If you’re looking for the best vegan pre-workout foods, you’ve come to the right place. Oh, and did we mention, they’ve been backed by research, too. So you can feel extra sure you’re making the right decision.
There’s a lot out there about vegan pre-workout foods, making your choice that extra bit confusing. But it doesn’t have to be! All you have to do is look in the right places, and no we’re not talking the supermarket – but the right food groups. There is where you’ll find the most fuel for your body, resulting in maximum performance.
To help, we’ve created the following list of scientifically-backed vegan pre-workout foods to help your body break through barriers and increase your workout time.
A cup of coffee can do more than wake us up first thing. In fact, caffeine has been famed for its endurance-enhancing abilities, especially during cycling, running, rowing and swimming. Plus, it has been shown to increase reps during resistance exercise.
Caffeine goes beyond your favourite cup of Joe. It has long established itself as an exercise enhancer, reducing the breakdown of glycogen (carbohydrate energy stores) and increasing utilisation of free fatty acids – not forgetting its influence on multiple aspects of the central nervous system.
If you’re looking to kickstart your workout, you can find caffeine in the following:
- Tea and coffee.
- Guarana extract.
- Vegan pre-workout formulas.
- Green tea extract or other caffeine supplements.
Carbohydrates are often up for debate, especially when it comes to those following a healthy diet. However, experts say if your aim is to improve (or maintain) your exercise performance, a high-carb meal 1 – 4 hours pre-workout is recommended.
Whether you’re convinced by the high-carb theory or not, carbohydrates are known to be the main energy-providing nutrient – metabolised easily during exercise. This helps to keep your energy at an optimum level during your workout. They are especially helpful during intense training, where your fast-twitch muscle fibres take a brunt of the work.
Carbohydrates are ranked by glycaemic index, according to their effect on blood sugar levels. Although the jury is still out to some extent, many studies have found that low-GI carbohydrates are better than high-GI carbs before endurance-focused exercise.
Studies have suggested this is due to low-GI carbs helping to maintain a steady blood sugar level, while high-GI carbs may result in a spide in blood sugar.
Check out these easy vegan pre-workout foods that are high-carbohydrate but low GI:
- Oats and muesli.
- White long grain rice and brown rice.
- Sweet potatoes, new potatoes and yams (non-mashed).
- Whole wheat bread, mixed grain bread and sourdough.
- Popular vegan go-tos, including: Legumes, including red and green lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, pinto beans, haricot beans and black-eyed beans.
Ah, the trusty beetroot. You may not realise it, but both beetroot and beetroot powders have risen in the ranks when it comes to enhancing exercise performance. Beetroot contains a high level of nitrates, which help to increase blood flow to your muscles, therefore enhancing their efficiency during exercise.
Simply add beetroot juice or powder to your pre-workout of choice around 60 minutes before exercising.
Creatine Monohydrate – often known as just ‘creatine’ – is a natural substance that is created by the liver, kidneys and pancreas. Its purpose? To supply muscles with energy. During exercise, your body seeks creatine, meaning that supplies need to be replenished for maximum exercise endurance.
Studies have shown that creatine can improve physical performance significantly during short term exercise – such as sprinting or weight training. It has also been proven to help increase muscle size.
To keep your body’s creatine levels well-stocked, you can find it in fish and meat, although sadly, there is no vegan alternative that is quite up to the challenge. So if you’re following a plant-based diet, a creatine supplement may be better suited.
It’s recommended you take 4-10g of creatine daily, spread across your pre and post-workout shakes.
HIGH CARBOHYDRATE SOURCES OF PROTEIN
For anyone working hard in the gym, protein is a must for repairing and building muscle. Plus, protein is well known for optimising muscle growth post-workout, too. However, studies have suggested that protein consumption both pre and post-workout leads to even better muscle growth.
Since we’ve established the importance of pre-workout carbohydrates that are both a source of protein and low in GI – consuming this combination is great for maximum exercise performance.
Some of the most popular vegan pre-workout foods that contain optimum protein and low-GI carbs include:
- Black-eyed beans.
- Haricot beans.
- Kidney beans.
- Butter beans.
- Lentils (both green and red).
- Pinto beans.
LOW CARBOHYDRATE SOURCES OF PROTEIN
As we covered already, protein is an absolute must for muscle growth and repair – especially effective when consumed pre and post-workout.
To get an extra boost of protein into your diet, try these healthy vegan pre-workout foods:
- Textured vegetable protein.
CARBOHYDRATES HIGH IN GI
Although there are conflicting results, you may have read recommendations previous to choose lower-GI carbohydrates before exercising. However, studies say that intra-workout high-GI carbohydrates have proven powerful for aiding endurance exercise.
It does mean eating them during exercise, but these vegan foods are pretty easy to add to your gym bag.
To name a few, check out these carbohydrates with a medium-high glycaemic index:
If you’re not feeling a mid-exercise vegan snack, however… There are carbohydrate supplements available, such as dextrose, maltodextrin and carbohydrate energy gels.
Starches are commonly found in carbohydrate foods such as barley and maize, while its modified counterpart is developed by hydrothermally or chemically modifying the starch. This process helps to decrease the rate at which they’re digested.
By consuming modified starches pre-workout, it has been shown to increase the body’s ability to use fat rather than glucose for energy. By preserving carbohydrate stores, the effects of modified starches will increase your stamina whilst exercising.
BLACKWOLF VEGAN PRE-WORKOUT
Finding a totally vegan pre-workout can be hard work. BlackWolf offers a 100% vegan formula that is scientifically backed and totally safe.
With ingredients including taurine, creatine monohydrate and caffeine, you can quickly receive a whole bunch of perks in one formula.