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The ultimate guide to vegan bodybuilding part 2

Der ultimative Ratgeber für veganes Bodybuilding Teil 2

After taking a closer look at the problems of protein intake in a vegan bodybuilding diet in the first part of this article, in this second part I will talk about the remaining nutrients and present you with sample nutrition plans for vegan muscle building and fat loss.

The right balance of macronutrients for vegan bodybuilding

The dictionary defines the term macronutrient as follows:

"Any of the nutritional components of the diet that are required in relatively large amounts: Protein, carbohydrates, fat and minerals such as calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium and phosphorus"

(Most people think of macronutrients as just protein, carbohydrates and fat, but technically this term also includes macrominerals).

When it comes to nutrition and meal planning, the macronutrients you should be paying the most attention to are protein, carbohydrates and fat. And when it comes to building muscle, it's extremely important that you consume the right amounts of these macronutrients. This applies regardless of whether you eat a vegan diet or not.

The standard basic diet I recommend for bodybuilding purposes is as follows:

  • About 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day

This amount may be slightly lower during the maintenance and bulking phase and slightly higher during a diet.

  • About 0.7 grams of fat per kilogram of body weight per day

This amount may be slightly higher during the maintenance and build-up phase and slightly lower during a diet.

  • The rest of your calories should come from carbohydrates.

The amount of carbohydrates will vary based on your protein and fat intake, but in general, the more carbohydrates you consume, the better it will be for your weight training and body composition.

Following macronutrient guidelines such as those above is quite easy for 'omnivores', primarily due to the large amount of low-carb and low-fat protein sources available to them.

However, as a vegan, you may need to increase your fat intake and reduce your carbohydrate intake to meet your protein and calorie targets (which can be particularly difficult when dieting). (This is primarily due to the fact that most "good" vegan protein sources also contain carbohydrates and/or fats).

And that's fine, because as you know, it's crucial that you get enough calories and enough protein if you want to build muscle. A high carbohydrate diet is more conducive to muscle building than a low carbohydrate diet, but this is less important than adequate protein intake.

So if you need to sacrifice some of your carbohydrates to get enough protein without eating too many calories, then you should do so. However, I would not recommend that you reduce your carbohydrate intake more than necessary. If you are not sedentary and very overweight, then you have no reason to follow a low-carb diet.

Otherwise, balancing your macronutrients is simply a matter of familiarizing yourself with the calorie and nutrient content of the foods you eat and then using that knowledge to put together an appropriate eating plan.

I should also mention that a good vegan protein powder can be hugely helpful at this point, as it will allow you to add larger amounts of protein to your diet without consuming larger amounts of carbohydrates and fats.

As I mentioned earlier, I would opt for rice protein or ideally a rice and pea protein blend, as the amino acid profiles of these two protein sources complement each other very well and are similar to a whey protein in their combination.

What about micronutrient deficiencies?

You've probably heard that avoiding animal products can increase the risk of various nutrient deficiencies. This is true.

Studies show, for example, that many vegans have low levels of the following nutrients:

  • Vitamin D and B12 (24, 25)
  • Iron (26)
  • Calcium (27)
  • Zinc (28)
  • Omega 3 fatty acids such as EPA and DHA (29)

(Of course, many "omnivores" also suffer from numerous nutrient deficiencies (30), which shows that an indiscriminate diet doesn't necessarily contribute to a healthier diet either). You've probably also heard that these nutrient deficiencies, which are common among vegans, can be avoided by simply adding certain foods to your diet. This is a good point, but it is often easier said than done.

For example, the calcium found in some vegetables has a lower bioavailability than the calcium found in dairy products (31) (and in any case, several servings of vegetables are needed to provide the same amount of calcium as a single serving of dairy products).

Many plant sources of iron and zinc are also inferior to animal sources (32), which means that larger amounts of these foods need to be consumed.

The omega-3 fatty acid problem is related to the fact that the primary vegan source of omega-3 fatty acids is alpha-linolenic acid, which is poorly absorbed by the body (33).

All of this means that you have two options if you want to optimize your health and performance on a vegan diet:

  1. A meticulous planning of your diet to include generous amounts of foods rich in the above nutrients.
  2. The use of supplements.

And in some cases, like vitamin D and EPA & DHA, supplementation is the only viable option.

I personally would use option number 2 as this is quite simple and quite inexpensive, but if you refuse to use supplements then you will need to spend some extra time on your nutritional planning to ensure you are getting adequate amounts of the many vital nutrients your body needs.

Examples of vegan bodybuilding nutrition plans

At this point, you may want to see some well put together vegan bodybuilding meal plans, so I'll share two of these here as examples.

Vegan mass building meal plan:

Meal

Foods

kcal

EW

KH

F

breakfast

2 scoops vegan protein powder

200

34

6

2

250 ml rice milk

127

1,1

26,4

2,1

1 medium-sized banana

105

1,2

26,9

0

1-2 scoops of a pre-workout product

5

0

5

0

Total

Meal 1

437

36,3

64,3

4,1

Workout

Post-

2 scoops vegan protein powder

200

34

6

2

Workout

250 ml rice milk

127

1,1

26,4

2,1

Shake

2 medium bananas

210

2,4

53,8

0

100 g blueberries

57

0,8

14,6

0,3

2 tablespoons peanut or almond butter

188

8

6,3

16,1

5 g creatine

0

0

0

0

Multivitamin

0

0

0

0

Total meal

Meal 2

782

46,3

107

20,5

Lunch

170 g seitan

192

36,2

0

2,2

300 g wholemeal wheat pasta (cooked)

373

16,1

79,7

1,7

150 ml pasta sauce

144

2,9

24,4

2,9

½ tablespoon of olive oil with the pasta

60

0

0

7

Dried spices (optional)

4

0

1

0

Total

Meal 3

773

55,2

105,1

13,8

Snack

2 slices of wholemeal bread

160

8

28

0,2

2 tablespoons peanut or almond butter

188

8

6,3

16,1

1 tablespoon of jam

56

0,1

13,8

0

Total

Meal 4

40,4

16,1

48,1

16,3

Dinner

220 g tofu

111

19,5

2,8

4,2

200 g brown rice (cooked)

205

4,1

43,8

1,4

200 g mixed vegetables

68

4,6

13,2

0,6

Lemon juice, dried spices

10

0

2,5

5

Total

Meal 5

294

28,2

62,3

6,2

Total meals

2790

182,1

386,8

60,9

Vegan meal plan for the diet

Meal

Food

kcal

EW

KH

F

breakfast

½ cup oatmeal

150

5

27

3

½ cup strawberries or ¼ cup blueberries

25

0,5

5,9

0,3

Cinnamon, stevia, nutmeg, vanilla extract

10

0

1,3

0

Coffee with 3 tablespoons of soy coffee creamer

45

0

3

3

Total

Meal 1

230

5,5

37,2

6,3

Lunch

2 portions of spicy Szechuan tofu

360

40

44

8

Lemon juice, dried spices

4

0

1

0

Total

Meal 2

364

40

45

8

Pre-

1.5 scoops vegan protein powder

195

37,5

7,5

0,4

Workout

1 cup unsweetened soy milk

80

7

3

4

¾ cup mixed berries

60

0,8

12,8

0,4

1-2 scoops of a pre-workout product

5

0

5

0

Total

Meal 3

340

45,3

28,3

4,8

Workout

Post-

180 gram seitan

226

39,5

7,5

3,7

Workout

3/4 cup cooked lentils or black beans

170

13,4

29

0,6

Dinner

150 grams of mixed vegetables

48

3,8

9,3

0,4

Dried spices

4

0

1

0

Total

Meal 4

448

56,7

46,8

4,7

Snack

1 Rice cracker

35

0

7

0

1 tablespoon peanut or almond butter

94

4

3,2

8,1

Total

Meal 5

129

4

10,2

8,1

Total meals

1151

151,5

167,5

31,9

As you can see, a little work and creativity can go a long way.

The bottom line on vegan bodybuilding

You can build plenty of muscle and strength as a vegan...if you know what you're doing. However, if you're not willing to plan and/or control your calories and macronutrients and eat a handful of basic foods on a regular basis, then you're going to struggle.

The biggest problem is that you won't be eating enough high quality protein and this will inevitably hinder your muscle growth.

However, if you are willing to take your nutritional planning seriously, you will have no problem building muscle - and I hope this article will help you with that.

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19678968
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16365087
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19403715
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8172124
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20977230
  6. http://www.aaccnet.org/publications/cc/backissues/1979/Documents/chem56_389.pd
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11385057
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19589961
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18650557
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19819436
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20378106
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20378106
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19524224
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16965913
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16351761
  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22279666
  17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11880595
  18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12381163
  19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1564573
  20. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12381163
  21. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7596371?dopt=Abstract
  22. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16595782
  23. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/soy/
  24. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21139125v
  25. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12816782
  26. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7956998
  27. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2113912
  28. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12936958
  29. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/82/2/327/4862944
  30. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15699220
  31. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/70/3/543s/471499
  32. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12936958
  33. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16087975

Source: https://www.muscleforlife.com/vegan-bodybuilding/

By Michael Matthews

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