Whether you’re preparing to take on your first ever Tough Mudder Half or training to tackle your 7th World’s Toughest Mudder, what you feed your body matters. And when it comes to Mudder-fuel, protein REALLY matters.
Conversations about how much protein you should have, the role it plays in your body, and what type of protein you choose are hotter than Tough Mudder Long Island in July
Check these plant-based protein myths, for the dirty deets on your protein needs.
Myth #1: You need to eat MORE plant-based protein than animal protein to see the same results.
Your protein needs are determined by your physical size (weight), exercise level, and overall health goals, NOT by the type of protein you’re choosing.
Where you get that protein from is your personal choice. The good news is there’s protein in just about every food out there. So if you eat a well-balanced diet, you’ll likely have no trouble reaching your daily protein needs. Just remember, the more active you are, the more protein you need.
Curious what your specific protein needs are? Use the equation below for a rough estimate of your protein goals.
First things first, convert your weight from pounds to kilograms by dividing your weight in pounds by 2.2.
Next, multiply your weight in kilograms (your answer above) by the figure that matches your activity level.
-For baseline active lifestyle (up to 30 minutes of movement five or more days a week) multiply your weight in kilograms by 0.8.
-For moderately active (think: 30 to 45 minutes of moderate exercise three to five days a week), multiply your weight by 1.0 A.K.A. the same number of grams of protein, as your weight in kilograms.
-For high-intensity, daily exercise, multiply weight in kilograms by 1.3 to 1.5. The more you strength-train, the higher the number, which can increase up to 2.0 weight-lifting Mudders, we’re talking to you^1.
The number you calculate is how many grams of protein you need per day.
Myth #2: Plant proteins don’t offer as many benefits to your body as animal protein
You have way more important things to worry about than stress about whether or not plant-based proteins are comparable to animal proteins. All proteins are made up of amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of the proteins in your body. Eating a varied diet, with multiple types of plant-based proteins, will ensure that your body has enough amino acids to help repair and rebuild your muscles.
Fact: there are several plant-based protein sources that contain all essential amino acids. I love adding in hemp seeds, chia seeds, nuts, beans, quinoa and brown rice to my meals and dare you to do the same.
(Looking for more meal inspiration? Check out the awesome plant-protein pantry list HERE).
Myth #3 Plant-based proteins won’t help you gain muscle.
Both the notions that plant-based diets lack adequate protein, and that athletes cannot build muscle on a plant-based diet, could not be further from the truth. The truth is you CAN build muscles on a plant-based diet. Athletes of all types—from Olympians, to World’s Toughest Mudder champions, to professional bodybuilders—have proven they can thrive on a plant-based diet. But, you also don’t have to be a pro to make plant-based nutrition support your athletic goals. Even those training for the 3 wild miles and 10 obstacles of the Tough Mudder 5K can reap the benefits of going plant-based with their protein.
(What benefits?? Check out the perks of adding more plant-based foods HERE).
To help support your body in building muscle after your workout, consume plant-based foods that have protein such as beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. You can also up your protein intake and ensure you’re getting adequate amino acids by adding a plant-based protein powder, such as Vega Sport® Protein to your post-workout fuel. Each delicious serving has 30 grams of a complete multisource protein blend, including 6 grams BCAAs, to help repair and rebuild your muscles post-workout.
Regardless of whether you’re male or female, or your activity level, a diet rich in plant-based protein, paired with a balance of carbohydrates and good fat, can help support both strength and endurance performance.
1. Rolfes, S. et. al. (2009). Understanding Normal and Clinical Nutrition. Wadsworth, Cengage Learning. 8th ed.
2. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (2014). Protein in Vegetarian and Vegan Diets. Accessed on 6/14/17 from: https://vegetariannutrition.net/docs/Protein-Vegetarian-Nutrition.pdf
Kim McDevitt, MPH, RD.
Senior Education Specialist, Vega. A runner, cooking enthusiast and plant-focused flexitarian, Kim McDevitt has passionately built her career in nutrition. Noticing that her running performances were closely tied to what she was eating, Kim decided to study nutrition and pursue advanced degrees in Dietetics and Public Health, to better understand the power of food in performance. Today, Kim specializes in sports nutrition to enhance athletic performance and focuses on realistic and approachable ways for improving health through educated dietary choices within an active lifestyle.