Vegan Bodybuilding for Body Transformation
Vegan bodybuilders – does that sound like a contradiction to you?
Can you build muscle even if you do not eat animal protein?
And what if you have no interest in bodybuilding, but only want to change your physique from obese to fit, will vegetables help or will you starve to death on plant-based foods?
After many decades of seemingly endless obesity, while I was staring at a blueberry muffin I craved at midnight one fateful evening in 2012, I finally thought of an idea that led me to transform my body from obese to fit in only 6 months.
However, whenever I spoke with people about a real food plant-based diet, meaning vegetables, as the key to body transformation, to say that there was a lot of derision is an understatement.
But more evidence keeps unfolding that shows the benefits of real food plant-based nutrition, not only to lose weight but even to gain muscle, a lot of it.
It is interesting to note now how many vegan bodybuilders are actually using a plant-based diet to fuel their muscle growth, such as:
Nimai Delgado IFBB Pro Bodybuilder
Nimai is the first vegan male professional bodybuilder to compete in the IFBB, the prestigious International Federation of Bodybuilding.
He is also a famous Instagram star and has appeared on the cover of Muscle & Fitness, the first vegan ever to do so.
You might wonder how is it possible that Delgado grew up in America without ever having a piece of meat.
The answer is that Nimai grew up on a Hare Krishna farm in South Mississipi.
His parents from Argentina had converted from Catholicism to Hinduism and raised him as a lifelong vegetarian.
Nimai Delgado has a fascinating and inspiring story of the benefits of a healthy vegan lifestyle that he reveals in this Google talk:
“How Eating Plants Changed My Life – How It Could Change Yours” | Talks at Google
Powerlifter, Strongman, and Vegan Bodybuilder Patrik Baboumian
Patrik Baboumian is a powerlifter, strongman competitor and bodybuilder.
He is also known as ‘Germany’s Strongest Man’ after winning the German Strongman Nationals in 2011.
Baboumian became a vegetarian in 2005 and went vegan in 2011.
He did not get weaker.
Instead, he beat his own record in 2015 with a yoke walk carrying 1,230 pounds.
As a vegan powerlifter, Patrik achieved the following personal records:
- Squat: 820 lbs (370 kg)
- Bench Press: 474 lbs (215 kg)
- Deadlift: 790 lbs (360 kg)
555 kg (1223.57 lbs) 2013 World Record Yoke Walk by Vegan Strongman Patrik Baboumian
Vegan bodybuilders reveal how they got ripped by eating just vegetables ¹
The new tribe of body-builders, who abstain from meat and swear by the power of a vegan diet, are gaining popularity on social media and taking the bodybuilding and fitness world by storm.
Can Vegans Be Bodybuilders?
One man flying the flag for body-building is 25-year-old Max Seabrook.
This fitness fanatic says going vegan was the ‘best decision of my life’.
Veggie-powered 25-year-old Max Seabrook is from Kent, England, and describes turning vegan as the ‘best decision’ of his life
What Do Vegan Bodybuilders Eat?
In Germany, heavily tattooed Arvid Beck, 33, from Düsseldorf, says he packs his diet with legumes, grains, and oatmeal to help maintain a buff physique.
Talking of his vegan fitness lifestyle he says: ‘My body is fuelled by plants and compassion.’
Arvid Beck’s Vegan Bodybuilding Meal Plan
This is an example of what fat-burning and muscle-building vegans eat:
- wheat germ,
- bananas and
- blueberries or cherries
- A combination of grains,
- legumes and
- rice with lentils, curry, and cauliflower
- Similar to lunch, or
- a huge salad with a variety of legumes
Vegan Bodybuilder Barny du Plessis
Last year, Mr. Universe was won by Norwich-based Barny du Plessis, who says ditching meat from his diet has helped give him more energy and improved his recovery times after exercise.
He is an excellent example of gaining muscle without eating meat.
Following a vegan bodybuilder’s plant-based diet, Barny has seen his body gain even more body weight, spurring him on to continue competing.
Also, the drastic diet change and his bodybuilding success inspired him to open a stall dedicated to vegan produce in his hometown of Norwich.
Barny du Plessis follows a vegan bodybuilders diet and still competes
Image Credit – MailOnline
Although not exclusively for vegans, The Naturally Fit Games, a sporting event held in Austin, Texas, has seen a rising number of plant-powered bodybuilders and athletes competing.
Erin Fergus, 31, from Greenville, in South Carolina, is one such body-builder, who last year won first place in the novice heavyweight bodybuilding category at the competition.
She saw her new diet pay off when she won a novice heavyweight body-building competition.
‘I wanted to prove that a body can be powered by and built on nothing but cruelty-free, plant-based foods,’ she explains.
The Story of 78-year-old Jim Morris Vegan Bodybuilder
Protein for Vegan Bodybuilders
Despite the common wisdom that meat equals muscle mass, nutritionist Michelle Storfer explains that a plant-powered diet can be equally efficient.
‘There’s certainly no need to eat meat to build muscle!’ she explains.
‘An athletic career can be fuelled through intelligent nutrition on a plant-based diet lifestyle.’
‘There is a collective fear among the Western world, that if we’re not eating animal products, then we won’t get enough protein but quite the opposite can be true.
But Michelle suggests that in order to sustain a competitive bodybuilding career, there would need to be much more careful consideration and planning to be taken into account to meet one’s needs through ‘plant-based protein’ alone.
‘Through a well-balanced diet based on whole foods, with the optional inclusion of a vegan protein supplement bodybuilders can consume more than sufficient protein to build muscle.’
For Erin, that diet includes a mixture of almond milk, rice cakes, and lots of berries.
‘I love protein “ice cream”,’ she says, ‘It’s a simple blend of protein powder, almond milk, and any berries or nut butter of choice.
‘Another weird concoction that I love is two rice cakes crumbled into my protein shake left to soak overnight.
It tastes like the bottom of an ice cream cone when it gets soggy from the ice cream.
‘I also love my oatmeal mixed with protein powder and topped with berries for breakfast.’
Image Credit – The Daily Mail
Dani & Giacomo
Body beauties couple Dani Taylor, 29, and Giacomo Marchese, 34, swear by their plant-powered way of life and run an all-vegan online shop
Bodybuilders and partners in business and love, Dani Taylor, 29, and Giacomo Marchese, 34, also swear by their plant-powered way of life and have launched Veganproteins.com, an online all-vegan supplement shop.
‘Our goals change quite a bit throughout the year whether it is the off-season or we are preparing for a competition’ explains Dani.
‘But by having a flexible approach to nutrition we are able to enjoy foods we love and still have social lives, while still reaching our goals.’
Image Credit: Graphicole, Cole Harper
The couple has also founded PlantBuilt, an online movement of vegan athletes, with 65,000 Instagram followers.
They say their romance has spurred them on when it comes to diet, fitness, and establishing their business.
‘When you find someone who feels passionately about the same things, you become a team that can make big changes together.
We follow a flexible dieting approach.
‘Our nutritional goals change quite a bit throughout the year, but by using this approach, we are able to enjoy foods we love and still have social lives, while still reaching our goals.’
Apart from supplements, the pair pack their diet with plant foods such as:
- hemp seeds,
- green beans,
- peanut butter,
- extra firm tofu,
- black bean pasta,
- and berries
Plant-Based Diet What I Eat in a Day
Vegan Bodybuilders – Final Thoughts
There is magnificent power in plant foods.
It is time that you discover it for yourself.
Real food aka a plant-based diet can catapult you to the IFBB, powerlifting, or great feats of strength.
Animal foods are not a requirement to sculpt your best physique ever.
And if all you want to do is to lose weight, plant-based nutrition has you covered there too.
No matter what, do what your mother and grandma told you – eat your vegetables!
Interested in trying on a plant-based bodybuilding meal plan?
Explore the benefits and drawbacks of plant-based nutrition for vegan bodybuilders, a 7-day food plan, and a grocery list to fuel your gains with this next article:
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- Strength Training vs Bodybuilding: What’s The Difference?
- CrossFit vs Bodybuilding: Differences + Which Is Better For You
- What Is Carb Cycling: How To Guide + Meal Planner
- Powerlifting vs Bodybuilding – Differences, Pros + Cons