Board Certified Sport Dietitian, Master of Science in Exercise Physiology, 25-year Vegetarian, Writer/Speaker, 11x Ironman finisher including 4x IM Kona finisher, Doggy-mommy, Wife to an amazing Czech cyclist turned Ironman Kona finisher, Triathlon Coach.
Fueling the Vegetarian Endurance Athlete
Fueled by plants
With so much information on healthy eating, sport nutrition and dieting, I
really enjoy writing about topics that I know a lot about from first-hand
Gone Strongapproached me to
write an article about fueling the vegetarian endurance athlete, I was super
excited about the opportunity to introduce others to my plant strong
As a 22-year
vegetarian and 9x Ironman finisher, I think it is safe to say that my diet is
not a temporary fad and perhaps I know a thing or two about fueling the
I hope you
find that myarticleis an informative way to help you
understand how to eat to be a healthy endurance athlete and how to do so, if
you choose vegetarianism.
This article is not persuading you to become a vegetarian athlete to boost performance, nor
is it telling you that your health and performance will automatically improve
should you choose to remove meat from your diet.
athletes must understand the importance of consuming a balanced, wholesome diet
and this article will clear up any confusion you may have in regard to how to
nourish your body as you fuel for performance.
naysayers believing that endurance athletes must eat meat to be a healthy and
strong endurance athlete, there is no shortage of high level athletes, achieving great
endurance accomplishments, by thriving off a plant strong diet.
There are many
apprehensions by athletes, coaches, and outsiders who question the athletic
potential (or lack thereof) of vegetarian endurance athletes.
But remember, it is within a restrictive diet that there will always be concerns for nutritional
deficiencies. It would appear that vegetarians are undoubtedly lacking key
nutrients by not eating animal protein but, let’s not pick too hard on vegetarians. Remember that an under-fueled and undernourished athlete will always under-perform.
There are often concerns of anemia or iron deficiency, inadequate consumption
of quality dietary protein, zinc, calcium, vitamin D, and B12 and an alleged
inability to eat “enough” calories/energy from plants.
But vegetarian or not, a poorly planned or restrictive diet with an extreme exercise routine is not a winning combination.
A deficiency in iron and B12 isn’t limited to the vegetarians.
So, even for
the omnivorous endurance athlete reading this article, hopefully you can use
the following information to fill in any nutritional gaps that may be keeping
you from reaching your full fitness potential.
If you find
that this article was a beneficial read, please share with a friend/training
partner/group. Help me spread the message about the
importance of eating for fuel and for health.
Also, be sure to
mark your calendars for Friday December 19th when I will be hosting a LIVE
Q&A on the Girls Gone Strong Facebook page from 11:30-12:30EST to answer any questions you might have!
A big thank
Gone Strongfor asking me to contribute to
this fabulous organization of motivating, inspiring and hard working female
athletes and fitness enthusiasts!