Plant-Based Athletics: A Vegan Approach Explored

By Nutrition Coach Rachel

As we know, there are many approaches to diet and types of needs that are unique to each person. When it comes to athletics, some are best off with animal proteins and fats while others can sustain well for strength training and weight loss through a plant based diet. Including vegetarian and vegan diets. 

Note: We’ve included some key tips at the bottom of the post if you’ve been thinking of moving in the vegan direction yourself.

Some professional athletes – like Tom Brady, NFL Quarterback – have come out stating their long time approach to veganism along with a healthy lifestyle have increased their agility and movement power. Let’s explore a little deeper. 

So what is veganism? You may ask. A vegan dietary approach cuts out all meat, dairy and eggs to begin with and also any items that are derivative from animal products like honey and bee pollen. In super simple terms as it applies to nutrients and food consumption. 

As a result many see this approach as potentially troublesome to meet fitness goals based on protein quantity alone. Some believe that animal based products are the only good source of protein, however there are a few factors that make this not the case. 

Indeed, meat, dairy and eggs provide a great deal of this important macronutrient, but so do beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, soy-based products (such as tofu and tempeh), spirulina and many types of grains. Even certain vegetables, such as broccoli, asparagus, leafy greens and sprouts will top up your protein intake. 

A couple of experts note that…

“One of the biggest misconceptions surrounding vegan diets is the belief that plant-based foods can’t provide enough protein to build any muscle,” – Liam Holmes, Performance Nutritionist

“There’s a strong link between meat consumption and inflammation,” she says. “In athletes this can cause joint issues, muscle fatigue, and longer recovery time. By cutting out meat, and reducing your inflammation levels, you’ll have more energy to use for training and you’ll protect areas from impact too.” – Jessie Jones, Nutrition Coach at OriGym Centre for Excellence

So with all this in mind and you’re considering switching to a vegan approach personally, here are a few factors to keep in mind for your fitness and health goals:

  1. Get enough calories: As a vegan participating in gym activities and athletics, you may need to have larger portions and eat more frequently
  2. Know your protein: When getting started, copy and paste the list above to a post-it style note to keep on hand while you incorporate plant-based protein
  3. Be cautious of nutrient deficiencies: Think omegas and healthy fats as well as B12 for energy
  4. Consider creatine supplements: Which can increase muscle mass and strength 

If you’re interested in exploring deeper, check out our Nutrition Programs to see if it’s a good fit. Remember you get a Power Hour with your Ripple Effect Membership! Email our head Nutrition Coach at [email protected]

(image: Getty Images)



Fill out the form below

Learn more about how joining our community can help you reach your health and fitness goals.