Tips for Beginning Vegan Bodybuilders

BY: JOSHUA LIANG

The most traditional bodybuilders fill their diets with proteins, such as meats and eggs. However, a new surge of muscle men and women are challenging the norm of meat-eating by turning to plant-powered diets.

The new community of bodybuilders, who refrain from meat and maintain a vegan diet, is gaining approval on social media and taking the bodybuilding world by storm. According to great vegan athletes, about 40 percent of bodybuilders have transitioned to vegan in the past year.

Being a vegan bodybuilder takes commitment and being strict to your diet. Many are beginning to become vegan and completely change their eating habits because of something they’ve learned or believe in.

There are many explanations why someone might choose to go vegan. For example Jarett Tossey an ameatur vegan bdybuilder at California State University Long Beach said he completely change the way he eats based on what he learned and now believes in.

“Vegan is the healthiest possible diet and it is a role model in supporting the rights of animals,” said Tossey.  

Here are some of the tips for new beginner vegan bodybuilders:

1. Get sufficient calories

The very first thing you must do as a vegan bodybuilder is make sure that you get enough calories. According to Michelle Loy, Nutritionist for Go Wellness in Huntington Beach, if you don't take in enough calories on a regular basis your body is more likely to turn to incoming protein for fuel and you may see a deficit forming.

2. Consume plenty of fruits and vegetables

Second, be sure that you are taking in plenty of fruits and vegetables. These are going to supply you with a high quality source of nutrients, as well as all the antioxidant protection to keep your immune system feeling strong.

3. Don't neglect chickpeas and legumes

For vegans looking to build muscle, one of the key sources of protein they need to be looking into are chickpeas and other legumes. These will also be a good low-fat source of carbohydrates and make for a great snack before a hard workout.

4. Swap rice for quinoa

If you're in the habit of always eating brown rice with your meals, swap that up for some quinoa instead. A combination of brown rice and oatmeal called quinoa is higher in overall protein content. On top of that, quinoa is a complete source of protein, whereas brown rice is not. This is important for muscle building to take process.

5. Utilize soy protein powders

It's a wise move to make use of soy protein powders. These will dramatically help to boost your protein intake, and they are quick and convenient. As long as you make sure to mix them up with other sources of protein, they are a 'must have' for your daily diet.

6. Avoid a heavy reliance on processed foods

One big mistake that many vegans make is relying a great deal on heavy, overly processed foods. Don't do this. Remember, being vegetarian doesn't mean you get free range to eat as many high-carb snack foods as you want. You still have to be eating healthy and making an effort to maintain a fresh diet that contains whole grains, fruits, vegetables and nuts.

7. Keep your workouts short but intense

When it comes to your workout, as a vegan you should aim for short but intense workouts. This will help prevent loss of muscle mass and will keep your body from relying on protein to get through those workouts. A long workout session could elevate your protein needs, which could get more difficult being on a vegan diet.

Editor's note: Story updated on March 13. 

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