Feeding a Vegan Athlete

Posted on in Health + Lifestyle, Nature + Outdoors, Sports + Training by Madeline Pearce

fruit-dietMany will attest to the idea that counting calories and ratios are the keys to success, but that really isn’t my style. My typical daily intake is composed of lots of carbs; mainly from fruit but also from veggies and starches (rice, potatoes, oats). One problem many vegan athletes like myself face is just how to go about getting enough calories in. The dieting industry has taught us that frequent eating will make you gain weight, which is so incredibly untrue when you move around as much as many athletes do. More food, more frequently will keep you going.

Now how can I be so sure? Duhn duhn duhn...the dreaded bonk. “Bonking” is that sudden onset of fatigue and general sluggishness that comes along with NOT EATING ENOUGH CARBOHYDRATE during prolonged exercise. Your body’s glycogen stores (muscular fuel tanks) are now running on fumes, bringing with it a cascade of lovely symptoms such as nausea, dehydration, and some pretty nasty indigestion that can last up to 2-3 days afterwards. These little muscular fuel tanks need constant replenishing of carbohydrate, even if you aren’t exercising, in order to keep you up and running.

For years I struggled with “filling my tank”, per say. I STILL don’t have it all the way down. Until I adopted a high-carb vegan lifestyle, I couldn’t ever get myself past mile 50 on the bike. No amount of low-carb, high protein, animal based food could ever get me as far as fruits and grains have, and I am eternally grateful.

Have any questions about making the transition to veganism? Wanna see what carbs can do for you? Hit me up on Instagram at @madelinepearce and I’ll be sure to get back to you as soon as possible. Ride on.


~ Madeline

Madeline Pearce

Madeline is an 18 year triathlete turned cyclist, and former cross country/track and field athlete at her school; where she still holds many records as the highest performing female distance runner in her school's history. After becoming sidelined by health complications in 2 years ago, she returned to her bike and adopted a vegan lifestyle in hopes of self-healing. And it worked! Madeline is now one of the top developing cyclists in the country, model, and on track to study pre-medicine in college this coming fall. When she's not on the bike, she can be found eating, hiking, or in the middle of a lake on her paddle board. Follow her adventures in and out of the saddle as a vegan athlete on Instagram at @madelinepearce, and keep your eye out for her posts on the Natures Bakery blog.

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