When you think of a vegan, what’s the first image that comes to your mind? Is it a dreaded, gangly, tie-die wearing hippie? When most people think of vegans, they think of earth loving hippies protesting about animal rights. While there are certainly vegans out there who fit this stereotype, there are vegans from all other walks of life as well. Yes, this means you too, bodybuilders! If you can’t wrap your head around bulking up while living on a diet of fruits, vegetables and grains, check out this vegan bodybuilding meal plan. There’s a lot more to the vegan diet than you may be aware of! And there’s a lot more to bodybuilding than chugging glasses full of raw eggs and eating bland meat (oops, I’m stereotyping again…)
Ready to hit the gym? Check out Udemy’s course on muscle building before you go. It’ll give you all the tips and tricks you need to maximize your results!
Your body requires a certain amount of calories and nutrients just to remain alive. While the amount of calories necessary to maintain your weight varies from person to person, it’s important to know that in order to gain muscle, you must increase your calorie intake. This, in turn, increases your intake of fat, protein, carbohydrates, etc. Depending on your gender, height, weight, age, fitness routine and overall health, you’ll need different amounts of protein, healthy fats, carbohydrates and calories. The best way to figure all of this out is to visit a nutritionist; he or she can analyze your body type and determine what your daily intake should be in order to reach your goal in a natural and healthy way. The trick is getting the right ratio of protein to carbs, calories to fact, etc in order to effectively gain muscle and lose fat.
Sources of Protein
Protein is one of the key nutrients necessary for developing muscle. And yes, vegans and vegetarians do eat a lot of protein, even without meat! The recommended daily amount of protein is 0.8g per pound of body weight for an athlete. For those involved in extreme strength training, many advise that you consume 1.0-1.5g per pound of body weight in order to effectively gain muscle. If you weigh 160 pounds, that’s 160-240 grams of protein in a day! (The recommended daily amount of protein varies from person to person). While this seems like an extremely excessive amount, keep in mind the amount of calories that you burn off in a day of training. More calories burned = more calories required to gain muscle = more protein consumed.
There are a surprising amount of sources of protein that don’t come from an animal and you’ll learn to love them all.
- Soy beans – One cup provides 29 grams!!
- Lentils – One cup provides 18 grams.
- Chickpeas – One cup provides 15 grams.
- Sprouted grain bread – Two slices provide 10 grams.
- Quinoa – One cup provides 9 grams.
- Peas – One cup provides 9 grams.
- Spinach – One cup provides 7 grams.
- Hemp seeds – One tablespoon provides 5 grams.
Many vegan meals contain a handful of these sources of protein, offering the same amount of protein as meat in a more colorful, exciting package.
Healthy Fats and Carbohydrates
Healthy fats are necessary for proper weight loss. Though this may seem contradictory, your body tends to hold onto fat if you’re not consuming enough. By choosing to eat healthy fats like those found in nut butter, avocados, nuts and coconut oil, you are helping your body continue lose weight and gain muscle.
While many people believe that you should boost your protein intake and limit your carbs and fat to a minimum, this ends up hurting you in the long term. Carbohydrates are necessary for the energy you need to work out. Though you should avoid processed carbs, you should get healthy complex carbohydrates from foods like sweet potatoes, beans, brown rice and rolled oats.
A Basic Daily Meal Plan
Breakfast should include a source of protein, and hemp seeds are a wonderful choice. Whip up a large smoothie made with frozen bananas, spinach, kale, a couple tablespoons of hemp seeds and soy milk. If you have it on hand, you can swap hemp protein powder for the hemp seeds and save your seeds for a light snack later on in the day. If you need something extra, eat a piece or two of your favorite fruit.
Eat a handful of nuts to get in your healthy fats – almonds and walnuts are especially healthy. If you’re looking for something more filling, try eating your favorite nut butter (almond is, again, a great choice) with sprouted wheat bread.
Lunch should be a healthy mix of proteins and complex carbs. Choose some quinoa or brown rice with broccoli and sweet potato. If you ate nuts for your snack instead of nut butter on bread, you can make a sandwich out of sprouted wheat bread filled with hummus, tomatoes, cucumbers, and all of your other favorite vegetables. If you’re feeling up to the challenge, you can easily make a big batch of your own hummus out of chick peas, tahini, lemon juice and a handful of your favorite spices to use in meals throughout the week.
Add in some more healthy fats by eating an avocado. If you’re desiring more protein, snack on a vegan protein bar.
A veggie burger crumbled on a salad is the perfect mix of healthy and hearty. Choose a mix of spinach, kale and your favorite type of lettuce, then add on vegetables high in nutrients such as tomatoes, beets and carrots. Veggie burgers can be made out of anything from black beans and chick peas to lentils and sweet potatoes. Choose a dressing that isn’t high in unhealthy fats, or better yet, make your own out of balsamic vinegar and a splash of olive oil.
Finish off the day with celery sticks dipped in your favorite nut butter, or sip on a simple hemp protein shake.
The real trick is eating smaller meals throughout the day so that your body is getting a constant supply of the proteins, carbohydrates, fats and calories it needs to keep moving. You shouldn’t follow this exact diet every single day (odds are you’d get pretty bored of it quickly), but the basic idea behind each of the six small meals and snacks should remain the same. It’s about avoiding simple carbs and sugars, and filling your body with tons of different vitamins and nutrients. Mix and match your favorite fruits, veggies, grains, nuts and seeds to create many different meals.
Most importantly of all, keep drinking water!! Drink at least one 8oz glass of water with every meal, and an extra one when you wake up and right before you go to sleep. Your body will function so much better if you keep it hydrated.
While eating healthy and understanding what your body needs to properly gain muscle without steroids or excessive supplements is important, your workout regimen is just as important. You won’t gain any muscle simply by eating all the right foods! If you want to gain muscle and lose fat, you’re going to have to work for it. Motivation, determination and dedication is key to success.
Are you ready to gain muscle, lose fat and maintain an overall healthier lifestyle? Udemy’s fitness training course will help guide you through proper nutrition and training techniques to get you on the right track! And if you think you’re too busy to commit to this sort of lifestyle, we’ve got solutions for you too.