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Thinking about going into bodybuilding?
Don’t want to give up your plant-based lifestyle?
Well, you don’t have to.
You just have to know how to get the right amount of protein to make your gains.
Here’s what you need to know!
A vegan bodybuilding diet requires a similar nutrient intake to a bodybuilder who is not following a vegan diet regime.
As you might expect, muscle growth does not take place in a vacuum and you need enough protein to bulk up.
This means you should consume around 1g of protein for every pound of body weight (that’s about 2 grams per kilo) every day.
In addition. you need to ensure that your calorie intake has surplus calories on a vegan bodybuilding diet of around 10-20% of your daily requirements or you will simply burn the extra protein as fuel.
The challenge is that the average vegan diet contains much less protein than a traditional omnivore’s diet.
Because a vegan bodybuilding diet is something of a challenge when you want to ensure you get all the essential amino acids and protein to achieve gains, health professionals recommend that you plan your meals on a vegan diet for the week ahead.
It’s entirely possible for vegan diets to have the kind of nutrient profile that a vegan bodybuilder needs but it does mean working out a plant-based diet that has that profile (and often it also means supplementing with vegan protein powders too to reach optimum muscle mass).
You can keep the protein powder to a minimum if you optimize a vegan diet for protein sources.
So, think tofu, seitan, quinoa, legumes, etc. which are all vegan protein sources that bring in as much protein as high protein foods in other diets.
However, you also need to remember that you need a mix of proteins and you must focus on getting all your essential amino acids or you will need to supplement your diet.
You’re also going to want to consume a lot of healthy fats. That’s because fat is the best source of calories for bulking up with.
If you’re in the off-season you should be consuming roughly 0.5 grams of fat per pound of body weight. So a 200 lbs. bodybuilder should consume 100g of fat.
We would strongly recommend that you keep a track of the macronutrients in your diet when you begin a vegan bodybuilding diet because it’s all too easy to miss out on something.
That doesn’t mean counting each grain of brown rice or the number of chia seeds you’ve gotten through but rather ensuring that you’re eating enough weight, calories, etc. of each nutrient.
Vegan food also tends to be high in fiber, which, in most cases, is considered somewhat beneficial.
Unfortunately, there’s a problem with this. When you build muscle, you’re consuming more nutrients than you normally would and a lot of extra fiber combined with essential fatty acids and you can find that you start to bloat and umm… well, become flatulent too.
The precise biological interaction to prevent complications of a high fiber diet isn’t fully understood but if you want to gain muscle without stinking out the elevator and get the maximum health benefits, you should drink a lot of water. Experts suggest you should drink, at least, 1 ml of water for every calorie you consume.
So, if you’re swallowing 3,500 calories a day on a bulking diet – you need, at least, 3.5 liters of water every day.
And you may find that you need even more as you work out, sweat removes water that must be replaced.
The good news, of course, is that this approach will also see you lose fat as you gain muscle.
We cannot stress enough that there’s no such thing as a “nutritional expert” in this world.
Nutritional studies are complex and super challenging to carry out.
That means this field of study changes all the time – it’s up to you to keep an eye on the latest nutritional developments and react to them.
What you learned yesterday may have been the best advice possible but today? It may not be as good. Stay on top of things to stay as healthy as possible.
Vegan bodybuilders not only exist but they thrive in a highly competitive sporting environment.
The trick is to get your diet right and let it do the heavy lifting when it comes to building your muscles.