How to Thrive on a Plant-Based Diet While Doing CrossFit

How to Thrive on a Plant-Based Diet While Doing CrossFit

By Jillian Warren

It has been a goal of mine to eat less meat and instead more plant-based meals for a while now. I have been wanting to take this stance for ethical reasons, but making this sort of lifestyle change takes strategy and affects your body on so many levels - especially if you work out daily. 

Protein is Essential

various legumes in bowls
Photo Courtesy of Disiana Caballero on Unsplash

Most CrossFitters, people who lift, and just avid exercisers in general will tell you that protein is a crucial part of a nutritional diet. And they aren’t wrong. Protein is just what the body needs for building and repairing muscles and can even help give your body the energy to perform your workouts. Eating Poultry, beef, pork, and fish are all healthy ways to get your protein intake, but these aren’t the only sources. Legumes, nuts, grains, and certain fruits and vegetables will all provide protein benefits to those who eat them. The question is, how much do you have to eat to nourish your body’s need for protein?

What Your Body Needs

The Recommended Dietary Allowance of Protein is 0.8 grams of protein per every 2 pounds of body weight. This means that on average, men need about 56 grams of protein while women should have about 46 grams. If you are curious what that may look like for you, try using this protein calculator to figure out what is the recommended amount of protein your body needs daily. 

So now that we have a base idea of how much protein we generally require, what does that look like for someone trying to get their daily dosage in the form of plants? Just a little strategy.

Get Nutty

If you are looking to get the right amount of protein packed into your daily diet with only vegetarian options, snacking on nuts is going to be highly useful for someone in your predicament. Just ¼ cup of almonds gives you 7 grams of protein which will help you along quite nicely as you try to meet that dietary standard. Also, if you are choosing to only eat plant-based - A.K.A no dairy - including a nut milk to your diet will help you add a notch to that protein meter.

Be Prepared

grilled cauliflower
Photo Courtesy of Karolina Kolodziejczak on Unsplash

When it comes to your breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it’s a good idea to have a few recipes in your back pocket. You won’t get very far if you only try to substitute meat for tofu or an avocado every night. There will probably need to be more thought involved which may include replacing the white rice for quinoa, roasting cauliflower, or even sprinkling in some sauteed mushrooms. If you are feeling a little lost on what to make, here are a few great high-protein vegan recipes to get you started.

Listen to Your Body

During CrossFit, your body goes through a lot of high intensity movements and workouts which teaches your muscles to adapt while improving your stamina. Changing your diet in such a drastic way can throw your body into a bit of shock. Be sure to pay attention to what your body is trying to tell you. You might need to take it slower for a week or so while your body adjusts.

woman working out and lifting a barbell while in a lunge
Photo Courtesy of RMK Visions

To combat fatigue, I like to make a protein shake throughout the day or even after a workout to give me the boost of energy I need. I love this Cosmic Chocolate protein powder from Unico. Just add the nut milk of your choice (I go with almond milk) a spoonful of peanut butter, and a frozen banana before blending. Yum!


With a bit of creativity in the kitchen and dedication, you’ll find that thriving on a plant-based diet is not at all impossible for those who work out often and is in fact a very healthy way to consume your daily protein.

If you are a vegan or vegetarian, how has that affected your CrossFit experience?

If you have any questions or you would like to be a guest blogger, please email us at blog@liftingthedreamblog

Bee Tee Dubs (BTW). 



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