Being Vegan comes with a lot of challenges. These include going out to eat, increased expenses for food and clothing, and trying to talk about it without bringing up the typical vegan stereotypes. Believe it or not, there are bodybuilders who manage to maintain a vegan diet and eat the right kind of foods to build muscle and lose body fat. Even Arnold, the golden boy of bodybuilding, is leaning toward a plant-based diet.
The key to vegan bodybuilding is nutrition. It’s common knowledge that in order to achieve muscle gain or fat loss, you’ve got to get things right in the kitchen. Primarily, it’s your macronutrients, and more specifically, your protein. A lack of protein intake is one of the biggest criticisms of a vegan diet, but it is actually fairly easy to reach your protein goals as a vegan.
Sources of vegan protein include:
✓ ‘Meat’ Products (Vegan Chicken, Beef, etc.)
✓ Brown Rice/Pea Protein Powder
✓ Vegan Protein Bars
✓ Nuts/Nut Butter (YES!)
✓ Lentils (These are protein packed powerhouses!)
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to vegan protein.
The second most important thing in a diet (vegan or not) is dietary fat. Most experts recommend at least 0.4-0.5 grams of fat per pound of bodyweight. Fat is not hard to find in a vegan diet. A lot of vegan-friendly fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats) are actually some of the healthiest fats you can consume.
Some of the sources of vegan fat are:
✓ Nuts/Nut Butter (Peanut Butter is Life)
✓ Olive/Coconut Oil
✓ Coconuts (Put in Lime for a Vegan Cheesy Joke!)
Carbs and More Carbs
That leaves carbohydrates. The vast majority of natural carb sources are vegan, because carbs are derived from PLANTS! Yes, so that tasty bowl of oatmeal or the baked potatoes topped with guac are VEGAN!
You will want to put into consideration the ingredients are in the carb sources. You have to make sure your bread wasn’t made with eggs or there’s no milk products in that veggie burger.
Get your Supplementation Right
Another area of concern is supplementation. Supplements can be hard for vegans because some popular supplements contain some sort of animal product. So you might be wondering how you can improve your training without harming an animal? Believe it or not, there are vegan-friendly supplements.
Some of these include:
✓ Vegan-Based Protein Powders
✓ Multivitamin Supplements
Training and Take Away
As for training: There isn’t anything you have to do specifically. Be consistent with your plan, go in, destroy the weights, drink your shake, leave, repeat! And there you have it, a guide to bodybuilding as a vegan! You can still live the bodybuilding lifestyle and the vegan lifestyle all at once! Now go out there and make some animal friendly gains, you animal!