Vegan bodybuilders and athletes naturally have lower body mass indexes, blood pressure, and levels of cholesterol.
As you can see, we are already off to a good start. Let’s divert our attention to aesthetics first, which is a key reason that many people turn to veganism in the first place.
When preparing for a bikini competition, vegans typically have less weight (body fat) to lose than their meat-eating counterparts. Vegan diets revolve around raw fruits and vegetables, whole grain carbohydrates, and natural sources of protein.
Coincidentally, these are the same foods used to get your body ready for competition.
Vegan competitors tend to pay more attention to the full spectrum of nutrients (not just calories/macros) in their diets to make sure they are consuming what their bodies need throughout the year.
If you’ve already been eating clean organic plant-based foods in the off-season, you can hit the ground running with your pre-competition diet and have an unfair advantage over your competitors.
Here are three more advantages of going vegan:
1. Vegan Diets Help Digestion
This is very important to bikini competitors who are known for making dietary changes, which can throw of the digestive system.
Diets rich in fresh fruits and vegetables are naturally rich in nutrients, including fiber. Fiber helps you feel full longer and fine-tunes your digestive system to be a “well-oiled” machine.
To reduce gas on a vegan diet, cook cruciferous vegetables instead of eating them raw. You can also make broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts easier to digest by mixing them up in a blender or food processor.
Healthy fats, like those found in vegan foods, help keep hormones regulated. Hormones play a role in hunger and weight control, and hormone balance is essential for women fitness competitors. Good sources of plant-based healthy fats include organic coconut oil, hemp oil, and MCT oil.
“Clean eating” is defined by the rejection of processed, chemically-enhanced foods in favor of whole, natural ones. It’s a good idea for all adults who care about their health but especially for bikini competitors. Natural, unprocessed foods are the #1 staple of healthy plant-based diets, which means that sticking to clean eating is easier.
2. Vegan Diets Boost Your Metabolism
Almost all vegan bikini competitors need to melt a little fat to get ready and your metabolism plays a key role in making this happen. Metabolism is greatly affected by your genetics and lifestyle habits, however there are some ways to rev it up.
Spicy foods are known to boost metabolism. This is because they natural chemicals called capsinoids increase the amount of heat and energy that you produce and promote physical activity.
Vegan metabolism-boosting foods:
- Chili peppers (great source of capsinoids)
- Kale, spinach, and other leafy greens
- Hemp protein
- Chia seeds
- Water (A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that metabolism rates jumped 30 percent after drinking two cups of water.)
Other general tips to keep your metabolism working at its peak all day long include getting seven to eight hours of sleep per night, sleeping in a cool room (66 degrees Fahrenheit), drinking green tea, and meditation.
3. Vegan Diets Boost Mental Health
As any bikini competitor knows, half the battle to reach one’s goals is mental. Preparing for a competition takes its toll on you mentally, and vegetarian diets can restore an overall sense of wellbeing.
Linda Dame MEd, MSW RSW shared that cutting animal products out of your diet can reduce pain and anxiety, paving the way for more peace and joy.
Research studies published in Nutrition Journal and Public Health Nutrition have revealed that vegetarians exhibit significantly better mood states and experience fewer negative emotions than omnivores.
Successful vegan bikini competitors must remain positive, motivated, and passionate, and plant-based foods can help give you a mental boost when you need it most.
About the Author
Chris Willitts is the founder of VegetarianBodybuilding.com, creator of V3 Bodybuilding and Mindful Strength, and a contributing writer for Muscle & Fitness, Vegan Health and Fitness Magazine, and Natural Muscle Magazine. If you’re interested in eating more plants and less meat, check out this resource: How to Go Vegetarian.