracious appetite for meat and meat based products, vegetarianism will always remain unpopular. Focus on the truth behind the myths and keep holding on to them. Keep reminding yourself of the following.
- You can easily get enough protein. Lacto-ovo vegetarians have rich sources of protein in cheese, whey and eggs. Vegans have nuts, soy products and whole grains. Studies also show that all essential amino acids which are the building blocks of protein can all be consumed through plants sources.
- You won’t be missing out on other nutrients. Non-vegetarians always harp on nutrients they think are missing from the vegetarian diet like iron, zinc, calcium, vitamin D, omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin B12. Vegetarians can easily get most of these nutrients from plant sources or can always take supplements.
- Mind your calorie intake.
One thing that vegetarian athletes are prone to would be low calorie intake. Because of the generally healthy diet, vegetarians who choose to engage in a more active and fitness oriented lifestyle will need more calories than what their body would normally require.
Insufficient calorie intake may cause bouts of low energy and even depression. Calculate how much calories your activities and training will require and make sure to get enough calories to see you through your activities and workouts.
- Keep tabs on your body fat levels.
One thing that the vegetarian athlete can do to make sure he is getting the right amount of nutrients is to monitor his body fat levels. This is a good indicator if he is losing lean muscle tissue. While losing lean muscle mass is a given among athletes, losing too much of it is a big no-no.
- Focus on your goals.
Vegetarians should expect to be surrounded by people who will tell them they won’t be able to realize the goals they set out to achieve. It will be best to stay away from these people (especially if they are fellow gym members). Normally, iPods and earbuds will easily fend them off, but if they just can’t get the hint, try to talk to them or try to prove them wrong showing them results.
It is important to keep your focus while training. Joining forums for active vegetarians and vegetarian athletes will also help a great deal in staying positive throughout your training program.
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