Let’s talk vegetarian and vegan body building, and general health and fitness.
Now, over the past year or two as far as my online presence and business focus goes, I’ve been talking a lot about weight loss. Since becoming more involved in the fitness related social networks, micro blogging and so forth, I became more aware of the amount of misinformation (or perhaps, disinformation) being spread, ranging from just over complicated or inaccurate advice all the way through to the promotion of dangerous and damaging unhealthy approaches.
The line between what is just inaccurate or unhelpful and what is dangerous and damaging is vague and blurry. There are any number of different dieting strategies people could adopt and be successful with, but whenever the message is “you must cut out these foods, and you cannot do it without these other foods” we’re straight into inaccurate territory. For people who think “well that’s easy enough, I can do that” it’s all well and good.
More often though, people already doubt themselves and their ability to succeed. You throw a lot of rules and restrictions at them and they doubt their ability to stick to them. They try to force themselves to stick to them, inevitably fail, and then things get messy as people start to associate feelings of guilt or inadequacy with eating and before you know it… actually I double the general public really has any idea how rife this is and what a serious health and mental health issue it has become. If you’re active in or have browsed the supposed “health and fitness” or weight loss tags of the various blogging platforms, you’ll know what I’m talking about already. It is most concerning.
I digress a little especially as I’m supposed to be talking about vegetarian fitness and body building or body sculpting, but my point is that all these rules and restrictions aren’t at all necessary and the responsible message that people in the business (or anyone else) should be promoting is that as long as you know your nutritional requirements (and limits) you really can meet them with your choice of foods and nothing needs to be off limits entirely.
Now watch how smoothly I tie all this together and turn it into a post about vegetarian fitness.
So like I said earlier, I talk and write a lot about weight loss and I’ve become very successful in using Flexible Dieting principles (aka IIFYM) combined with strategic and methodical training to produce some truly amazing results in weight loss, body sculpting and re-composition with clients all around the world. For myself though, my interest is in getting bigger, stronger and more symmetrically proportioned while still remaining relatively lean; known to the general public as “body building” although truth be told I do not really take this anywhere near to the level required to get on stage and compete.
Also, I happen to be a vegetarian at least 99% of the time.
Now, talking earlier about all these unnecessary rules and restrictions, who out there would possibly get told “you can’t do it that way” more than someone trying to get big and strong on a vegetarian diet? Well… you’ve got your vegans I suppose, that’s about it. The point remains the same though. Regardless of the goal, if you know your nutritional requirements you can build your own plan to meet them with your choice of foods. You do need to know those requirements, and you do need to plan and ensure that you meet them… it requires some effort but it is entirely doable for anyone who is serious about trying.
Of course… you also need an awesome training program.
But protein though?
All you vegetarians and vegans out there are already sick of being asked this annoying question by people who suddenly think they’re a nutritionist as soon as they find out you don’t like chewing on animals. Right? Back in my corporate days, as soon as I got a sniffle some joker would instantly chime in with the old “it’s because you don’t get enough protein” line. I’ve ranted about this so many times in the past already. Really though? Because I could tell them exactly how much protein I was getting on a daily basis, due to actually having a nutrition plan I’d created to meet my needs. Also I could probably lift them up over my head and throw them across the room, or tear their arm off and beat them with the wet end if they keep trying to lecture me about things they know nothing about.
If you’re a lacto-ovo vegetarian… no problem at all, because that means you’ve got your eggs and dairy as protein sources. You can always supplement with whey, soy or other forms of protein shakes if you need to bring up your protein intake. Vegans, you’ve still got your pulses, nuts and seeds and there are now some pretty nice tasting plant based protein supplements available as well.
Something I have been reading up on a little bit lately and trying to get an even better understanding of is the way the human body can actually synthesise protein for itself. What this means is that as long as you’re getting your 9 Essential Amino Acids, your body can synthesise whatever else it needs to produce a complete protein. There is no scarcity of plant based sources for these Essential Amino Acids, and as a vegan these sources will make up the majority of your total daily calorific intake.
In other words you have very little to worry about, if anything at all.
A good, varied vegetarian or vegan diet will also mean an excellent micronutrition (that means vitamins and minerals) profile, as well. One could safely bet, much better than those of the average misinformed meat eater lecturing you about protein as if it is the only important aspect of nutrition.