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Can you perform optimally if you are a plant based athlete?

Navigating optimal performance whilst plant based can be tricky to start with, but its not unachievable. Lets take a look at some world class athletes who are plant based and see...

How many do you recognise? These athletes are either currently plant based, or were for a large chunk of their career

  • Venus Williams

  • Serena Williams

  • Mike Tyson

  • Meagan Duhamel

  • Alex Morgan

  • Novak Djokovic

  • + many many more

There are some things that have to be taken into consideration when on a plant based diet, like: Protein intake, fibre consumption, Supplementation and Pre-workout/training/competition types of foods.

Protein intake :

Plant based protein options tend to be lower in protein per 100g than animal based products. Volume of food is much larger for a plant based individual.

An example of this:

  • 100g of chicken breast = 23g protein

  • 100g of chick peas = 7.2g protein

  • 100g of brown lentil = 5.8g protein

  • 100 of organic tofu = 14.8g protein

You also want to make sue you are consuming quality protein.

Some sources of plant based protein include:

  • Tempeh

  • Tofu

  • Edamame

  • Quinoa

  • Seeds

  • Legumes

  • Nuts

  • Plant based protein powders (pea, rice etc)

Lets talk pre-workout....

Plants contain fibre, and fibre is essential for a healthy gut. HOWEVER, fibre is not our best mate right before training or a competition/race, as this can case gut discomfort, bloating and general uncomfortable feelings.

With high volume plant consumption, comes high volume fibre consumption.

Stereotypically most individuals need to hit about 25-30g of fibre per day, a plant based individual may hit numbers up around 60-70+g of fibre daily!

Right before and after training/ Competition you will want to opt for simple carbs (fast digesting).

These simple carbs can often be 'more processes' than the complex carbs, but there is a time and place for everything!

Remember 2 things to avoid before workout out - FAT & FIBRE!

Some examples of pre workout food could be:

  • Crumpet and Jam

  • Plant based cliff bar

  • Grapes and other fruits

  • Bread and spread

  • Juices

  • Dates

Almost everyone , athlete or not... at some point in life benefits from certain supplementation. Some supplements that we recommend for plant based individuals include:

  • Active B Complex

  • B12 activated

  • Zinc

  • Vitamin D

  • Iron in some cases.

Additional sports supplementation could then be added specific to the individual and the sport they compete in. Check out our sport supplementation slide on Instagram here, here and here.

A lot of people opt for adding protein powder into their diet. (when they cannot get enough protein in from whole foods alone).

It is important to choose your protein powders wisely! Many plant based protein powders tend to be lower in leucine when compared with non-plant based powders (1). You want to look for a plant based protein that has a rich amino acid profile, minimal additional ingredients and still tastes enjoyable.

If you want to learn a little more about optimal performance head to our Instagram page! Our plant based feature can be seen here

As always if you have any other questions please get in touch via our free 15 min consult.

Julia Higgs

Accredited Sports Nutritionist and Gym Owner.

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