What do Lewis Hamilton, Novak Djokovic, Venus and Serena Williams, and Carl Lewis have in common? Not only are they some of the most successful athletes – they’re all vegan. In the US alone, 6% of the population lead a vegan diet, and up to 39% of us want to be vegan1! So, if you’re someone that’s been looking into transitioning to plant-based diets or is a vegan curious to get some tips on how to maximise your performance, you’ve come to the right place.
Getting started with vegan nutrition can be hard – after all there’s so much conflicting information on what to eat and what not to eat! With a few tips, you can easily set your new personal bests while being kinder to the planet, so read on!
How to get enough vegan protein
If the boxing prowess David Haye can get buff and strong with while being vegan, so can you. Athletes may need anywhere from 1.2-1.7 g of protein per kilo of bodyweight each day. Pay attention to your protein sources and eat more of them – look for foods that have lots of BCAAs and lysine, like beans2. Combine multiple sources of protein in your diet and make some protein-rich snacks for the day!
Support your energy by getting enough calories
Vegans tend to get less energy than people that eat meat4, which means that for a vegan athlete, ensuring adequate calories is key. You might find yourself eating lots of fiber, which helps you stay full, but foods high in fiber don’t always have a lot of calories. Your best bet is increasing high-energy foods like nuts, oil, and seeds in your meals.
6 micronutrients to eat more of
With a vegan diet, there’s a need to stay on top of your micronutirient intake. Ensuring you’re getting enough minerals and vitamins supports your performance goals. Vegans especially need to get enough vitamin B12, vitamin D, iron, zinc, calcium, and iodine5. Eating foods rich in those micronutrients is a great way to replenish your stores.
Otherwise, why not consider a supplement? An easy option to get sufficient zinc is Maxler’s vegan Zinc Picolinate, which contains zinc in the form that’s best absorbed by your body.
Meal planning for convenient nutrition
Busy training schedules mean you’re likely to get hungry or need a quick meal. To make sure you’re fuelling for success, try meal prepping or batch cooking. They’ll help you make healthy and nutritious choices and are a lifesaver when you simply don’t have the energy to cook.
Maximising performance and recovery with supplements
Just because you’re vegan, doesn’t mean that sports supplements are off limits. You can easily find vegan supplements that can help with your performance, whether you’re looking for more explosiveness, better pump, or if you’re just looking to improve recovery after sessions.
For those who want to build muscle quicker, Malxer 100% Golden Creatine is a great vegan choice. The creatine monohydrate is known to improve muscle explosiveness and size6. For the endurance athlete, Liquid Chlorophyll might be a great way to improve tiredness and pain7.
Stay positive, stay focused
If you’re a part of a team or a group of athletes, it might feel like non-vegans will criticize you for your choices. However, being a vegan athlete is perfectly safe and effective, if you take care of your nutrition and have good recovery habits. Many vegan athletes have achieved world-stage success – you can achieve your goals if you set your mind to it as well. Keep a positive attitude, stay focused on your goals, and remember the vegan greats that came before you!
With all that, remember that nutrition is an important part of being an athlete. So, prioritise healthy sources of protein and getting enough energy for performance. If you play a particular sport or simply would like more nutrition or exercise advice, like tips on recovery, why not explore our blog? Together with Maxler you can elevate your performance and unlock your best new self.