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    Plant based diet for athletes

    Posted by Warren Pole, co-founder 33Shake on

    Plant based diet for athletes

    Once the unloved fun-spoilers on our plates, sports performance is waking up to the humble vegetable with beans, nuts, legumes, sprouts and fruit all joining the athletic party. Part paleo, part vegan and all performance, this is plant-based nutrition, and it could unlock some major performance gains.

    Plant based diet for athletes veggies

    Plants - powerful

    A plant-based diet as an athlete simply means eating tons of veg, nuts, seeds, superfoods, fruits, beans and berries to become an athletic demon who laughs in the face of illness and injury, slays recovery, and keeps on smashing plateaus.

    But being 'plant-based' doesn't have to mean being vegetarian, vegan, raw, fruitarian or any of the other dietary tags that may cause social pariah status among your less performance-minded peers though.

    Whether you go the full monty and only ever eat plants, or you simply increase your plant-based intake while reducing animal products is entirely your call.

    Plant based diet for athletes gorilla

    'Mmm, sprouts' Gorillas share over 98% of our DNA, only eat plants and are as strong as f**k

    Plant-based diets - why should you care?

    Because cutting down on animal products and filling up on plants could just make you a total athletic rockstar.

    There's very good evidence that eating more nutrient-dense plants and less meat, fish and dairy can boost energy levels, help your body recover faster from injury and training and reduce your illness risk from small stuff like colds and flu to bigger things like heart disease and cancer.

    And it's really good for the planet - growing plants uses way less resources than growing animals.

    If plant-based nutrition's so good, are real athletes using it?

    Hell yes.

    Legendary US ultramarathon runner Scott Jurek, a 7 x Western States 100-mile winner, 3 x Spartathlon winner and double Badwater marathon winner has been 100% plant-based since ’99.

    Plant based diet for athletes scott jurek

    Scott Jurek legs it through Death Valley heading for another win in the 137-mile, single stage Badwater ultra. All on plants

    Carl Lewis, 9 x Olympic gold medal winning sprinter has been fully plant-powered since the start of his most dominant season in ’91.

    "I've found that a person doesn't need protein from meat to be a successful athlete," he explains.

    Ultradistance triathlete and an athlete Men's Fitness voted one of the fittest in the world in ’09, Rich Roll has been completely plant-based since ’06 and puts his diet at the heart of his performance, a performance made all the more impressive as he’s now easing into his 50s.

    "I'm able to repair my body and recover well from workouts and am able to bounce back fresh day in and day out" he says.

    Yeah but they're all skinny runners - you still need meat and dairy for power, right?

    Maybe not, check these bad boys out.

    World champion heavyweight boxer David 'The Hayemaker' Haye fueled the comeback that landed him back in the top-ten ranked heavyweight fighters in the world on a totally plant-based diet.

    As he puts it, "I did some research to make sure I could still obtain enough protein to fight [on a plant-based diet] and, once satisfied that I could, I stopped [eating animal products]. I’ll never go back."

    Plant based diet for athletes david haye

    The Hayemaker delivers a plant-based heavyweight knockout to Mark de Mori in just 131 seconds

    NFL American Football player David Carter transformed his performance, strength and recovery since going wholly plant-based. At 21-stone of solid muscle and playing the largest and strongest position in American football you're welcome to argue with him if you like. Just bear in mind he says being plant-based has also made him faster so don't expect to get away if he comes after you…

    Then there's Patrick Baboumian. A former pro bodybuilder, he became Germany's Strongest Man in 2011, European powerlifting champion in 2012, and multiple world record holder for, among other things, beer keg lifting and yoke walking. Baboumain looks like a pumped-up Wolverine but - literally - wouldn't hurt a fly. His love of animals means he's been vegetarian since 2005 and entirely plant-based since 2011.

    Add 23-time tennis grand slam winner Venus Williams, four time Formula One World Champ Lewis Hamilton, premiership footballer Jermain Defoe, legendary Italian rugby international Mirco Bergomasco - the list goes on.

    Fair enough, but this is never going mainstream

    That might just be coming next. 

    When Arnold Schwarzenegger, bodybuilder, Terminator, erstwhile governor of California and the man who coined the insult 'you hit like a vegetarian' has said publicly we should all be eating less meat and also says, "you can get your protein source from many different ways"other than animal products, you know there's a big shift in the air.

    plant based diet for athletes arnold schwarzenegger

    Arnie: "Eat more plants or I'll blow your sh*t into the middle of next week"

    Plant based diet for athletes: how to get started 

    Alright, I get it. How do I get involved?


    • Eat less meat, fish and dairy 
    • Load up on plants. 

    This means nuts, seeds, fruit, beans and veg are all in, while processed foods, meat fish and dairy are all out.

    It's easy too, check the plant-based starter menu below and you'll see it's hardly 'Michelin-star-chef-only' territory, and nor is it trust-fund silly expensive either. If anything, eating plant-based is usually cheaper than animal alternatives.

    Plant-based starter menu 101

    • Breakfast: porridge with almond milk and bananas, black coffee - 100% plant-based
    • Lunch: massive salad with extra chick peas, avocado and a glass of lemon water on the side - 100% plant-based
    • Dinner: beans on toast, hold the cheese, glass of red to celebrate your knockout plant-based day. Yup, 100% plant-based

    If you dig this, raise up to a day a week and if you like the results, try a few days in a row. 

    We're not about to start writing meal plans guidelines and recipes - there are a ton of great sites out there doing that already (try No Meat Athlete for starters), all we're doing is offering up food for thought. At 33Shake we're simply all in for anything that makes athletes faster, healthier and more conscious about the food they put into their bodies.

    33Shake - accidentally plant-based since 2012

    plant based diet for athletes 33shake chia energy gel

    33Shake Chia Energy Gels deliver a massive upgrade over ordinary energy gels thanks to their unique 4-ingredient all-plant formula

    As it happens, all 33Shake products are entirely plant-based too and always have been. 

    It wasn't something we did to be plant-based - the term didn't even exist when we started out. We did it because the evidence was just so bloody compelling that the ingredients we use are the single best possible things for performance and recovery. So if you're using our stuff, not only are you likely smashing boundaries you never thought possible, you're also part plant-based already.

    Arnie would be proud of you.

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