When it comes to fitness, athletes know that what you prepare in the kitchen can sometimes be just as important as what you do in the gym – if not more so. That’s why one of the best things for anyone looking to get into great shape to do is to watch what the top athletes are eating. And as it so happens, some of their dietary habits may surprise you; did you know, for instance, that some of he world’s top female athletes have gone completely vegan?
It’s something that seems to be catching on more and more among true sporting superstars, so we thought we’d take a look at a few major examples.
WNBA star and three-time Olympic gold medalist Diana Taurasi adopted a plant-based diet a few years back as part of a greater effort to improve her overall health. “As you get older, you get conscious of what you’re eating and how that affects your body,” she explained. “The way you look and feel that’s really helped me.”
It’s likely no coincidence that Taurasi’s coach, Sandy Brondello has also noticed marked improvement in Taurasi’s, crediting the diet for enabling her to become a better playmaker. That’s quite a remarkable thing given that Taurasi is in the later stages of her career, and now 37 years old. Yet her dedication to nutrition appears to be helping her to improve even after all her years in the league – and helping her team, too, as a result.
Venus Williams famously switched to a raw vegan diet following her diagnosis with Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune condition that briefly but seriously threatened her career. The condition in fact impacted Willliams’s athletic performance and overall health to the point that she withdrew suddenly from the 2011 U.S. Open, and there was speculation that she might retire.
Now that she’s eliminated animal products from her diet though, Williams has seen her symptoms subside, and has become a formidable force in the WTA once more. In fact, U.S. bookmaking services are beginning to post odds for the 2019 U.S. Open, and while Williams isn’t the favourite, it’s miraculous that she’s going to be appearing with even respectable odds. Eight years after her sudden withdrawal in 2011, Williams will be expected to compete every time she takes the court at this year’s tournament – thanks, in large part, to her dietary shift.
It wasn’t exactly a surprise when the U.S. won the World Cup earlier this year, especially considering that the Americans were the defending champions and most analysts and betting firms alike had them tabbed to lift the trophy. More simply the U.S. was a prohibitive favourite because of its incredibly talented class of players. And while it was Megan Rapinoe who stole the show bring the Cup, Alex Morgan may be the best of the Americans.
The forward credits a vegan diet for her success, with her love of animals having been the deciding factor in her decision to adopt the diet. Combined with a strenuous workout routine, Morgan’s nutrition has allowed her to become a relentless force in football. She racked up six goals of her own throughout the World Cup, and added another championship to her sensational resume.
So – Should you do it?
If you’re still unsure about turning vegan yourself, it may help to note that there are lots of tips available on how to transition to a plant-based diet. We’d also note that it may not be for everyone, and there are other way to maintain good health and athleticism. Given some of the examples above though, perhaps it’s easier to see why so many people are giving this lifestyle a chance!
Author: Tanja Schmitz
Founder and Editor of Fitness Magazine. You’ll find her behind her computer or on her bike, dreaming up new ways to improve or create content for you.