The average bodybuilder eats 3,800 calories a day. When thinking of bodybuilders, most people imagine a person with bulging muscles and thighs that could crack a neck, but would your impression of this body builder change if you knew their diet? More specifically a vegan diet? Building muscle with a plant based diet is easier than one would think with all the options that are available.
Going vegan or adopting a more plant based diet seems to be everywhere these days. From fast food restaurants like Burger King and, in the future, McDonald’s, has vegan options on their menus. In the last year, the sales of plant based food was at around 4.5 billion dollars. With plant based food being everywhere, it’s a no brainer that even body builders would adopt this lifestyle.
One of the most important goals that bodybuilders have is gaining muscle. Gaining muscle is the goal of gaining more muscle and losing body fat. Gaining muscle enables bodybuilders to be more effective in getting their ideal body, participating in competitions, and working towards their fitness goals. Bodybuilders like Zach Belknap, Nimai Delgado, and even former bodybuilder and governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger have all adopted a vegan diet.
Usually after a workout bodybuilders eat lots of protein. The protein is usually accompanied by healthy fat and low carbs. After working out, be sure that you eat at least 20 grams of protein. Some of the best things to eat include almond butter, green vegetables, lentils, oatmeal, and avocado. If you find yourself craving something more than that, Beyond Burgers and Impossible Burgers have 19 grams of protein which is the same as ground beef.
Another important thing to remember is to get your vitamins and minerals for the day. Micronutrients are extremely important since lack of them can get us sick or develop fatigue. Micronutrients are extra important for bodybuilders bodies because they help the muscle building process advance. Some of the best vitamins to make sure that you digest are iron, Vitamin C, and Calcium. Iron can be found in pumpkin seeds, apricots, and kale. Vitamin C is heavy in bell peppers, strawberries, and potatoes. When one usually thinks of calcium, the immediate thought is milk. But, since cow’s milk is obviously not vegan, you can find it in hummus, almonds, and sesame seeds. If you find yourself in a hurry and on the go before a workout, a smoothie with kale, orange juice, and strawberries will do the trick.
In order to gain muscle, a person who identifies as male should eat 3,500 calories. A person who identifies as female should eat 3,000 calories. The issue with being vegan as a bodybuilder is the density of vegan food. An example is that ¼ cup of almonds is only 163 calories. Since it’s clear that 163 calories isn’t enough as a bodybuilder and you don’t want to spend all your time eating. The best way to obtain your daily calories is to eat 6 small meals a day. A meal plan of 6 meals could include: coconut yogurt with granola and berries, baked tofu with kale and brown rice, bell peppers with hummus, a tempeh sandwich with whole wheat bread, chia seed pudding, and avocado toast. Many meal plans are readily available on Pinterest, Men’s Health magazine, and YouTube.
The amount of tips that bodybuilders have for bulking up while being vegan are all over the internet. One of the many tips I found are increasing anti-inflammatories.Anti-inflammatories are important for muscle gain and are found in turmeric, black pepper, and flax seeds all which can be put in an easy meal of tofu. A lot of the tips mentioned to not compare yourself to others and their journeys. Social media is a big part of all of our lives and it’s important to remember why we started.
The reality of the situation is that a vegan diet isn’t just good for our bodies, but also helps build and maintain muscle mass. A vegan diet has also been known to decrease heart problems, weight loss, and improve kidney function. While your body feels better, so will the planet. Plant based meat decreases your carbon footprint by the fact that it reduces land use and water consumption.
Vegan documentaries, podcasts, apps, and news articles have exploded in the last few years. While looking for something to watch on Netflix that explores the vegan lifestyle like The Game Changers, What the Health, and Cowspiracy. Podcasts like Brown Vegan, No Meat Athlete Radio, and The Bearded Vegans are all great resources to listen to on the move or just cleaning your kitchen. When travelling is allowed again, the Happy Cow app is great to find restaurants anywhere in the world that serve vegan options. Being a vegan bodybuilder is a wonderful thing to adopt and will continue to rise.
This article was written by Jordan O’Halloran for Kiiona Magazine.