So you have decided to transform your body- you want to shed some fat while building some muscle to torch calories and look lean.
Common thought used to be that you had to fill your plate with lots of lean meat and no carbs to get a competition ready figure.
A new documentary now shows a tried and true diet that has given even the toughest athletes a muscular frame, holding up to the high demands of strenuous play.
Athletes eat foods to “optimize power, strength, endurance, and even mental performance,” reports Health.
It is a misconception that plants cannot provide the key nutrients, especially protein, to make this happen.
“The Game Changers” is a documentary like none you have ever seen. Through interviews, expert opinion, and data, it uncovers how a plant-based diet is an optimal option for athletes looking to push their limits and recover quickly.
The film has a doctor follow UFC fighter and combat trainer James Wilks on his journey to recover from an injury, and the struggle to help his ailing father get his health on track.
Executive producer Novak Djokovic is a five-time Wimbledon champion and intimately knows the power of plants.
Currently ranked number one in the world in his sport, Djokovic hails a plant-based diet as the secret to his speedy recoveries.
Not much unlike many athletes who depend on strength for their success, Wilks was convinced animal protein was necessary “to build muscle, sustain energy, and heal,” reports Health.
But then he uncovered the surprising history of a plant-based diet, as Better Change Project has previously reported, and couldn’t ignore all it had to offer.
Roman gladiators are known for their exceptional athletic abilities, fighting for their lives in front a remorseless Roman audience.
In an amazing discovery, BBC reports that gladiators were often called the “barley men” because of their plant-based diet consisting mainly of wheat, barley and beans.
The study reports goes on to say “there was little sign of meat or dairy products in the diet of almost all of these professional fighters, who performed in front of Roman audiences.”
These men of old are often figures of envy for many professional fighters today, such as Wilks, and they were the ones who steered him towards the road less traveled, and one he will likely never veer from again.
Uncovering the world of plant-based athletes took Wilks all over the world where he interviewed science researchers, experts, and athletes; one of which was Arnold Schwarzenegger who confirmed meat doesn’t need to part of a body-builders grocery list.
What we put on our plate not only impacts our bodies, but the world around us. It is difficult to see the rippling effects of every bite when we are only shown what’s good for the bottom line.
Game Changers set out to not only empower the individual to take hold of their health through consuming a plant-based diet, but to take hold of our legacy by showing the “relationship between diet and health.”
How we handle our resources is not a “climate change” issue, but one of common sense.
Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, is Health’s contributing nutrition editor, a New York Times best-selling author, and a nutrition consultant for the New York Yankees.
She has ample experience in consulting athletes on what they should be eating to be at their best, and she wrote in Health, in relation to the ‘Game Changers’ documentary:
“Plant-based diets have been shown to reduce the risk of obesity, as well as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Eating more plant-based meals is also tied to better mental health and happiness. And yes, you can obtain all the nutrients you need without consuming animal products, even if you’re an elite athlete.”
Whether you are convinced to eat a plant-based diet or not, the film was entertaining and full of thought-provoking research.
You will not be disappointed in the production or stars either. After you are finished you may be inspired to eat clean a few days a week, which isn’t tough to do in this day and age.
Better Change Project can help you get started, and chances are you will want to eat like a gladiator after all.
Please let us know in the comments section if you have seen the documentary, and what you thought. Or, if you are an athlete that has managed a superior physique on a pant-based diet.