Most fighters will tell you, rightly so, that you need proteins in order to build muscles. Now, the primary source of proteins is animal products including meat, eggs and dietary products. But what happens if you are a Muay Thai fighter who is a vegan or vegetarian? Before we go too far, we have to understand the difference between vegetarians and vegans.
Vegans Vs vegetarians
Although veganism is seen as one form of vegetarianism, there are some similarities and differences between the two. One of the similarities is that both groups do not consume meat. The difference is that vegetarians do not shun eggs and dietary products while vegans do.
What arises from this distinction is that vegetarians would not have a problem meeting their daily needs of protein intake as they already have two sources in eggs and other dietary foods. Vegans on the other end have to look elsewhere for their protein intake.
The different food groups
We all understand that in order to complete a diet, you need carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and in some cases fats. For the energy required during Muay Thai, fighters can look to carbohydrates and fats with vitamins, from fruits and vegetables, playing a role in the prevention of illnesses. The one thing that a lot of people do not know is that some of these food groups contain an amount of protein that is sufficient to complete the daily required intake of proteins.
For example, whole grains are primarily carbohydrates but they do have a bit of protein to help meet the required amount. Foods such as potatoes will supply the energy you need and an excess intake of such carbohydrates will be converted to fats for storage and for use much later on.
Use of supplements
Vegan and vegetarian fighters who have determined that they need more protein that is supplied by their dietary needs can always turn to supplements. Most of the supplements in the market will give you enough protein to train, fight and recover when you are done. One thing to keep in mind though, taking more supplement than recommended will not help you grow muscles faster.
Your body will most likely turn that excess protein into fats or excrete it. Also, too much protein has been shown to increase the chances of Osteoporosis and impairment of kidney functions. The impaired kidney functions are as a result of the increase in the nitrogen levels caused by increased protein levels in the blood.
Always talk to a nutritionist
One of the best ways to know exactly how much protein you need is to talk to a nutritionist. The good thing is that most gyms and training centres will provide one for you. Be sure to talk to them about your diet, your weight goals as well as other health goals you may have. Also, ensure that you only go for supplements that have been proven to help and stay away from “overdosing” on supplements as doing this will do more harm than good.