The best way to make vegan bodybuilding success a reality is to develop an effective vegan bodybuilding meal plan for yourself. Do you know what to avoid and what to include? Do you know which foods to eat, when to eat them, and how much? Find out in this article, as we explain why bodybuilding nutrition is important and how to put together a great eating plan.
The biggest mistake people make when it comes to a bodybuilding diet is the way they approach their caloric intake. They either drastically reduce calories or, conversely, increase their caloric intake. This leads to either weight gain or weight loss. It's not desirable, and it can also lead to nutritional deficiencies or even nutrition-related health problems.
The key to any good diet is regulating your intake of calories so that your body receives the right amount on any given day. That's where a good nutrition plan comes in. Bodybuilders need to eat often, which means meals containing more calories (but not more than the typical adult diet) are needed. Those meals also need to be high in protein, complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and natural fibers. These kinds of foods are called "nutrients".
For example, a good meal containing 15 calories, has a fiber content of one gram, contains 5 grams of protein, and contains four grams of complex carbohydrate. Another good meal containing the same amount of calories and containing more protein but less fiber would be another good meal, where the calorie count would be lower (and the calorie content higher). Yet another meal, like this one, containing even more calories would be the worst possible meal for someone trying to lose fat. Because the body can only handle so much at a time, nutrient ratio issues are crucial.
Eating several smaller meals during the day provides the body with a constant supply of nutrients, but there is a bit more to it. You should be able to eat several smaller meals because you need to "trick" your body to save some of its stored energy for the next meal. When your body's metabolism starts to speed up, it starts burning fat stores for energy, even if they are not actively being used. If your muscle glycogen (or glucose) levels are low, your body will use fat stores instead. The trick, then, is to ensure that your body's amino acid profile is consistent all throughout the day, which is why it's so important to maintain a good protein synthesis rate.
But protein synthesis needs to occur, so what foods should you eat? According to one leading bodybuilder, fruits and vegetables are what bodybuilders should eat the most often. Specifically, says Balduzzi, the foods that are "totally awesome" include: peaches, bananas, apples, leafy greens, chicken, brown rice, turkey breast, tuna (although turkey breast isn't something you'll find in the diet), salmon, tofu (just baked), peas, potatoes, lettuce, spinach, mustard, tuna salad, kale, celery, asparagus, broccoli, carrots, parsley, rhubarb leaves, cucumber, zucchini, green beans, parsley, cantaloupe, beets, and alfalfa sprouts. And if all else fails and you want to give your body a boost, protein shakes and powder shakes are recommended, too. Balduzzi also suggests that you avoid fatty foods, dairy products, refined sugars, white flour, fried foods, alcohol and cigarettes at least two hours before you exercise.