Plant Based Supplements for Fitness – Choose and Use Like a Boss

Plant Bsed Fitness Supplements How to Use and Choose

Plant Based Supplements

Navigating the world of plant based supplements shouldn’t require a PhD. But if you’ve ever wandered the aisles of a natural foods store, you’ll find yourself wishing you’d attended Harvard so you could maybe begin understanding what the heck these pills and powders are supposed to do. Instead of closing your eyes and reaching for the nearest bottle, with a hope and a prayer that it won’t send you into cardiac arrest, we’re here to give you an easy breakdown of how to choose and use plant based supplements. So now you can buy with confidence, like the plant based boss you are.

When to Use

We’re pretty big believers in supporting the majority of your fitness lifestyle through whole foods. Eating an apple before a short run to spike your carbs. Having some egg whites and almond butter toast afterwards to kick start muscle repair. Loading up on water throughout the day to keep everything functioning smoothly. These sources not only provide the nutrients and fuel your body needs to run well, but they also come from good, CLEAN sources.

Don’t get us wrong, we didn’t always use to be this way. Only a few years ago a popular ‘energizer’  was a regular part of our workout/life routine. Like, heaping scoops of the stuff. We also put down loads of other pre-workouts (with about 39580 sketchy ingredients), and other post ‘recovery’ nonsense in chemical form. And we never thought twice about it.

Honestly, if you look at the ingredients on most of the supplements out there, you’ll be shocked. And disgusted. Even plant based supplements can be guilty of this crime. The vast majority of it is not only carcinogenic (cancer causing), but it’s also not researched. Meaning the manufacturers really have no idea what their product could do to you in the long run. How SKETCH is that?? And do you think they care what it does? Nope. As long as they’re making a buck off you, they’re solid.

But does that mean we have to banish all forms of supplements from our routines? What about those days when you’re just dragging, and you can’t bring yourself to even imagine setting off on a 10 mile run (or two for that matter)? Or those jam packed days when you go from a grueling workout straight to work? Or after you just cranked out a 5 hour hike, and literally have white salt streaks down your shirt? What about then??

There ARE times when supplements will actually help to enhance your workout. Spiking your energy and sugar levels before a workout can help you go harder and longer. Sustaining your simple carb levels during endurance training will help maintain energy. And replenishing fluids and proteins after a workout is vital in muscle repair.

But HOW do you choose the right plant based supplements? I mean, you’ve only got about 289438 choices out there, so… That helps, right?

How to Choose

While it would be an ultimate goal to lead a 100% whole foods lifestyle, sometimes, we need a little help here and there. So what’s an exercise afficiando to do? We say: be smart about your plant based supplements choices. Find quality brands that are plant based, and come from a reputable company. Just because it’s on the shelf, doesn’t mean it’s safe! Do your research, and find out about where these products are coming from. Is someone cooking it up in their basement? Or are the ingredients responsibly sourced, well researched, and organic?

A good rule of thumb is that if you don’t recognize, or can’t read a majority of the ingredients, PUT IT BACK. If it has a boatload of sugar in it (unless you’re trying to carb up for endurance races), toss it. If you can’t find ANY solid information about the company that produces it (or they just look super scammy), don’t give them your business. If you find reviews about the product giving people heart palpatations… Okay, do we even need to go there?

Look, any company that produces a quality, and safe product will be more than happy to give you the information you need to make an informed purchase. Google ingredients. Choose something with as few of those as possible, stick with plant based ingredients, and avoid sketchy fake things. It takes a little effort and time, but this is going IN your body, so it’s worth it.

Here are a few of our favorite plant based workout supplements for pre, mid, and post workout.

Pre Workout

Our favorite plant based supplements in this category is easily Garden of Life Organic Plant Based Energy + Focus. Garden of Life is an extremely reputable company, and consistently puts out quality, safe, plant based products. They also have very high standards for their ingredients, so you know you’re getting your moneys worth. This particular pre-workout contains caffeine from coffeeberry, B vitamins, and nitric oxide from ONLY plant sources (think leafy greens).

We suggest getting the version without added sugar (unless you’re looking for that simple carb boost). This basically goes for any supplement you choose. It doesn’t taste great, but honestly, if you’re judging a pre-workout just on its flavor, you might need to reevaluate your priorities.

Another good option is Vega Sport Pre Workout Energizer. While not organic, Vega is a solid brand that’s all plant based and has similar ingredients and benefits as the Garden of Life variety.

Mid Workout

Not everyone needs to be taking a supplement in the middle of their workouts. If you’re powering through a 30 minute HIIT workout, just focus on surviving that. However, if you’re exerting yourself for an extended period of time (think long runs or hikes), you should replenish lost carbs midway through. Plant based supplements are a great option for this because there are a lot of strange gooey products out there claiming to benefit your mid workout slump.

Basically all mid-workout supplements will have high levels of sugar, since their main job is to give you an energy spike through simple carbs. The trick here is to choose one that has low ingredients, and sugar from a clean source.

Unfortunately, there are few options for a plant based mid workout booster, but we do have a couple of suggestions. Vega Sport has a good Edurance gel that we’ve used for long runs. Again, it doesn’t taste wonderful, but since this is due to lack of chemical ingredient overload, we can live with that.

Honey Stinger also has good, organic gels that contain ingredients we know and recognize. And these ones actually tast pretty decent. Their sweetness comes from honey (hence the name), which is highly favorable over processed sugars.

Post Workout

Two of the most important things you need to do after a workout is get protein into your system (for muscle repair), and rehydrate. For many people, just drinking water is enough to rehydrate your body. But for others who either sweat a lot, or lose a lot of electrolytes, you need a little something extra to replenish those fluids. We’ve recently discovered WTRMLN water, and are SO excited about it. Watermelon juice is a great way to naturally replenish fluids and electrolytes. This stuff packs a ton of vitamin C, potassium, L-Citrulline (for muscle repair), and NO added sugar. It also isn’t watered down (not necessary since watermelon is mostly, you know, water).

No, this post isn’t sponsored by WTRMLN WTR, we just really love this stuff.

Another good option is coconut water. This has similar benefits to watermelon juice. Just be careful to choose one that doesn’t have added sugar or flavors.

You can choose other rehydrating drinks, but we honestly won’t recommend any of the stuff with tons of ingredients and added crap when you can get it through a cleaner source.

Now to protein. There are about a million and a half varieties of protein available now. Everything from egg white, to whey, to pea proteins have flooded the market. We try to stick to plant based brands with lower ingredients, that are also organic. Our current favorite is Orgain. It’s a plant based protein that has a protein blend, which is important since a single source of plant protein may not provide a complete protein. Also, many plant based proteins can be gritty in texture, but Orgain is smooth and tastes pretty great. And it’s fairly affordable.

IF you have the money to spend, there are some other great options that are both organic and have VERY low ingredients. Sun Warrior is a brand we love that’s a great example of this, but their high prices make is difficult to buy the amount we go through on a regular basis.

So if you’re like us and you want good quality and organic, but can’t commit to selling your first born child, check out the ingredients list, do some research on your brand, and you’ll be okay.

 

And that’s about it, dreamers. While we’ve given you some of the products we know and love, we encourage you to make your own informed decisions.

12 Comments

  • the adventurer

    July 23, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    You are exactly right! I walk through the aisles and look at the dozens of products and think what the heck is in this and which one do I choose? I practice bikram yoga and love enjoying coconut water after my class. But i definitely need to invest in some midworkout snacks because I love hiking or skiing and throughout the day I get so hungry! Thanks for sharing your tips with us!

    https://dreamofadventures.com/

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      July 24, 2017 at 2:37 pm

      Isn’t it just crazy how much stuff there is?! We always bring little snacks while hiking and skiing. Our favorites are definitely fresh foods, but these are helpful to have too! Especially since it’s not easy to ski with an apple in your pocket haha.

  • Marissa

    July 25, 2017 at 9:01 am

    I agree – I look at all the pre-work/recovery products on the market and have no idea what most of the ingredients are. I had no idea Garden of Life had a pre-work. I might have to check it out, for those days that a 5am workout is a struggle.

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      July 25, 2017 at 12:52 pm

      Garden of Life pre-workout is a game changer when you’re not feeling the workout! And it’s nice knowing you’re not taking a bunch of chemicals too!

  • Beatrice

    July 31, 2017 at 11:25 pm

    Hahaha heart palpitations, I love that sentence!! These are very helpful recommendations! I am often VERY skeptical of powders, mixes, etc. but these look like solid options. Also, the watermelon water sounds like the best thing ever 🙂

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      August 5, 2017 at 10:24 pm

      Haha it’s so true! Those ingredient lists… YIKES! But Garden of Life’s pre-workout is such a great alternative. And watermelon water IS the best thing ever. Be careful, it’s so addictive!

  • Ellese

    August 10, 2017 at 1:55 am

    This was wonderful to read! I just started using plant based protein after workouts. This is wonderful to learn when else to use it. Also, I’ve been obsessed with watermelon juice! Thanks for sharing. XO, Ellese

    Rock.Paper.Glam.

    1. Kamehameha23

      August 10, 2017 at 1:09 pm

      Thanks Ellese! Nice work! Even though it can be a little more expensive, it’s totally worth it. And we find it’s easier on our stomachs after a hard workout – and better for your body all around!
      And we currently have the Liter sized watermelon juice in our fridge :). It’s the best!

  • Agness of Fit Travelling

    September 1, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    Wow! This is so great to learn. I believe that your useful post will improve my workouts!

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      September 2, 2017 at 12:29 am

      Thanks Agness! We hope it does!

  • Tiffany Locke

    September 30, 2017 at 5:22 am

    I like that you mention how it’s important to take replenishing fluids and proteins after a workout in order to repair your muscles. Taking the right supplements would probably be important to ensure you get the nutrients you require to keep your body healthy. When choosing what supplements to take, you’d probably want to research the different options and choose something that uses organic ingredients.

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      October 1, 2017 at 8:08 pm

      So true! We always try to go for organic, and Ben is a research machine. It makes a big difference when you actually know what your body needs, AND when you know what you’re putting in it!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous Post Next Post