WEIGHT TRAINING FOR VEGANS
Part 1: The Basics of S.E.T.
By Omowale Adewale
If you are beginning your weight training regimen for the year there are three basic tenets to remember to create quality muscle mass. I call these tenets S.E.T. S.E.T stands for sleeping, eating and training, in the order of their importance. S.E.T applies to every athlete whether they are a fighter, football player, gymnast, runner, or bodybuilder.
EATING IS BODY FUEL
Applying S.E.T accordingly is important to accomplishing your goal of building more muscle mass. The first step is eating a smart breakfast in the morning. An A.M. breakfast is the most important meal because it does a few things after a good rest. Breakfast replenishes your body’s nutrients, begins the ongoing process of repair, reawakening the cells in your heart, brain, heart and blood and lastly, it recharges your body with energy foods.
For breakfast, jumpstart smart with fruits and other foods that have lots of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are required for athletes and anyone weight training. Carbohydrates are made up of simple sugars or monosaccharide and multi-saccharides. Carbohydrates accelerate your training and provide the necessary fuel for the long haul. Why would a weight trainer indulge in significant fat lipids and complex proteins before beginning an arduous day of work or working out? Eat right and eat smart.
I love to begin my day with muesli and bananas with rice, soy, almond or hemp milk. You can add wheat germ if you’re not allergic to wheat gluten, a protein. Granola and bananas make a great combination of glycerin, carbohydrate and protein with potassium and wheat germ has an excellent amount of minerals such as iron, magnesium, zinc and calcium and vitamins E and B6. Now one can stop there, but you want to develop an impressive physique that’s both powerful and attractive. For an hour of weight training how about some Coconut French Toast?
Coconut French Toast. Take 4 breads and put them aside. In a dish, add 1 cup of hemp or soy milk, ¼ cup of dry coconut shavings, 2tbsp of brown sugar, 1tbsp of cinnamon and then mix well. You may add 1 tbsp of Bob’s Red Mill or ½ of banana for better emulsion. Stove: medium-high. In a pan, add 2tbsp of coconut oil, heat for 1 minute and spread throughout the pan. Begin dipping slices of bread, covering both sides of each. Allow 4-7min. for browning on each side.
Before you start your workout make a quick Protein Recharge Smoothie with 1 gram of 30-50 grams of protein based upon a 1 gram per 1 lbs of bodyweight.
Add 2 cups of non-animal milk, ¼ cup of water, ½ cup of cashews, 2 tbsp of peanut butter, 3-4 strawberries, 1 banana, and 1 tbsp of agave, unrefined sugar or organic cane sugar.
Blend and refrigerate or pack it away for later. This is for your post morning workout.
EXERCISE LIKE A CHAMP
It’s time to workout. Anytime of the day is a great day to weight training, but mornings allow all your new energy to propel the workout. Cardio is a great way to start your workouts. For weight training activity, I suggest a run of 5-10 minutes or .5-1 mile. There are other cardio exercises like jumping rope, burpees, up-and-downs, jumping jacks, and shadow-boxing. Do just enough to get loose and warm.
To increase muscle mass set aside a full hour of weight training and target separate parts of the body. Monday, biceps and back (latissimus and erector), Tuesday: legs (calves, hamstrings, quadriceps and abductors and adductors), Wednesday: chest and abs, Thursday: triceps and shoulders (side and rear deltoids) and legs and Friday: biceps and back. Each body part should be well fatigued and the muscles gradually torn and repaired like normal.
Each routine should be given 3-5 sets, increasing weight incrementally and decreasing repetitions with each set. Breathe equally with breaths in and out with every repetition to pace your heart and keep your brain filled with oxygen. Use a spotter for bench presses and squats for your safety. Do not rest for longer than 60 seconds between routines. Keep the body’s blood flow high and in attack mode. Remember to drink a little water throughout your workout, up to half a cup between each exercise. Begin the next week on a different muscle cycle. On Monday, start with a different combination like “legs” or “chest and abs”.
This is the beginning of thanking and rewarding your body. Drink the protein smoothie you packed. The primary purpose of proteins is to achieve the right combination of amino acids in order to construct new cell tissue for your torn muscles. Liquid protein mixes help you consume more amino acids and less of other macromolecules such as carbohydrates and fat lipids. It’s best to consume proteins quickly after weight training so that they begin replenishing your body’s cells and redeveloping your muscles immediately. It’s also recommended to consume protein liquids after weight training as opposed to before exercising to prevent illness.
However, a seasoned bodybuilder may consume a protein smoothie prior to a short workout or towards the tail-end. This is done to accelerate the process of protein breakdown which are more complex than carbohydrates and take more time to digest. A bodybuilder might also want to begin the process of protein breakdown to save space in their stomachs for extra solid proteins later. It is recommended that one eat a quality meal full of protein rich foods that also contain lots of vitamins and minerals. Consider a kidney bean and quinoa salad and lentil soup with multi-grain crackers, hemp and sunflower seed pancakes or a multi-grain meal with seitan, tofu or tempeh and jasmine rice. Look for specific post-weight training recipes in my second installment of “Weight Training for Vegans”.
SLEEP ON IT
After each week, rest on Saturday and Sunday. Do not try to add in more workouts. Resting will allow your body to recover and redevelop new cells that were damaged and destroyed during your week of working out. I cannot stress enough that rest is not only the most neglected part of weight training it’s the time when you are developing larger muscles. During your sleep is when muscles begin the transformation process of your phenomenal physique.
Without necessary sleep and rest bodybuilders will become more susceptible to illness and injury. Joints rotating heavy weights will begin to wear and tear faster muscles are capable of redeveloping. This can cause tendonitis, sprains and breaks. Resting should always be made high priority to recover naturally.
Like all other athletes, bodybuilders customarily go off-season where they exercise significantly less and preserve their body. You may not have an off-season, but stay in touch with your body’s wellness and listen to its pains and gains. You will need 3-6 months of active weight training to see the progress you desire.
The goal for anyone who is weight training is maximizing every opportunity that you find in a gym, including a home gym. Always consistently and gradually lift, carry and push heavier weight and eat more quality and nutritious foods for the best fuel and recovery. Always examine and reexamine your body’s sleep patterns and look to find ways in your schedule for naps and longer sleep times. In the end, it’s not up to the personal trainer or your nutritionist, it’s how intelligently you apply your resources and how in-tune you are to your own body. This is your path to a meaningful and powerful year. Get big!
#GoVeg2014 is a campaign Omowale Adewale has launched to help 100 people go vegan.