One of the most important food sources that can help one build muscles or bodybuilding is Protein. Mostly, non-vegetarian foods are extremely rich in Protein, but what does one do if they are on a vegetarian diet? Do you think it is possible to follow a plant-based diet and still get all the nutrients, vitamins and proteins that are required by the body? Yes, this is certainly possible. With the vast food choices available, it is important to choose out your preferences especially when it comes to Protein as it is the key to lose fat and build muscles.
Not many people know that it is not difficult to build muscles on a vegetarian diet. The fact is that people who wish to build muscles need to have slightly more calories than they can burn in a day. While following a vegetarian diet, the only trick is to change the source of protein and follow the same along with consistent training. Read further to know how you can build muscles while on a vegetarian diet.
Let’s Start with Calories
The first thing that needs to be figured out is the ‘maintenance level’ or the number of calories that must be consumed to keep the weight consistent. The following steps can be followed to ascertain the same:
Step 1: Decide a goal weight for yourself
Step 2: Use the following equation to calculate an estimate of your daily intake: goal weight x (workout hours per week + 9.5) = calorie intake per day
Step 3: Keep a record of what you eat in a day; it must be in accordance to what you calculated in Step 2
Step 4: Regularly scale your weight for a few weeks. Make sure you weigh yourself in the morning on an empty stomach
Step 5: Once your body weight becomes steady, you will get to know that you have reached your maintenance number
In case you find yourself losing weight, add on to the calorie count and if you are gaining weight, reduce the calories. Once you achieve this goal, it is time to pack on your muscles. How do you do that? As mentioned earlier, now you need to have more calories than earlier.
- Women and smaller men can eat about 100 to 200 calories more than the maintenance amount
- Men should focus on having at least 200 to 300 more calories than the maintenance amount
What Should You Have in Protein
Needless to say, Protein is extremely important for muscle building. For vegetarians, it is a little difficult to find many foods that are rich in Proteins. This is usually because vegetarian Protein sources have a lot of crossovers. This means that foods that might be a rich source of Protein might also be high in carbs or might have a lot of fat. Thus, it is important to make a careful selection of foods that are rich in only Protein.
When we talk about vegetarians, we find a mix of people. Some are flexitarians (people who primarily have a vegetarian diet but have meat or fish occasionally), some pescatarians (people who do not eat meat but have fish) or strict vegans to name a few. Let us have a look at what sources of Protein can people have depending on their preferences.
- Lacto-Ovo Vegetarians: These eaters can have eggs and dairy products which alone are enough as a source of Protein. Including these in your meals serve the purpose
- Lacto-vegetarians: These people can have yogurt, milk, eggs, Tofu and various Soy products, legumes and beans, seeds and nuts, whole grains like oatmeal, quinoa, whole wheat flour or brown rice
- Ovo-vegetarians: People who practice ovo-vegetarianism, consume eggs but not dairy products. These people can have egg whites and that can provide them the desired Protein intake
- Vegans: Generally, many plant-based Protein sources do not contain all the nine essential amino acids that one requires. Vegans can mix different sources of plant-based protein and create a complete set of amino acids. For example, they can have rice and beans; together they provide complete Protein
Quick Tips for Muscles Building on a Vegetarian Diet
To conclude, let us have a look at a few quick tips that can help you build muscles while on a vegetarian diet:
- Eat more
- Make protein your friend
- Make sure you sleep and rest enough
- Do not forget to exercise
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