Thursday, July 30, 2009

Muscle Building and Vegetarian Diet Requirements.

Hello, I am looking for resources on vegetarian bodybuilding, books, etc ... I have had great difficulty finding nutritional information and resources concerning vegetarianism and bodybuilding. The medical professionals tell me to eat red meats and decrease my carbohydrate intake. (By the way, I am a carb addict.) It would be great to find some menu planning options. I am sure I'm not the only guy in this boat. Any assistance you may be able to offer will be greatly appreciated. Dave

Being a vegetarian athlete in any form requires an understanding of the important role nutrition plays in achieving optimal fitness and athletic abilities. As you have found out, a direct relationship exists between diet and physical performance. Heavy physical activity requires an increase in nutritionally dense calories and a higher fluid intake. Careful planing of what you eat and drink is essential.

Your energy exertion has to be in balance with your calorie intake. An imbalance will result in weight loss in you don't consume enough calories, or weight gain if you consume too much. If you notice your weight going in the wrong direction, adjustments to your diet and activity levels need to be made.

Many vegetarian athletes do not realize that they digest their foods more quickly than non-vegetarian athletes. This means that you will need to eat more often to compensate for the higher energy needs of an athlete or bodybuilder.

Maintaining variety and balance in the foods you eat is also important. While you may need to increase your protein intake, it probably is not as much as you think. As long as athletes consume an adequate amount of daily calories, there is no need to increase protein intake except when engaging in long-distance endurance activities or heavy-duty weight training.

Only under these extreme conditions do athletes need to pump up the protein. Otherwise the excess protein will be broken down and what is not burned for energy will be turned into fat.

The best way to build muscles is by strength-training and building exercises, and eating a balanced diet. You will also need to increase your intake of complex carbohydrates to prevent loss of lean muscle tissue. In fact, according to the Journal of the American Dietetic association, "athletes who wish to increase muscle mass should meet their energy requirements first, through an adequate intake of carbohydrate, and then check that they have met their protein needs."

Basically, dietary composition should consist of 60-70% carbohydrates, 10-20% protein, and no more than 30% fat (preferable monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) of total daily calories. Remember that protein and carbohydrates have 4 calories for each gram, while fat has 9 calories for each gram.

For information about vegetarian nutrition and sports, read ...
The Vegetarian Sports Nutrition Guide: Peak Performance for Everyone from Beginners to Gold Medalists by Lisa Dorfman

For information about vegan diets and athletes, read ...
Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life by Brendan Braizier

Vegan + Sports . Vegan Nutrition and Endurance Sports by Arnold Wiegand

For great vegetarian and vegan recipes, read my book ... 
Virtues of Soy: A Practical Health Guide and Cookbook

Also, check out my Q&A's:

For an inspirational list of vegetarian athletes, "I'm a teen athlete - Do I "need" things from meat because of my age?"

For information about Vegetarian Nutrition and Athletes "Protein & Weight Gain"

For more inspiration, go to these two vegetarian bodybuilders websites.

Steve Holt's Vegetarian Bodybuilder at ...

Jane Black: Champion Weightlifter and Vegan Activist at ...

Want to improve your health naturally,
feel energetic, stress-free and full of life?

Get the guidance and encouragement you need to 
achieve your goals.

Click here to learn more about Monique N. Gilbert's
Personal Health, Nutrition & Wellness Writing.


Monique N. Gilbert, BSc. has offered guidance in health, nutrition, fitness and stress management since 1989. Through her writings, Monique motivates and teaches how to improve your well-being, vitality and longevity with balanced nutrition, physical activity and healthy stress-free living.


Copyright © 2000-2011 by Monique N. Gilbert.
All Rights Reserved.
Permission must be obtained to use information from this blog.

This blog is only intended to offer health information to help you understand the benefits of a healthy diet and lifestyle. It is not intended to diagnose, dispense medical advise or prescribe the use of diet as a form of treatment for illness without medical approval. In the event you use this information without a health practitioner's approval, you are prescribing for yourself, which is your right. However, the publisher and author assume no responsibility.