The biggest fitness advantage I’ve found from a whole-food plant-based diet, in my experience, is RECOVERY. From discussions I’ve had with other vegans who live a very active lifestyle, they agree that the improvement to recovery is huge. If you read Brendan Brazier’s book Thrive he also makes particular note of this benefit.
When the food that you eat can easily be digested and assimilated by your body, your body thanks you and the payoff is huge. You spend less time and energy digesting, and your body can absorb and use more of the nutrients in the food. Something like a steak is going to take 12-24 hours or MORE to digest. Fruits and vegetables can be digested in an under and hour. Easily digestible foods allow the body to heal itself faster and regenerate from physical stress. This is what I mean by better recovery.
I used to go to long weekend footbag tournaments and be exhausted, sore and often as a result feel physically depressed by the last day. I couldn’t last. I’d go home and be sore for days. I blamed it on my age, being late 20s when most of the other players were college-age. That was somewhat short-sighted. Since cleaning up my diet with more whole fruits and vegetables, while getting stronger, that no longer happens. Now I can easily last the whole tournament playing 7-8 hour days and then go home and play the next day no problem. To be able to do more of what you love without getting worn out, let me tell you it is FANTASTIC.
What does better recovery mean for you?
- You get less sore after workouts
- You need fewer rest days
- You can more easily endure multiple days of very high activity levels (tournaments, races, etc.)