Guest Post by Claudia Lailhacar, Vegan Athlete and Health Coach
Hi everyone! I’m Claudia, a plant-fed athlete. I have been vegan for almost 14 years and have been competing in Figure since 2010. I am very proud of my accomplishments so far, one of them being able to compete with the very best at the Canadian Nationals. I’m currently in my off-season and training hard for my upcoming competition in May 2014. If all goes well there and I place in the top 3, I will be off to the World Qualifiers in July!
My sport takes much training and with that comes lots of muscle pain. I can’t imagine doing what I do without my L-Glutamine, and my brand of choice is North Coast Naturals. They have an amazing L-Glutamine, which is non-GMO, vegan, has no fillers or impurities. I also love the fact that its flavourless, this makes it easy to add to shakes or just drink with water. North Coast Naturals Fermented L-Glutamine is absolutely pure glutamine from Ajinomoto® — the only glutamine manufacturer in the world with a master drug file number for L-Glutamine.
Benefits of Fermented L-Glutamine
1. Helps my body produce glutathione, a key antioxidant nutrient.
2. Ensures a proper acid-base balance in my body.
3. Increases resistance to colds – glutamine is a primary immune system “booster.”
4. Helps maintain my muscle mass – which is KEY for me!
5. Improves recovery times from exercise – all athletes want this.
When to Take L-Glutamine
I take L-Glutamine before my workouts, in addition to post-workout. On leg days days or whenever I worked extremely hard, I also take it before bed. This allows my muscles to repair so I can get back to the gym the next day.
Plant-Based Workout Nutrition
Many people think plant fed athletes cannot put on muscle and keep up with other athletes, but that is such a misconception. If you eat the right stuff, at the right time, you will see the results you’re looking for. I make sure to eat a good balance of healthy complex carbs, fats and proteins.
Of course, my training is a big part of obtaining the results I want, but without the proper nutrition, you might as well kiss progress goodbye! I weight train 5 days a week concentrating on one or 2 body parts at a time, and proper nutrition is key to maintaining this schedule.
My Pre-Workout Nutrition
I weight train on an empty stomach, so I do not eat prior to hitting the gym. I just drink water with BCAA’s, L-Glutamine and a pre-workout supplement.
My Post-Workout Nutrition
The most important meal for me is my post-weight training meal. I always make sure it has high carb content along with quality protein. At the moment, my post-workout meal consists of oats with 2 tablespoons of North Coast Naturals Hemp Seeds, 1 scoop of organic brown rice protein powder and ¼ cup goji berries.
Healthy Vegan Snack Ideas
As an athlete I try to eat clean all year round, but I do have my weekly cheat meals, sometimes 2! I don’t spend a lot of time cooking; rather I love food in its whole state. I love to keep things as simple as I can. Here are a few easy, plant-based snack ideas to get you started.
1. Sprouted wrap with hummus, tons of pea or sunflower sprouts, tomatoes and hemp seeds.
2. Chia protein pudding, with this one you can use your creativity. I like pumpkin spice, peanut butter and raw cacao nibs.
3. Banana rolled in hemp seeds.
4. Rice cakes with almond butter.
5. Baked cauliflower with loads of nutritional yeast.
6. Sliced apple with organic peanut butter and cinnamon.
7. Raw veggies with hemp seed hummus.
9. Homemade oat and almond energy bars.
10. Baked sweet potato sprinkled with cinnamon.
Keep training hard and eating clean…remember, things do not happen overnight – CONSISTENCY is KEY!