With bodybuilding being such a competitive sport, many may be wondering if it is possible to compete on a vegan diet. Fortunately, it is completely possible to do so, as a vegan bodybuilder can achieve the necessary protein and minerals that are needed to compete. Indeed, it is possible to not only compete on a vegan diet, but it is also possible for bodybuilders on a vegan diet to go on to win their respective competitions.
What sources of protein are available on a vegan diet?
While vegan bodybuilders are unable to turn to common sources of protein such as meat and fish, there are plenty of available alternative sources. Sources of protein that are available to vegan bodybuilders include beans, nuts, grains, and soy. Other sources of protein include tofu, peanut butter and oatmeal.
However, it is important to note that bodybuilders who choose to embrace a vegan diet will need to eat more to compete against their non-vegan counterparts. As is the case with non-vegans, it is also advisable for vegan bodybuilders to vary their diet as much as possible. This should help to ensure that your body gains the required nutrition to compete on a vegan diet.
How to Avoid Becoming Deficient In Vitamins and Minerals
A common concern about vegan diets is developing a deficiency in vitamins and minerals. However, it is possible to get the required amounts of vitamins and minerals necessary to compete on a vegan diet.
To see our Vegan Blood Test, click here.
Although it is common for those on a vegan diet to develop a deficiency in B12, there are ways to avoid this. Bodybuilders looking to compete on a vegan diet should ensure that they consume foods such as fortified cereals and mushrooms for gaining essential nutrients.
Some common signs of a B12 deficiency are fatigue, depression and headaches.
To test your B12 levels, see our test here.
To avoid a Vitamin D deficiency on a plant-based diet, it is recommended that vegan bodybuilders should turn to vegan supplements, as well as mushrooms, fortified cereals and fortified almond milk.
If the weather permits it, stepping out into the sunshine is also a great source of Vitamin D. It is recommended that most people should aim for between 10 to 30 minutes of exposure to sunlight three times a week. However, this amount and frequency will vary depending on the skin tone of the individual in question. Those with darker skin tones may require more exposure to sunlight to get the required amount of Vitamin D. However individuals should be careful concerning their sun exposure, as spending too much time in the sun can have negative effects on their health.
Some common signs of a Vitamin D deficiency are muscle pain and fatigue.
To test your B12 levels, see our test here.
Omega-3 is incredibly useful to bodybuilders, regardless of their chosen diet. This is because it plays a vital role in aiding recovery.
Some useful vegan sources for Omega-3 include walnuts, brussels sprouts and seeds.
To check your Omega-3 levels, see our test here.
To avoid an Iodine deficiency, those on a vegan diet should utilise food such as soy milk, potatoes and prunes.
Symptoms of an iodine deficiency include weight gain and an inability to tolerate colder temperatures.
Iron is vital to the body, as it helps blood cells to carry oxygen through the body. To make sure that they attain enough Iron on a vegan diet, bodybuilders should turn to foods such as lentils, spinach and peas.
Some symptoms of iron deficiency include tiredness and difficulty in concentration. Meat eaters usually get enough iron through their food and hence, it may be suitable to take supplements on a vegan diet.
Our iron test can be found here.
Calcium is a mineral that is important to bone health. To ensure that their body gets the right amount, vegan bodybuilders should turn to sources such as broccoli, peas and kale.
Other tips to help build muscle on a vegan diet
Eat little and often
With a vegan bodybuilding diet necessitating consuming larger quantities of food, it is best to break this down into smaller, more manageable steps. Eating little and often is important for bodybuilders as it helps to ensure that they can maintain a sufficient calorie intake to both maintain and improve their bodybuilding ability.
To achieve the best results, a vegan bodybuilder should aim to consume between six to eight small meals a day. Doing this should help bodybuilders to ensure they get enough calories on a vegan diet, as they will not have to consume larger portions that they may be unable to eat.
Get enough rest
While training is undoubtedly important, it is just as vital, if not more so, for bodybuilders to ensure that they get sufficient rest. This gives the body time to recover from the physical strains placed upon it by intense exercise. Failure to ensure that muscles get enough rest will cause them to become sore and tired.
On the other hand, bodybuilders who can ensure that their body gets sufficient rest will be able to perform better than their counterparts. To achieve this, a bodybuilder should aim to get 7 hours of quality sleep each night. Moreover, it is also important to get the timing of rest right. The best results can be achieved by going to bed before 11 pm and waking up before 7 am.
Consume enough healthy fat
Healthy fats are important as they serve a dual purpose. Not only do they help bodybuilders to increase their calorie intake, but they also help build muscle mass. When it comes to vegan diets, there are plenty of ways that bodybuilders can attain the required amount of healthy fats. Some good sources of healthy fats include dried fruit, avocado, olive oil and sweet potatoes.
Keep and maintain a food journal
Keeping a food journal and regularly updating it will play an important role in ensuring that bodybuilders on a vegan diet are consuming enough calories. Even better, there are numerous apps out there that do the calculating for you.
Keeping track of calorie consumption can help vegan bodybuilders ensure that they are getting the right amount for their diet. While this is important for everyone regardless of profession, bodybuilders need to ensure that they are not running a calorie deficit.
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