Contrary to what you might hear, not all bodybuilders need to eat meat to gain muscle. But going vegetarian does take some specialized strategy.
Make sure you’re prepared each Meatless Monday to get all the valuable muscle-building macros to keep you strong and energized throughout the day. By knowing where your next meal is coming from, you'll be best equipped to be on target with your calorie count. If your macros are on point and you’re not skimping on meals, you will reap the maximum benefits of a meatless diet.
1. Keep snacks handy
Snacks are great ways to avoid energy crashes. A protein bar, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, or nuts will do the trick for a natural and quick pick-me-up.
2. Eat often
Make sure you have a healthy stream of amino acids pumping through you. You don’t have to worry about getting your daily dose of protein in just one meal—spreading out your essential amino acid intakes throughout the day is just as effective and less stressful.
3. Find your whey
Find a protein supplement that works for your body and your taste buds. Whey is a great vegetarian choice, or there are many great plant-based options to choose from such as hemp, pea, and rice protein.
4. Plant your protein
Up your intake of protein-packed plants like legumes, lentils, peas, hemp, and quinoa. You can’t go wrong adding these to any salad, soup, or even finding a veggie burger with those ingredients.
5. Get your aminos
Get your essential amino acids from foods like flax, flaxseed oil, hemp seeds and oil, avocado, eggs, and nut butter.
6. Hit the iron
Mind your iron by eating more dark, leafy vegetables. Spinach and broccoli are great sources of iron while going meatless and will help sustain vital metabolic processes it the body.
7. Go green
Micro-greens such as spirulina and chlorella are nutrient-dense foods, high in protein and key in helping strengthen immunity while bringing down inflammation.
8. Monitor body fat
If you’re concerned about losing muscle mass, knowing your fat percentage and its changes will give you peace of mind. You may feel different with a change in eating habits, so having a stable resource to check your body composition may ease any uncertainty you have about the effects of a plant-based diet.
9. Stay committed to your goals
Remember why you’re doing this. Don’t let others get you down. Stick with like-minded eaters to lessen stress. The meatless movement is steadily gaining momentum, and there are thousands of people out there ready to inspire confidence in your choices.