“The gladiator diet – how do vegetarian athletes stock up?” The remains of Roman gladiators were recently discovered in a mass grave. The key to their identity was rather the different kind fatal injuries they found, such as piercing the head with a trident. Using their skeletons, they were able to recreate the deadly blows, to show how good they were and even try to recreate their diet consisting of barley and beans. You can look at the carbon isotopes and see what plants they ate; nitrogen isotopes reflect the intake of animal proteins. You can also look at the sulfur in their bones and the amount of strontium, leading indicators that prove that the best athletes of ancient Rome ate mainly with plant foods.
Then we have the legionnaires, the Roman soldiers in the army, known for their abilities, which also feed in a similar way, which suggests that “the best warriors in the ancient world they were mostly vegetarians. ” So if the so-called perfect war machines, the great sports heroes of that time ate mostly grain and beans, should that tell us anything about sports nutrition and the preferred diet of elite athletes? Well, most Greeks and Romans were mostly vegetarians, who center their diet around whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes, so perhaps the gladiators’ food was not so remarkable. Plato, for example, encouraged the intake of plants, preferring plant foods for their health and effectiveness. So, yes, the Roman gladiators were known as the “barley people,” but this is because barley gives strength and endurance or it was simply the staple food that people ate at the time; not necessarily for durability, but because it was cheap? Well, if you look at the modern Spartans, the Taramumara Indians, those who compete and kick a ball for 120 kilometers just for fun all day and all night, maybe 240 kilometers if they feel good.
What do you get if you win? Special popularity among the ladies (although what will be this award for a man who has run two days without interruption is debatable; although perhaps their endurance extends to other dimensions). “Probably after the days of the ancient Spartans there has never been a nation that has attained such a state of exceptional physical condition. ” And what did these people eat? This same diet consisting of 75% to 80% starchy foods based on beans, corn and pumpkin. And their cholesterol levels proved it, total cholesterol reached heart attack-preventing levels of 136. And it’s not about any special genes they have – if we give them enough egg yolks, cholesterol will rise immediately. Modern Olympic runners eat the same things. What do they eat in Kenya? 99% vegetarian food based mainly on various starchy foods.
But in all these cases gave their remarkable physical strength is it due to their diet or does it exist despite it? Or does it have nothing to do with nutrition? There is no way to know until we do some research. Despite the well-documented health benefits of more plant-based diets, less is known about the effects of these diets on athletes’ performance. So, they compared elite hardy vegetarians and carnivores in fitness aerobics and strength. So, the use of oxygen when running on the trail is compared and leg strength with leg weights. And the vegetarians defeated their carnivorous rivals in cardio-respiratory fitness, but there was no difference in their strength. Which suggests at least the vegetarian diet does not compromise the performance of athletes. But this was a study at a certain point in time. Maybe the athletes who eat vegetables were in better shape because they train harder? As in the study on the health of national runners, which looks at thousands of runners: vegetarian runners have been spotted, that they run significantly more on a weekly basis; so, maybe that explains their superiority at the fitness level.
Although perhaps their superiority explains the greater distances. Other studies at some point in time found no differences at the physical level between vegetarian athletes and non-vegetarians, or even worse performance among these vegetarian athletes in India. Of course, there may be socio-economic or other confusing factors. That’s why we need interventional studies to test different diets and then compare the physical results, which we will look at in the next video..
Read More: The 24 Hour Fitness Path