Want to try weight training but have no idea where to start? Being vegan is no barrier as Stephanie Moir reveals how to get fit and strong.
Today, I want to share some of my top tips with you in how to get started with weight training. I have been weight training now for about four years and I absolutely love it. The feeling of being strong and fit is something all people should feel, not just in a fitness sense but in your everyday life! Being vegan, a lot of people ask me how to build muscle, how I get enough protein, how I stay lean, etc.
It is no secret that the world had and, to some degree, still has a perception that veganism and muscle just do not go together. Well myself and thousands of others online show that is just not the case. Through my all-vegan fitness website, Vegan Aesthetics, I show you how eating a well-balanced plant-based diet along with weight training is exactly what you need to build your dream body.
When starting out weight training, it is important to set your goals out on paper so you know what you are trying to achieve. Break down your week of workouts into a day-by-day basis so you have a plan of how your workouts are going to look for the week. My tips for you would be to look into a workout split that would work best for you and maybe find a plan online; there are lots of websites out there with a library of information on exercises.
My vegan fitness site has just the thing – a 12-week vegan weight training challenge!
To start out with weights, keep it simple and focus on volume. This would look like 4 sets of 12-15 reps per exercise. For example, if we were training legs, you might pick 5 exercises: squats, leg press, lunges, leg extension and hip thrusts. These are 5 basic but super-effective exercises in targeting the muscle you want.
For each of the exercises, you would do 4 sets of the 12-15 reps with around 2 minutes rest in between each set. This is a great starting point to getting you familiar with the exercises and allowing you to get comfortable in the gym.
But I want to look good in a bikini and my favourite dress, not be a bulky bodybuilder! Does this statement sound like you? Well let’s just go over some of the benefits of weight training that you should consider and why they will not make you look like the hulk! Weight training is fundamental for building lean muscle and torching fat.
Yes, that’s right: it burns fat. So many people are overly concerned with doing hours of cardio and overlook the powerful benefits of weight training. Lifting weights boosts your metabolism (which means burning more calories when at rest) and also reduces body fat. It turns out you can then eat more food and lose fat while you do it – who would have thought! Your overall weight on the scale may not change, but by gaining muscle and losing fat you should notice decreases in body measurements and body fat measurements along with recomposition of the body.
Weight training has many health benefits, too, including but not limited to: increasing HDL – High-Density Lipoprotein (good cholesterol) and decreasing LDL – Low-Density Lipoprotein (bad cholesterol); it reduces the risk of diabetes; lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease; and can lower high blood pressure.
When it comes to diet, being vegan really is not a hindrance by any means. Eating plenty of nutritious whole foods such as whole grains, beans, lentils, legumes, soy products, oats, fruits, vegetables and healthy fats is as simple as it gets.
I start every day with a big bowl of almond milk oats with nut butter and chia seeds, and I love protein powder packed smoothies with bananas and huge vegetable-based dinners with brown rice and tofu. All of these foods are easily accessible and easy to prepare – nothing fancy! The only tip is to make sure you eat enough of these foods to boost your metabolism and build the lean muscle you worked hard for in the gym!