Vegetarianism and Bodybuilding
If you are a vegetarian and you are thinking of pumping iron to put on muscle do not think that you will be defeating the objective because of your lack of protein. There have been many very successful vegetarian bodybuilders that have gone on to become professional bodybuilders.
It may need to bit more care in the meals that you eat as well as require a bit of supplementation but there is no question about it that it can be done. This article is going to cover a few of the basics to get you started. The first point that needs to me made is to take in sufficient 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. Taking in the correct calories in the form of fruit and vegetables is the best way to achieve your objective.
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. The next point is that 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.
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.
It's a very wise move to make use of egg white protein powders and soy products. 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.
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.
Another good protein source that's highly beneficial for vegetarians is tempeh. This one is one that is often overlooked so start finding creative ways to add it to your diet today. Many people find they prefer this over tofu, which is the other main vegetarian option.
Another great food that you'll want to take in are nuts. Nuts provide a healthy source of fat and will provide a long-lasting form of energy as well. One handful will significantly boost your calorie intake and help make muscle gain that much easier.
For your essential fatty acids, since you likely won't be consuming fatty fish or fish oil, turn to flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, and walnuts. Two other vegetables that you'll definitely want to think about adding in higher quantities as well are broccoli and spinach. These both will contain nice doses of calcium, which is another nutrient you may fall short in. In addition to both of these, also think about using a calcium supplement.
A very important supplement that you'll want to use is branched chain amino acids. These you should specifically take immediately before and after the workout is complete as they too will help to safeguard against muscle mass loss.