Vegan Bodybuilding

Are vegan bodybuilders just as good?

Can vegans really be competitive, successful bodybuilders? Absolutely! Now, let's be honest. There's no way a vegan bodybuilder is going to look like the women and men competing in the Ms. or Mr. Olympia, but in a natural competition, they can do quite well.

Look, successful bodybuilding is accomplished by maintaining a rigorous exercise and diet regimen, and vegan bodybuilding is no exception. As I mentioned before, a vegan bodybuilder will never look like the folks competing in the Olympia contest, but on a level playing field where all competitors are natural, they can look and be just as muscular as anyone else. Keep in mind that there are people who 'claim' to be natural, but how natural is natural? To some, natural means not taking any illegal substance, and so if it's purchased over the counter so to speak, it's okay and is therefore natural. But to us, the vegan bodybuilding community, or the vegan community at large, natural means something completely different.

The question that typically arises when discussing vegan bodybuilding is, where will you get your protein and is it as complete and effective in building muscles as the animal derived sources? And the short answer is, Soy! I know to many this plant based protein is inferior in it's ability to build muscles as it does not contain all the essential amino acids. But this is simply not true. Unlike other plant based proteins, soy has all that is needed to build lean, 'clean' muscles. Soy has really gotten an unfair rap in the bodybuilding circles, but thanks to recent studies, the truth is finally surfacing. Learn more about soy here.

With the question of protein out of the way, the only other challenge is the actual exercise routine. So then, can a vegan bodybuilder lift as heavy and work as hard as others? Don't know! But I do know this, if they are willing to put the time into preparing a meal plan that is rich in all the essential nutrients and will support a hard training program, they can achieve amazing results. After all, isn't that what bodybuilding is all about, eating right and training hard?

So what would be an effective vegan bodybuilding exercise program? That would depend on the phase, or where an individual is relative to a competition, assuming they're competing. If not, then it's a question of objective. Are you trying to build muscles all year round, or is there ever a time when you'd like to be leaner or more defined?

During the building phase, you will obviously need to consume enough calories (protein, carbohydrates and fat) to support and maintain an exercise routine crafted for gaining muscles. An insufficient or an unbalanced diet will definitely be reflected in the performance and gains in the gym. If you're not feeding the machine (your body) appropriately, it will not be able to live up to the demands of heavy loads, nor will it be able to recover quickly enough to make significant gains.

On the other hand, if the objective is to lean out, your caloric intake will have to be reduced. But it won't be just about calorie reduction, you'll need to adjust the program in the gym as well. The bottom line is, you simply can't lift as heavy or work out as long in the dieting phase as you would in the building phase. You will do more harm than good if this is attempted, so be smart and listen to your body. Employ a shorter work out that includes more repetition and lighter loads. This is the rhythm and natural order of bodybuilding.

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