A Plant-Based Diet Can Improve Performance

For an athlete, good health is the most important prerequisite to maximum performance. Without a healthy body, you will never achieve your athletic potential. 

Nutrition plays an important role in the pursuit of top athletic performance and well being. Whole foods, plant-based nutrition is a lifestyle. It is a way of nourishing your body for maximum performance, recovery and healing.

If you are an athlete and feeling strong, healthy and powerful, you probably don't think about these things. However, if you body deep inside struggles to keep a healthy environment for recovery and healthy reproduction of cells (eating an excess of animal products and processed foods does that), you won't be performing at your best. 

More: The Vegetarian Runner: How to Maintain a Nutrient-Rich Diet

Today, 75 percent of men and 67 percent of women over the age of 25 are overweight or obese, with alarmingly increasing rates of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. 

We often address nutrition last among all the other factors, while it should be the first—no matter how healthy or sick we are, or how well we perform athletically. 

Living the plant-based lifestyle is extremely simple once you figure out what to eat. The transition may seem difficult in the beginning. But once you adjust, you may never want to go back to eating animal products and processed foods.

More: Try a Plant-Based Diet for Weight Loss

Eating a whole foods, plant-based diet is an extremely clean and healthy lifestyle. You eat all the plants, preferably minimally processed. If you get your food in a box or tube, you don't eat it. 

The transition to a whole foods plant-based diet needs extra discipline and focus in the beginning because the habits rule your diet. You may also feel an emotional loss when you stop eating your favorite animal foods. 

However, you will quickly get used to eating the delicious and satisfying starches, vegetables and fruits instead of heavy, rich and, often chemically enhanced, animal products because you will have abundant energy, you'll sleep well, you can recover much better and you'll be able to train more intensely. These factors will motivate you to stay with your plant-based foods. 

More: 3 Plant-Based Power Meals for Athletes

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About the Author

Suzanna McGee

Suzanna McGee is a Ms. Natural Olympia bodybuilding champion and athletic trainer with a focus on sport conditioning and injury prevention. Visit TennisFitnessLove.com to learn more.

Suzanna McGee is a Ms. Natural Olympia bodybuilding champion and athletic trainer with a focus on sport conditioning and injury prevention. Visit TennisFitnessLove.com to learn more.

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