For the past 3+ years I have been working out at home with resistance bands. I spent a good while trying to find a workout system that worked for me.
In my early and mid-twenties I joined and stopped going to countless gyms.
It always worked the same way. I’d get inspired to get in better shape, find a good local gym, and sign-up with enthusiasm.
For the first couple weeks I’d go religiously, and start to feel better, seeing progress in my workouts.
Then, something would happen.
The process got stale and time consuming. I hated the fact that if I did an hour workout in the gym, it really took like 2 hours — an hour to workout, 30 minutes getting to and from, 15 minutes to shower, 15 minutes to get ready and cool down.
Can you guess what the single most cited reason is for not exercising?
Lack of time.
So this just always felt unsustainable to me.
That’s when I finally found Bodylastics and LiveExercise. Both changed my life. I finally found a workout system that worked for me! I could do a new workout broadcast live every day and do it all in my bedroom in like 45 minutes — no commute necessary.
But another story has gone hand in hand with this experience: what to have post-workout.
After a good strength workout, your muscles need protein to recover. Let me be quick to point out that they don’t need 50 grams administered intravenously within seconds of dropping the last weight.
The amount needed is likely way overblown, mostly by people selling protein supplements (think about who wrote and/or paid for the next protein article you read).
But the fact remains that you do need some nutrition after a workout to help your muscles recover well and grow — the whole point of the workout in the first place!
Vegan Protein Powders
If you are interested, they do make vegan/plant-based protein powders, and they are something I used for quite awhile.
Periodically I’d read an article about one that was recommended and I’d go with that for awhile (remember who pays for protein articles!).
It was soy at first, hemp for awhile, then pea protein, they a blend of several that was not cheap.
But the whole time it felt a little disingenuous. Here I was trying to follow (and promote) a whole foods plant-based diet and yet after every workout I was downing isolated protein powders — definitely not a whole food.
Isolated macronutrients are never good for you
Think about it — isolated carbohydrates are pure white sugar, isolated fats are butter, margarine, and oil, and both are not health foods. Can they be used in some recipes, sure, but they are not whole foods and they are not healthy.
Why are we so forgiving to isolated protein? Anytime you strip a nutrient from the whole food you lose nearly all of what made it worth eating.
A year and a half ago I finally swore off protein powders for good. It wasn’t worth the nearly $50 per tub I was paying for a food that I didn’t need and was arguably not good for me.
And it’s been a year and a half of tweaking, but I finally have found my entirely whole foods, vegan, plant-based protein smoothie of choice.
1 Cup Frozen Peas
1 Cup Frozen Spinach
1-2 TBSP Ground Flax Seed
Pinch of Amla
Water to cover
Nutrition Facts: 400 calories, 14 grams of protein, 88 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fat, 19 grams fiber
That’s it, just blend and enjoy! An entirely whole-foods protein smoothie! No need for expensive protein powders! No need to pay someone to isolate the protein from the green peas when you can just eat them whole, where you’ll get the fiber and antioxidants you’d otherwise miss!
If you’re interested in learning more about building muscle on a vegan and plant-based diet I can’t recommend any higher the work of Robert Cheeke and his community at http://www.veganbodybuilding.com/
Also the guy who runs Bodylastics and LiveExercise happens to be vegan as well 🙂
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