any vegetarian bodybuilders on here? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 01-09-2012, 09:02 PM
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hey guys the past year or so i've really been thinking a lot about my diet and have already made a few big changes. I no longer eat fast food and try to stay away from as much heavily processed foods as possible, usually only eating meats/veggies/fruits/nuts etc but lately i've strong contemplated a vegetarian diet. One of the most important things in my life however, is bodybuilding. i was just wondering if there are any vegetarian bodybuilders on here, if so i'd definitely like to talk to you guys
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#2 Old 01-09-2012, 09:09 PM
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I'm not really a bodybuilder, but I am very into nutrition and fitness.

You just need to put in the work and eat clean.

I like Scooby's calculator, try it out. Also remember, for vegans and vegetarians you need to add 10% protein.
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#3 Old 01-09-2012, 09:13 PM
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Hi and welcome to VB!

I know there are some here on VB, but you might want to check out the Vegan Bodybuilding website, since the main focus is on bodybuilding so they have tons more people who are both veg*n and bodybuilders. There's also a vegetarian bodybuilding forum, but it's much less active.

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#4 Old 01-09-2012, 09:22 PM
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i wouldnt call myself a bodybuilder exactly, but im a vegan who has done weights for the last few years & i work out on a regular basis. im not that serious about it, like i still eat fast foods and im not looking to build huge muscle, i just do it cuz i wanna keep a six pack and stay fit as i get older.
heres a few places that ive found good info from that you might also find useful.

happy meat free training. you wont regret it

eta: he he, i think i was a bit late there wasnt i puppet

auto correct can kiss my ask
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#5 Old 01-09-2012, 09:25 PM
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thanks, all of you guys
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#6 Old 01-09-2012, 09:36 PM
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Also not a bodybuilder, but a fitness fanatic nonetheless. I'm more into interval and endurance training, with a focus on maximal and explosive strength as opposed to sheer mass, because that is more suited to my needs in the Army and other activities I take part in. I'm well versed on the science of both maximizing and minimizing muscular hypertrophy though, having studied in detail just about every exercise physiology related textbook NSCA has to offer.

If you want to talk anything fitness related, there will be plenty of people here eager to join in

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#7 Old 01-10-2012, 07:50 AM
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Welcome to being a vegan and a bodybuilder. I'm 52, vegetarian for 35 years, vegan for 14. I'm 190lbs and bench press 300lbs so it can be done ;-) In fact, I really laugh when people mock vegans and our lack of proteins. I will admit this, I've made a few bucks on bets with younguns who challenged me at the gym thinking it was boloney. Nope, I tell them, it was tofu and tempeh :-)
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#8 Old 01-10-2012, 12:01 PM
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Yes, even though I'm not a full-blown bodybuilder yet, I'm leaning towards it quite a bit.

"Hell exists not to punish sinners, but to ensure that nobody sins in the first place."
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#9 Old 05-17-2012, 03:52 AM
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I am not a pro bodybuilder but I have something so that I can call myself a bodybuilder and the important thing is that I am a vegetarian. I always believe in vegetarian food and lot depends on milk, curd and fruit juice to build muscles.
Work out World Reviews
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#10 Old 05-17-2012, 05:46 AM
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It is really hard to find a veg body builder as builders needs to gain weight and for that hey need to take some heavy food intakes. But having a fine toned body and a builder body are two different types. Jammie

- MH
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#11 Old 06-18-2012, 03:41 PM
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I lift a ton, but I'm in no way a body builder, I love being healthy in everyway possible.

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#12 Old 06-24-2012, 06:14 PM
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my husband lifts weight pretty heavily....and he is a vegetarian.....Well he pretty much got myself started with this health thing. he drinks a lot of protein shakes and if u have that protein then you are fine

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#13 Old 06-25-2012, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by MikesHeath View Post

It is really hard to find a veg body builder as builders needs to gain weight and for that hey need to take some heavy food intakes. But having a fine toned body and a builder body are two different types. Jammie

If you look at vegan bodybuilding sites, you'll see that there are plenty of vegans with very large muscles - not just toned little muscles. Eating a lot of nuts should help you get the calories and protein high if you want to bulk up.

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#14 Old 06-27-2012, 09:48 AM
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I've read that athletes have a higher failure rate when it comes to going vegetarian. When you switch to a veg*n diet, there is usually some sort of lag time after you gave up meat and before you establish a good diet. That time period is a lot harder for athletes (I'd image the same would apply to you) since they have such higher demands on their bodies. So I would say don't be a quitter. You can be a body builder as a vegetarian (and even vegan), but it might take some work to create a diet fit to be one. I looked at Vegan Body Builder and liked it. Since eggs and dairy shouldn't make up a huge portion of your diet anyway, it should be easy to adapt it to a vegetarian diet.

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#15 Old 06-27-2012, 10:14 AM
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Not a bodybuilder, but I'm a soon-to-be certified personal trainer. You can definitely be a vegetarian/vegan and a bodybuilder. Tony Horton (creator of P90X) is a strict vegetarian and he's absolutely ripped. As long as you're getting your protein, it shouldn't be an issue at all.

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#16 Old 07-07-2012, 02:01 AM
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I'm not a body builder (at all) but an athlete and I've done a TON of research into nutrition in the last 6 months or so to help with my current training goals and going vegan.  My performance requires fast twitch muscle (in certain muscle groups), intense interval performance and power to weight ratio, so has some key similarities to things you would want to do, but some key differences - probably MUCH more similar than endurance sports like triathlon, marathons, etc.


Some of the links people have given are good.


Some points I would add:


- With protein, don't forget protein quality... amino profile may not really matter in an individual food, but across your whole diet it DOES. The main issue for your here is Lysine. Lysine is critical, all the more so for athletes and bodybuilders, and all the more so for veg*ns since almost all plant sources are low in it.  In brief, legumes (peas, lentils, beans, chickpeas, soy, peanuts), and protein and food products from these, are your friends.  Also, eggs and dairy if you eat these, however the more strongly your diet depends on these, the less "vegetarian" you really are, in my opinion.  The more I reflected on this compromise, the more I crystallized my decision to go vegan, and I haven't looked back!  My stock protein is unflavoured pea protein.  Amino profile is not quite as good as whey but still reasonably good, high in lysine (unlike rice protein) and it's better in some other regards than whey or soy, such as digestibility and acid/alkalizing effect on your muscles.  You can speed up absorption by adding some amino acids.  Supposedly, enzyme infused products e.g. "Vital Protein" also help, if you trust the marketing blurb, but I'm not so sure this really matters.  If you're concerned about absolute completeness of pea protein, you might consider the ratio of AAs you add and/or mix with a small amount of rice protein, which is deficient in some key AAs but higher in methionine.


- Amino acid supplements can be healthy and effective too.  Do your research on effectiveness, health issues and inclusion of any banned substances, though. Don't just trust the marketing blurbs.  I like to buy aminos separately (not premixed "stacks" or "formulas" with flavours), as I get most flexibility with dosing protocol that way.  You should likely consider L-lysine, L-glutamine, Creatine (either micronised or EE), AAKG (better than standard L-arginine), Citrulline Malate, BCAAs (isoleucine and leucine, used for muscle building anabolism/recovery), EAAs (essential amino acids, speed up protein absorption, take before and/or after training), L-Taurine, Carnitine (there are various forms, I don't have a firm recommendation).  A small amount of intelligent supplementation with these will probably go a lot further than eating meat would anyway, without the nutritional or ethical downsides, and for a similar or cheaper cost.  Larger doses are NOT necessarily better.  You might also consider Tyrosine but this is more on the mental side.  I'd stick well clear of D Aspartic Acid (supposed to raise T but may not be properly effective without aromatase inhibitor drugs, which are banned in sport and a health issue) and DMAA (a stimulant which is banned in sport and, in Australia, probably about to be banned full stop because it stresses your adrenal gland over time). I even avoid caffeine, although it is effective (not necessarily on overall mental condition, however, which is my concern).


- Take a B12 supplement, preferably methylcobalamin sublingual.  If your B12 gets low, this could affect red blood cells, exercise performance (oxygen delivery) and ultimately health.  A huge percentage of the population have low level deficiency, but being a vegetarian increases that risk unless you supplement, and exercise (sweating) also increases it.  Don't believe folklore about seaweed giving you B12.  It's likely untrue.


- Get a Vitamin D supplement, 1000 to 5000IU daily. There are now Vegan D3 supplements out there, i.e. not made from butchers wool or pigskin.  D2 is also effective, just marginally less so. 


- Minerals: it may be harder for you to get Zinc in your diet as a vegetarian, and slightly harder to absorb Iron, thought not at all hard to get it.  Magnesium will be easier than as a non-veg, but still not easy enough, and Selenium, Copper and Manganese, even Potassium, are pretty easy if you eat plenty healthy, fresh veges.  Calcium can be an issue for some people but if you're eating plenty of greens and/or taking some calcium fortified soymilk, it probably shouldn't be.  Dairy products, although they contain a lot of calcium, may not actually be really good for calcium absorption at all.  There's little scientific evidence to support the claims, just popular belief and decades of marketing dollars, and there is plenty of evidence to the contrary, e.g. high osteoporosis rates in high dairy consuming populations, issues with certain types of complex proteins binding calcium when digested.  Include some mineral dense foods like seaweed and dark green veges.  Don't be afraid to take mineral supplements too, though, especially Zinc and Magnesium.


- Forget everything you may have been told about getting more fibre (although it's true for most omnivores and for most health purposes).  If you have high energy needs and eat lots of vegs, you already get a lot of fibre and are probably better trying to moderate/reduce it (but not eliminate).  As an example, I strongly prefer white rice over wholemeal and often like to juice veges like carrots and beetroot, to more easily consume larger quantities.


- You will want a relatively high fat diet, I imagine, but I don't think you should go extreme on that, and it's very doable on vegan foods.  Avocado, olives, coconut, macadamia nuts are great, because they are mostly saturated or monounsaturated fats, not polyunsaturated.  The issue with polyunsaturates is n-6 to n-3 ratio being usually too high.  This can promote some extra body fat retention and inflammation, among other health and performance issues.   You need some poly but not too much.  Good to get some of that from n-3 high sources, such as cold pressed refrigerated linseed oil, ground linseed, canola, chia seeds.


- Eat whole sesame seeds (try whole tahini, you can blend it with lemon/orange juice, garlic and chickpeas to make a great tasty high fat hummus, even add coconut cream and/or linseed oil for extra fat if you want).  Although sesame is high in n-6 fats, it has plenty of minerals, plenty of fat soluble vitamins and antioxidants, a great source of protein to complement the legumes you will want to get (it is high in methionine - so are grains, but a lot of body builders tend to minimize those in their diets), and sesame fibre is also likely to help with hormonal optimization (pro T, the opposite of linseed fibre)


- Get brassicas (e.g. broccoli) and alia (onions or garlic) in your diet.  They may also help on the hormonal side of things, helping you build more lean mass with less fat, as well as with antioxidants and general immune health.


- Despite claims by some popular bloggers, I'm pretty sure the thing about needing cholesterol consumption to optimize hormone production is a complete myth.  There is even one scientifically conducted study showing T levels for regularly exercising individuals DROPPED on a very high fat (>60%) diet, compared to a more normative 30% fat.  I would suggest try at 30-40% fat, with various carb to protein ratios and plenty of low GI carbs for a few months first.  If you were an athlete, I would say lower fat than that (10-25% of calories from fat).

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#17 Old 12-28-2012, 10:50 PM
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I have been lifting weights for almost 8 years now, almost 5 of it while vegan. I am ok but not completely satisfied with my performance. At my peak strength I can bench 225lb twice and can shoulder press 185lb once. I got a bit stronger after becoming vegan but in order to be at my peak strength I have to eat a lot. Whenever I eat a lot and gain weight I get stronger, and when I don’t I go to about 90% of peak strength (minimum). But, I do not like being too heavy or eating a lot.

I would like to be able to bench 225lb four times. I go at the gym 3 times a week for 2.5-3hrs. Do any of you know of any good books on weightlifting/bodybuilding? I like being toned but I am more concerned with strength (I am not a bodybuilder). I am happy with my size and tone. I do not like spending more than 9hrs a week at the gym.

So yeah I would like to gain some knowledge on this, if anyone knows any good books please let me know :)

As for my experience, I did not notice any great difference in strength or tone in becoming vegan. When I wasn’t vegan I was taking significantly more protein too.

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#18 Old 03-09-2013, 06:24 AM
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I'm a vegetarian bodybuilder and fitness trainer who's here to help! The key to gaining lean muscle is not just lifting heavy but also getting enough protein. For the average gym goer, we're talking .8 gms per lb. of lean body mass. For those looking to hit it hard, you need at least 1 gm of protein per lb. of lean body mass if not 1.5gms for the truly hard-core. While this might seem challenging for vegetarians, if you can manage to eat 6-7 times daily and include protein in every meal/snack, it's not only totally doable, you'll actually build muscle quite fast. It's also vital that you consume some protein within an hr. of your weight training - a fact I can't emphasize enough! :)




Vrrrooooom! :)

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Yours in fitness & health,
S. Hughes
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#19 Old 03-15-2013, 12:55 PM
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DEFINITELY get your hands on a copy of Robert Cheek's book "Vegan Body Building."  This is a fantastic resource and very practical and easy to read.  The guy's pretty inspirational, and his book has tons of practical nutrition for bulking/cutting, etc.

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#20 Old 03-18-2013, 05:11 PM
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I am sorry I didn’t see this earlier.

Thank you for the great advice planetshark. If that’s you on your avatar you should be very proud of yourself :)


Thank you for the suggestion ShapeShifter. I just ordered a book a couple of days ago. It’s this one:

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#21 Old 03-19-2013, 10:45 PM
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The plus side for fitness trainers/wanna be body builders who are also vegetarian/vegan, the best protein supplements are vegetarian to begin with.  That is most (not all) amino acids, are made from fermentation, and are the critical building blocks.  And more importantly are considerably cheaper than past decades, so much so, they are cheaper gram to gram than whey protein equivalents in many instances now. 

Still securing large quantities of whole protein sources would be your biggest battle.  Pea protein, or some of the Peruvian super foods in powder form would be your best bet (though the latter would be excedingly expensive).  

Whole foods like legumes and the like, only look good as protein sources in petry dishes, unless you consume very large quantities, your body isn't in a rush to work that hard to get protein from these foods.  People seem to neglect the efficiency ratings of these protein sources when speaking about them.


As an adult vegan, the low methionine levels will be extending your lifespan nicely, assuming your counteracting the other nutritional pitfalls of the vegan diet.  But you should still up your glycine uptake regardless.   As though glycine is regarded as a non-essential amino, your bodies production of it as you got older obviously wanes.  

For non-vegans, glycine consumption will increase hepatic clearance of methionine, so you can get all the benefits of a vegan diet/lifestyle (physiologically speaking only) by adding glycine to your diet regime.


So training wise, focus on glutamine, BCAA's, glycine, proline, and of course taurine.  If quality sleep eludes you, add GABA/phenibult as your body may not be producing as much as it use to.   Though use the last one very sparingly.

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#22 Old 03-20-2013, 11:02 AM
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I am not sure what the definition of "body builder" really is.  But I do lift weights about 3-4 times a week.  I do try to increase the weights every now and then to make me stronger.


But mostly, I run. I run 20-25 miles per week, mostly on a treadmill.


I have been vegetarian (diary and meat free, but so occasionally eat eggs, about once per week or less) now for 2 months. 


The first thing I noticed was that running became easier.  I think it was a combination of two things.  One, I eat more carbs now then I did before.  I was trying to eat the typical body-building diet before, lots of meat, limit fat and carbs.  But when I switched to my veg deit, I noticed withing a few days a drastic change in my running!  Before, I had had problems with hip pain.   Bad hip pain.  It was really slowing me down.  But I think it was giving up dairy, my hip pain all but vanished!  That improved my running drastically.  I can run farther now then I could before, and faster. 


As far as my weight lifting, it stayed about the same.  I can still lift the same amount as before, and am still getting better at the same rate.  But to tell the truth, I don't really pay too close of attention to what I eat.  I eat a lot of nuts, tofu and beans.  I also eat a lot of pasta and rice, veggies and fruit.  Maybe if I planned my meals better that would help, but time is something I don't have much of,  and most of my free time is spent excercising in my basement.  But I love it.

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#23 Old 03-20-2013, 07:27 PM
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To describe what a competitive bodybuilder looks like... we're talking top level here.   Get a piece of paper, and draw an exaggerated picture of muscular cartoon figure, and what you'll have is something that is LESS representational than the real thing!

After seeing a few professional bodybuilders in the flesh, the proposition is entirely unattractive.   Years of substance usage renders them into something quite unrecognisable from the average man on the street.    Disregarding that the average guy on the street is generally slightly bloated, and suffering from chronic inflamation from the modern diet. 


So being a 'bodybuilder' perse' is not something you might not necessarily want to be persuing.  Albeit, impossible without the use of prescription medication

But on the more normal side of weight training, the benefits are highly attractive.   As your body does certain adaptive responses to the cellular stress you impose on it, only during intense resistance training.  

If you talleyed up all of them, weight training would seem to an attractive daily activity, up there with all the standard body maintenance tasks such as breakfast, brushing your teeth, and basic hygene, it's that fundamentally good for you.

Low impact activity, does not 'reach' you on a cellular, as the demand on your body never gets that far, so many of the benefits, cannot be gained from sub-maximal activities.


But the important factor, and all this talk of protein stems from the fact that you need additonal nutritional support, when doing weight training.   But timing is also an important factor.  You need immediate support, during, and shortly after your workout.   Thats why whole food sources are of limited use when looking at maximising workout progress.   Protein powders, and amino acids, generally have immediate effect on your sytem.  Though pre-loading with glutamine would be advisable.  If your stomach is not in tip-top condition, your stomach lining will absorb the first 100-200 grams of glutamine you ingest for itself.   Your body follows it's own set of rules, not your gym aspirations.

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#24 Old 03-23-2013, 03:57 PM
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Not a bodybuilder BUT strength competitor /strongman


To get strong and stay strong "naturally" I see lots of P.E.D. use (also in bodybuilding)


The food and diet plan needs to account for:


A) What to eat

B) When to eat

C) How to eat

D) How much to eat


Greens have A LOT of protein and if consumed as smoothie ( and some juice) we have better access to the protein as well as all of the vitamins,minerals and fiber that animal protein will not have.

The full spectrum nutrition that kale (as a great example) has is tremendous as an immediate post workout drink...even during the workout since it is light


Hemp protein/pea protein and others make good supplements


Root veggies are tremendous for good calories and healthy recovery.


Beans are great and if these are all combined properly...

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#25 Old 03-23-2013, 06:42 PM
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@ Marty,

What is the difference between training for strength and the regular workout people do at the gym. The regular workout being five exercises four sets each for each muscle group. I do the regular one but I want to get a bit stronger without adding much weight. I don't like olympic lifting with complex fast movements. I prefer slow lifting. 

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#26 Old 10-17-2018, 10:42 AM
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I guess you already know the importance of eating the right food? I bought this book a while ago.

I have found it really helpful by giving me a variety of meals that are delicious and easy to make I also think there is some sale at the moment for the next few days.
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#27 Old 11-04-2018, 11:29 AM
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Hey bro I am a bodybuilder, I've been vegetarian for 34 years, vegan for 9 months and bodybuilding for 4 years. What would you like to know??
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#28 Old 04-27-2019, 11:43 PM
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I"ve been vegan for almost 10 years (this September--YAY!!) and just started CrossFit. I read Robert Cheeke's book, and need to re read it, along with the Thrive series by Brenden Brazier.

Anytime I think I'm perfect, I remember that my cousin lives on an island, and I've never walked over to visit her.
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