A vegan diet can improve athletic performance
A dairy-free, plant-based diet provides all the energy and nutrients you need to up your game in training and competition.
A diet rich in carbohydrates increases both endurance and intermittent high-intensity performance because of the extra store of carbohydrates in the muscles and liver, called glycogen.
For athletes, a high-carb diet sustains the daily demands of training and exercise. And while the needs will vary based on the individual and their sports, carbs should always be their main source of calories.
Carbohydrates are critical for maximum energy, speed, stamina, concentration, recovery, and better fluid balance.
Pro tip: The main sources of carbs are all plant foods: cereal grains, vegetables, and fruit.
Athletes need protein to build and repair tissue in the body. Protein promotes muscle mass, improves metabolism, and speeds up recovery after exercise.
Are plant-based proteins complete proteins?
There are 9 essential amino acids that your body cannot produce on its own. While not all plants are considered complete proteins, a varied diet can provide everything your body needs. The only way to not consume the complete spectrum of amino acids is by eating a very limited diet comprising just a handful of foods. The benefit of obtaining protein through plants is variety—and a varied diet, rich in whole foods, is the gold standard for human health and longevity. Of course, many plants are considered complete proteins by themselves:
Complete protein plant foods:
- Chia seeds
High-protein plant foods:
- Tempeh (20 grams/cup)
- Lentils (18 grams/cup)
- Edamame (19 grams/cup)
- Hemp seeds (10 grams/ 3 tbsp)
- Tofu (26 grams/ 3/4 cup)
- Soy Milk (8 grams/cup)
- Pea milk (8 grams/cup)
- Quinoa (8 grams/cup)
- Black Beans (15 grams/cup)
- Peanut Butter (7 grams/2 tbsp)
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If you’re an athlete, coach, or sports dietitian, looking for a complete guide to plant-based food, here it is.
From nutrition science to practical tips like meal planning and recipes, everything you need to try plant-based fuel is right here.
Olympic and elite athletes share their reasons for going dairy-free.
“After I went vegan, I started repairing and recovering much faster. I could handle more load, out on the track and in the weight room. It made us a better team.”
Dotsie Bausch, Olympic Medalist
Rich Roll, Vegan Ultraman World Champion
“After I went plant-based, I lost 4% body fat, I was stronger, and I was recovering faster. My body just became much more efficient.”
Derrick Morgan, Tennessee Titans Linebacker
Rebeca Soni, Multiple Olympic Medalist
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