If you are interested in following a vegan diet but are worried about how it may impact your bodybuilding workouts then fear no more. It is possible to maintain your bodybuilding workout regime and have a bulky, toned body when eating a plant-based diet. Although traditional bodybuilder’s diets are mainly full of animal-based products, such as red meat and eggs, this does not mean that you have to follow suit.
There are many people who have found success in both their bodybuilding regime and their vegan diet. There are various different reasons why you may want to go vegan and you shouldn’t let your gym plans hold you back.
This is a guide to maintaining a vegan diet and achieving your body goals because the two are not mutually exclusive like you may have previously thought.
What Is A Vegan Diet?
Being vegan is such a popular thing in 2021 and for many people it refers to more than just the food they eat. However, a huge part of being vegan is your diet. Vegan diets do not contain any animal product at all. You may hear people refer to themselves as being plant-based also, as this is a great way to describe the diet they have.
This is a diet plan that ensures that you are getting a lot of natural food and nutrients into your body on a daily basis. All of the foot you should eat when being vegan will have come from plants in some way. There is a lot of ‘replacement’ food being made that allow people to have the meals they love while still abiding by their beliefs as a vegan.
Why Become Vegan?
There are multiple different reasons why someone may choose to become vegan. Veganism has become more than just a dietary plan and is now a way of life for a lot of people.
This is considered to be an ethical attitude, as you are living without impacting animals or the planet as much as possible.
• Health Benefits
As vegan diets are made from natural plants, they are a very healthy option for most people. Going vegan is a great way to get more natural vitamins and nutrients into your diet as you are not eating anything artificial. Those who are vegan have reported a significant weight loss and claim to feel much healthier since switching to plant-based foods.
It has been reported that being vegan can help treat a range of illnesses as well as improving the strength of your immune system. It is important to note that being vegan may not be suitable for everyone, so consult a medical or dietary professional if you are concerned.
• Ethical Reasons
A lot of people become vegan due to the ethical side. In a similar manner to those who are vegetarian, vegans do not believe that animals should be used to sustain humans. However, vegans do not have animal products, including milk and eggs, because they do not agree with the farming industry and the cruelty it can cause.
How Can I Be A Vegan Bodybuilder?
As a vegan, you cannot eat meat or other animal products. For those who are into bodybuilding, this may seem like an impossible challenge but it is actually a misconception that meat is required to build mass. It is possible to maintain your bodybuilding regime when being vegan, you just need to make some adjustments to the food you eat on a daily basis.
There are vegan supplements that you can use to aid your workouts and improve the tone of your body, just like you have options as a meat-eater. A lot of people mistake veganism as a restrictive diet but once you get the hang of it you will notice that you still have a lot of choices and can make such a huge difference to your body.
• Use Vegan Supplements
If you want to build muscle, you need to have a lot of protein in your diet. As a vegan, you need to get your protein from plant-based ingredients and it can be quite hard to get enough from your food alone. Meat is the most common food source of protein, but there are some options as a vegan including:
– Chia seeds
There is also a great range of meat substitutes available in most supermarkets that will be packed with protein. As veganism becomes more popular, you can expect to see more substitute food appearing which will make the whole transition process even easier.
You can try to incorporate some of these protein-rich plant-based foods into your diet as often as possible, but it is unlikely that they will provide you with enough to maintain a bodybuilding workout regime.
This is why vegan protein supplements are so beneficial. You may already be aware of protein supplements and likely use whey during your workouts to provide energy and aid muscle recovery. However, as whey uses cow’s milk it is no longer an option for you as a vegan.
Luckily there are a lot of vegan protein supplements available that use plant-based ingredients, such as soy or nuts. These can also be used to make shakes that you can take on the go, so the process is really easy.
Vegan protein shakes are perhaps the easiest way to ensure that you are getting enough protein into your diet to make an impact on your bodybuilding regime. You can choose from a range of protein sources and flavors, depending on your taste.
• Increase Your Calories
When you are following a bodybuilding workout regime, you are going to be burning a lot of calories every time you go to the gym. This is why it is important for you to consume more calories than recommended, to provide you with energy and muscle mass.
Becoming vegan and following a plant-based diet will mean that you are going to be consuming significantly fewer calories on a daily basis. This is not ideal for someone who is trying to body build as your body will build burn mass when it has run out of energy, which is normally derived from food.
In order to maintain both a vegan diet and your workout regime, you need to make an effort to consume more calories on a daily basis.
There are a lot of options for you to eat in order to increase the calories you consume on a daily basis.
As a vegan, you can consume plants that are rich in healthy fats such as nuts, avocado, raisins, and wholewheat bread. There are creative ways that you can insert these healthy fats into your daily meals in order to increase your calories, such as using nut butter or coconut oil in foods to increase the calories or consuming calorie-rich smoothies with soy milk.
Taking protein supplements can also increase the calories you consume on a daily basis.
• Have Healthy Carbs
Carbohydrates are a great way to build muscle and increase mass. As a vegan, you need to make sure that you are consuming plant-based carbohydrates and eating a lot of whole wheat bread, pasta, rice is perhaps the easiest way to put more into your diet. Whole wheat carbohydrates are also full of fiber, which is great for the digestive system.
You can also consume:
– Black beans
– Sweet potato
You should try to include these healthy carbs into your diet as much as possible.
• Drink Healthy Beverages
Fruit smoothies are a great vegan option for those who are trying to maintain a bodybuilding workout regime, especially when you are taking vegan supplements at the same time.
When you are trying to tone your body and increase muscle mass you do not want to waste your calories on a heavy soda. Not only can these kinds of drinks may you feel sluggish as they are full of sugar, they simply aren’t good for your health.
As a vegan, you can still consume a wide variety of drinks. But it is recommended that you consume water, tea or a natural fruit juice whenever possible, avoiding as much artificial sugar as you can. This will contribute to weight loss and lack of water weight, as well as simply making you feel great.
• Increase Fatty Omega-3
Omega-3 is a fatty acid that can help you build muscle and lose weight. This acid is also great at preventing injuries when you are working out, as it contributes to stronger muscles. The most common way to increase your intake of omega-3 is to take fish oil, which is not possible for a vegan bodybuilder.
Instead, you should consider increasing the number of flax seeds or oil that you have in your diet. The seeds can be thrown into salads or your morning cereal for a little boost. Flax seeds and oils are loaded with omega-3 acids as well as containing lignans. This is a great option for vegan bodybuilders and it should be easy enough to maintain.
• Eat More Snacks
When you are first embarking on your vegan or plant-based diet, it is likely that all of your attention is being placed on the meals you eat. However, as vegan bodybuilder snacks are just important.
In order to maintain a bodybuilding regime, you need to be eating regularly to keep your energy and calories up. As a vegan bodybuilder, you should make sure that you are eating both before and after a workout, as well as keeping up with your supplements.
It is recommended that before a workout you take your vitamin supplements with a healthy snack that can provide both carbohydrates and protein. You have a range of options for this, but fruits such as bananas or apples work great and are easy to consume before a workout. After a workout, you should try to eat something that is light but nutritious and full of good protein, such as hummus and vegetables.
• Keep A Record
If you want to see serious results from both your vegan diet and your bodybuilding regime, then you need to keep track of everything you do and eat.
A great option for those who are trying to be vegan bodybuilders is to keep a food journal where you can record everything you eat and drink as you consume it. If traditional pen and paper don’t do it for you or your lifestyle, there are plenty of food tracking apps available that you can use.
No matter how you choose to record your food, you need to be consistent. You need to be able to reference to how many calories you have consumed and how many you have left, as well as being able to see if you are sticking to plant-based products.
Food journals can be very useful ways of tracking your eating habits. This will give you insight into how your body reacts to certain foods and which food group you seem to need the most. You should also make sure to track any supplements that you take throughout the day.
Your food journal or record will allow you to see the progress you have made, which in turn can provide you with some informed decisions on how you need to change your eating or workout regime for better results.
• Beware Of Deficiencies
When you become vegan, you will be eating a lot less food than you used to. You will also be eating a lot fewer food groups than your body is used to which can leave you victim to common deficiencies.
These deficiencies can seriously affect your health and, in turn, will impact the exercise you are able to do. When you keep a record of the food you eat, pay attention to the nutrients you may be missing out on.
Here are some of the most common food deficiencies which vegans suffer from:
– Omega-3 Fatty Acids
– Vitamin B12
– Vitamin D
These can all be reintroduced into your diet through certain plant-based foods or you can take supplements.
How To Structure Vegan Bodybuilding Meals
As someone who is new to vegan bodybuilding, you may need some inspiration on how to structure meals that will support your diet and workout regime. Here is a very basic yet effective starting point:
• 1/3 of complex carbohydrates
• 1/3 of high-protein legumes, such as beans
• 1/3 of vegetables
• 1 serving of nuts, which can include nut butter
• 1 serving of fruits or berries
This is a great baseline when it comes to creating vegan bodybuilding meals. You want to make sure that you are getting an equal balance of protein, fats, and carbohydrates from your food as much as possible.