I’m a Vegetarian Who Does HIIT Workouts Every Day. This Is What I Eat
As an athlete and personal trainer, I’m constantly on the move—whether it’s busting through a tough and sweaty HIIT workout, powering through a boxing or gymnastics class, or taking my dog on a hike, I don’t often stop moving.
I’m also a lifelong plant-based athlete, which means I have to be extremely conscious of what I eat on a daily basis to make sure I’m recovered and energized enough for my next workout. Consuming protein through our diets is the main way our bodies repair and recover from tough workouts, so as a vegetarian, it’s one of my top priorities.
Recently, one of my favorite ways to make sure I get protein is by adding Bolthouse Farms® Original Plant Protein Milk to my pre and post-workout meals. Made from pea protein, it’s completely vegan and has 10 grams of protein per serving, so it helps provide both the energy I need to go after my goals and for bolstering workout recovery.
Here are my top nutrition tips to crush my workouts as a plant-based athlete:
1. Fueling up before working out
As an athlete, I treat food as fuel for my body, which means skipping a pre-workout meal is just not an option.
In my experience, without enough fuel (a.k.a. food) before my workout, my performance suffers, and there’s no chance of me crushing all those personal records I work so hard for. My ideal pre-workout meal includes a good amount of quick-digesting carbohydrates, some protein, and a minimal amount of fat consumed about an hour before working out.
If I’m training in the morning, my go-to meal is steel cut oatmeal made with Bolthouse Farms Original Plant Protein Milk and topped with flax seeds and berries.
If I’m in a hurry, I’ll often blend together a smoothie made with frozen fruit, vegan protein powder, and a tablespoon of sunflower butter to keep me from getting hungry too soon.
2. Refueling post-workout
As an athlete, I consider my post-workout recovery meal the most important of the day, because that 30-60 minute window after a workout is crucial for restoring glycogen1 and decreasing muscle protein breakdown.
In other words, your post-workout meal helps you get stronger, feel less sore the next day, and get you back to full energy levels. And since working out actually causes micro tears in our muscles, getting in proper nutrition as soon as you can after your workout helps repair the damage caused by the workout sooner.
Just like a pre-workout meal, carbohydrates and protein should be key here. When I have a little extra time, I absolutely love making banana pancakes (the recipe’s below) to refuel after my workout. They taste like a dessert but have the nutrients and protein to help me come back fitter and stronger!
Pre or Post-Workout Blueberry Banana Pancake Recipe
- 1 medium ripe banana
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup Bolthouse Farms® Original Plant Protein Milk
- ½ cup gluten-free oat flour
- 1 tablespoon flax seeds, ground
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
- Whisk together the banana, vanilla extract, and Bolthouse Farms Original Plant Protein Milk.
- Add in the oat flour, flax seeds, baking powder, cinnamon, and sea salt.
- Whisk until there are no remaining banana chunks.
- Heat a lightly greased pan over medium-low heat.
- Pour mixture onto the pan in desired pancake shapes.
- Wait about a minute then sprinkle a spoonful of blueberries on top of each pancake, using the back of the spoon to gently push the blueberries down into the pancake.
- Once the edges are firm and the middle begins to bubble, flip the pancake.
- Let cook for a couple of minutes, then transfer to a plate.
- Continue this until all the batter is used up.
- Top with more blueberries, maple syrup, or your favorite pancake toppings
For more information on Bolthouse Farms and availability visit bolthouse.com/locator
Krista Stryker, NSCA-CPT is the author of The 12-Minute Athlete: Get Fitter, Faster, and Stronger Using HIIT and Your Bodyweight and a leading expert on high intensity interval training (HIIT) and bodyweight fitness. She currently lives in Venice, California, and is a certified personal trainer through the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
From trying her first push up in college, to teaching herself to do pull ups and handstands, Krista is living proof of her philosophy that everybody is an athlete. She has helped tens of thousands of people to unlock their full athletic potential through her 12 Minute Athlete HIIT Workouts app and 12 Minute Athlete blog. You can find her @12minuteathlete on all social platforms.