It’s time to put an end to the idea that eating a vegetarian, vegan, or plant-based diet and being a strong, fit athlete are mutually exclusive. Being a plant based athlete is more than possible. It’s something that many professionals like Tom Brady and others have been doing for decades at the highest level.
A plant-based diet plan for athletes is really not all that different from a normal (healthy) diet, with the exception, of course, of the meat and animal products. If you’re switching from eating McDonald’s every day, then sure, it’s going to take some getting used to. But if you eat lots of nutritious, whole foods as it is, there really aren’t all that many adjustments you need to make to go vegetarian, and from there, to be a plant based athlete.
The same can be said about going plant-based when your goal is to gain weight, build muscle, become a bodybuilder, or simply get swol (as the kids like to say).
But when that’s the goal, there are a few things to consider about your nutrition (exactly like there would be if you were trying to add muscle on a non-vegan diet):
- Macronutrient ratios that fit your specific body and goals.
- Understanding your caloric needs.
- And having a proper workout plan to accompany your nutrition strategy.
Check out how these local athletes have made living plant-based part of their lives and how they have continued to be successful in their lives.
Having had a personal weight loss of over 50lbs, I know first-hand what it takes to transform one’s body.
I transitioned to a plant based diet at the same time as I started my weight loss journey and it had a huge impact on my health. It’s truly amazing what a nutrient dense diet can do for the body when it comes to vitality and athletic ability.
Fast forward 10 years. I am now a Personal Trainer and Holistic Wellness Coach. I help my clients achieve a balanced lifestyle that encompasses all dimensions of health & wellness though a plant based approach. Of course, not all of my clients choose to live a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle, but educating them on the benefits enables them to make informed food choices while complementing their fitness goals.
From struggling with being overweight, and then making my personal transformation, has enhanced my passion for fitness coaching. Helping others accomplish their goals and feel the level of empowerment that comes along with taking charge of their health is my ultimate objective.
I try to create a training environment that not only motivates, but also empowers individuals to continually challenge themselves. Choosing plant based, whole food options is a powerful component when it comes to fueling your body, while also staying conscious of our ecological footprint.
I challenge anyone reading this to try going plant based for 1 week, to experience all the benefits first hand!
I was born in Edmonton, and have been a leader in the fitness community for over 23 years. Starting as a Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor and Big Box Gym Manager I eventually moved through Provincial and National Fitness Competitions earning myself a pro card. From there, I transitioned into the world of professional dance, running an entertainment company, while teaching and performing. I am currently the Master Franchisor for Oxygen Yoga and Fitness Alberta, overseeing the operations of 8 locations and teaching a variety Group Fitness Classes and Yoga.
I have been active all my life, and started teaching classes when it was normal to wear a thong on the “outside” of your shorts. 😉 The fashion since then has drastically changed but my love and passion for athletic movement and helping others achieve their health and fitness goals has not.
I grew up in a typical Albertan meat and potatoes kind of family. Like many people, I was told I need milk for strong bones and meat for strong muscles. In my 20’s, I started looking into becoming a plant based athlete because I was concerned about animal welfare, and the negative health aspects of meat and dairy. Unfortunately, I became fearful of being “anemic” and aﬀecting my dance ability and career, a huge myth many people succumb too. When I hit 30, I knew I needed a change. I had done the old style body builder diets of enormous amounts of meat protein, rice and some vegetables with little fat and was feeling tired, sluggish, had slow recovery, was constantly getting sick and unable to keep up with the intense physical demands of dancing 50 plus hours a week.
I dove back into the research and found veganbodybuilder.com, a website devoted to plant based athletes. I was so inspired and felt confident I could make the transition as well. I cut out dairy and meat instantly, but kept fish and eggs for a while. I immediately noticed a reduction in inflammation, faster recovery time, less mucous in my body and increased energy. Within a few years I completely transitioned to vegan. I turned 40 this year and I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been. Not just my body…. my hair and skin have improved, my iron and B complex levels are higher, my quality of sleep and energy levels are amazing. I often hear that people are shocked to find out my age… I have no doubt its a result of a plant based diet.
I also believe that we are what we eat. The research proves we are ingesting excess hormones and chemicals with meat and dairy, but we also absorb the fear and pain that animals feel during the slaughter process at a cellular level. Spiritually, I feel better knowing I’m not contributing to the unnecessary suﬀering animals are forced to endure.
I encourage everyone to start adding more plants to their diet, even reducing meat and dairy by
50% will go a long way in improving your overall health! It changed my life, and I’ve seen it help many others.
Nick Del Bianco
My name is Nick Del Bianco and I am a former professional athlete who represented Canada in both beach and indoor volleyball. After retiring last year, I transitioned towards helping others perform at their highest levels through performance coaching at Archetype and with my own company, The Athlete Wellness Academy.
I made the switch to a plant based athlete lifestyle while playing my last professional volleyball season in Switzerland. The initial switch came because the cost of meat in Switzerland was so high my wife started to cook more plant-based meals. During this time, I was diving deeper into my own health and wellness as I completed my Health Coaching Certificate. Due to the coupled effect of trying to make affordable meals and uncovering the positive effects of plant-based living, I decided to give it a try.
Twelve months ago, I started eating plant-based meals and began to feel more energized, and noticed an enhanced immunity to colds and flus. With my overall health and wellness improving, I was able to show up to practices with a new energy that allowed me to get more out of each training session. And when the flus ran through my team, it always passed by leaving me unaffected.
As an athlete, when you hear about something that can enhance your performance, your interest peaks. This usually fades as you uncover that most of these “magic” solutions are in some way detrimental to your health or come with a huge financial strain, or they demand making big changes. However, adopting a plant-based lifestyle not only increased my health and wellness but has turned out to be a more affordable way of living. And the best part of it is, it was surprisingly easy.
I have been eating a plant-based diet since I was 14 years old. My decisions to become vegetarian and ultimately vegan was rooted in the aspiration for better health. Since I made the switch, I have only seen improvements to my mental, physical and spiritual vitality.
As a teenage vegetarian I competed in long distance track and field, triathlons and half marathons. In University I studied engineering which was an 80 hour a week commitment. Determined to keep up my physical health in my early twenties I participated in group fitness classes centered around high intensity interval training six days a week. Graduating with my degree and starting a career as a consultant I learned that being a modern-day athlete whose job is not centered around fitness requires energy. Despite working some 12-hour days, I rarely back down from the opportunity to run stairs or hit an 8 pm boxing class.
In recent years I have begun to learn more about the importance of having strong mental health. I work to achieve that through daily yoga practice and meditation. I truly believe my health and vitality is grounded in my approach to eating a plant-based diet. I am grateful daily for my wisdom as a child to make the shift for my health and look forward to decades more of eating a whole food plant based diet.