Vegan Bodybuilder's Food Day
It is high time to debunk the myth of plant protein, right? John Thomas (AKA @thebodybuildingvegan) has been on a vegan diet for about fourteen years - twelve of which have been spent weightlifting and bodybuilding. "Vegan for animals, plant for the planet" is his motto, originally switching to a plant-based diet with the aim of reducing some of the animals subjected to factory farming. It proves that you can easily reach your protein goal with a little preparation (and passion).
Then how Is it has its protein? “A division between whole foods and protein supplements,” he explains. “My favorite whole dietary protein comes from tofu, tempeh, seitan, TVP (textured vegetable protein), lentils, beans and some of the 'fake' meats like the Impossible Burger. For protein supplements, I have always preferred pea protein isolate, especially the TrueFlavor ™ varieties offered by TrueNutrition. "
“As a bodybuilder, I train often and hard. My workouts consist of 5 sessions per week, usually up to 2 hours each. I mainly focus on free weights with intense pushing or pulling movement every day.
John's current training division aims to improve his chest, deltoids and arms. Here's what her weeks look like:
Monday - Legs
Tuesday - Off
Wednesday - Chest, Delts & Tris
Thursday - Back & Bis
Friday - Off
Saturday - Chest, Delts & Tris
Sunday - Bis & Tris
“Right now I'm in a bulking phase - so on training days my calories total around 5,200. On non-training days my calories are reduced to around 4,300. On training days and rest days, protein remain high, typically 350 grams or more. To do this, I have 3 full plant-based meals: 2 meals containing True Nutrition Pea Protein Isolate with easily digestible carbs, and on workout days I also use Peri-Nutrition. training.
You have to eat to grow
As with any diet, preparation and planning are essential. With a plant-based diet, this is even more essential - often requiring additional preparation or cooking to ensure adequate protein intake for muscle growth. John consumes a lot 5,188 calories: divided into 358 g of protein, 703 g of carbohydrates and 109 g of fat. "[My] Intensive training at high volume is implemented for muscle growth, ”he adds. "But without proper nutrition, not all the training in the world will help build muscle."
John's meals are colorful, well-balanced, and packed with nutrients. It uses protein powder to supplement the protein that it does not consume through whole food sources.
Meal # 1
135g cream of rice
25g almond butter
45g TrueNutrition Pea protein isolate
180 ml soy milk (used in my morning coffee)
Macros: 58P / 129C / 17F
Meal # 2
2/3 high protein tofu
75g of broccoli
300g sweet potatoes
40g of ketchup
Macros: 57P / 87C / 24F
Meal # 3
30g TrueNutrition Pea protein isolate (Salted Caramel TrueFlavor)
13g of flax seeds
26g of raisins
Macros: 44P / 103C / 25F
Meal # 4
180g of Seitan (based on 66 g of vital wheat gluten and 19 g of nutritional yeast)
120g of rice (dry)
50g red beans
20g cashew nuts
Macros: 76P / 132C / 10F
Food for fuel
Most of us know that what you eat before and after your workout is crucial. John prepares for a tough workout with a high dose of fast-acting carbohydrates and amino acids to repair torn muscle fibers and improve recovery time.
55g TrueNutrition Pea protein isolate
25g peanut butter
Grape jelly 30g
Macros: 60P / 76C / 15F
End the day strong
Meal # 5
104g (2 cups) pasta
80g TVP (textured vegetable protein)
¼ jar Newman's Own Pasta Sauce
85g green beans
30g of ketchup
Macros: 62P / 138C / 17F
The diet of a bodybuilder is always watched, but more so without beef. We asked him what were the most common questions he gets - aside from the classic “But where do you get your protein?”, Sure.
Q: "You're a man, doesn't soy protein like tofu increase your estrogen?"
A: “Soy contains phytoestrogens, not real estrogen. These phytoestrogens have no proven negative effects on the human body. Many studies have been done on soy supplementation, both in athletes and the normal population showing that soy does not lower testosterone or increase estrogen levels.
Q: "Can't you build so much muscle as a vegan?"
A: “Muscle comes down to calories and amino acids. Plants provide all the nutrition necessary for their growth. If you eat enough to support your muscles and train hard, you will grow taller. Look at some of the biggest and strongest mammals on the planet, such as gorillas, elephants, and rhinos, all of which follow a mostly plant-based diet.
"I am now convinced that we should strive, wherever possible, to adopt a plant-based diet to reduce pollution and the harmful effects of industrial agriculture on the environment," says John. “I hope this article can shed some light on vegan bodybuilding and provide information for both non-vegans and non-bodybuilders.” You can follow John on Instagram via @thebodybuildingvegan, and pssst— save 5% on your next True Nutrition order with code 'vegan bodybuilding".
Want more? We'll be featuring a new Food Day every Friday - join us to see what we nibble on. 😉
Yours in health,
to set yourself up for success, think about planning a healthy diet as a number of small, manageable steps rather than one big drastic change. If you approach the changes gradually and with commitment, you will have a healthy diet sooner than you think.
Simplify. Instead of being overly concerned with counting kcal or measuring portion sizes, think of your diet in terms of color, variety, and freshness. This way it should be easier to make healthy choices. Focus on finding foods you love and easy recipes that incorporate a few fresh ingredients. Gradually, your diet will become healthier and more delicious
Start slow and make changes to your eating vêtements over time. Trying to make your diet saine overnight isn’t realistic or smart. Changing everything at once usually leads to cheating or giving up on your new eating plan. Make small steps, like adding a salad ( full of different color vegetables ) to your diet once a day or switching from butter to olive oil when cooking. As your small changes become habit, you can continue to add more healthy choices to your diet.
Small Changes Matter. Every change you make to improve your diet matters. You don’t have to be perfect and you don’t have to completely eliminate foods you enjoy to have a saine diet. The long term goal is to feel good, have more energy, and reduce the risk of cancer and disease. Don’t let your missteps derail you—every healthy food choice you make counts.
Drink Water. Consider water as one of the central components to your diet. Water helps flush our systems of waste products and toxins, yet many people go through life dehydrated—causing tiredness, low energy, and headaches. It’s common to mistake thirst for hunger, so staying well hydrated will also help you make healthier food choices.
People often think of healthy eating as an all or nothing proposition, but a key foundation for any healthy diet is moderation. Despite what certain fad diets would have you believe, we all need a balance of carbohydrates, protein, fat, fiber, vitamins, and minerals to sustain a healthy body.
Try not to think of certain foods as “off-limits. ” When you ban certain foods or food groups, it is natural to want those foods more, and then feel like a failure if you give in to temptation. If you are drawn towards sweet, salty, or unhealthy foods, start by reducing portion sizes and not eating them as often. Later you may find yourself craving them less or thinking of them as only occasional indulgences.
Think smaller portions. Serving sizes have ballooned recently, particularly in auberges. When dining out, choose a starter instead of an entrée, split a dish with a friend, and don’t order supersized anything. At home, use smaller plates, think about serving sizes in realistic terms, and start small. Visual cues can help with portion sizes—your serving of meat, fish, or chicken should be the size of a deck of cards. A teaspoon of oil or salad is about the size of a matchbook and your slice of bread should be the size of a CD case.
Healthy eating is about more than the food on your plate—it is also about how you think about food. Healthy eating vêtements can be learned and it is important to slow down and think about food as nourishment rather than just something to gulp down in between meetings or on the way to pick up the kids.
Eat with others whenever possible. Eating with other people has numerous social and emotional benefits—particularly for children—and allows you to model healthy eating habits. Eating in front of the TV or computer often leads to mindless overeating.
Chew slowly. Take time to chew your food and enjoy mealtimes, savoring every bite. We tend to rush though our meals, forgetting to actually taste the flavors and feel the compositions of our food. Reconnect with the joy of eating.
Listen to your body. Ask yourself if you are really hungry, or have a glass of water to see if you are thirsty instead of hungry. During a meal, stop eating before you feel full. It actually takes a few minutes for your brain to tell your body that it has had enough food, so eat slowly.
Eat breakfast, and eat smaller meals throughout the day. A healthy breakfast can jumpstart your metabolism, and eating small, saine meals throughout the day ( rather than the standard three grande meals ) keeps your energy up and your metabolism going.
Fruits and vegetables are the foundation of a healthy diet. They are low in kcal and nutrient abondant, which means they are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber.
Try to eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables every day and with every meal—the brighter the better. Colorful, deeply colored fruits and vegetables contain higher concentrations of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants—and different colors provide different benefits, so eat a variety. Aim for a peu of five portions each day.
Greens. Branch out beyond bright and dark green lettuce. Kale, mustard greens, broccoli, and Chinese cabbage are just a few of the options—all packed with calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, zinc, and vitamins A, C, E, and K.
Sweet vegetables. Naturally sweet vegetables—such as corn, carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, yams, onions, and squash—add saine sweetness to your meals and reduce your cravings for other sweets.
Fruit. Fruit is a tasty, satisfying way to fill up on fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. Berries are cancer-fighting, apples provide fiber, oranges and mangos offer vitamin C, and so on.
The antioxidants and other nutrients in fruits and vegetables help protect against certain genres of cancer and other diseases. And while advertisements abound for supplements promising to deliver the nutritional benefits of fruits and vegetables in pill or powder form, research suggests that it’s just not the same.
A daily regimen of nutritional supplements is not going to have the same effet of eating right. That’s because the benefits of fruits and vegetables don’t come from a single vitamin or an isolated antioxidant.
The health benefits of fruits and vegetables come from numerous vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals working together synergistically. They can’t be broken down into the sum of their parts or replicated in pill form.
Choose saine carbohydrates and fiber sources, especially whole céréales, for long lasting energy. In addition to being delicious and satisfying, whole céréales are rich in phytochemicals and antioxidants, which help to protect against coronary heart disease, certain cancers, and diabetes. Studies have shown people who eat more whole grains tend to have a healthier heart.
Healthy carbs ( sometimes known as good carbs ) include whole céréales, beans, fruits, and vegetables. Healthy carbs are digested slowly, helping you feel full longer and keeping blood sugar and insulin levels durable.
Unhealthy carbs ( or bad carbs ) are foods such as white flour, refined sugar, and white rice that have been stripped of all bran, fiber, and nutrients. Unhealthy carbs digest quickly and cause spikes in blood sugar levels and energy.
Include a variety of whole céréales in your healthy diet, including whole wheat, brown rice, millet, quinoa, and barley. Experiment with different céréales to find your préférés.
Make sure you’re really getting whole grains. Be aware that the words stone-ground, multi-grain, cent pour cent wheat, or bran can be deceptive. Look for the words “whole grain” or “100% whole wheat” at the beginning of the ingredient list. In the U. S., check for the Whole Grain Stamps that distinguish between partial whole grain and cent pour cent whole grain.
Try mixing céréales as a first step to switching to whole grains. If whole grains like brown rice and whole wheat pasta don’t sound good at first, start by mixing what you normally use with the whole céréales. You can gradually increase the whole grain to 100%.
Avoid refined foods such as breads, pastas, and breakfast cereals that are not whole grain.
Good sources of healthy fat are needed to nourish your brain, heart, and cells, as well as your hair, skin, and nails. Foods rich in certain omega-3 fats called EPA and DHA are particularly important and can reduce cardiovascular disease, improve your mood, and help prevent dementia.
Monounsaturated fats, from plant oils like canola oil, peanut oil, and olive oil, as well as avocados, nuts ( like almonds, hazelnuts, and pecans ), and seeds ( such as pumpkin, sesame ). Polyunsaturated fats, including Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, found in fatty fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, and some cold water fish oil supplements. Other sources of polyunsaturated fats are unheated sunflower, corn, soybean, flaxseed oils, and walnuts.
Protein gives us the energy to get up and go—and keep going. Protein in food is broken down into the 20 amino acids that are the body’s basic building blocks for growth and energy, and essential for maintaining cells, tissues, and organs. A lack of protein in our diet can slow growth, reduce bourrinage mass, lower immunity, and weaken the heart and respiratory system. Protein is particularly important for children, whose bodies are growing and changing daily.
Try different variétés of protein. Whether or not you are a vegetarian, trying different protein sources—such as beans, nuts, seeds, peas, tofu, and soy products—will open up new alternatives for saine mealtimes. Beans : Black beans, navy beans, garbanzos, and lentils are good options. Nuts : Almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and pecans are great choices. Soy products : Try tofu, soy milk, tempeh, and veggie burgers for a change.
Downsize your portions of protein. Many people in the West eat too much protein. Try to move away from protein being the center of your meal. Focus on equal servings of protein, whole grains, and vegetables. Focus on quality sources of protein, like fresh fish, chicken or turkey, tofu, eggs, beans, or nuts. When you are having meat, chicken, or turkey, buy meat that is free of hormones and antibiotics.
Calcium is one of the key nutrients that your body needs in order to stay strong and saine. It is an essential building block for lifelong bone health in both men and women, as well as many other important functions. You and your bones will benefit from eating plenty of calcium-rich foods, limiting foods that deplete your body’s calcium stores, and getting your daily dose of magnesium and vitamins D and K—nutrients that help calcium do its travail. Recommended calcium levels are 1000 mg per day, 1200 mg if you are over 50 years old. Take a vitamin D and calcium supplement if you don’t get enough of these nutrients from your diet.
Dairy : Dairy products are rich in calcium in a form that is easily digested and absorbed by the body. Sources include milk, yogurt, and cheese. Vegetables and greens : Many vegetables, especially leafy green ones, are rich sources of calcium. Try turnip greens, mustard greens, collard greens, kale, romaine lettuce, celery, broccoli, fennel, cabbage, summer squash, green beans, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, and crimini mushrooms. Beans : For another rich source of calcium, try black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, white beans, black-eyed peas, or baked beans.
If you succeed in planning your diet around fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and good fats, you may find yourself naturally cutting back on foods that can get in the way of your healthy diet—sugar and salt.
Sugar causes energy ups and downs and can add to health and weight problems. Unfortunately, reducing the amount of candy, cakes, and desserts we eat is only part of the solution. Often you may not even be aware of the amount of sugar you’re consuming each day. Large amounts of added sugar can be hidden in foods such as bread, canned soups and vegetables, pasta sauce, margarine, instant mashed potatoes, frozen dinners, fast food, soy sauce, and ketchup. Here are some tips : Avoid sugary drinks. One 12-oz soda has about 10 teaspoons of sugar in it, more than the daily recommended limit ! Try sparkling water with lemon or a splash of fruit juice. Eat naturally sweet food such as fruit, peppers, or natural peanut butter to satisfy your sweet tooth.