Alessandra, vegan recovering from injury

Alessandra is vegan and she is knowledgeable about diet, food and exercise.  She had a serious knee injury which resulted in her not being able to walk for 8 weeks, and she still had mobility issues some 4 months later.  She was seeing a physio who said there was no reason for her not to be back in the gym, however she felt the leg was weak, and there is a considerable difference in size between the injured and uninjured leg.

Alessandra would often skip meals rather than eat something that was not healthy, she can cook but as she lives on her own found it quite time consuming and often relied on protein shakes instead of a meal.  Our first priority was getting her to eat enough calories in the day to enable her body to heal and give her the energy to get back in the gym.

We worked on increasing her calorie intake with three larger meals and some snacks.  We got some good recipes together so that she could cook larger quantities and chill/freeze portions; then she had ready meals available for times when she didn’t want to cook.  Ethically this sat well with Alessandra as we were ensuring we were more economical with heat by batch cooking, and less food waste by batch cooking.  Alessandra struggled with eating the quantity needed over three meals, so we worked around four similar sized, nutrient balanced, meals of around 500 calories each, which worked much better for her.

As soon as we got her calories up her leg strength improved and she managed to get back into the gym and by the end of the program there was only a very negligible difference in size between her thighs.  What was more important to me was that she was eating a much more varied diet, preparing and cooking more of her own food and relying much less on protein shakes.