Are you a vegetarian or vegan and concerned about peak athletic performance?

The key to any diet is a well balance.

Are you a vegetarian or vegan who wonders how a plant-based diet helps or hurts your peak athletic performance? Expert sources, like the American Dietetic Association (ADA) and the Journal of Clinical Nutrition say a plant-based diet may either help or hurt. The key to the diet is that it must be well planned to create a balance based on the following factors: age, sex and activity level. Other experts point out that an athlete needs twice as much protein as the average person to rebuild muscle and larger doses of nutrients, while keeping in mind the three above-mentioned factors, if success is to be achieved.

Like with a healthy meat diet, a planned meatless diet can meet the nutrient needs of a top athlete. Take a look at a list of high achieving athletes who are vegetarian. Among others, some are Andrea Cahling, champion body builder, Christ Campbell, Olympic medalist in wrestling, Billing Jean King, tennis champion, Bill Manetti, power lifting champion, Paavo Nurmi, long-distance runner with 20 world records, Bill Pearl, four‑time Mr. Universe and Dave Scott, six-time Iron-man winner. This list makes a strong case for those who doubt the viability of a well-planned vegetarian or vegan diet with the ability to reach peak athletic performance. Remember, the key factor is to make sure it is well balanced.

There’s also the story of the NFL star Tony Gonzalez, who thought a vegan diet would kill him. Tony became a vegan and answered the question: “Could an all-star National Football League Player, all 6-foot-5-inches and 247 pounds of him, live on a vegan diet and still excel in one of the most punishing jobs in sports?” See the full article in The Wall Street Journal. The story goes that he was in his 11th season and had an opportunity to break the all-time NFL record for career receptions and touchdowns for his position. After his vegan experience he made three receptions, threw a nine-yard pass and earned a spot in the NFL record book, but he had to adjust his diet along the way.

A plant-based diet can help or hurt your peak athletic performance, what is possible and achievable depends on you and making sure you balance your diet properly. Just as with a meat diet, with proper balance, it is possible to reach peak athletic performance as a vegan or vegetarian.

 

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