12/16/14

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 experience.


When Girls Gone Strong approached 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 lifestyle. 


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 plant-strong athlete. 

I hope you find that my article is 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.

All endurance 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.

Despite 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 you to Girls Gone Strong for asking me to contribute to this fabulous organization of motivating, inspiring and hard working female athletes and fitness enthusiasts!