It is often said that you cannot be a successful bodybuilder and vegetarian. Well, I know lots of folk who build great physiques on a vegetarian diet, it just takes a little more consideration, especially in regard to protein quality. Now, here I am talking about proper vegetarians, i.e. lacto-ovo vegetarians, not those folk who eat tuna and still claim to eat a vegetarian diet!
".I know lots of folk who build great physiques on a vegetarian diet...99
Generally, vegetable proteins are of poorer quality than animal proteins. Milk and egg proteins can be eaten, so you may still take advantage of HBV proteins. The key to obtaining good protein quality lies in combining different protein sources, as discussed in Chapter 3. Also, bear in mind that some amino acid capsules and other supplements may contain the animal protein gelatin in their manufacture, which strict vegetarians will wish to omit.
True vegans will avoid all products of animal origin, so an adequate bodybuilding diet is really difficult. I have never come across a vegan bodybuilder, but in theory it is still possible, though a strict regimen will need to be followed, especially to ensure that a varied diet is still consumed. Remember also that many quality supplements are derived from animal products, for example creatine, whey protein, MRPs, so you will have to avoid these. If you are in doubt about any product, check with the manufacturer. As there are so many exclusions in the vegan diet, I strongly feel that isolated soya protein is an absolute must for the vegan bodybuilder.
Other great protein sources which vegetarians and vegans can enjoy are mixed beans, baked beans, hummus, tofu, quorn, textured vegetable protein (TVP), soya, coconut, oat and rice milk, and many more. Often these products do have a reasonable carbohydrate content too, useful for gaining weight, and are low in fat. Vegans would be wise to include seaweed or a vitamin B12 supplement daily, as without animal products their diets may be insufficient in vitamin B12.
The following two meal plans are adaptations of Figure 3 for the Vegetarian bodybuilder (Figure 4) and the Vegan bodybuilder (Figure 5):
Figure 4 : Example menu plan for a vegetarian wishing to gain quality weight.
Wake 7.30 am 7.30
1 scoop whey protein in water 20g Large bowel wholewheat breakfast cereal with 1/3 pint skimmed milk + sugar 15g
2 slices wholemeal bread toasted + olive oil spread / portion weight gain drink with water and multidextrose powder 22g 100ml orange juice + 1 tblsp olive oil
/ portion weight gain drink with skimmed milk 27g Fruit
V scoop whey protein in water Low fat cottage cheese (100g) or soya cheese (80g)
4 slices wholemeal bread + olive oil spread Salad
Low fat yoghurt (150g)
Full portion MRP made in half water
+ half skimmed milk
10g 12g 15g
/ portion weight gain drink with skimmed milk and multidextrose powder
18.30 (after training) 2 scoops whey protein in water
Quorn burger (150g) Baked beans (150g) Reduced fat cheese (50g) Either 2 medium jacket potatoes or 200g boiled brown rice or 350g boiled wholewheat pasta Vegetables Low fat yoghurt
/ portion weight gain drink with skimmed milk 1 scoop whey protein in water
18g 8g 14g
Figure 5 weight.
Example menu plan for a vegan bodybuilder wishing to gain quality
Wake 7.30 am 7.30
1 scoop isolated soy protein in water 20g Large bowel wholewheat breakfast cereal with 1/3 pint soya milk + sugar 9g
2 slices wholemeal bread toasted + olive oil spread 1 scoop isolated soy protein with / pint oat/coconut/rice milk and multidextrose powder 26g 100ml orange juice + 1 tblsp olive oil
1 scoop isolated soy protein with / pint oat/coconut/rice milk and multidextrose powder 26g fruit
/ scoop isolated soy protein in water 10g
Hummus (200g) 15g
Mixed beans (200g) & salad 15g
4 slices wholemeal bread + olive oil spread
5 oya yoghurt (150g) 7g
2 scoops isolated soy protein with / pint oat/coconut/rice milk and multidextrose powder 46g Fruit
17.00 1 scoop isolated soy protein with / pint oat/coconut/rice milk and multidextrose powder
18.30 (after training) 2 scoops isolated soya protein in water
23.30 23.30 bed
Quorn burger (150g)
Baked beans (150g) + tofu mince (100g)
Either 2 medium jacket potatoes or 200g boiled brown rice or 350g boiled wholewheat pasta
Vegetables (inc. seaweed)
1 scoop isolated soy protein with / pint oat/coconut/rice milk and multidextrose powder
1 scoop isolated soy protein in water
Again, remember both plans are merely a guide. Eat a variety of different protein sources, complex carbohydrates and fruit and vegetables every day, and plenty of water. If you are still not gaining sufficient weight, increase portion sizes of protein and carbohydrate foods; if you are starting to hold a little body fat, reduce portion sizes of carbohydrate foods slightly. A little bit of junk food now and again will do no harm.
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Bodybuilding requires commitment. It is a totally different lifestyle that entails letting go of old habits and adopting new ones. You cannot go into bodybuilding and be half- hearted about it. It is a test of strength, self-discipline and willpower. Start only when you are sure you can commit time, effort and energy. Learn tips like this one and 99 more.