Pre- and post-workout nutrition is essential for athletes, whether you’re a vegan or not! You need to time your carbohydrate and protein intake correctly to aid recovery and improve your overall results.

Getting this timing wrong, on the other hand, can delay your recovery and even upset your stomach while you train. Don’t worry though – we are here to help you perform at your peak! Read on to find out more about optimum workout nutrition.

Why Nutrition is Important

Proper nutrition before and after workouts will assist you in building muscle, recovering quickly, and allowing you to train effectively during your next session. Think of eating well as fuelling a fire with sturdy hard wood instead of kindling. Your body needs the right fuel to perform properly, especially if you are on a plant-based diet.

The timing of your pre- and post-workout snacks largely depends on your needs and what you are able to tolerate. A good rule of thumb is to eat a meal 2-4 hours before your training session, or a snack 1-2 hours beforehand. If you have a larger meal, opt for one that contains quality complex carbohydrates and a small amount of protein.

Gaining Muscle Mass with Plants

If you want to gain muscle mass, you should eat a good meal before every training session! If your session is under an hour long, however, you might not need to eat beforehand. Use your discretion and listen to what your body needs. If your session will be 90 minutes or longer, it’s recommended that you eat a small, carb-heavy snack before you begin.

Protein and carbs are both essential to include in your post-workout meals, and should be consumed within an hour after your session. Protein is essential for building muscle mass, so be sure to add foods like lentils, beans, tofu, tempeh, seeds, whole grains and nuts into your post-workout menu!

Pre-Workout Snack Ideas

Pre-workout snacks should be rich in carbohydrates, as you will need a quick source of energy for your session. Some great vegan pre-workout meal and snack options include:

  • Fruit smoothies with soya milk
  • Coconut or soya yoghurt with whole grain muesli

  • Bananas, mangoes, and other sweet fruits
  • Potatoes or sweet potatoes
  • Vegan cheese sandwiches on wholegrain bread
  • Overnight oats

Plus these are easy to eat, so you can snack on these while you enjoy a game of Blackjack NZ before hitting the gym.

Post-Workout Snack Ideas

Your post-workout snacks should always include both protein and carbs. Aim to include 10-20g of each macronutrient in this meal. The carbohydrates help to replenish your muscle stores of glycogen, while protein helps to build and repair muscles and prevent long term injury. A few post-workout meals we recommend for vegans include:

  • Fruit smoothies with vegan protein powder or coconut yoghurt
  • Wholegrain bread or crackers with natural peanut butter
  • Nuts and dried fruit
  • Tofu or Quorn stir-fry with brown basmati rice
  • Chickpeas or beans prepared in any style you prefer
  • Hummus and falafel salad wraps
  • Lentil burgers on wholegrain buns