Carbohydrate loading vs. protein loading

September 9, 2012

I am reading Thrive – The Vegan Nutrition Guide to optimal performance in sports and life by Brendan Brazier (link).  The book is very interesting but I found the section about nutrition before exercise, really interesting so I thought I would share the details.
There seems to be a new school of thought that protein loading before intense exercise instead of the carbohydrate loading, which used to be the pre-exercise preparation of choice.

“Eating too much protein before intense exercise will likely result in muscle cramping, since protein requires more fluid to be metabolized than carbohydrate or fat, and cramping occurs when the body is not properly hydrated. Also, protein is not what you want to have your body burning as fuel. Protein is for building muscle, not fuelling it.

When protein is consumed in place of carbohydrate immediately before exercise, and therefore burned as fuel, it burns “dirty”, meaning that toxins are created from its combustion. The production and elimination of toxins are a stress on the body and can cause a stress response, ultimately leading to a decline in endurance.” – Chapter 4 – Exercise for lifelong health (P108)

Too much protein is very bad for your kidney and liver and when I refer to healthy options of protein, it is always plant-based.


Super vegan athletes

June 16, 2012

I am sure every person that follows a vegan/plant-based diet often hear from some people that they could not follow a plant-based diet because because they need more protein (because of their active lifestyle).

It is really great to see that the WBO welterweight boxing champion, Timothy Bradley is a vegan.

Here are some interesting articles related to Timothy Bradley:

  • PCRM – Link
  • Business inquirer – Link

Yet another super athlete that proves that you can get enough protein from a plant-based diet, and be the best amongst their peers.

Other successful super athletes that are vegan/plant-based:

  • Martina Navratilova – tennis player – 18 Grand Slam singles titles, 31 major women’s doubles titles (an all-time record), and 10 major mixed doubles titles
  • Carl Lewis – 9 time Olympic gold medal winner
  • Dave Zabriskie – elite cyclist, Tour de France competitor
  • Brendan Brazier – ultra-marathon champion
  • Scott Jurek – ultra-marathon champion
  • Mac Danzig – mixed martial arts, ultimate fighter
  • Rich Roll – elite ultra-distance endurance athlete
  • Surya Bonaly – Olympic figure skating champion
  • Peter Burwash – Davis Cup winner and professional tennis star
  • Ruth Heidrich – 6 time Ironwoman, US track and field Master’s champion
  • Keith Holmes – world-champion middleweight boxer
  • Dave Scott – 6 time winner of the Ironman triathlon
  • and more (see links) – great vegan athletes / athletes who don’t eat meat.
If you structure the vegan/plant-based diet to use protein rich foods such as legumes and lots of leafy green vegetables, it can provide a huge amount of protein.  The added benefit is that it is not as acidic as animal based foods, is not as energy intensive to digest and utilise the food (which helps reduce recovery time between training sessions) and does not have the added fat, cholesterol and hormones you get from animal-based foods.

So, next time someone uses the “protein” excuse, remind them of some of the very successful athletes.

Successful vegan athletes

March 27, 2011

Here is some information about very successful athletes that follow a whole foods, plant-based lifestyle:

He is a professional Ironman triathlete.

He is a professional triathlete who believes “real men eat kale”.

She still actively competes in marathons and triathlons, having won more than 800 trophies and medals since her diagnosis of breast cancer in 1982 at the age of 47.  She has won 8 gold medals in the Senior Olympics in Hawaii, Arizona, and Nevada.