Category Archives: VEGAN

Bodybuilding The Vegan Way, Part II: Eating To Maximize Muscle Gains

I will go on the record in saying that nutrition is the most important part of the muscle building equation. What you put into your mouth will determine the gains that you make from intense workouts in the gym and how you recover and build muscle away from the gym.

Nutrition is important for every bodybuilder and especially for vegan athletes and trainees. Building an impressive physique is possible while adhering to a Vegan diet and lifestyle, but careful planning is necessary to maximize testosterone and insulin production and to maximize recovery.

If you are currently following the workout program that I created in Part I, then you are doing all you need to in the gym to stimulate new muscle growth. With your workouts well underway, it is important to maximize your time away from the gym and your training table (meals for the week).

I will admit that there certain benefits as far as testosterone release and absorption that occur with meat and whey protein consumption. As a vegan, I do not eat any of these products or any product that comes from an animal source.

My reasons are based on my own morals and ethics which is not to say that I look down upon those who do not follow my lifestyle, it is just that I personally feel that abusing and killing animals for personal gain is not something that I want to be affiliated with.

Even if you do not believe in my lifestyle choice, I still believe that the principles and base for my nutrition program can be taken and used for your benefit. Again, my goal is to promote a vegan lifestyle and to show that it is possible to achieve great gains while holding to a vegan lifestyle.

I am not making judgments, just creating an awareness and providing a resource for those who are vegan, are interested in becoming vegan or those who would like to learn how I build my physique while living a vegan lifestyle.

Eating Vegan has become simpler in recent years with the increase in awareness and a more mainstreaming of Vegan lifestyles. Most commercial-chain supermarkets have Organic sections and there is an increase in the amount of natural and organic markets throughout the United States. Everyone Vegan or non-Vegan can reap the benefits of eating natural and organic foods.

Soy is my staple protein source. Much has been researched on soy and its effect on estrogen levels and it has been concluded that soy is healthy for males and will not effect estrogen levels to a drastic degree.

With that said, I also use Rice protein. Hemp protein is another great protein source, and in the near future Hemp protein shakes may soon replace soy protein shakes in my diet.

Nutritional Principles & Guidelines

Just because I am Vegan, does not mean that I do not follow the same guidelines as champion bodybuilders when it comes to nutrition. In fact, just the opposite is true. I still eat the same way that professional bodybuilders do, the only difference is that all of my protein sources are non-meat and non-dairy and do not contain any animal, or animal by-product.

Also, all of the food in my diet is organic and contains only natural ingredients. I follow the following basic guidelines in setting up my nutrition plan and I suggest you do the same in yours.

/ Eat Small, Frequent Meals

I eat 6 to 8 times per day which equates to roughly every 2 to 4 hours. It is important to keep a constant influx of nutrients (protein, calories, healthy fats, complex and low-glycemic carbohydrates) in your body to maintain a positive nitrogen balance.

Not only will your metabolism and fat-burning capabilities increase, you will have the nutrients needed to fuel muscle growth and recover so you can workout harder the next time you hit the gym.

/ Eat Your Bodyweight In Grams Of Protein

I strive for 1-1.5 grams per pound of bodyweight in grams of protein. For example, in the off-season I weigh anywhere between 180 and 185 pounds. This past off-season I was in the 180 pound range which equates to 180 grams of protein per day. This is spread out between the 6 meals that I eat in a day which comes to an average of 30 grams of protein per meal.

/ Carbohydrates Are Crucial To Muscle Growth

The great thing about a Vegan diet, is the fact that I eat organic foods. When it comes tocarbohydrates, I only eat organic whole-grain breads which provide plenty of fiber and low-glycemic carbohydrates that keep blood sugar levels even. When in a mass building phase, I strive for 2 to 3 grams of carbohydrates per pound of bodyweight which comes out to 360 to 540 grams per day. I usually aim for the lower amount.

/ Eat Enough Calories

This is the biggest problem of most hard-gainers and can be especially tricky for Vegans. The reason is not a lack of meals, but the fact that are diets are high in fiber and low in overall calories, due to the abundance of fruits and vegetables.

It is important to take in 15 to 20 calories per pound of bodyweight. Start at the lower number and adjust up or down based on the progress that you are making. If gains are coming well and your body looks to be gaining muscle with a minimal gain in body fat, maintain or even slightly up your caloric intake. If the opposite is occurring, lower the calories until the desired effects are occurring.

/ Fat Should Comprise Roughly 30% Of Overall Calories

The positive to a Vegan diet is that the fats consumed are of the healthy kind; mainly Omega-5 from nuts.

The Nutrition Plan

Now that I have addressed the 5 guidelines that I follow in creating my nutrition plan it is time to see what it looks like. I have laid out a typical off-season meal plan for me. I usually eat roughly the same each day, but I do change things up occasionally and my overall calories may vary slightly from day to day.

Meal One: 8 a.m.
Meal Two: 11 a.m.

Or

Meal Three: 2 p.m. Pre-workout

Or

Meal Four: 4 p.m. Post-workout

Or

Meal Five: 6 p.m.
    • Tofu

      Tofu

      6 oz

      mixed with organic vegetables

Or

Or

  • Salad

    Soy Cheeseburger Patties

Meal Six: 10 p.m.
    • Peanut Butter

      Peanut Butter

      2 Tbls.

    • Soy Shake

      Soy or Hemp Shake

      20 grams

      mixed in 8oz of soy milk

Or

Cheat Meals

In the off-season I do not deprive myself of any foods that I crave or feel like having. Soy ice cream is my biggest vice and when not dieting for a photo shoot or bodybuilding show it is not uncommon for me to have a few scoops around 8 p.m.

The key is moderation and taking the time to enjoy your cheat food. Take the time to savor each bite and enjoy the flavor; doing so will allow your brain time to find comfort in the taste and by eating slowly your body will have time to tell you that you are full and do not want or crave any more.

Beverages

With the exception of protein shakes and my post-workout organic soda, I have not listed what I drink throughout the day. This is because how much fluids I drink depends on how thirsty I am. I only drink when I am thirsty. My choices are water (I flavor my water with lemon) and green tea from tea leaves.

I drink roughly 1.5 to 2 liters of fluids each day. This number includes water, soy milk, green tea and soy protein shakes. I gauge my hydration by the color of my urine. I make sure that my urine is pale yellow to clear in color. As long as it is and I am not thirsty, I drink only when I feel thirst.

Meals On Non-Training Days

On my off days I still eat the same type of meals. The only exception is that I do not have organic soda. The times of my meals after 2 p.m. changes as well in the following way:

Meal Three: 2 p.m.
Meal Four: 6 p.m.

On my training day Meal Four is eaten at 5 p.m.

Meal Five: 8 p.m.
Meal Six: 10 p.m.

This is how I eat on a typical day. This plan has allowed me to gain quality muscle while still being able to stay fairly lean during my bulking phases. The foods taste good and at no point do I ever feel like I am missing anything.

Conclusion

There you have it. You are now well on your way to building a great body the Vegan Way!!! Be prepared to feel great, have energy you never had before and make the best gains of your life!!! Thank you for taking the time to read my articles.

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Bodybuilding The Vegan Way, Part I: The Workout

Vegan Lifestyle

Vegetarianism, more specifically a vegan lifestyle has gotten more mainstream attention in recent years and I am writing this article in an effort to show how it is possible to adhere to a vegan lifestyle and still make great gains as a bodybuilder.

It is my goal to show how a vegan lifestyle can still help bodybuilders make great gains but in no way am I attempting to push my beliefs and lifestyle on anyone. This article is for anyone who is interested in a vegan bodybuilding lifestyle and those who would like to know more about being a vegan bodybuilding.

This article is the first of many installments that I will be writing over the course of the year. In this first part I will highlight workouts that will help vegan bodybuilders build muscle.

Vegan Workouts

It is tempting to try the workouts that are listed in many of the muscle magazines. However, it is important for vegans to realize that their lifestyle and nutrition programs do not support the recoverynecessary to train with high volume and frequency. I can vouch to this from experience.

It does not take much to stimulate muscle growth, heavy weight and low reps will get the job done. It is important to keep workouts under 45 minutes. Most of my workouts last only 30-to-35 minutes. Later on in the year toward “beach season” I will highlight workouts and routines to help shed body fat and cut up but the main point of this article is to build muscle.

How much, if any cardio to be done is based on the individual. When I bulk up I do not do any cardio at all, but I would say that those who would like to do cardio, do 2-to-3 sessions of 15-to-20 minutes at a low intensity per week. The bike, elliptical or walking or jogging on the treadmill are great choices.

Keep the intensity, frequency and duration low. Also, make sure to have a vegan-friendly protein shake (soy, rice, hemp) 20 minutes before doing cardio to prevent any muscle loss during the cardio workout.

Weight Lifting Guidelines

  1. Work each body part once per week.
  2. Keep workouts under 45 minutes.
  3. Lift heavy weight and low reps.
  4. Perform 3-to-4 exercises for large muscle groups and 2-to-3 exercises for smaller muscle groups.
  5. I keep my repetitions between 4-and-6 for core lifts (Bench Press, Deadlift and Squats) and 6-to-10 for all other lifts.

The Workout Split

The following is the way that I split my workouts up. If I have time and my schedule allows for it, I do two separate workouts with a workout for the first body part of the day in the morning and the workout for the other muscle group to be worked that I perform later in the evening.

  • Sunday: Off
  • Monday: Chest & Triceps
  • Tuesday: Back & Biceps
  • Wednesday: Off
  • Thursday: Legs & Abs
  • Friday: Shoulders & Traps
  • Saturday: Off

The Workouts

I used to have workouts set in stone and I never varied from them, but after having seven years of training under my belt, I have become more aware of my body and in-tune to how I feel. Now I go into the gym with a plan and goal of what I want to achieve but I listen to my body and adjust the sets, reps and exercises that I perform based on how I feel on that given day.

For example with chest I may have planned to do the barbell bench press, incline dumbbell presses and dumbbell flyes, but for some reason my body tells me that the flyes are not going to happen today, I switch to the cable cross-over or pec-deck flye instead.

With all of that said, here are my typical workouts with each body part with the substitutions that I use for certain exercises.

Monday: Chest & Triceps
Tuesday: Back & Biceps
Thursday: Legs & Abs
Friday: Shoulders & Traps

Conclusion

There you have it. This is how I work out and this workout will definitely help you to maximize your gains, minimize your time in the gym and maximize your recovery potential which leads to the growth of new muscle tissue.

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