Vegan bodybuilders have a much harder time putting on muscle, right?
That myth was busted a long time ago.
Plant-based protein has been shown to build muscle just as well as animal protein.
The study noted that there were “No differences in strength were observed between whey and pea protein groups.”
So now that we know vegan bodybuilders can get just as big and strong as their counterparts, the real question is, what do they eat?
Turns out, it’s a lot of stuff!
Take away everything that is meat and dairy-based and you’re left with thousands of different foods!
- Nuts and Seeds
- Plant-Based Milks
- Healthy Fats
- Complex Carbs
And this only the tip of the iceberg! There are plenty more sources of plant-based nutrition.
These foods help fuel their bodies for optimum performance and muscle gains.
Let’s take a deeper dive into the diet of vegan bodybuilders…
You’ve probably heard a lot of negative things said about soy…
“Causes breast cancer”
Turns out they’re all lies. Studies on soy show that they have no adverse or negative effects on body composition.
As a matter fact soy has plenty of positive benefits:
- Abundant in vitamins/minerals
- High in omega-3s
- Lowers risk of cardiovascular disease
- Plenty of antioxidants
- High in fiber
- Super high in protein
And this is why soy is such a staple for vegan bodybuilders.
It’s a high-quality source of protein that contains all the essential amino acids.
Soy comes in many forms.
Tofu, tempeh, edamame, soy milk, meat alternatives. All of which are extremely delicious and nutritious.
Just take a look at tofu.
One block of super firm tofu can have up to 70 grams of protein and around 600 calories!
Nuts and Seeds
Another great source of protein chosen by vegan bodybuilders is nuts and seeds.
There a whole range of different nuts and seeds available to eat.
- Brazil Nuts
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Hemp Seeds
- Chia Seeds
What makes nuts and seeds so convenient?
You can eat them super quickly as a snack!
They also are a great addition to almost any dish. Yogurts, smoothies, salad bowls, and so much more.
Nuts are also a great source of healthy fats, something that many people do not get enough of in their diet. Healthy fats are useful for reducing inflammation, promoting heart and brain health, and increasing testosterone levels (which helps increase muscle mass).
Again, nuts and seeds are also high in protein, so if you’re having trouble reaching your daily protein goals, you should consider adding them to your diet.
Hemp seeds have 10g of protein per 3 tablespoons
Pumpkin seeds have 9g of protein per ¼ cup
Chia seeds have 5g of protein per 3 tablespoons
Walnuts and almonds have around 5g of protein per ¼ cup
Dark Leafy Greens and Vegetables
Wanna grow like a bodybuilder?
Eat your veggies.
You’ve probably heard your mom tell you to finish your broccoli so many times as a kid growing up, but hey she was right.
Vegetables are so incredibly nutritious.
They help your body recover so much faster and help relieve soreness.
Vegan bodybuilder Nimai Delgado has long praised veggies for his incredible physique, stating he eats spinach, kale, brussel sprouts, asparagus, and broccoli.
If there’s a common theme among all those foods, it’s that each one is green.
Which reminds me, just think for a second about all the superfoods and veggies that are green! Let’s take a look at spinach.
Spinach is high in a chemical compound known as ‘phytoecdysteroids.’
What’s so important about this weird sounding word?
It’s been shown to increase muscular tissue growth by up to 20 percent. If you thought you needed another reason to eat spinach, well here you go.
Spinach also has another natural chemical compound by the name of ‘betaine.’
It’s been shown to increase oxygen use and output in athletes by up to 25 percent. So next time you want to increase your workout performance, consume a cup of spinach a few hours before training.
It’s no wonder that vegan bodybuilders look like Popeye! It’s all thanks to spinach!
Fruits and Berries
Want to know possibly the healthiest food known to man?
Try berries… and more specifically – blueberries.
Why are they so healthy?
Because they are abundant in antioxidants that help prevent and fight cancer, disease, and a whole host of other issues.
You should always consume a handful of fruits every single day. The antioxidants will help clean out the toxins in your body as well as improve recovery time so you can get back in the gym even stronger.
One study found that gym goer’s who had a blueberry smoothie post-workout had an “improved rate of recovery for muscle contractions 60 hours after exercise”
And it doesn’t have to be much!
Just throw in a few blueberries in your next post-workout shake for some superfood benefits!
Pasta, bread, rice, and other forms of carbohydrates are necessary for any bodybuilder to fuel their workouts.
The body digests carbs much faster than other macronutrients and quickly turns them into sources of energy. This is why eating fast-digesting carbs before your workout is so effective.
Having a bowl of pasta or brown rice is not only super nutritious, but will help you get through a long and grueling day or workout.
Another grain, quinoa, (technically it’s both a grain and a seed) is vegan bodybuilding staple.
It’s super high in protein and contains all the essential amino acids. It’s effective as both a pre and post-workout meal as it will help fuel you up and recover those muscles.
Quinoa has about 8g of protein per 1 cup cooked.
Add it to a salad bowl or mix it up with some beans for extra protein.
Grains have a very high fiber content, which is critical for your digestive tract. It’ll help regulate your bowel movements and reduce constipation.
Known as a longevity food, beans come in all shapes and sizes. And if you want to live a longer healthier life, you better start horking these things down!
But beans do more than just make you live longer.
High in protein and rich in carbohydrates, they help you pack on lean, dense muscle mass.
Here’s a list of beans you should eat if you want to become a vegan bodybuilder:
- Black beans
- Pinto beans
- Kidney beans
- White Beans
My personal favorite is lentils. They are super high in protein – 20g per cup!
I don’t think that they taste the best, but that can easily be changed by adding mixing them up with some avocado, balsamic vinegar, and multigrain bread.