This time sport related topic. I think there are more myths about doing sport on the vegan diet, then about the vegan diet itself. That you “don’t have enough protein, or enough calcium, or calories”, generally you lack everything there is what naturally prevents you from doing any physical activities except from maybe breathing. Well… that is not true. When it comes to bodybuilding, martial arts and vegan diet all the myths are perfectly overthrown by people like Patrik Baboumian or other athletes whom you can find under: Great Vegan Athletes
On this blog I would rather focus on my trainings, which is classical ballet. So maybe let’s start from the very beginning, so ballet itself, as for many “classical ballet” equals “Russian girls with anorexia pretending they are swans”.
Ballet is not an easy stroll in a park with a bit of stretching. Actually it is anything but. It should look easy and efortless on the stage, but to give this impression to the public, first you need to give all you have during the classes and rehearsals. This is tough physical work. If you do not believe it, take one or two classes of ballet for the adults. This applies to everybody, also the tough people from cross fit Cross Fit at ballet class.
I take classes at WAB (Wrocławska Akademia Baletu) (Wroclaw Academy of Ballet) and I invite to Paula and Anatoliy’s classes with all my heart. They will make you addicted to ballet and they will make you love it, with their passion and devotion to all the dancers (and wanne-be dancers), independent of the age or capabilities or dancing experience. Quote from Friday, when we were finishing ballet classes, just before jazz lessons. Anatoliy to the jazz teacher: “Now I hand them over to you.” Answer: “What do you handover? These dead bodies?”. Yes. The lesson was one of tough ones. Again. Which made me extremely happy. Ballet IS physically very demanding and exhausting. I know what I am talking about – I used to train kung-fu, Irish dancing and was in the historical re-enactment group wearing my own plate armour and fighting with a sword. And all these can hardly compare to the effort and challenge I face during ballet classes. And honestly, regarding swans – if any of you have ever faced swan’s fury and was hit by his wing, surely you have changed your mind regarding their physical strength.
So I hope we now agree – classical ballet is very physically demanding, but contrary to athletes, big muscles and body sculpture is not necessarily something a ballerina would aim for. Sure, you can find ballet dancers naturally thin and these more muscular (like the very famous Misty Copeland). But none of the dancers would be working on having the bigger body, even if these would be muscles. The body must be strong, stretched and resilient. You also need energy (a lot of energy) for the classes. But there is no way I could eat whole dinner before the class, as then I could forget about nice, flat and tight abs muscles ( yes! These are important in the ballet as well).
Another things – I work professionally in a huge IT Company (Atos), which means that during the day I spend 8 to 10 hours at the desk in front of my laptop (yes, yes, sometimes I need to do over hours, I don’t make a big fuss about it, sometimes it’s simply needed). Currently I take 2 – 3 hours of classes 4 times a week (incl. stretching). Therefore my daily nutrition has to take into consideration:
- Morning call around 6 am to feed the cats
- Average 8h of work
- Average 3h of ballet classes
- Little enthusiasm for eating breakfast
- Lack of dinner before the class
- Coffee, which eliminates magnesium
- Golden rule: “Eat the last dish at least 3 hours before going to sleep”
- Whatever I eat before the class it cannot make my stomach feel full.
There it is. Luckily I did not put it into writing earlier, as I might have been frightened. However when you are vegan, you naturally control what you eat and how much. Therefore for people, whose days, similar to mine, have a very tight schedule filled in with trainings and work, but at the same time are not fond of running around with nutrition table, here are some hints which work good for me:
- I don’t like eating breakfasts, but I do try to eat at least a vegan yogurt with some oat flakes, dried fruits, sesame and some sort of superfood
- Lunch – this is subject for a separate topic on this blog. But assuming, that I find time to eat lunch, I try to make it very nutritious, but not big in size. Something like lentil tart (Vega on Wroclaw Market Square is the place you might want to visit for the best lentil tarts) or pumpkin soup. Something that will prevent me from feeling hungry until the classes, without the need of having (too many) extra snacks. But let’s not delude ourselves, it is not always possible to have lunch, so there is always emergency nut mix.
- 1 – 1,5 hours before the class I eat a vegan bar, usually from “Zmiany, Zmiany”. Very nutritious, with high carbohydrates.
- The ballet class – water, water, water. I have that sort of body, which sweats a lot, therefore I need a lot of fluids. My favourite one is Muszyna. A lot of calcium and magnesium.
- After the class most often I eat something being a mix of dinner and supper, naturally if the hour if it is not too late during the day and specially when I did not have any lunch. On the other hand sometimes I don’t have any meal at all, instead I make myself juices from citron, kale, spinach, carrot, apple, anything that I can find in my fridge. Such mixture really is a magical potion for your body.
These are not advices from a professional dietician or sportsman. It is an instruction, how to cope with organizing your daily diet when you have intensive day, packed with trainings, daily work, shopping and lack any cooking skills at the same time.
What come to many of you as a surprise, as a vegan it is easier for me to control my diet with intensive intellectual and physical effort, compared to when I was still eating meat or was vegetarian. Obviously my diet is based on vegetables, fruits and nuts. Therefore I never face the problem that the dish I just ate have too much of animal fat, which puts additional burden on my digestive system and by this on the whole body. I don’t eat random things in the office from the vending machine or when commuting in the city, as most of these sweets are not vegan (they contain milk or whey). My fridge is almost always full with veggies, therefore I almost never have problems with finding ingredients for my juices. And I ensure you – I don’t lack protein. Or anything else.
If you want to know more, where you can get all the nutrition from when being vegan, let me direct you to the professional websites and sources of information:
http://vegankit.com/eat/– Vegan Starter Kit
http://www.vegkitchen.com/nutrition/vegan-athlete/ – Q&A, what if I have muscle cramps, lower energy etc.
http://www.onegreenplanet.org/natural-health/sample-meal-plans-for-the-female-vegan-athlete/ – Female Vegan Athlete’s Plate