Vegan Competing Bodybuilders – Yep, That’s Possible


There is a collective opinion among bodybuilders that they must obtain the necessary daily requirements of protein from animal products in order to build more muscle and stay strong. However, reading about enormous benefits from being vegan from their nutrition plans made people more aware of positive benefits from eliminating animal products. The trend of avoiding meat and animal products has risen over the past decade for several reasons. Some are lactose intolerant, others suffer from allergies and skin disorders, such as psoriasis and eczema – people turn to veganism for various purposes. As long as they stay healthy and promote their longevity veganism may be even recommended by doctors who treat patients from rare diseases.

Believe it or not, this new trend has increased among body-builders, too. They understood that being a vegan not only helped them in muscle building but also gave them more energy and shortened their recovery time after workout. Vegan sportspeople can have successful careers without depending on proteins from meat and dairy products.

In order to become a successful body-builder one has to understand how human body gets its necessary proteins.

The key thing one has to know is that protein is made from amino acids. Various amino acids are found in protein, but 22 are most important. Only nine of them must be obtained from the food and this is the reason why they are called essential amino acids. The other 13 amino acids are produced in human body.  Therefore, in order to supply the body with complete protein, individuals need to consume all 9 essential amino acids from food. Animal sources supply the human body with all nine amino acids. However, it is a well known fact that plant-based foods do not have the complete protein amounts.

For example, kidney beans and black beans contain eight essential amino acids while garbanzo beans contain only five, lacking lysine, methionine, leucine and valine. Rice is also another example of a plant based food with high rate of protein amounts, lacking only lysine, while other legumes, in general are rich with this amino acid. Thereupon, as long as people make the right combination, they shoudn’t worry about getting the complete protein amount.

While legumes and rice combination is a good source of protein, nuts and seeds combined together also provide the necessary amino acid supplement for people engaging into sports. Therefore, vegan body-builders do not find it difficult to meet their necessary protein requirements if their nutrition plan is rich with various plant-based foods and they do not limit themselves to only one protein related food. From sunflower seeds, flax seed and sesame to walnuts, chestnuts, hazelnuts, peanuts and almonds, they need to include at least four different nuts and seeds to achieve their goals. Following a five-meal nutrition plan every day including potatoes, grains and legumes a body-builder’s body can develop and be powered by the complete protein amount without cravings for animal related products.
However, a more detailed and careful nutrition plan should be taken into account for body-builders who would like to compete. Well-balanced diet is essential to suffice their daily protein requirements.

Bearing in mind that a three-oz serving of meat contains around 21 grams of protein, which is about one third the amount of necessary protein requirements for an average man, vegans should also take into consideration the amount of food they need to consume to meet these daily requirements. While it is easy for body-builders who eat meat to meet these requirements, those who decided to go vegan should thoroughly examine their nutrition plan following the information below in order to get a general idea of how much they should eat to optimize their results and reach their set goals:

Chia seeds contains all essential amino acids. Same is true for amaranth, quinoa, and hemp. However, the amount of protein in these plant-based foods must be taken into account since chia only has 2.5 grams in one tablespoon. In comparison, hemp seeds contain 3.5 grams in a tablespoon. Half a cup of quinoa has 4 grams of proteins and to compare same amount of amaranth has 4.67 grams, while same amount of buckwheat has 3 grams, peas contain 4 grams and beans contain 10 grams similar like lentils containing 9.5 grams. One cup of cooked spinach contains 5 grams of protein, same amount of guava has 4.2 grams of protein. One oz of raw pumpkin seeds has 9 grams of protein, while same amount of almonds have 8 grams and cashews have 5 grams.

In conclusion, a diet rich with all of these foods can suffice with the daily necessary requirements of protein. However, while following a well-balanced and detailed diet plan, body-builders should also consider taking plant-based protein powders for maximum results.