When it comes to vegan bodybuilding there are a lot of things to consider. Being able to track down all the facts with regards to this plant-based method of training can be quite the cumbersome task. This article will overview each detail all in one place to aid you on your journey.
There’s a preconceived notion, however, that you just can’t achieve the same results without consuming protein from animal sources. Well, that’s wrong. You definitely can! The only catch is, you have to have the knowledge on how to do so. Well read on!
There are a myriad of studies that show how meat-eating bodybuilders build more muscle than their vegan counterparts. Mostly that just has to do with the stereotypes around it! You often find the knowledge that you seek, so of course the notion will be strengthened by studies that sought to prove it out anyway.
On to the point though. One of the main reasons that vegan bodybuilding is so controversial is that there are so many examples of individuals who have done it wrong. Without understanding the negatives of vegan bodybuilding it is almost impossible to combat them and turn them into advantages for your personal goals. When you do understand these basics, then there will be absolutely no problem when it comes to building lean body mass, aka muscle, and your results will be far from disappointing.
Now, for the very first point we’ll touch on throughout this article:
Are you ready for the cold hard truth about protein consumption? Well, when we look at gaining muscle, years of scientific experiments and quantifiable evidence prove to us that various elements in our diet and of our training definitely take precedence over others. For example, pay close attention to this list of muscle maximization strategies:
- Eat sufficient amounts of carbohydrates
- Limit cardio to the basic
- Cause muscle confusion to overload them
- Do NOT eat too few calories
- Perform complex exercises involving multiple muscle groups
- EAT PROTEIN (Lots of it)
As you can see by the blatantly obvious capitalization of that last point, this is extremely vital. There have been more than a handful of carefully planned out studies and experiments that prove no matter what that a diet rich with protein is much greater when it comes to building muscle and shedding that unwanted fat than one that contains a lower percentage of protein. How much exactly? Well I usually recommend, as do many of the studies, that the average is around 1 gram per pound of body weight each day.
This would be problem number one when it comes to being a vegan bodybuilder. The majority of people do not understand that they need to maintain a certain level of protein intake. With regards to macro nutrients the primary differential factor between a vegan and non-vegan is the protein. The majority of people that eat generally healthy are already achieving the majority of their carbohydrates and healthy fats from plant sources such as nuts, seeds, oils, fruits, vegetables, and more.
When making the transition to a vegan bodybuilder this does not alter the circumstance. The difference is the amount of protein you consume simply due to the fact that now the protein must come solely from plant-based items rather than the animal based eggs, meat, etc. The other issue? Many people who eat vegan and wish to replace their original protein food sources don’t really substitute them adequately.
There are a few myths around making the switch to vegan bodybuilding. It is often thought that the amount of protein needed isn’t as much for building muscle. This is inherently false, as muscle is literally constructed of protein as a building block. There is also no idea such as a deficiency of protein, and finally vegetables really are a great source of protein, but do not provide the full amount necessary to build muscle and shred the fat.
Vegetables and Other Protein Sources
Here are some common vegetables with their quantity of protein:
- Green Peas = 8g/lb
- Spinach = 5g/cup
- Broccoli = 13g/lb
You would have to eat a lot of vegetables! Yes, a lot is good, but definitely not that many is necessary, or even enjoyable for that matter.
Having discussed vegetables as a protein source, we must then turn to what exactly protein is in order to understand more fully the purpose of diversifying our sources. Protein is essentially a chain of amino acids, or building blocks as they are commonly referred to, of which the body requires 21 to sustain life, and only 12 of them are produced in the body! That means our bodies leave us with nine that we must scavenge from our sources of food through daily intake. The three primary ones are known as Essential Amino Acids, or commonly as Branch Chain Amino Acids.
Well, we know that the sources vary in the amount of each of these amino acids the protein contains, and some such as Quinoa are considered a complete protein because it contains all of them. So where do we start to plan our Meal Prep Monday as a vegan bodybuilder? First, start by figuring out how many calories you need to consume. You can even use this Calorie Calculator to help you out. Then determine your macro nutrients. Typically a starting point that will get you headed in the right direction is 40/30/30 percent by calories for carbohydrates, proteins, and fats respectively. Finally, time the meals throughout the day and their specific size depending on which parts of the day you are most active.
What about the specific foods you’re going to use in your Meal Prep Monday plan? Well here is a list of some of my favorite:
- Nuts, Almonds, Peanuts, Pistachios
- Potatoes, Beans, Peas, and Legumes
- Rice, Oats, Wheat, and other grains
- Quinoa (My favorite!)
Vegan Bodybuilding in a Nutshell
(no pun intended)
Well, as you can see with proper knowledge it may not be as difficult as you thought to be a vegan bodybuilder. While it may seem stereo-typically difficult or impossible, now you know that it simply requires some preparation ahead of time in order to reach your goals and ultimately achieve success. I highly recommend tracking your calories using something like My Fitness Pal, and measure your activity with an activity tracker such as Fitbit. These have allowed me to take full advantage of knowing my body. Make sure to utilize this Calorie Calculator if you haven’t had a chance to see it yet.
Finally, if you’d like us to provide a free fitness consultation and get you started on your journey the right way, or even adjust where you currently are, just visit this page and sign up for your FREE fitness consultation. Keep up the great work, and we’re here to help you achieve Results That Last.