When you think of the average bodybuilding diet, things like plant-based foods probably aren’t the first to mind. Most people see bodybuilders and assume their diet comprises thick steaks, chicken, and plenty of protein shakes. However, more people are choosing plant-based diets than ever. There are approximately 79 million people across the globe who follow a vegan diet–including some bodybuilders!
How Do You Achieve Bodybuilding Goals With a Plant-Based Diet?
Whether you want to live a vegan lifestyle or limit your meat intake, there’s good news: You can still achieve your bodybuilding goals with plant-based foods. You can still get the nutrition you need to stay healthy while making significant gains and feeling your best. Therefore, more bodybuilders must adopt a plant-based lifestyle. Not only is it healthy and good for the environment, but it will also show others that there’s no need to stigmatize this diet. If you’re considering a plant-based diet, let’s cover a few tips to make it easy to reach your goals while still feeling satisfied.
Eat Protein –
The most significant concern most bodybuilders face when looking at plant-based diets is whether they’ll be able to get enough protein. You can get plenty of it from lean meats and fish. However, there are plenty of plant-based sources of protein that are often underappreciated and under-used. Some of the best to include in your diet are:
- Soy milk
- Nuts and nut butter
- Chia seeds
The best part about these sources is that we can use them in various ways, allowing you to get creative with your preparation. Tofu, for example, can be made to taste “just like chicken” with the right seasonings. Likewise, you can add lentils and beans to a soup or stew to give it a heartier texture. And, of course, who doesn’t love classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich?
Protein is necessary for building muscle, but it’s only part of the equation. In addition, things like sleep and recovery time are crucial for muscle repair and growth. With that in mind, it’s essential to focus on whole-body health while you’re on a plant-based diet, rather than only focusing on your muscle-building goals.
Stay Balanced –
No matter how many gains you get and how strong you become, you will not perform or feel well if you don’t take care of your overall health and well-being. If you’re choosing a plant-based diet, you’ve already done your research on some of the health benefits. For example, it can reduce inflammation, improve kidney function, and lower your risk of diseases like type 2 diabetes.
However, your diet is only part of the overall equation once again. Preventive healthcare is essential when living a healthy life and having a successful career as a bodybuilder. That includes practicing daily habits that prioritize your health, including exercise, sleeping, and managing your mental well-being.
It also includes regularly participating in physical health screenings and mental wellness checks. By seeing your doctor once a year (including dentists and eye doctors), you’ll be able to monitor and maintain your health and catch any problems before they become too serious.
Preventative healthcare encourages you to live an active, healthy life. No matter what your goals are now, choosing to adopt this lifestyle will help you healthily meet them while remaining healthy for the rest of your life.
Be Consistent –
Far too often, bodybuilders go on diets to reach their goals. You’ve probably had to do it before. Maybe you had to cut weight before a performance or even a fight. Or, maybe you’ve gone on a “bulking” diet to add muscle mass or weight.
If you’re considering changing your eating habits to feature more plant-based foods, take the word “diet” out of your vocabulary. Instead, think of your eating habits as a lifestyle choice. When you take the right approach, you’re more likely to stick with your new habits than “fall off the wagon” because of too much pressure. For example, consider the following as you change a plant-based lifestyle.
- Why do you want to do it?
- Are you willing to start small?
- How can you create a healthy food environment?
- Who will be in your support system?
The Last Word on Achieving a Bodybuilding Goal with Plant-Based Foods
When you have strong convictions about why you want to stick with a plant-based lifestyle and have people in your corner to help, you will make it easier to keep your health on track and reach your goals. It will also make it easier to fight back against any social stigmas you might face from others in the industry. By taking a healthy approach to plant-based eating, you can help change how we view the average bodybuilding diet and do wonders for your health.