My Top 10 Tips for Vegan Bodybuilders
I love how often people are intrigued by the fact that I’m pretty jacked and all VEGAN! Meat eaters are always asking me what the hell do I eat and other vegans always want to know how I’m able to get so shredded and lean on a completely plant-based diet.
Well, here’s a little “top 10 list” for anyone curious about my vegan bodybuilding “ways.” Compiled below are my top 10 best tips for vegan athletes on building muscle and leaning down without consuming dead animals. Here goes!
1) I eat a TON of beans.
To all the dudes reading this, how turned on are you right now? 😉 Seriously though, if you’re wanting to build muscle, get on board the chickpea train! They’re high in protein and an awesome low-fat source of carbs. I usually eat ’em before I work out (and no, doing that is not a “problem” for me. I’ve never been a big fan of kidney beans to be honest. My faves are chickpeas, black beans and most recently, aduki beans.
2) I choose quinoa over rice.
Don’t get me wrong, I love brown rice too. In fact, I love ALL rice. But quinoa is much higher in protein not to mention it’s a “complete” source of protein whereas brown rice isn’t. The more “complete” the protein source is, the better for muscle building.
3) I am the protein powder queen!
Supplementing with a good quality plant-based protein powder will dramatically boost your protein intake. It’s also a super quick and convenient food item to have on hand and while you’re out. I’m a big fan of
Vega Sport Performance Protein (829g) Vanilla because it’s low in fat & carbs, loaded with protein and has both BCAAs and glutamine in it– which help with recovery and muscle growth. I’m also a fan of North Coast Naturals‘ plain brown rice protein powder right before a competition because it doesn’t contain any sodium.
4) I don’t eat processed foods very much.
Processed, packaged foods (although delicious) usually mean high-carb, high-fat, high-sugar or all of the above. I really make an effort to eat a diet that contains a lot of whole grains, nuts and tons of fresh fruits & veggies.
5) I opt for tempeh over tofu.
Tempeh is another awesome protein source that often gets overlooked–perhaps because it’s harder to find than tofu (at least in Canada.) Unlike tofu, tempeh is fermented. That means the enzymes in it pre-digest the carbs, protein and fat, so it’s easier to digest and full of fiber and antioxidants.
6) I never skimp on “healthy” fats.
Everyone needs essential fatty acids in their diet and well, since I obviously don’t do “fish oil,” I get mine through good ol’ flax seed oil. I actually like the taste too. It’s awesome on oatmeal and gives me a hefty boost of both omega 3s and 6s every morning.
7) I love nut butter but don’t hog out on it.
Another good way to get some “healthy fats” and extra protein into your diet is through nut butters. If I could bathe in a tub full of peanut butter, I would. In fact, I would be content to live solely off of nut butter. But alas, too much is NOT a good thing. The calories in this creamy taste of heaven are HIGH. A teaspoon or tablespoon smeared over a banana, apple or added to a smoothie is the way to go.
8) I eat a giant green salad every single day.
Not only is a big-ass salad low in calories which tricks you into thinking you’re pigging out, it’s also super high in fiber and all kinds of vitamins and antioxidants. I usually make mine with spinach because it’s full of calcium (a nutrient that’s harder for us vegans to get) and surprisingly high in protein too.
9) I supplement with BCAAs.
I am a big advocate of branched chain amino acids. I love the PVL brand because it’s made from fermented beets and has no weird additives. BCAAs are crucial for preventing muscle loss. I always take them before my cardio and either during or after my weight training sessions.
10) And finally, I don’t give a crap what anyone else thinks/says/does.
In the competitive bodybuilding world, everyone is an expert (even though very few know anything about a vegan diet.) There will be tons of people who say you won’t see success in this sport as a vegan. Yes, it might take longer. And yes, your options may be more limited. But stay positive and keep at it. It is definitely possible and I have a first place trophy to prove it 😉
– Samantha Shorkey, Jacked on the Beanstalk