The Basics of a Vegan Bodybuilding Diet
Many people believe that it’s not possible to build your muscles while on a vegan diet. But they’re wrong as the popularity of vegan bodybuilding diets is fast rising. Contrary to traditional beliefs, leaving meat out of your diet doesn’t mean you’ll not achieve your fitness goals as science now says plants-based diets are also efficient in achieving your body fitness goals.
Though the larger mainstream fitness community believes in consuming super proteins to make the body bulkier, there are countless vegan bodybuilders in the world with attractive and well-built bodies. But when venturing into vegan diets, you should know that building your muscles on these diets is no easy task, and it requires discipline, motivation, and commitment, especially in your diets. So, let’s start with what is a vegan bodybuilding diet
What is a vegan bodybuilding diet?
Bodybuilders aim to develop a muscular body through intensive training. And in this process, nutrition is an essential component in the building of body muscles. According to experts, bodybuilders should take between 0.7 and 1 grams per pound of proteins to achieve optimum muscle growth. Also, 10-20% of calories are essential, especially for experienced trainers.
Animal foods are popular in bodybuilding as they are high in calories and protein. However, vegan bodybuilding food does not include meat or other animal products. Also, unlike other traditional vegan diets, bodybuilding diets are high in proteins.
However, plant-based protein sources are lower in quality than animal-based sources presenting a challenge for bodybuilders. It, therefore, requires proper planning of the diet to ensure the bodybuilder gets enough calories, proteins, and other micronutrients that are absent or available in low quantities in plant-based sources. The vegan diet is also variable: it changes at different stages of the bodybuilder’s life.
Vegan Body Building Nutrition
If you’re interested in vegan bodybuilding, then there are rules to the diet. Most bodybuilders have two nutrition phases: a bulking and cutting season. During the bulking season, they take food rich in proteins and calories, and then they train intensively to build their muscle mass. And in the cutting phase, they aim to reduce body fat by reducing the fat and calorie intake.
During both phases, they require the optimum percentage of calories and three essential macronutrients: proteins, fats, and carbs. According to Dr. Balduzzi, your body needs the right amount of proteins, calories, healthy fats, and carbs to increase your strength and lose weight.
Building muscles and weight gain are different, and there are vegan diets for each of them. Also, different people have different calories and macronutrients requirements, therefore necessitating the need for the number of nutrients and calories each bodybuilder requires at the different phases of their training.
Guidelines to Follow in Vegan Bodybuilding Nutrition
Get Enough Calories
When you’re on a vegan diet, then it’s essential to get enough calories. Since most plant-based vegan diets contain low amounts of calories, you should monitor the food you take. If your body doesn’t get the required calorie levels, then it’ll end up breaking fats to release energy resulting in a reduction of muscle mass. Or, as the calorie deficits continue in your body, it will end up getting fuel from the muscle tissue, therefore, wasting your muscles mass away.
I’ll suggest eating foods that provide between 15 and 20 calories per pound of your bodyweight. Now depending on your performance at the gym, you can reduce or increase it. Fats are the best food for getting calories as they contain twice the number of calories in proteins and carb per gram. Take about 0.5 grams per kilogram fat of your body weight each day.
Take Higher Amounts of Proteins
Proteins assist greatly in muscle building and are therefore essential to get enough proportions. Since most plant-based protein sources contain less than the required amino acids, you should take different types of these proteins and at higher amounts. Take vegan foods such as tofu, seitan, legumes, and quinoa as they contain higher amounts of protein that’ll enable you to get the required proteins.
The optimum amount of protein to take per each kilogram of your body weight is 1.6 to 2.2 grams. Besides, protein is essential for the growth of muscles, and keeping high proportions in your body enables you to achieve your bodybuilding goals faster. Other popular vegan protein sources are vegan protein powder, chickpeas, garbanzo beans, lupine beans, hemp seeds, and textured vegetable protein.
Drink Plenty of Fluids
When on a vegan bodybuilding diet, you should take plenty of fluids. This is because most vegan diets are fruits, grains, and vegetables that contain large amounts of fiber. Higher fiber intake in your body could result in many side effects such as abdominal pain, bloating, and excessive flatulence. Therefore, taking fluids such as water will help you offset these effects and prevent further complications.
But when choosing fluids, it’s essential to go for the healthier ones. It’s important to avoid sugary drinks such as soft drinks. Instead, take between 2 and 2.5 liters of water, tea, coffee, and even protein shakes. Besides, most activities that require you to exercise necessitates you to take sufficient fluids. The best way to check if you have enough fluids is to check the color of your urine. If it’s yellow, then take more fluids until it turns to pale yellow or clear.
When you’re on a vegan bodybuilding diet, then it’s important to educate yourself. Setting a successful diet can be challenging, and since most food groups are prohibited, you may end up with some deficiencies. Therefore, it’ll be important to check the foods in your diet and their nutrient composition. That way, you’ll find the missing nutrients in your diet.
If you’re new to vegan diets, then consult a nutritionist or do your research on varying the foods in your diet. This will help you avoid nutrient deficiencies. Try to balance proteins, iron, calories, iodine, vitamin B12, Vitamin D, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Calcium, and Zinc in your diet. If you feel like your body is lacking in one or more of these essential nutrients, then design a nutrient supplement plan to ensure your body has the vital nutrients.
Vegan Diet for Building Muscle
According to Mary Weidner, a co-founder of a muscle-building app (Strong Fastr), proteins, and calories are essential when building muscles. She adds that fruits and vegetables have low calories but are quite-filling, making it hard for someone to get enough calories from them.
Therefore, an athlete who wants to build their muscles on vegan diets must pay close attention when planning meals. David Barbour, the founder of Vivo Life Sciences, a wellness company, says that it’s possible to become a successful bodybuilder from vegan diets and gives the example of Massimo Brunaccioni, a prominent Italian bodybuilder.
Brunaccioni regularly features in international tournaments, and he was the second during the 2018 WNBF competitions. Also, he has won the amateur division of the INBF Natural USA and WNBF.
When building muscles on a vegan diet, the meal should contain healthy calories, carbohydrates, omega-3, vegan protein powder, bars. Finally, you should eat small amounts of food but often. Also, ensure you take the right amount of this prerequisite foods and ensure they’re healthy. According to Bare Performance Nutrition, failing to take the right proportions of essential vegan building muscle foods can result in nutrient deficiency.
Vegan Diet for Weight Gain
If you are taking vegan food to gain weight, then you should know that you’re not the minority. Gaining weight may seem challenging, but it’s possible. Though it’s not the norm, there are instances where you might want to get weight. For instance, if you are taking some measures to prevent loss ahead of cancer treatment, recovery from hospitalization, or due to unintentional weight loss due to unavoidable factors.
If you want to gain weight from a vegan diet, then it’s essential first to increase calories. Fats are the most popular foods for gaining weight, and when you take more calories than the ones your body needs, then it will be converted to body fat. You can also increase your weight by increasing your muscle mass. This option is suitable for those who want to add weight while maintaining a lean figure. To achieve this, you should increase your calorie intake and intense weight training.
Also, add more snacks and nuts in your meal. Popular snacks are vegan yogurt, avocado, nut butter, and oatmeal. Go for peanuts, walnuts pack, almonds, and sunflower seeds for nuts. Some healthy oils will also boost your fat and don’t forget to include starchy vegetables in your diet
.There are many vegan diets out there, but getting one that matches your body can be hard. It requires some knowledge, planning, motivation, and discipline in sticking to it. Also, working on a bodybuilding routine is quite easy, and bodybuilders can access a myriad of both weight gain and muscle building diets. Since nutrition plays a vital role in building muscles, it’s essential to stick to the proper diet to achieve your goals.