Sport protein powders are a popular food supplement for endurance athletes. Especially plant-based protein powders that are often more nutrient-dense and easier to digest.
Vegan sport protein powders are a quick and easy way to get key nutrients and quality protein without having to worry about the common conundrum “am I getting enough protein.”
By now, most athletes are aware their proper protein intake, especially after a training session or race, is crucial for recovery. But not all athletes are attuned to which protein powders are best to fuel their fitness endeavors. That’s where sport protein powders come into play.
Best Sport Protein Powders for Endurance Athletes
Not all sport protein powders are created equally. Although whey is one of the most popular in the world of sports nutrition, it’s not always the best option, especially among those who prefer a cleaner, plant-based source. So below, we’ve outlined a few of our favorite options for sports-minded plant-based protein powders worth trying.
Vega Sport Protein
As a product that’s seen several iterations over the last decade or more, Vega Sport Protein has stood the test of time as a premium, plant-based protein powder that’s designed with athletic performance and recovery in mind.
Unlike many sport protein powders that are plant-based and rely on popular ingredients like brown rice, Vega Sport Protein combines the power of pumpkin seed and sunflower protein. This makes it a paleo-friendly option that’s entirely grain-free.
It’s rich in BCAAs and contains other recovery-centric ingredients like l-glutamine, turmeric, tart cherry concentrate, and probiotics. Each of the three flavors (Vanilla, Chocolate, and Peanut Butter) have raving reviews for tasting quite good compared to other vegan protein powders on the market. So it’s without debate that we wanted to include Vega Sport Protein as one of our recommendations.
MRM Veggie Elite
Veggie Elite is MRM’s performance protein powder product that’s also rich in BCAAs (6 grams total per serving). The ingredients are simple, containing organic pea and brown rice as the primary protein source for the product. But it doesn’t compromise simplicity for effectiveness.
MRM Veggie Elite contains a propriety Digest-ALL® enzyme blend that’s designed to support optimal digestion and assimilation of plant proteins. It’s also one of the few sport protein powders on the market that contains zero grams of sugar, making it a ketogenic-friendly option for those striving to become fat-adapted athletes.
Vanilla Bean and Chocolate Mocha are the two primary flavors of MRM Veggie Elite. We’ve tried the latter, Chocolate Mocha, and enjoyed it thoroughly for its smooth, delicious taste. As vanilla lovers, we look forward to trying the Vanilla Bean flavor and will update this post as soon as we do.
Garden of Life Sport Organic Plant-Based Protein
Another all-start sport protein powder is Garden of Life’s Sport Organic Plant-Based Protein. This option contains an abundance of ingredients that are essential for athletic recovery, including a rich concentration of BCAAs, l-glutamine, and probiotics, which make up Garden of Life’s “Organic Muscle Recovery Blend.”
This sport protein powder is rooted in quality ingredients. It’s packed with an antioxidant blend that contains organic turmeric, tart cherries, goji berries, apples, and blueberries. It’s also fully organic and clean certified, designating it as the purist of these three options.
We’ve done a taste review on both the Chocolate and Vanilla flavors and both are winning choices depending on your preferences. They are not overly sweet but just sweet enough to add flavor to a smoothie, bowl of oatmeal, or as a standalone concoction mixed with water or plant milk.
Last Word on Sport Protein Powders
Unlike traditional protein supplements that can range from single-source protein powders with just one ingredient (e.g. rice, pea, hemp, or whey) or all-inclusive meal replacement supplement (which often contain fat, carbohydrates, and other ingredients beyond just protein), sport protein powders usually emphasize a particular balance of amino acids.
Amino acids are the essential building blocks that define the quality of a protein supplement. Some foods contain richer concentrations of amino acids than others or specific types of amino acids. For instance, whey protein powder, which is sourced from dairy, naturally contains all essential amino acids and is considered a complete protein. Whey also naturally contains a sufficient amount of branched-chain amino acids, or BCAAs, which are known to support muscle repair.
Conversely, some plant-based protein sources, like brown rice protein or pea protein, have limited sources of amino acids and are oftentimes not complete on their own. That’s why it’s common to see vegan or plant-based protein powders that contain a wider variety of ingredients and protein sourced from a combination of plants, like rice, pea, hemp, and quinoa all in one. Together, these combined plant proteins can offer the same, if not better, concentrations of amino acids, thereby offering healthy and high-performance options for athletes.