When you think bodybuilder, a muscle-bulging, Schwarzenegger prodigy probably comes to mind. Yes, they exist. But bodybuilders and fitness competitors come from all different backgrounds and don’t all look, think, train or eat alike. So you can nix the notion that they’re all meat-loving, Neanderthals. In fact, many animal lovers have proven that veganism and bodybuilding can easily go hand-in-hand.
The nutrition needs for a vegan or vegetarian fitness competitor or bodybuilder are special, because they need to pull high-quality protein from sources other than meat or dairy. This rules out all whey protein powders, which are the easiest to find and often have the tastiest flavor varieties. So what’s a no-meat athlete to do?
Vegan or not, all athletes need to meet the same nutritional goals to pack on pounds of lean muscle mass: high protein, low carbs and healthy fats. The biggest difference is you’ll need to get a little more creative. You’ll rely on these foods for energy, muscle-building protein and stomach-filling fiber and fat:
JNL trainer tip: Powdered peanut butter is vegan-friendly, has 85% less fat calories than normal PB and can easily be poured into smoothies, yogurt and just about anything!
2. Omega-rich seeds to sprinkle into smoothies or on top of your morning oatmeal
JNL trainer tip: Add thickness to your vegan smoothies with almond milk, sunflower seeds and fresh or frozen fruit — your body will appreciate the extra vitamins and your taste buds will love the kick of flavor!
5. Healthy oils with medium-chain triglycerides (coconut oil is a tasty choice for cooking) to support a healthy appetite and natural energy levels
JNL trainer tip: Use all oils sparingly, as they are high in calories. A tablespoon or two a day will get the job the done!