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What Your Personal Trainer Wont Tell You About Plant Based Nutrition

September 20, 2015

If you’ve ever been to a gym in the USA, then you’ve probably had to endure all the talk about the best whey protein powders, how to make a steak smoothie, and intense arguments about the merits of chicken vs. turkey.

As someone on a plant-based diet, this environment can be frustrating, to say the least.

And it doesn’t help when your personal trainer scoffs at the idea of not eating meat.

There are now plenty of plant-based trainers and you can even find an online directly of plant-based personal trainers here. So, if you find your personal trainer is very unsupportive, then you might consider switching. In the meantime, be aware of these myths and facts that your personal trainer probably won’t tell you about plant-based nutrition.

You Don’t Really Need that Much Protein

This one doesn’t just apply to vegetarians and vegans, but to omnivores too. The current RDA for protein is 0.4 to 0.9 grams per pound of body weight. This means that the average adult only needs about 46-56 grams of protein per day.

Yet, somewhere along the line, gym buffs have gotten the idea that they need 1 gram of protein per day. Some even argue that they need more than this.

As Bayesian Bodybuilding points out, the idea of 1g/lb protein is a myth. He analyzes the scientific literature on the subject and found that,

“There is normally no advantage to consuming more than 0.82g/lb (1.8g/kg) of protein per day to preserve or build muscle. This already includes a very safe mark-up. There hasn’t been any recorded advantage of consuming more than 0.64g/lb. The only exceptions to this rule could be individuals with extraordinarily high anabolic hormone levels.”

There is nothing wrong with eating more protein, but it is just going to get stored as energy (aka fat).

Plant Protein Is Just As Good As Animal Protein

Your personal trainer might concede that it is possible to get enough protein on a plant-based diet, but then go on to say that plant proteins are inferior to animal proteins.

This myth is based in the fact that few plant proteins are “complete,” meaning that they lack an essential amino acid. For starters, there are plenty of complete plant proteins (hemp, soy, chia, and pepitas are just a few of them). Even if you aren’t eating these foods, getting enough amino acids shouldn’t be a problem. What one food lacks, another food will have. Just eat a variety of plant proteins throughout the day and you should be fine.

But There Are Other Nutrients You Should Monitor

With all of the talk surrounding protein at the gym, it is easy to overlook the nutrients which you really should be paying attention to.

Iron, zinc, calcium, and B12 can problematic for people on plant-based diets, especially if they are in training and have higher nutritional needs. Some nutrients from plant-based sources also are not absorbed as well.

What should you do? Make sure to eat a lot of green veggies – preferably at every meal. You can also make a mean green smoothie after your workout too. And, just to play it safe, remember to have a nutrient panel blood test done to see if you are missing any important macro or micronutrients.


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