On the one hand, the popularity of bodybuilding and overall gym-based training has become exceptionally popular over the past several years. We’ve seen a surge of fitness models promoting the lifestyle and showcasing what it means to spend some quality time in the weight room, and not just on the treadmill.

The perks of this training model are many. Still, for aspiring and experienced vegans, it might seem like a great hassle to try incorporating weight training into their time, unsure if the results would be the same with such a radically different diet.

On the other hand, the notion of veganism has become more widespread, and more people are embracing their role in various global sustainability initiatives, but also reducing animal cruelty. Combined, veganism and weight training, or bodybuilding in particular, are actually a brilliant match. You just need to know how to slowly approach your nutrition and restructure your workout to adjust to your body’s changing needs. Here’s what you can do!

Balance your Macronutrient Intake

For starters – don’t worry! Bodybuilding as a vegan will in no way jeopardize your ability to consume locally grown food. In fact, this can be another source of inspiration to keep your meals interesting and diverse, as well as nutrient-dense. What’s crucial for your diet and fitness goals, you should make sure that you consume enough of each essential macronutrient – protein, carbs, and fats.

Before you move on to designing your meal plan, you can consult a nutritionist or use an online calculator to figure out the right macro intake for your goals. Depending on your goals, whether you want to shed fat, build lean muscle, or stay toned and strong, you’ll find out how much food you need to consume every day, and which macro group your food should come from. Now that you know what your macronutrient intake should look like, you’re ready to choose your ingredients and craft the perfect vegan meals!

Choose Plant-Based Protein Sources

vegan, bodybuilding
Image: Lucija Ros

To start off your diet plan right, make sure that you create a meal plan that gives you 5-7 meals per day (snacks included) so that you can cover all your nutrient needs, eat the right foods, and always have enough energy for training, recovery, and work. That said, one of the most common bodybuilding misconceptions is that you can’t build muscle without meat. Wrong! You can’t build muscle without protein, and this macronutrient is found in many plant-based foods.

To include enough protein (as well as those essential amino acids) in your diet, you need a trusted vegan protein guide that can help you pick the most protein-packed plants for your daily consumption. Add to that, you can choose vegan-friendly protein supplements to make sure you’re covering your protein intake every day. Depending on your food sensitivities and perhaps any other limitations, be sure to incorporate the following foods for ample protein:

● Peas

● Quinoa

● Beans

● Brown rice

● Seitan, tofu, tempeh

● Nuts and seeds

Make Room for Snacks in your Meal Plan

To keep your energy up, which is a must for bodybuilders and their demanding routines, you shouldn’t stick to only three meals per day. You should also include healthy, nutrient-dense snacks that will allow you to regain some of that missing fuel for a workout later in the day or prevent sugar cravings, which are very common for people who are just starting out with bodybuilding and veganism.

Sometimes, cannabis-enriched edibles can help with the recovery process and elevating your energy. Then again, fresh fruit is packed with fiber and will allow you an ample dose of vitamins. Consider making your own snacks such as nut butter, protein smoothies, hummus and fresh veggies, and the staple breakfast food: oatmeal.

Prevent Micronutrient Deficiencies

One of the main issues vegans face when switching to the plant-based lifestyle while bodybuilding is creating deficiencies in certain micronutrients. Vegans often don’t consume enough vitamin B12, vitamin D3, and minerals such as calcium and zinc. Knowing that, you can consult a professional nutritionist or do some of your own research.

Learn about the kinds of food that contain the highest amounts of these and other nutrients and which ones your body will benefit from the most.

Until we have access to lab-grown meat that is completely in line with your vegan lifestyle, you need to make sure that your diet is wholesome. That is the only way you can maintain your fitness and bodybuilding goals and stay healthy as well as lean and strong.

Being a vegan is by no means a reason to abandon your fitness goals, on the contrary. Your lifestyle should be healthy all around, and turning to bodybuilding as a way to build lean, healthy muscle can be combined perfectly with the right vegan diet. Create the core nutrition structure that will give you ample flexibility to keep your meals delicious, and above all, make sure that you have plenty of energy for your workouts and the rest of your responsibilities. Going vegan and using bodybuilding can help you achieve just that!