Diet: Plant Based
BW: 178-180 lbs.
Activity Level: High (1-3 training sessions a day)
Goal: Using a plant-based diet plan to help the body become metabolically efficient and flexible while training, as well as provide the body with adequate energy stores to meet all demands of the event while supporting mental function during competition.
PLANT BASED PROTEIN
Plant-based diets can vary depending on how strict you want to be. This means that there are different types of plant-based diets that you can follow. This includes:
- Lacto-ovo vegetarian – a plant-based diet that excludes meat, poultry and fish. This diet includes eggs and dairy products as sources of protein.
- Lactovegetarian – a plant-based diet that excludes meat, poultry, fish and eggs. This diet only includes dairy products as a source of protein.
- Vegan – a plant-based diet that excludes all animal products including meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, cheese and other dairy products. Vegan diets depend solely on plant proteins to meet all protein needs.
Before you start your plant-based diet, decide what you would like to exclude and include in your daily diet. The decision primarily comes down to deciding where you want your sources of protein to come from. If you do not want any of your protein to come from animal products than following a vegan diet is best. However, if you are open to allow some types of animal products such as eggs and dairy products then a lacto-ovo vegetarian is the diet for you.
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THINGS TO KNOW...
Athletes who choose to eat a plant-based diet can absolutely get all their energy and nutrient requirements. Plant-based diets are high in antioxidant content, which may decrease free radical damage and offer other health and training benefits to the athlete. However, there are certain nutrients that you are at higher risk of becoming deficient for.
Nutrition concerns include:
- Energy (calories)
- Iron: To increase iron absorption consume foods that contain vitamin C along with foods that are high in iron. Example: Beans and tomatoes, nuts and orange juice, etc.
- Zinc: This mineral can be found in animal products as well as legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and soy.
- Vitamin B-12: This vitamin is only present in animal products, fortified foods and supplements. If you choose to eliminate all animal products, make sure that you are either taking a B-12 supplement or eating fortified B-12 foods.
- Calcium: Like other vitamins and minerals, if you are eliminating dairy products from your diet make sure you consume foods that are fortified with calcium and vitamin D. Foods often fortified with these nutrients include soymilk, and orange juice.
- n-3 fatty acids: Nuts, and seeds are great plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids. However, if you would like to take a supplement, the oil algae supplements as well as the algae chlorella and spirulina are very high in omega-3 fatty acids and protein.
- Low intakes of creatine
In order to prevent energy or nutrient deficiencies it is important that you eat a wide variety of plant-based foods. It is equally important that you eat the appropriate amount. One of the biggest challenges for plant-based (specifically vegetarian athletes) is maintaining a high energy and nutrient intake.
Here is the macro breakdown of what Renato needs as an elite BJJ athlete:
- General training: 1.2-1.4 g/kg per day à 98-114 g PRO per day
- Intense training: 1.6-1.7 g/kg per day à 130-138 g PRO per day
- Fat intake does not typically need to change for vegetarian athletes.
- It is recommended to keep fat intake to a range of 20%-35% of total calories.
- Fat consumption should primarily be made up of unsaturated fats from plant sources.
- General training: 5-7 g/kg per day à 407 -569 g CHO per day
- Intense training: 7-10 g/kg per day à 560 – 814 g CHO per day
- Obtain CHO’s from whole sources such as brown rice, quinoa, whole-grain products. Stay away from ultra-processed CHO’s such as white rice, white flour, etc.
- Recommend: Baseline creatine levels are typically lower in vegetarian athletes. Using a creatine monohydrate supplement may help build lean body mass, muscle strength, and resistance to fatigue.
- May be useful: Algae supplement (chlorella and/or spirulina)
- Eat 5-6 small meals or snacks per day. Each meal should contain a protein source and a variety of foods including fruits, vegetables, nuts, plant oils, whole grains, and water.
- Make sure each meal and snack are balanced. This means that you should be able to point out your protein, fat, and CHO source in each meal/snack.
- More than half of your calories should come from quality CHOs to ensure that your muscles are fueled for your training and/or event.
- Include good quality fats, they help supply energy to your muscles during your workouts. Good sources include, olive oil, almonds, avocados, walnuts.
- Fuel your muscles! Make sure you are consuming enough CHO and PRO pre and post workout.
- Remember nutrition goals and requirements are not static. Be flexible. Listen to your body and adjust your diet as needed.
STAPLE PLANT-BASED PROTEINS:
- Various beans and legumes
- Various nuts
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Nutritional yeast
- Various seeds
Check out this website for various ways to use the plant-based proteins listed above: https://nutritionstripped.com/10-plant-based-proteins-eating/
PRE AND POST TRAINING SUPPLEMENTS:
Choose one of the following before training session:
- ATH Organics Plant Protein Shake
- ATH Organics Athletic Shrooms
- ¼ cup assorted nuts
- 1-2 Boiled Eggs (Optional)
- 1 Baby Bell cheese wheel (Optional)
As soon as training session is over, take a creatine supplement:
Supplements to take in the morning:
COMMON PLANT-BASED DIET QUESTIONS + ANSWERS
Q: How to get enough protein on a plant based diet?
A: Supplement your plant based lifestyle with ATH Plant Protein that'll pack on 16g of protein per serving.
Q: How to gain weight on a plant based diet?
A: Increasing your calorie intake by 500 calories per day will ensure that you are taking in more calories than you are expending.
Q: How to transition to a plant based diet?
A: Start slow by replacing 1-2 of your meals for plant based options. Buy plant based protein while shopping for groceries and slowly transform your refrigerated staples and pantry items into plant based foods.