Contrary to popular belief, not all body builders are steak-lover’s that dine on red meat or chow down on chicken.
In fact, some body builders go in the complete opposite direction and choose to consume a healthy vegan diet, avoiding meat consumption all together. Although it may be a bit tricky to get all of the nutrients that you need for ultimate muscle building capabilities, it is possible to be a serious lifter on a vegan diet. If you are a vegan lifter wondering where to start with your body building routine, here is a vegan’s guide to body building.
#1: Calculate Your Calories
As a vegan body builder, it is important to keep an eye on your calorie intake as you bulk. Eating a lot of foods that are low in calories have the potential to create a deficit during your lifting routine, and you might put yourself in a position where you lose weight instead of bulk. Keep your calories in check while you lift, and use helpful online calorie calculators to determine how many calories that you need to help build muscle.
#2: Consume Protein Dense Foods That Pack Significant Calories
Vegans are less limited than you would think when it comes to high calorie food choices. The key is avoiding overly processed foods with empty calories, as these foods provide temporary energy boosts that spike your blood sugar. The best foods for vegans who are on a lifting program consist of:
- Beans and legumes
- Nuts such as almonds and walnuts
- Seeds and seed oils
- Whole grains
#3: Boost Testosterone Levels with Healthy Fats
Let’s face it, testosterone is necessary for bodybuilding. It is one of the key driving and determination factors for the gym. Beyond calorie dense foods, you also want to focus on foods with higher fat content. Fat assists in hormone production, including testosterone, which is essential for building muscle. The easiest sources of healthy fats for vegans include nuts and nut butter, seeds, and avocado. These foods will give you an all-natural testosterone boost that will help you build solid muscle mass.
Healthy fats also include fatty acids, which are important for gains. Fatty acids can be found in sources such as flaxseed oil, regular flaxseeds, and walnuts. As a vegan, you will steer clear of any fish-based fatty oils.
Carbohydrates Generate Energy For Heavy Lifting
It is common knowledge that carbohydrates give the body energy, and this is no exception for vegan lifters. Thankfully, there are plenty of food options that are high in carbohydrates for vegan body builders. For example, a great source of carbs includes brown rice and oatmeal; steel cut oats in particular are a natural and healthy high carb food. Fruit also contains significant amounts of carbohydrates, particularly bananas and oranges. Although these fruits may be a little high in sugar, this type of sugar is natural and should not cause your blood sugar to spike after consumption.
Meeting Your Protein Requirement on a Vegan Diet
Surprising to most, studies have shown that many vegans and vegetarians get more protein on a daily basis than what is required. This is great news for vegan body builders, since this means you might not need to worry as much about your protein intake than you think. Overall, vegans typically get plenty of protein from the following testosterone boosting foods:
- Soy and soybeans. Soy is a fantastic source of protein, as it is considered a complete protein containing every available amino acid.
- Tofu contains 10 grams of protein per half-cup. This also stands true for tempeh, which is another soy-based source of protein.
- Nuts and nut butters contain a notable amount of protein. Peanut butter in particular can have around 8 grams of protein in two tablespoons. Peanut butter is also perfect for helping you meet your calorie intake goals every day.
- Beans and legumes also contain a good bit of protein. One cup of kidney beans has nearly 14 grams of protein. Chickpeas, black beans, and hummus are all other great sources for increasing your protein intake.
Vegan Body Builders – Lift Till Your Heart’s Content
There is no need to consume excess amounts of meat or processed protein shakes to build muscle. It takes a bit of discipline and dedication, but becoming a body builder as a vegan is a very realistic goal. With some planning and hard work, you will be well on your way to the body of your dreams as a vegan body builder.