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Vegan Bodybuilding - Can Vegans Be Bodybuilders?

May 26, 2008
Can you bodybuild and still be a vegetarian? If you have not looked at the possibility, you are probably among the majority of people who do not consider vegans to be able to be body builders. The prevailing culture for the most part believes that a vegetarian diet lacks all of the nutrients needed for a healthy body and that such a diet cannot produce the lean musclesought after by body builders.

We have a tendency to think of a vegan body builder as the 98 pound weakling on the beach taking another face full of sand. Vegan bodybuilders are quickly correcting this view.

Vegetarian diets exclude all animal products including meat, milk, and dairy derivatives. Many meat eaters think that a vegetarian diet is inferior when it comes to building muscle just because it lacks animal protein. However, there are many complementary sources of vegetable protein available.

Protein is used by the body to repair torn muscle fibre and to boost the immune system as well as to build lean muscle mass. It is also important for the bodybuilder choosing a vegetarian lifestyle to make sure that he or she is getting sufficient quantities of other necessary nutrients in their diet.

A well balanced vegetarian diet contains all of the essential amino acids used by the body for the synthesis of protein. There are also numerous vegetarian protein supplements available in the markets so vegetarian body builders should have no problem fulfilling the body's requirement for protein.

While supplements can play an important dietary role in a vegan bodybuilding diet plan, you can also obtain many necessary nutrients from fresh fruit and vegetable juices, Gatorade and Spirtein. Soy products are also a great source of protein, not only for vegetarians but for anyone wanting a more heart healthy lifestyle. Nuts are also a delicious alternative source of protein that are sometimes overlooked.

Vegetarian diets are not without controversy for muscle building. In spite of the recognized health benefits of soy, some critics claim that soy may have long-term negative effects. There is more evidence of its health benefits however than of any harmful side effects. Each person thinking about a vegan diet for muscle building should do some independent research and then make up their own minds.

Adequate nutrition is more important to muscle building than the amount of time in the gym or even what you do there. Basic bodybuilding requires that you consume more calories than you burn or else you lose weight. If you are not eating enough, the more you workout, the more weight you lose! For vegetarians, this means you have to eat a lot of fresh foods and use protein replacement products.

Protein replacement products are not to be confused with the muscle building supplements sold in muscle magazines and on the internet to those people looking for a magic pill. There is no magic pill and for the most part the supplements are useless and sometimes actually harmful.

It can get discouraging to look through those magazines and see the ads for the latest "muscle enhancing" supplement and the accompanying photos of beautiful physiques. Keep in mind that while the buffed bodies are nice to look at they are not attainable by the every day builder and the ads are targeted toward the normal meat-eating, supplement-using muscle builder.

If a magazine or web site is not advocating natural bodybuilding, you need to look elsewhere. There are many good sources of guidance for the vegetarian bodybuilder and you do not need to pay attention to the steroid and HGH peddlers. Just make certain that you consume adequate nutrients and supplements in the right quantity to give you the beautiful sculpted body you desire!
About the Author
Discover how to become a natural bodybuilder with reviews of top bodybuilding programs like Muscle Gaining Secrets - written by a vegan bodybuilder - on Gerry's blog at Muscle-Building-Reviews.com.
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