Bodybuilding is often referred to as an art. It requires a lot of hard work, a lot of patience and a lot of commitment. Bodybuilders are required to lead a disciplined life with a strict diet and strenuous workouts which would develop their muscles over time.
For bodybuilding, one needs a regular balanced diet of nutrient, vitamins, minerals and proteins which help the body to build body mass, muscle mass and develop the muscles which are necessary for bodybuilders. The most common source of these proteins and nutrients is however non vegetarian food such as meats and poultry as well as dairy products along with fresh fruits and vegetables.
However, if a bodybuilder is vegan, then it can pose certain challenges regarding how to obtain the necessary mineral and protein supplements of non vegetarian foods. A person who is vegan not only avoids meat and poultry, but also any product that is derived from animals including dairy products. Thus for a vegan bodybuilder some important and common sources of protein and nutrients can not be included in the diet.
Hence in the case of a bodybuilder who has to follow a vegan diet, there needs to be sufficient substitutes of proteins and minerals in the foods that he consumes. The following article will elaborate on the necessary components of a vegan diet for bodybuilders.
Vegan Diet For Bodybuilders
It is often a common assumption of many people that a vegan diet is devoid of some necessary nutrients and proteins because a vegan diet excludes a number of foods. This assumption is entirely false. There are several health benefits of being a vegan.
Vegans have a much lower chance of suffering from strokes, heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, certain forms of cancer, hypoglycemia, hemorrhoids, constipation, diverticulosis, obesity and even asthma. These diseases are more common among people who do not consume a vegan diet.
A vegan diet is often more wholesome than a diet that is based on meat, poultry and non vegetarian food. A vegan diet is also as capable as a non vegetarian diet in sustaining bodybuilders through their strenuous and exhaustive routine. Since a vegan diet comprises carbohydrates of plant products such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes and grains, it can provide a lot of energy to bodybuilders.
A vegan diet is also rich in fibers and complex carbohydrates which are responsible for the proper metabolism of our bodies. Vegan foods such as grains and legumes are also rich in proteins. Since a vegan diet is comprised of plant protein, it is rich in amino acids which are essential in the process of building muscle mass.
These amino acids are the fundamental sources of proteins which are found in abundance in fruits, vegetables nuts, grains and other foods which form a part of a vegan diet.
However, apart from these regular foods that form a part of the vegan diet, bodybuilders can also eat certain supplements to further enhance their performance. These supplements include multi vitamins, meal replacement powders, glutamine, hemp based protein powders, vitamin B-12, essential fatty acids and whey protein powder.
Foods Which Are Necessary For Bodybuilders Following A Vegan Diet
Some of the most high protein, fiber rich, carbohydrate rich and nutrient rich foods which are part of the vegan diet include the following –
Foods which are rich source of grains include brown rice, oats, cereals, granola, millet, corn, barley, bulghur and wheat products such as breads, pastas, flour and so on.
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Legumes are an important source of protein and these foods include green peas, lentils, sprouts, alfalfa, beans (mung beans, kidney bean, lima beans, akuki, navy, and soy beans), tofu, tempeh, soy milk and peanuts.
Nuts And Seeds :
Nuts and seeds like almonds, cashews, filberts, walnuts, pistachios, pecans, and macadamia. Seeds which are included in a vegan diet include sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, tahini butter and flax seed.
Along with the nuts, seeds, legumes and grains which are mentioned above, a vegan diet for a bodybuilder would also include lots of fresh fruits and vegetables of all kinds and especially green vegetables such as broccoli, collards and spinach.
Usually, fruits are taken in the morning; protein rich foods such as nuts and protein bars are good as snacks; legumes, green vegetables, tofu, beans, and other calorie rich foods are good for the lunch time; while fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes and grains can be taken at dinner.
For instance, a standard dinner meal may include lentil soup with chopped vegetables, steamed or raw broccoli, brown rice and tofu. Potatoes, beans, nuts and tempeh are also good as dinner foods. Before or after meals and also during snack times, soy milk, fruit juices, and almond milk are important sources of energy.
These foods should be taken regularly in the form of a balanced diet that comprises of all the essential vitamins and nutrients, proteins and carbohydrates.
Tips For Bodybuilders With A Vegan Diet
Since the foods which comprise a vegan diet are not rich foods or very heavy foods, bodybuilders can eat a meal every three hours. Eating small portions of food at regular intervals throughout the day also increases the metabolism of the body thus resulting in the proper blood circulation and proper distribution of nutrients throughout the body, especially to the muscles.
Eating every three hours or so will ensure the fact that your muscles remain nourished and energized. This will in turn create the necessary requirements for the growth of lean muscles which is an important part for bodybuilders. Also, eating every three hours or so does not mean consuming an entire meal, but short snacks which are rich in protein and carbohydrates.
Also, it is important for a bodybuilder who follows a vegan diet to drink lots of water. Drinking lots of water hydrates the body, processes the proteins that the body has received after eating, help in accumulating muscle mass and keep the body active. Thus following a vegan diet should not be a problem at all for bodybuilders.