Protein target and macro balance for vegan cyclist

Hi all,
I'm getting the hang of this now and weight is coming off easily along with muscle gain due to careful attention to my calorie deficit and upping the protein in my daily meals.
Ad a vegan I'm building each meal to balance my macro and micro nutrients as well as possible and I've added a quality protein powder to my regime.
Now I find on days when I have heavy workout vs rest days I wonder if I should be following a % balance or fixed protein target.
I currently weigh 85kg (target is 80 by March, but 82 is a typical fighting weight for me historically.)
I'm thinking I might need something like 145g protein rather than my current 35/45/20 split.
Does the idea that a training athlete need 1.x body weight in protein per day apply to training days or all days while on a demanding program?
I'm which case I'd be better off choosing a target and then managing my carbs and fats by percentage based on daily workload.
Make sense?

Best Answers

  • Hello!

    I would recommend following a fixed protein target (I suggest vegan athletes aim for a minimum of 1.5 g per kg of body weight ) since we need protein to repair muscles on our rest days. If you are participating in endurance sports, CHO intake needs to be fairly high (especially pre and post training). Where I would cut back the most is on fats since these add the most calories and are an inefficient source of energy during activity.

    Hope this helps!

    Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:

  • Great answer. Thank you.


  • I am an endurance runner and eat a plant based diet. For me on training days I add a vegan protein shake made with pea milk and add a piece of fruit within an hour of training. This is in addition to what I have planned to eat. On rest days I take this out.

  • edited November 2018

    Hi @Susan_RD_101 , I've set my protein targets to 150-190g as I'm currently 85kg chasing 80 (down from 88 about 2 months ago)

    This is going to be challenging but I think I've got my head around it and can make the necessary adjustments. I have typically been getting about 80-90g protein since starting with cronometer.

    I've invested in a quality protein powder (Tom Oliver Vegan) for home and work and have been using a scoop in my breakfast porridge (steel cut oats, Walnuts, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, raisins and soy milk cooked in the rice cooker overnight)
    And my lunches at the food court are mostly just the leafy green veg options - cauliflower/broc/bok choy/kai lan etc usually with tofu) and I drop the rice/bread/potato parts.

    Thanks for the heads up and if you have any other insight id love to hear it.

    I seem to be shedding weight quite easily and still getting fitter/stronger on the bike but I know that at some point I'll start to add muscle at the expense of overall weight loss or start to lose power on the bike as I lose muscle to continue to drop grams.
    This is all for a climbing road race in March (245km and 4500km elevation) and I have made a very detailed plan of training stress, gradual weight loss goals and calorie counting going into it.

    If I can be at my strongest ever and 80kg in March I'll be ready.

  • @WilleCoyote

    Sounds like you have a good plan! My priority would be on training outcomes, rather than weight loss and macros. It can be difficult to be both lean and strong as muscle can be sacrificed with weight loss. Any time there is a loss of power/endurance, I tell athletes to pause their weight loss program and focus on rebuilding strength (usually from bumping kcal back up).

    Best of luck!

    Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:

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