It is a misconception that you need to eat meat in order to produce muscle mass for bodybuilding.
Vegetarian bodybuilding can be equally effective in building muscle, as a regular meat eating diet.
Vegetarians also don’t run the risk of consuming too much saturated animal fat which can ultimately lead to cardiovascular problems if eaten excessively.
Vegetarians are not the stereotypical thin and gaunt images that you see portrayed in some media publications. Armed with complete understanding about nutrition, you can create a diet chock-full of healthy nutrients that could help supplement your vegetarian bodybuilding.
There are many misconceptions about vegetarians which is the reason why many people don’t associate them with bodybuilding.
Can Vegetarian Bodybuilders Get Enough protein?
Many people believe that without eating the flesh of an animal, you will not be able to get enough protein and other essential nutrients. That is simply not true when it comes to vegetarian bodybuilding, as you can easily get proteins from other food sources.
Soy products, beans, various grains, eggs and dairy product provide plenty of muscle building proteins.
Of course, many vegetarian bodybuilders drink supplemental shakes with whey protein as well as other important vitamins and minerals like zinc, vitamin B12, iron and more.
While meat can provide those items, it doesn’t provide enough for the recommended daily allowances for bodybuilders. The same applies with other foods that contain those essential vitamins and minerals.
Supplements are important to get enough of the essentials that are lacking in any diet, vegetarian or not.
Building Strength or Muscle Mass?
Vegetarians actually have a better chance of building muscle definition while on their meat-free diet.
Vegetarian bodybuilding means exactly that – building muscle mass and strength based on a diet filled with fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Eating meats can actually slow down your metabolism because it takes so much energy to digest it whereas with a vegetarian diet, your body actually speeds up its digestion.
Vegetarian body building means being creative with meals to ensure that you have plenty of vitamins and minerals represented in the foods you eat. Many body builders who abstain from meat have consulted with nutritionists to ensure that their diet as well as supplements provides what is needed to maintain and grow muscle mass.
A Healthy Alternative
Vegetarianism is actually quite healthy as seen by the much lower cholesterol and blood sugar counts that many vegetarian bodybuilding athletes can attest to! Many meats, even the lean ones have the presence of “bad” cholesterol or LDL which can raise cholesterol and therefore, blood pressure.
In addition, trans-fats and saturated fats are almost a thing of the past when dropping meat from the menu.
All the foods that vegetarians eat along with some supplemental items can more than provide all of the vitamins and minerals that your body needs to succeed at vegetarian body building.
Advantages of a Vegetarian Diet
1. It tends to be lower in cholesterol. High cholesterol diets tend to clog the arteries, increasing the risk of coronary artery disease.
2. It tends to be lower in fat. The typical high fat American diet leads to obesity, heart disease, and other ailments.
3. It tends to contain more complex carbohydrates and fiber (things which decrease the risk of heart disease and cancer).
4. It contains fewer toxins. Hundreds of man-made chemicals are placed in the feed of livestock or injected into their bloodstreams (steroids and other growth hormones, antibiotics, fertility drugs, etc.). All of these chemicals wind up in the animal flesh the consumer purchases.
5. It can be cheaper (have you ever compared the prices of vegetarian entrees at a restaurant with the prices of meat entrees?)
6. It is better for the environment. Millions of acres of forest are cleared every year to create pastures for cattle to graze in.
7. It requires fewer resources. Sixteen pounds of grain go into the production of one pound of beef. If the demand for beef decreased, more grain and soybeans would be available to the hungry of the world.
8. It is kinder to animals. The era when men when out into the wild and killed animals in order to survive is over. At that time, animals lived free until they were killed by man.
Today they are artificially inseminated and suffer terribly in factory farms. There is nothing “natural” about eating meat anymore.