Any high-caliber athlete knows that training can be grueling year round, even when they are not actively competing, and that energy intake must be able to support this sort of activity. Depending on the type of fitness one engages in and what their fitness goals are, nutritional needs will vary.
But one thing that does remain consistent is the advantages that plant-based eating can provide for athletes of any kind. It is no longer a common belief that athletes need animal protein in order to maintain their strength or endurance. In fact, there are several professional athletes who have cut meat, eggs, and dairy from their diet and found their ability enhanced by the shift.
But the pros aren’t the only ones capable of boosting their performance through adoption of a whole foods vegan diet. The average fitness enthusiast should also take note of how they are fueling their body in order to optimize performance and feel their best.
The dietary needs of a professional competitor will no doubt vary from what would suit the weekly gym-goer or even daily jogger, but non-pros can still take inspiration from the diets of other athletes–especially when those in question thrive on plant-based diets.
These four vegan athletes eat fully vegan and claim that it’s done nothing but help them. Their average daily meal plans can be adapted to suit any active vegan, regardless of your sport of choice. If you are looking pre or post-workout meal ideas, these four can provide just the inspiration you need.
Steph is a climber and yogi who has been vegan for over 16 years. She eschews refined foods and sugars for optimal performance and health.
– Spicy sautéed potato cubes with scrambled tofu and spinach or broccoli
– Fruit and hemp protein smoothie
– Dried fruit and nuts
– Almond butter and oat balls
– Kale salad with sesame seeds and nutritional yeast
– Potato and leek soup
– Tofu and ginger stir-fry
At only 20 years old, Tia has already received worldwide recognition for her surfing skills (and the fact that she competes as a 100% plant-based athlete).
Breakfast: Green smoothie bowl with seeds and granola or Ezekiel toast
– Veggies and hummus
– Fruit and nuts
– Raw vegetable, chickpea and quinoa salad with soup
– Veggie coconut curry with tempeh
You probably already know his name but if you don’t, Brendan is an endurance athlete and one of the vegan community’s most well-loved fitness gurus.
– Fresh fruit or juice
– Fruit and protein smoothie
– Plant-based energy bar
– Collard wraps stuffed with sautéed veggies, avocado, and tempeh
– Roasted veggies with hemp seed hummus
Azad is a protein-loving British personal trainer who has been vegan for almost three years. He aims for 1.8 grams of protein per kg of body weight to maintain his strength.
– Juice or coffee with soy milk and fruit
– Oat and protein powder smoothie
– Oats with chia seeds, soy milk, and fruit
– Apple and pistachios
– Rice with tofu and baked beans, topped with olives and nutritional yeast
– Roti flatbread and lentil dahl
These four athletes all have quite different workout routines and physical needs, yet they all maintain a few commonalities within their diets: high quality, healthy fats, plant-based proteins, fibrous whole grains or other starches, and a conscious limit on the number of processed foods they consume. They all also make sure to eat both before and after training to support their energy needs.
If you would like to improve your athletic performance with the help of a vegan diet, these athlete’s meal plans can help get you started.
Has going vegan helped boost your fitness levels? What vegan workout meals or supplements do you rely on?
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Photos: Pixabay, StephDavis.co, Tia Blanco via Instagram, Brendan Brazier via Twitter, Azad Singh Fitness