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Top 11 Muscle Building Tips For Vegetarian

I love how often people are intrigued by the fact that I’m pretty jacked and all VEGAN!  Meat eaters are always asking me what the hell do I eat and other vegans always want to know how I’m able to get so shredded and lean on a completely plant-based diet.

Well, here’s a little “top 11 list” for anyone curious about my vegan bodybuilding “ways.”  Compiled below are my top 10 best tips for vegan athletes on building muscle and leaning down without consuming dead animals.  Here goes!

1. Get Sufficient Calories

The very first thing you must do as a vegetarian bodybuilder is make sure that you get enough calories. If you don’t take in enough calories on a regular basis your body is much more likely to turn to incoming protein for fuel and you very well may see a deficit forming.

2. Consume Plenty Of Fruits And Vegetables

Second, be sure that you are taking in plenty of fruits and vegetables. These are going to supply you with a high quality source of nutrients as well as all the antioxidant protection to keep your immune system feeling strong.

3. Don’t Neglect Chickpeas And Legumes

For vegetarians looking to build muscle, one of the key sources of protein they need to be looking into are chickpeas and other legumes. These will also be a good low-fat source of carbohydrates as well and make for a great snack before a hard workout.

4. Swap Rice For Quinoa

If you’re in the habit of always eating brown rice with your meals, swap that up for some quinoa instead. Quinoa tastes much like brown rice (a combination of brown rice and oatmeal) and is higher in overall protein content than the brown rice. On top of that, quinoa is actually a complete source of protein, whereas brown rice is not. This is important for the process of muscle building to take place.

5. Utilize Egg White Or Soy Protein Powders

Fifth, it’s a very wise move to make use of egg white protein powders, if you eat animal by-products, or soy protein powders if not. These will dramatically help to boost your protein intake and are quick and convenient for when you need them. As long as you do make sure to mix them up with other sources of protein, they are definitely a ‘must-have’ for your daily diet.

6. Avoid A Heavy Reliance On Processed Foods

One big mistake that many vegetarians make is relying a great deal on heavy, overly processed foods. Don’t do this. Remember, being vegetarian doesn’t mean you get free range to eat as many high-carb snack foods as you want. You still do definitely have to be eating healthy and making an effort to maintain a fresh diet that contains whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and nuts.

7.  eat a TON of beans.

To all the dudes reading this, how turned on are you right now?  Seriously though, if you’re wanting to build muscle, get on board the chickpea train! They’re high in protein and an awesome low-fat source of carbs.  I usually eat ’em before I work out (and no, doing that is not a “problem” for me.  I’ve never been a big fan of kidney beans to be honest.  My faves are chickpeas, black beans and most recently, aduki beans.

8. I am the protein powder queen!

Supplementing with a good quality plant-based protein powder will dramatically boost your protein intake.  It’s also a super quick and convenient food item to have on hand and while you’re out.  I’m a big fan of
Vega Sport Performance Protein (829g) Vanilla because it’s low in fat & carbs, loaded with protein and has both BCAAs and glutamine in it– which help with recovery and muscle growth.  I’m also a fan of North Coast Naturals‘ plain brown rice protein powder right before a competition because it doesn’t contain any sodium.

9. I don’t eat processed foods very much.

Processed, packaged foods (although delicious) usually mean high-carb, high-fat, high-sugar or all of the above.  I really make an effort to eat a diet that contains a lot of whole grains, nuts and tons of fresh fruits & veggies.

10.  opt for tempeh over tofu.

Tempeh is another awesome protein source that often gets overlooked–perhaps because it’s harder to find than tofu (at least in Canada.)  Unlike tofu, tempeh is fermented. That means the enzymes in it pre-digest the carbs, protein and fat, so it’s easier to digest and full of fiber and antioxidants.

11.  never skimp on “healthy” fats.

Everyone needs essential fatty acids in their diet and well, since I obviously don’t do “fish oil,” I get mine through good ol’ flax seed oil.  I actually like the taste too.  It’s awesome on oatmeal and gives me a hefty boost of both omega 3s and 6s every morning.