The Vegetarian Athlete Part 3: Logistics

In parts 1 and 2 of this 3-part series on the vegetarian athlete, I focused generally on overall nutrition, and specifically on the macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fat), and micronutrients (iron, B12) important to those competing on a meat-free diet. In this final installment of this series, I'll discuss practical strategies for travelling and racing as a vegetarian or vegan, and what, if any supplements you should consider.One of the most difficult things to do as a vegetarian or vegan bike racer is travel. I wrote in my first article about the normative American food supply, and how it can be a challenge when you choose a path away from the norm. Nowhere is that demonstrated ...

The Vegetarian Athlete Part 2: Micronutrients

In my first article on the vegetarian athlete, I tried to outline the primary dietary concerns of protein and iron intake, focusing first on protein. In this article, I'll move from macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fat) to micronutrients, specifically iron and vitamin B12, as these are the most challenging to those eating a meat-free diet. Anemia is one of most common problems vegetarian athletes face, and is often a result of inadequate iron and B12, so we'll also talk specifically about that. I want to again stress the perspective I'm writing from and remind you that I'm not a nutritionist. Bike.com has recently added former top cyclist and registered dietitian Jane ...

The Vegetarian Athlete Part 1: The Basics

I've been a vegetarian for 14 years, just about my entire racing career. The past 3 years I've been completely vegan, which means I don't use any animal products whatsoever. As a coach, I'm in a position where many of my clients rely on me for nutritional advice, and as an athlete I have specific experience about what it takes to be a vegetarian and still compete at a high level. For the duration of time that I've been writing for Bike.com, many of you have e-mailed asking for an article about vegetarianism where I shared that experience. So, here it is, with some conditions.There are many reasons why people become vegetarian or vegan: moral, ethical, environmental, health, financial. The ...

Energy and Intent: Philosophy of Vegetarianism

I became a vegetarian in high school, around the time I also began on the path towards being a professional athlete. For most of my cycling career in the '90's, being a vegetarian on the road in the US was a constant battle, but a win-able one, and one I was willing to fight. For most of that time, however, veganism seemed out of the question for me. It was hard enough finding suitable non-meat options while traveling with a team, so the idea of cutting out all dairy products as well was beyond my scope.Over the past 30 years, more and more staples of a vegan diet have become available at grocery stores across the country, and there's a downright boom of natural food markets, often in the ...

Caffeine for Pleasure and Performance

In my last article, I stated the importance of giving your body a period of recovery from the process of recovery itself. I suggested taking at least ten days off from any activity at some point over the fall or winter before beginning your training for new season. In addition to that, I suggested that if you were a coffee drinker, taking a break from your daily ingestion of caffeine would be also be helpful. I thought taking the time off the bike was going to be challenging for many of you, but it turns out I received the most mail about coffee. Enough so that I thought it warranted an article of its own.The reason why it's important to try and lay off the coffee is of course the caffeine. ...