Bodybuilders know that a regimented, consistent training plan and focused diet are important to obtaining a competitive edge. While many bodybuilders ingest significant amounts of protein daily in the form of animal based products, you can swear off all animal products and still build a toned physique. A vegan bodybuilding diet plan is structured in the same way as a meat-based bodybuilding plan, but the types of foods eaten differ.
A vegan bodybuilding diet plan still contains all the necessary vitamins, minerals, amino acids, healthy fats and carbohydrates to promote health and muscle growth. Foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds and soy form the basis of any vegan diet. Oatmeal for breakfast, brown rice at lunch, broccoli and yams all provide energy while protein powders and bars -- vegan instead of whey-based--are often the primary snacks during training times.
The International Society of Sports Nutrition recommends 1.4 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight for strength training athletes. To build muscle, it is best to consume complete proteins -- or foods that contain all eight amino acids that the human body cannot produce on its own. Soy, in the form of tofu, soy beans and protein powder, offers a complete vegetarian protein. Finding other vegan sources of protein may seem challenging, but experienced vegan bodybuilders combine supplements such as brown rice, hemp and pea protein powders to form complete proteins. Beans combined with grains, lentils with rice and almond butter on bread also form complete proteins.
Eating a vegan diet may not be convenient -- especially when going out to dinner or eating at other people’s houses. You may be able to find a vegan meal, but often they are not rich in vegetarian proteins and contain just pasta or vegetables. Carrying portable snacks with you, such as soy protein powder, almonds and pumpkin seeds, ensures you will not miss a meal.
Sample Diet Plan
A vegan bodybuilding diet usually involves five or six small meals. This gives the body a constant supply of nutrition for muscle growth, helps keep blood sugar levels stable and helps you fit in an appropriate number of calories for the day. For breakfast, have a protein shake made with soy or rice-based protein powder, berries, almond milk and a tablespoon of almond butter. At lunch, enjoy tofu or seitan -- a wheat-based complete protein -- sautéed with olive oil and mixed greens. For dinner enjoy a green salad with avocado, steamed lentils with mixed vegetables and tofu, quinoa and a piece of fruit. Snacks such as vegan protein bars, smoothies, peanut butter sandwiches and dried fruit and nuts are convenient and offer plenty of calories for energy and muscle growth.
The occasional meat replacement in the form of soy burgers, veggie dogs or chicken or tofu turkey adds variety to a bodybuilders’ diet. Limit your exposure to these foods, however, and opt for whole food sources most often, recommends Robert Cheeke, Elite Vegan Bodybuilder on the Vegan Body Building and Fitness website. Any processed food contains additives, fillers, sodium and sugars that do not always support bodybuilding goals.
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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.