Regardless of the mind blowing success of so many vegetarian athletes making headlines nowadays. Many people are still questioning the vegetarian diet plan and fitness lifestyle.
The American Diabetic Association states that vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of life, including athletes. And a look back through history tells us that the best athletes back in ancient times swore by vegetarian diets. So it was pretty common then.
Still, there are many questions and concerns that continue to prevent athletes from adjusting their meals and removing out meat to live healthier lifestyles and enhance their performance.
What Are Vegetarians?
In its most basic common sense, a vegetarian is a person who doesn’t eat meat. This means avoiding foods that consist of or that have been produced from products that come from any part of an animal. For me, this is still challenging because most everything I normally would eat is from an animal.
However, there are several types of vegetarians, so it’s important to make a few key distinctions. Lacto-ovo-vegetarians eat dairy and eggs, and lacto-vegetarians eat dairy but not eggs. (How weird huh) Meanwhile, ovo-vegetarians eat eggs but not dairy and vegans don’t eat any of either of these foods.
Vegetarians and General Health
Both general health and physical fitness, are clear, undisputed advantages associated with the vegetarian lifestyle.
Although there are some overweight and obese vegetarians in the world today with my sister being one of the obese vegetarians, those who do not eat meat are much healthier and have a lower risk of diseases.
Health benefits of being a vegetarian include lower blood cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, fewer digestive disorders, and lower incidences of obesity and diabetes. Other studies show greater resilience to renal disease, dementia, General disease, gallstones, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Animal-based foods are sometimes high in acidity, which is a known cause of inflammation. Meanwhile, fresh and organic fruits and vegetables fuel the body with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are easy to digest and provide energy for your brain and immune system.
Many types of meat sold to Americas are packed with hormones and antibiotics to sustain factory farming practices with no regard for their impact on human health upon consumption. That is one of the reasons why we have lots of heath risk and obesity here in the States.
Vegetarians and Fitness
But the benefits of being a vegetarian go far beyond general wellness and disease prevention. In fact, a meat-free diet can give athletes a competitive way that helps them perform and compete better than their meat-eating counterparts believe it or not.
For disciplined athletes, performance is highly driven by fueling the body with carbohydrates, which can easily and healthily be obtained through plant-based sources.
As long as a vegetarian diet plan vegetarian diet plan isn’t unnecessarily restrictive, it can provide athletes with all the nutrients needed to perform and compete in any competition.
Female athletes, in particular, may not want to cut dairy products out of their vegetarian diet plan because calcium is essential to maintain bone health and prevent osteoporosis. Fortunately, there are lots of plants that are packed with calcium, including broccoli, collards, kale, and Chinese cabbage.
Regardless of gender, age and race, the benefits of being or becoming vegetarian are so overwhelming that this lifestyle is worthy of consideration by all athletes including the famous ones.
The fat, protein, and carbohydrate balance associated with vegetarian diet plans can help endurance athletes maximize body glycogen stores and ultimately boost performance during periods of heavy training.
Increasing Strength on eating Plants
For competitive athletes, it’s simply not enough to have a perfectly sculpted muscular physique. Heightened levels of strength are also required in a wide range of sports and to support a healthy body in a more general sense.
Endurance is an integral part of building strength because extended sets and reps with increased weight are required to become stronger over time.
Another big conclusion was that high nutrient density vegetarian diets are more than adequate to cover the nutritional requirements of endurance athletes.
To increase strength, the body relies on oxidation metabolism to create energy. Oxygen is essential for muscle fiber growth, and through a process called aerobic metabolism, oxygen is transported to working muscles.
Mitochondria needs the oxygen in the body to convert the macro nutrients of proteins, carbs, and fats into adenine triphosphate to support muscle contractions.
But lifting weights at the gym is just one part of the muscle-building and strength-building equation. Studies have shown that those who eat vegetarian diets also recover significantly faster after exercise. Rest periods are crucial to gaining and sustaining muscle and strength for the long-term.
Considerations of Weight and Fat Loss
It’s a simple fact that vegetarians tend to weigh about six to 10 pounds less than the average than people who eat meat. But evidence suggests that an athlete’s resting metabolic rate (RMR) and thermic effect of a meal (TEM) measurement also rests in vegetarians’ favor.
This finding provides support as to why vegetarians have lower body weight and both fat than omnivores. If shredding fat or losing weight is part of your overall fitness goals, then vegetarianism is definitely worth a try.
Vegetarians and the Environment
While some athletes choose to become vegetarian because of their health and fitness, others make the decision based on environmental convictions.
There’s been a big push in America and around the world to reduce the intake of animals, and eating habits like cutting out meat and choosing locally grown foods can do a lot to achieve this goal.
Raising animals to be slaughtered for meat is a huge contributor to resource depletion. Furthermore, the deforestation of earth’s forests and rainforestsis largely due to cutting away native vegetation to raise animals that need to feed on grains and soy.
Meat-free diets help athletes, bodybuilders, and fitness buffs do their part to preserve this amazing planet we call home.
Are Vegetarians Really More Humane?
This is a debate that comes up time and time again, and honestly, there are both pros and cons to consider.
People often argue that plants have biochemical reactions that are not unlike those as animals and feel pain too, so it is no more humane to kill and consume plants than animals.
Factory farming involves another moral issue that many people have an issue with and that drives them to vegetarianism. It involves a total disregard for the wellness of animals as living beings, and by avoiding meat products, vegetarians can show their support against this inhumane practice. It’s really sad the animals live to only die for us to eat.
Some philosophers believe that a plant-based diet can actually enhance compassion and empathy through mindful eating over time as well. By removing meat products from the diet, people may naturally begin caring more about animals, the environment, and even other people.
Mindful eating makes us more conscious about where our meals come from and require us to think about the foods we choose to put in our mouth. Consciously taking one being’s life to fill the stomach is morally questionable when other options are available.
However, it’s important for vegetarians to resist the urge to adopt will never eat meat stance, but simply do the right thing for their bodies and be aware of what personally feels right and wrong.
By adopting this mindset, athletes can live a healthier and more fulfilled lifestyle that they can feel good about from the inside out.
Upon my review, it’s easy to see why science continues to support the vegetarian fitness lifestyle for all types of athletes and bodybuilders, and just people in general.
The evidence is compelling when fitness buffs are able to break away from stereotypes and misconceptions to consider the facts and the promising potential of meat-free diets.
Of course, every athlete and bodybuilder is unique and has different nutritional requirements to stay on top of the game. However, the vegetarian fitness lifestyle is definitely worth a try, even if it only means reducing the number of meat-based meals eaten every day.
Every little counts, in terms of general health, athletic performance, the environment, and the fate of humanity. Just give it a try and comment below to let me know what you think
Sonja Owner of Newworkoutequipment.com