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Training for your next marathon? Or maybe a triathlon or road race? As an endurance athlete, high–quality, complete protein is an essential component to crossing the finish line healthy.

Protein connection to strength and endurance

As I discussed in a previous blog post, improving overall muscle strength can significantly enhance endurance. The greater your strength, the less your muscles have to work to achieve movement. It is important to understand the role of protein in conjunction with physical strength and endurance.

Quality vs. quantity

I am often asked what the secret serving equation should be of protein for optimal athletic performance, and my answer to this is simple. The concern should not be about quantity, but rather quality. Conventional sports training and nutrition books advise taking 1 gram of protein for every pound of body weight, which for me would be about double the quantity of what I take now. High-quality, multisource protein that is alkaline-forming and easy to digest will help you reach your peak performance. The question of serving depends on the individual.

Top of mind for most endurance athletes is your body’s strength to weight ratio. High-quality, complete protein will help improve this and assist in the maintenance of strong, lean muscles.

Plant protein for recovery = best performance

The most important consideration for improving athletic performance is your speed of recovery. This is true for athletes or those who work physical jobs. Reducing the time and energy spent between workouts or periods of higher athletic stress will increase your performance gain. Alkaline-forming, plant protein will reduce muscle inflammation and help speed this recovery process.

Key recovery aids

Two important recovery aids that most athletes are familiar with include branch chain amino acids (BCAAs) and glutamine. BCAAs are commonly known as the “building blocks” of the body as they are essential to muscle growth and retention. Glutamine is stored in muscle tissue and used as cellular fuel for the immune system. When the body experiences physical stress, glutamine levels are reduced, contributing to the break down of muscle. To stay in a muscle regenerating state, a boost of BCAAs and glutamine before and after training periods will help prevent overtraining and improve your strength to weight ratio.

Vega formulation and timing

As a pro endurance athlete, I formulated Vega Sport Performance Protein with only purpose driven ingredients to work together for performance-enhancing results. Vega Sport Protein is alkaline and has digestive enzymes, BCAAs and glutamine to help you build and retain your desired functional strength.

You will find this multisource protein improves digestion and helps with soft-tissue repair for minor athletic injuries and ailments (such as ankle sprains or sore knees). I have found it to improve my overall flexibility and allow me to move more fluently when running.

What benefits has protein had on your athletic performance?

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Tags: endurance, performance, protein, recovery, strength


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Comment by Vega Krystal on April 28, 2010 at 4:04pm
Pre-workout snack - For low intesity activity, lasting an extended period of time, more protein is ideal. The higher the intensity of your workout, the less protein and the more easy-digestible simple carbohydrates you should consume in your pre-workout snack.

In relation to other vega products, Vega Sport Performance Protein - For a more intense work-out, a suggested 'after training' recovery smoothie would have:
1/2 a portion of Whole Food Health Optimizer & 1 full portion of Sport Performance Protein

Ellen- Protein to body weight ratio depends on the individual. In addition to the intensity of your work-out/physical activity, fuel requirements will likely vary based on fitness level and diet-quality.

Stephanie-As the Vega Sport Peformance Protein label has only a suggested serving size for adults, if you are concerned, it would be best for you to consult your practitioner.
Comment by Michael James Slattery on April 16, 2010 at 10:17am
I have been juicing for only a little while. From what I have been lead to believe cabbage has a ton of glutamine. I am leading myself to believe this as I am drinking more of it and think it is one of my positive results. Any confirmation?
Comment by John Stewart on April 15, 2010 at 2:33pm
Brendan is the man! Was in a GNC yesterday and they had Vega on the shelves - they did not even no what it was until I let them have it with two scoops of info!

When in Banff join us at - the number one restaurant in Banff on Trip Advisory is Vegetarian. As I told the owner the reason the MEAT tastes good is because the PLANTS made it so!
Comment by Ellen on April 15, 2010 at 6:40am
Would you recommend that most endurance types eating a vegan diet should figure about a half gram of protein per body weight? Including women?
Comment by Jay Crawford on April 14, 2010 at 11:08pm
Thanks Brendan!

I hit the gym at the begining of March to find out I was 1/4 the strength I once was (WOW! what a shocker) but I've been pushing myself pretty hard with cardio daily now and 4-5 core exercise sessions a week plus 3-4 hard resistance sessions a week too! I have said repeatedly; 'thats gonna hurt tomorow!' and to my amazement I am experiencing very little stiffness or soarness. With your books in hand I'm trying not to let my past successes fool me and am approaching trainning like a beginer. I sought assesment from a physiotherapist I'd seen before and really respect and she helped tailor my core program.

I review my program: Living Thrive lifestyle to balance PH (which has also helped my sleep), drinking plenty of clean water, paying attention to my energies to see how to play each workout and using the Vega products; WFHO, MaccaSure and VSPP for quality support and protein!

I thought this would be a long painful journey to get back to the picture of health I have in my head, but it seems I'm doing in weeks what I realisticaly figured would take months. I know the gains seem best in the begining, but you'll get no complaints from me :) I'm rockin and lovin' it!
Comment by Jacqueline Park on April 14, 2010 at 9:37am
Hi Brendan!
Thanks for posting this as I am really loving the new VSPP and experimenting with it after my training.
Just a quick question - I am aware of the benefits of taking the VSPP after my training sessions especially for recovery - is it just as beneficial before? I just noticed that after reading your blog.
And what would the timing of that be - and in combination with the Optimizer also?
I am hesitant to get too much protein at once - but rather like to get it from food and more spaced out through the day - perhaps 1/2 a serving before and after - to split it up? I find it easier to digest that way...
Your suggestions?

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