Thinking about becoming a Vegan Bodybuilder?
At the heart of vegan bodybuilding are tenets that you’d follow even if you ate meat and lifted weights to gain muscle. There’s nothing mystical that goes into vegan bodybuilding, only old-fashioned and time-tested methods to build lean muscle based off smart training and a good diet.
Vegan bodybuilding vs normal bodybuilding
The main difference you’ll have face as a vegan bodybuilder will be the sources of your protein and nutrition. A well-balanced diet that provides healthy fats as well as muscle-building protein is achievable and just as efficient as a diet that is based around meat. Often the hardest part of getting a proper number of macronutrients from a vegan diet is overcoming false information about vegan food.
However, people who choose to pursue a bodybuilding lifestyle as well as a vegan diet need to make sure they make informed food and meal purchases. There are many alternatives to meat that can supplement your bodybuilding regiment with protein, but they can often be expensive or hard to consume in a reasonable quantity throughout the day. This article quickly summarizes the key points to keep in mind if you are balancing a vegan diet with a structured bodybuilding regiment.
Nutrition Over Everything Else
This point holds true for both meat-based and plant-based diets that are used to supplement a bodybuilding regiment. Nutrition is easily the most important part of your vegan bodybuilding lifestyle and will need to compensate for every single workout that you do in the gym or at home. Failing to adhere to a solid diet that provides adequate amounts of fat, protein, and carbohydrates will keep you “spinning your wheels” and seeing absolutely zero progress in the mirror.
This can sound pretty harsh and may turn some people off to eating only vegan while bodybuilding and trying to work up some muscle. Protein, as many meat-eaters will attest to over and over again, is most easily consumed by eating animal tissue. It’s the reason the “real” bodybuilders stick to being carnivores, they say.
But we know that there are actually plenty of vegan-only sources of protein that will keep you feeling fueled in the gym and give you the protein necessary to repair and build muscle. Some great, affordable vegan-only options for protein, fat, and carbs include:
- Legumes like black beans or pinto beans 8
- Cruciferous vegetables like brussel sprouts or broccoli
- Nuts such as cashews, almonds, or even peanuts
- Tofu and other meat substitutes and alternatives
- Vegan protein powder
Starting out as a Vegan Bodybuilder
New vegan bodybuilders will quickly find that keeping a diet that is well-rounded with the essential macronutrients (fats, carbs, and protein – the other stuff is micronutrients like vitamins and minerals) is both affordable and satisfying.
There is nothing wrong with substituting your dietary needs with vegan-only protein sources, as long as you know how many calories you need to consume in order to be in a healthy amount of caloric excess to build muscle. Muscle needs calories and protein to grow, so if you’re not getting enough, you won’t get any more muscular.
Remember, you need to be eating enough calories to build muscle. That’s why you should take the time to research what foods in your diet supply give you what number of macronutrients. You should aim to have a balanced ratio of macronutrients in your diet while trying to build muscle. This will keep you feeling energized after sleeping, more productive in the gym, and hormonally balanced and in good shape to build muscle.
Match Your Diet to Your Lifting Regiment
Bodybuilders need to be lifting enough to break down their muscles, so that they’ll grow back even stronger than before. However, depending on whether you’re lifting to gain more muscle mass or to maintain the mass you have while reducing body fat, you’ll need to tailor your vegan-only diet to your fitness goals. Otherwise, you’ll be in danger of “spinning your wheels” yet again.
The most crucial part of your bodybuilding goals you need to settle on is whether you’re gaining muscle or cutting out unwanted body fat. You can tailor these goals to your diet – for instance, if you’re trying to bulk up you can modify your diet to include sources of food that are almost purely protein.
If you’re cutting out fat but don’t want to lose your muscle, you can try to supplement your diet with more fat and even some carbs. This may give you the bursts of energy in the gym you need to perform as well as you were before you started cutting body fat.
Always keep in mind that there’s no one-size fits all. Whatever your caloric sweet spots or fitness goals look like, they’re probably much different than those of someone else. Especially since you’re eating a vegan-only diet, you’ll need to spend enough time to make sure that every calorie you’re eating counts – try to map out what macronutrients map to what number of calories in a certain food you’re eating.
Remember That This Isn’t a Chore
It’s impossible to stay completely satisfied and without cravings one-hundred percent of the time. You will undoubtedly have off days when it comes to your vegan bodybuilding lifestyle that may make you resent your diet and workout routine. But if you find yourself feeling this way, remember that a vegan bodybuilding lifestyle is a choice and ultimately the most rewarding bodybuilding experience you can have.
As with any other bodybuilding regiment, the biggest enemy is not a vegan-only diet or a lack of animal tissue-provided protein. It’s the attrition that you feel once you are knee-deep in a bodybuilding regiment and diet and realize how difficult it is.
Don’t be afraid to consult other sources online from reputable vegan bodybuilders who offer sound advice as to how to structure your diet and lifting regiment. There’s no mysterious secret behind vegan bodybuilder and their success, at least no more mysterious than the strategies other “conventional” bodybuilders use.
Vegan bodybuilding for the long run
A vegan bodybuilding lifestyle will inevitably become easier as your body adapts to a shift in the macronutrients you give it. Don’t be afraid to keep researching other ways to fit in your required amount of calories and macronutrients into your day’s allotment of food. Vegan bodybuilding is rewarding for many reasons, and will give you the freedom to tweak your diet to your desire and preference without sacrificing your bodybuilding goals.