Anyone who reads this blog knows I'm a No Meat Athlete super-fan. I credit NMA podcast hosts Matt Frazier and Doug Hay for inspiring me to dream beyond the marathon and to move from roads to trails. I didn't know ultramarathons were even a thing before I started listening to their podcast. NMA also helped me find a healthy balance between vegan junk food and vegan whole foods. In short, their work has been life-changing for me.
So of course I was stoked when The Plant-Based Athlete, by No Meat Athlete founder Matt Frazier and vegan bodybuilding legend Robert Cheeke, came out in mid-June! It's quickly become my official manual for how to be a vegan athlete! And by "athlete," I'm talking about everyday athletes. Although the authors interviewed 60-plus elite and professional plant-based athletes for the book, the practical advice offered is intended to help aspiring young athletes and older weekend warriors like myself.
I'm currently training for two 50K races and a marathon this fall, and I've got one solo 50K, four full marathons, and numerous half-marathons under my belt. I practice yoga daily, and I strength-train a couple times a week. But I'm not out there winning races (or even age group awards). I'm a slow runner, but I still consider myself an athlete, and this book is loaded with practical advice (and recipes!) that are already helping me make the most of my training.
Matt and Robert take a deep dive into macronutrients (carbs, fat, protein) and supplementation, and then they provide meal plans for various athletic goals, such as fat-burning or muscle-building. I love that they not only tell you how to eat, but they offer guidance on what to eat for optional workout fueling. The section on recovery is fantastic with suggestions on the best plant-based foods to reduce inflammation, and they break down carb-to-protein ratios for snacks/meals eaten before, during, and after your workouts.There's even a "day in the life" section where some of those athletes detail everything they eat in a typical day (including their pre- and post-workout meals). It's so cool to see how much those individual meal plans vary from athlete to athlete! It really does prove that every body is different!
My very favorite section of the book is at the end — the recipes! There are more than 60 plant-based recipes, contributed by the athletes featured in the book. So far, I've tried quite a few, starting with the Kale Yeah Caesar Salad from marathoner Mary Schneider. This has roasted chickpeas, nooch, hempseeds, and a tasty caper-y avo dressing! Perfect lunch!