Veg­e­tar­i­an nutri­tion is gain­ing pop­u­lar­i­ty among more and more peo­ple every day.

You often hear a lot of talk about how pro­tein is the most impor­tant nutri­ent need­ed to build mus­cle and that you need to con­sume it in very large quan­ti­ties to be suc­cess­ful.

How­ev­er, do not rush to such a con­clu­sion. While pro­tein is indeed an extreme­ly impor­tant nutri­ent in the diet, you don’t always need huge amounts of it to make progress. Veg­e­tar­i­ans have many ways to build mus­cle despite not eat­ing any meat prod­ucts.

Let’s look at 17 tips that a veg­e­tar­i­an body­builder needs to know.

Get enough calories

The very first thing you should do as a veg­e­tar­i­an body­builder is make sure you are get­ting enough calo­ries. If you don’t con­sume enough calo­ries on a reg­u­lar basis, your body will like­ly turn to incom­ing pro­tein for fuel and it’s pos­si­ble to see a defi­cien­cy form­ing.

Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables

Make sure to eat plen­ty of fruits and veg­eta­bles. They will pro­vide you with a high qual­i­ty source of nutri­ents as well as all the antiox­i­dant pro­tec­tion.

Don’t neglect chickpeas and legumes

For veg­e­tar­i­ans look­ing to build mus­cle, one of the key pro­tein sources they should look to is chick­peas and oth­er legumes. They will also be a good source of low-fat car­bo­hy­drates and make a great snack before a tough work­out.

Use egg white

It will great­ly help increase your over­all pro­tein intake, as well as quick­ly pro­vide pro­tein when you need it.

Avoid processed foods

Being a veg­e­tar­i­an does­n’t mean you have the free­dom to eat as many high-carb snacks as you want. Eat whole foods and try to main­tain a diet con­tain­ing whole grains, fruits, veg­eta­bles and nuts.

Keep your workouts short but intense

This will help pre­vent mus­cle loss. If you do very long work­outs then your pro­tein needs will be real­ly high, which can become more dif­fi­cult on a veg­e­tar­i­an diet.

Be sure to change your food choices

As a veg­e­tar­i­an, you may find that you eas­i­ly crave the same foods. Try to pre­vent this. Mak­ing sure you eat a wide vari­ety of foods will help pre­vent nutri­tion­al defi­cien­cies.

Use tempeh

Anoth­er source of pro­tein that is very ben­e­fi­cial for veg­e­tar­i­ans is tem­peh. It’s often over­looked, so start look­ing for cre­ative ways to add it to your diet. Many peo­ple pre­fer it over tofu, which is anoth­er main veg­e­tar­i­an option.

Consider going lacto-ovo vegetarian

Con­sid­er becom­ing a lac­to-ovo veg­e­tar­i­an based on your per­son­al beliefs. This means that you will include both eggs and dairy prod­ucts in your diet. This will sig­nif­i­cant­ly increase the amount of pro­tein you con­sume because you can then include eggs and egg whites, cot­tage cheese, yogurt, cheese and milk.

Use nuts as fuel

Nuts are a healthy source of fat and also pro­vide a long-term form of ener­gy. One hand­ful will sig­nif­i­cant­ly increase your calo­rie intake and make gain­ing mus­cle mass much eas­i­er.

Eat flaxseeds, walnuts and flaxseed oil

For essen­tial fat­ty acids, since you like­ly won’t be con­sum­ing fat­ty fish or fish oil, look to flaxseeds, oils, and wal­nuts. They should be your main sources of this essen­tial nutri­ent.

Start adding peanut butter

Anoth­er good way to increase your body fat is to start adding nat­ur­al peanut but­ter to as many foods in your diet as pos­si­ble. This will also help increase your over­all calo­rie intake, which is of course impor­tant for build­ing mus­cle mass.

Consider Iron Supplements

One of the nutri­ents you may be miss­ing by not eat­ing red meat is iron. Since it is respon­si­ble for the devel­op­ment of red blood cells, you should not risk being defi­cient. If you plan to fol­low a veg­e­tar­i­an diet for a long time, con­sid­er adding an iron sup­ple­ment to your dai­ly diet.

Focus on broccoli and spinach consumption

They will both con­tain good dos­es of cal­ci­um, which is anoth­er nutri­ent you may be lack­ing. In addi­tion, also con­sid­er using a cal­ci­um sup­ple­ment.

Eat more often

It is also impor­tant that you eat more fre­quent­ly through­out the day. Since you won’t be con­sum­ing as much pro­tein with each meal as some­one who is not a veg­e­tar­i­an, by eat­ing reg­u­lar­ly, you will always have a con­stant flow of amino acids going into your mus­cles.

Monitor your body fat levels

Since many veg­e­tar­i­an body­builders are con­cerned about los­ing mus­cle mass, make sure to reg­u­lar­ly mon­i­tor your body fat lev­els. This will give you a bet­ter idea of ​​whether you are los­ing mus­cle mass so you can take steps to pre­vent the process.

Use BCAAs

Anoth­er impor­tant sup­ple­ment you will want to use is branched chain amino acids. They should be tak­en imme­di­ate­ly before and after com­plet­ing a work­out as they will also help pre­vent mus­cle loss.