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Can you be a vegetarian or vegan athlete and meet your protein needs? It is an outdated myth that it is difficult to meet protein requirements from plant sources. Choosing your individual approach to eating needs to fit your lifestyle, whether that’s for your individual health needs or other personal reasons. Additionally, your eating preferences do not need to be labeled. Everything in moderation, right? 

No one right way to eat.

The next diet fad may seem enticing but over all nutrition is individualized and there is no one right way to eat for everyone. Always take into account your personal food preferences, health needs, activity level, cooking skills, schedule, and allow the experience of eating to be enjoyable as well. If you have been considering eating a plant-based diet, just as your physical training needs a plan to best meet your goals, so does your eating plan. Meal planning can be a challenging task because eating is an ongoing and constant need. We cannot just go to the grocery store once, cook one meal, and eat one time. Whether omnivore, carnivore, or herbivore, nutrition is about meeting your individual needs. Planning is required for any individual’s dietary intake and going the vegan or vegetarian route does require some extra consideration for meeting protein needs.

What is protein and why is it needed?

Protein is one of the most abundant substances in our cells after water, and has almost endless functions in the body. They account for the tough fibrous nature of hair, nails, and ligaments, and for the structure of our muscles (including our heart). Protein functions to build and maintain body tissues and structures and is involved in the synthesis of enzymes and hormones.

Sitting up tall is a hard habit to learn. If you tend to round forward, a variety of postural issues can affect your musculoskeletal system, as seen with upper crossed syndrome. Whether you are sitting at a desk, driving your car, or texting on your phone, it’s always ideal to focus on lifting your chest toward the sky to help align the vertebra. This stacking of your spine will help the other pieces of your kinetic chain fall into place. Yoga’s many benefits include helping your body align while also bringing an awareness and mindfulness to your body as a whole integrative system. Try on these poses and notice how open and upright you feel after.

What is Upper Crossed Syndrome?

Upper crossed syndrome is characterized by rounded shoulders and a forward head posture. This pattern is common in individuals who sit a lot or who develop pattern overload from one-dimensional exercise. (1,2)

  • Shortened muscles: Pectoralis major and minor, latissimus dorsi, teres major, upper trapezius, levator scapulae, sternocleidomastoid, scalenes
  • Lengthened muscles: Lower and mid-trapezius, serratus anterior, rhomboids, teres minor, infraspinatus, posterior deltoid, and deep cervical flexors
  • Common injuries associated with upper crossed syndrome: Biceps tendonitis, headaches, rotator cuff impingement, shoulder instability, and thoracic outlet syndrome

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