Any type of bodybuilding plan requires careful choices to make sure you get adequate nutrition and do not strain your body beyond its limits. Vegetarians and vegans often face special challenges when bodybuilding because their diets can make it more difficult to get enough protein. The body needs protein to repair itself and build muscle. As such, a vegan bodybuilding plan has to help you get enough needed protein without compromising your animal-free diet. It also must offer food choices and exercises that you can use to reach your fitness goals.
Vegan diets can offer adequate nutrition and protein as long as you make careful food choices. The same principles apply to vegetarian bodybuilding. People following these lifestyles who eat mostly fruits and vegetables will probably not get enough protein to successfully build more muscle. While fruits and vegetables are an important part of vegan and vegetarian diets, protein and fat are especially important for bodybuilding.
Proper vegan bodybuilding plans should include several sources of protein. Many experts suggest eating from 1 to 1.5 grams of protein a day for every 1 pound (about 0.45 kg) of your body weight. A person who weighs 150 pounds (about 68.8 kg), for example, should try for at least 150 grams of protein per day.
Vegetarians can often get protein by adding ingredients such as cheese, milk, and eggs to their diets. Vegans, who do not eat any animal products, can add protein to their diets with such ingredients as soy milk and different meat and cheese replacements made with soy. Many bodybuilders also drink special protein shakes that can be mixed from a powder, purchased as a liquid, or created at home from recipes.
Several vegan bodybuilding plans recommend that fat should make up about 30% of total daily calories. Nuts and seeds can be good sources of protein for vegetarian or vegan bodybuilding plans as well as a way to eat healthy fat. The main fat in most nuts and seeds is monounsaturated, which is the healthiest type of fat that most people should include in their diets. Carbohydrates, eaten mostly in the form of whole grain or fiber-rich foods, are also important. Most plans recommend about 2 to 3 grams of carbohydrates each day for every 1 pound (about 0.45 kg) you weigh.
Getting adequate calories is also crucial for vegan bodybuilding. The types of exercises that build muscle will cause your body to burn more fat and calories than before. Eating several small meals each day, up to five or six, instead of three large ones can help provide enough calories and keep your body nourished.
In addition to a protein-rich vegan diet, muscle-building exercises are necessary for the best vegan bodybuilding plan. Unlike with diet, the exercises in a vegan plan will probably not be any different than in a standard muscle-building routine. Choose a plan that allows you the freedom to follow a vegan diet and that calls for strength-building exercises you feel comfortable doing.