Rich Roll trains four hours each day and eats only plant-based foods. Rich is 46 years old and fitter than he has ever been. Robert Cheeke has been building vegan muscle for nearly 25 years and his favorite foods are Indian, Thai, Japanese and Ethiopian. Torre Washington has been a proud vegan since a pivotal day in 1998, getting stronger and leaner with each passing day and without supplements.
Stories of successful vegan athletes are plentiful but what makes the above examples so remarkable is that each of these men is a world-class competitive bodybuilder. A common misconception is that, for building significant muscle mass, a serious athlete must rely upon proteins such as beef, chicken, bison, eggs and other animal-based foods. Reasons for adopting the vegan lifestyle often include ethical or environmental concerns, but these successful bodybuilders found that it can also seriously raise an athlete’s game by uniquely strengthening muscles. As they have proven, a natural diet centered around consumption of optimal levels of plant protein really is healthiest and most beneficial for a bodybuilder.
Here are four fundamental steps for adoption of the vegan diet:
• Commit to a Plan
Research options and develop a comprehensive plan that takes into account individual dietary restrictions, schedule and any potential difficulties or pitfalls. Once a plan is set, do not quickly experiment with tweaks or expect too much, too soon. Be strict and consistent with all workout sessions and eating habits and, instead of relying on potentially-harmful bodybuilding supplements, stick to a personalized strategy.
• Eliminate any Protein Obsession
Fitness fanatics and bodybuilders often obsess over their protein intake and turn to unnecessary and/or unhealthy sources (i.e., supplements), which take a long-term toll on their bodies. As part of a strict vegan diet, eating optimal amounts of plant-based foods can provide a sufficient amount of protein so there is no need to worry. Simply eat enough whole and natural vegan foods and remain committed to a sensible workout routine.
• Choose Healthy Foods
Stock up on select nutrient-rich plant-based foods to meet the body’s calcium, zinc, iron, potassium and vitamin A requirements. By sticking with foods like whole grains, fruits and vegetables, legumes and healthy fats (particularly nuts, seeds and avocados), a vegan is able to remain healthy while also satisfying her or his appetite. A plant-based diet that involves a rotation of diverse vegan foods can satisfy the nutrient, protein and calories needs of every training athlete.
In order for muscle growth to take place, a caloric surplus is required. Therefore, a vegan must be vigilant with food selections and choose calorie-rich foods such as peanut butter, seeds, soymilk and nuts. It is also important to eat every two to three hours…breakfast, lunch and dinner and 100-200 calorie snacks between full meals. Replenishment following workouts is essential with vegetables, fruits and healthy paleo protein bars.
More Americans—from newly-committed weekend warriors to professional bodybuilders—are discovering that a vegan diet is not only delicious and nutritious but also facilitates muscle growth and maintenance. Initiating and sustaining a comprehensive and life-changing plant-based food plan has never been simpler or more convenient, thanks to 22 Days Nutrition.
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