How To Exercise On A Vegan Plant-Based Diet For Weight Loss.
Updated: Sep 22, 2019
With nearly a decade of experience as a successful personal trainer, while on a vegan plant based diet. I want to share with you how you can accelerate your weight loss with exercise while on this fantastic lifestyle.
Exercise is absolutely integral to long-term plant-based vegan weight loss. Studies have shown that people who exercise maintain a healthy weight, body and mind that people that don’t exercise.
It’s the exercise where we're looking to get you into a caloric deficit, get you strong, lean, sexy, supple and toned. Without it you will simply stay the same shape you are today.
However what exercise is best for long-term weight loss?
That question has to be one of the most asked. Yet, people seem to think that there's a magic exercise that solely burns fat.
The truth is EVERY form of exercise is amazing at burning fat. But the best exercise for you may be the least efficient exercise for your best friend. What you must remember is that every bodies body is different. Your friend may be incredibly flexible but is weak, while you may be relatively strong but your cardio system is poor.
You can see why with so much information in this world people are getting more and more confused and thus don’t even start because each opinion is contradicting others.
Personal Trainer can be the biggest culprit of this. Have you ever seen articles or videos saying “Do this exercise to burn fat” or “Never do this exercise”. Trainers that produce this tripe should be publicly shamed.
Imagine if a 30-year-old lady with a bad back and mobility reads that she MUST perform deadlifts to lose weight. She goes to the gym, hasn’t got a clue how to perform the exercise and then injures herself further. How do you think she is going to feel apart from sore? She's going to feel like a failure.
And as she doesn't have the correct guidance to pick herself back up from this the likelihood is that she is going to give up. You can see why I hold these trainers in such disregards.
You’re only as strong as your weakest link.
Read the above statement again. If you have poor mobility then don’t even think about weight training, HIT (High-Intensity Cardio), or even road running. You need to do Yoga first for a few months so your fully able to recruit the muscle and open up your joints correctly. If your weak and your legs lose energy while running the lift weights. If you get out of breath easily when strength training then does cardio.
All of the above styles of exercise will help burn fat. However what is more important than burning fat at the beginning? Priming your body ready to be able to perform all of the above exercises correctly.
So your challenge now is to identify what you are weak at and train that area for at least 3 times per week for the first 4 weeks of starting this journey. Then and only then are primed and ready to work out fully.
Studies have shown that exercising 6 days a week at a moderate to high intensity for 30-40 minutes a is the optimum for long-term health and weight management. However, if you are starting as a complete beginner and that is not physically, mentally or even possible then I recommend that you simply start a 10 minutes a day. Remember the Kaizen, when you improve you can the workout for longer. Exercise shouldn't always be overwhelming in the early stages. Make it challenging but also possible and sustainable for the rest of your life.
Once your body is primed a balanced and you maintain this balance you are then ready to exercise intensively and hopefully injury free. I am now going to share with you which styles of exercise there are available to you, what they involve and the benefits of each style of exercise.
HIT High-Intensity Training.
HIT is one of the most popular styles of exercise and for good reason. Its a for exercise which focuses on producing as much lactic acid throughout the body so you burn the most amount of calories possible in a short period of time. As this training is so taxing on the body you continue to burn more calories when your workout is done while you recover. This is known as the after-burn effect. The exercises tend to involve only your body weight so they are great to do at home or in a small space.
Moves such as burpees, mountain climbers and jumping jacks are all part of a good HIT workout.
However, with high intense nature of this style of training, it's not for everyone. If you have joint or back issues then I wouldn't recommend it. It also produces a cult-like following where participants think ONLY hit training is effective thus you neglect just as important forms of exercises such as yoga, strength training and steady state cardio (powerwalking, cycling etc ).
HIIT High-Intensity Interval Training.
Like HIT, HIIT is performed in intervals. My absolute favourite form of HIIT is sprint training. So let's break that down. For example, you need to perform only 6x30 seconds sprints. On paper that looks very easy. In practice, it's not. You do a regular cardio and mobility warm up. Stretch. Perform each sprint with a 2-minute rest in between. Then Stretch.
Like HIT, HIIT produces lactic acid but it releases more into the muscle in a shorter period of time but then you get a lovely long rest in between. HIIT is however high impact so you need to be careful of your joints. HIIT should be part of a holistic program that includes, yoga and strength training.
OK if I’m biased. Which I am. Yoga is the only exercise I recommend to ALL of my clients. Why?
Yoga comes in different disciplines. Ashtanga, Hatha, Iyengar, Bikram, Ananda and a lot more. Each discipline is different. For example, Ashtanga is very challenging while Hatha is less so. This doesn't mean one is better than the other. It simply means you can choose which form of yoga currently suits your body at this given time. Remember your body will be ever changing thus you will be progressing your way through different styles.
Yoga is amazing for your body, it will help activate muscle you never thought you had. It will help open up your joints so you are able to perform other exercises such as running and squats with better form and safely. It will aid you mindfulness experience mentioned in previous chapters. You practice proper breathing techniques that will help relieve stress and lower blood pressure. You will build a solid core so you can perform your abdominal and HIT exercises better. Are there any negatives with yoga? No. It’s suitable for absolutely anyone if you pick your most suited discipline initially.
Among ladies, strength training is the least desired and fashionable. It’s for this reason I recommend ladies to do this regularly.
So why do you dislike the idea of lifting heavy weights? Most people think that if a lady lifts heavy they are going to build big muscles. This is one of the biggest myths within the industry. Just because men do it doesn't mean women will do too. And that because of one thing. Hormones. Women don’t produce enough testosterone to build bulky muscles. If you have seen ladies that do it’s because they have been injecting themselves with illegal exogenous testosterone ie steroids.
Weight training is a vast topic and there have been books about the size of Bibles written about it.
However, no matter if you lift light or heavy you're doing yourself a world of good. One thing I would recommend doing though is the opposite of what you tend to opt for. For example, if you lift light weights for 15-25 reps. Choose a heavier weight so you are really struggling at reps 8-10.
For optimal lean muscle growth tray to complete each set in around 40 seconds. If you are performing 8 reps this will mean you will have to perform the reps slower. Therefore lower the weight down by a count of 4 seconds. This will help you time each set just right.
My rule of thumb is if your struggling after a certain rep count tries and perform at least 3-5 extra reps. It's at this stage of the set you will be recruiting as many muscle fibres as possible lifting the weight. Make sure you stay out of your comfort zone.
Try not to take any more than 30 seconds break between each set. Remember we also want your heart rate to remain elevated and the lactic acid to set in so you have as much afterburn as possible.
If you have a high-quality strength training program designed for you then you will reap some
incredible health and fitness rewards such as increased strength, sexy shape and mobile joints.
Therefore I highly recommend ever to lift weights. Don’t be scared of the dumbells. Don’t be scared to lift heavy. Your body will thank you.
LIT Low-Intensity Training (Steady state)
LIT has been demonized over the past 10-15 years in the health and fitness industry. You will rarely ever hear a trainer recommend it. Which I think is very sad. And it comes at your detriment. Simple because a style of training is no longer “in fashion” doesn't mean it doesn't have its benefits.
So what is LIT? Its simple, powerwalking, gentle cycling or even using the cross trainer. Yes, other forms of exercise get to burn more calories. Yes, other forms of exercise will make you more toned.
And yes other forms of exercise will get you more supple. So why have I included it?
There will be some of you that have never exercised in your life. This is where LIT can gently ease your way into exercise without making the early process too overwhelming or too painful. LIT is also a great way to de-stress while performing LIT your body is “depressing” like yoga your body reduces its stress hormone called cortisol (belly fat hormone).
LIT also has its place for days where you are ill (not too often). Instead of laying on the sofa feeling sorry for yourself LIT is a great way to still stay mentally and physically active. Thus you are maintaining and building healthy discipline.
Sports and other activities.
Being active doesn't have to be serious. Find a sport or activity you enjoy. This means your exercising on an unconscious level. It's like a stealth workout. Instead of driving to work possibly cycle, walk or even run where possible. One of my fondest memories or when I was a chef was walking through the streets of London embracing the fresh(ish) air and amazing sights. If this isn't possible try and work standing up. Simply by standing at your desk instead of sitting you burn over 200 calories a day more than sitting on your bum. Take the stairs instead of the escalator.
The moral of exercise is get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Remember if it were easy
everyone would already have the body and mind of their dreams.
There’s going to be days where you simply won't want to workout, or circumstance is getting in your way. It’s during these time you have your best workouts. It's very easy to work out when you're feeling great, motivated and pumped. However, my most rewarding workouts are ones which I knew a few years ago I would have flaked out simply because I wasn’t feeling up for it.
Like Kaizen progressive overload is an actually a training principle. Progressive
overload simply means you need to be aiming to beat your previous best most times you train. Each week you should be running a little quicker, jumping a little higher, becoming more flexible, lifting a heavier weight, taking less rests and so on. If you are always striving to improve physically your body will ultimately adapt to your performance and will represent that in an incredibly positive way.
Remember all exercises are good for you no matter what other so-called “fitness gurus” say.
You’re only as strong as your weakest link. Identify what you're weak at and work on that first in primer workouts.
Get used to being in “happy pain”. Understand that the lactic acid is your friend.
Stay active throughout the rest of your day where possible.
Stay active even on days where you have little motivation. Remember when you have built discipline you don’t need motivation.
It’s not a race you should only be competing against your previous best, therefore, you progressive overload to continue to improve performance and body composition.
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