Vegetarian and Weight Training

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 28, 2007 11:52 PM GMT
    I have been reading some diets that some body builders use for putting on muscle, but most of the diets say you need protein. So any suggestions other than eating meat again?
  • atxclimber

    Posts: 480

    Mar 01, 2007 1:23 AM GMT
    I was vegetarian for 9 years. You can do just fine -- tons of stuff are protein sources, including many grains (like quinoa,) nuts, beans, tofu / soy products, and of course whey supplements and eggs / egg whites (unless you're vegan.)

    The key is that most veggie sources of protein are incomplete (except soy, I think, is a pretty complete protein) so you need to mix and match -- beans with leafy greens, for example -- to get the full set of aminos.

    It's certainly *easier* if you eat meat; getting a lot of complete protein as a vegetarian requires some research and some meal planning (or just a lot of protein powder, which frankly I resorted to at times when I was lazy.)

    Still, much of the protein I eat now that I am not vegetarian is still vegetarian. For breakfast I have some whole wheat toast with good peanut butter on it and a fried egg, or a couple fried egg whites. I drink protein shakes after workouts. I eat a lot of soy, greens, etc.
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    Mar 01, 2007 1:35 AM GMT
    I am currently a vegetarian and one thing that helps me is the Boca, Morningstar Farms, and Garden Burger brand of no-meat products. Allot of my cravings for meat come from my mind, not my a good veggie burger or veggie hot dog and I'm back in action. Plus they are high in protein.

    One thing to be careful of if you are a vegetarian is that most of our best protein sources are also high in either carbohydrates and/or fat. So make sure to take those into consideration when planning meals.

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    Mar 02, 2007 5:13 PM GMT
    I am a vegetarian. I do not eat any form of flesh--just my personal choice. (We're lucky to live in a society where one has choices.) Although there are only an estimated 2 million vegetarians in the United States, there are a huge array of products marketed toward non-meat eaters. My personal favorite brand is called Boca. They make burgers, hot dogs, sausage, lasagna, chicken patties, etc. that look and taste and have somewhat of the texture of the real thing--and they are loaded with protein, low carbs and almost no fat. Boca is my staple. There are other competitive products out there. Some even make BBQ ribs, etc. I also take amino acid pills just in case I'm not getting enough. I supplement all that with protein shakes and bars. Bean, especially black beans, are also high in protein.
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    Mar 02, 2007 5:59 PM GMT
    BOCA Weiners ..... mmmmmmmmmm.
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    Mar 03, 2007 12:06 AM GMT
    Cool. I like Boca, and will eat more of it. I also can work with the rice and beans.
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    Mar 03, 2007 4:03 AM GMT
    Depending on your culinary skills, there are several great cook books out there for tofu & seitan. Both are high in protein, easily digested, and great for you. I've become quite the veggie chef and tofu no longer stresses me out. There are also great websites ( and magazines (vegetarian times) full of good healthy recipes with great protein.

    That would be kinda cool on this website to have an option for people to post there favorite high protein, healthy recipes; both vegetarian and meat based.

  • art_smass

    Posts: 960

    Mar 07, 2007 5:56 PM GMT
    I've been a vegetarian for twenty-two years. I've got tons of energy and a beefy frame, so I don't think I'm doing anything wrong.

    One thing that I've always noticed is that my cravings usually coincide with things my body needs. I crave spinach, citrus, chocolate, wine, etc. I try to pay attention to these things. Nature makes mountain sheep lick salt off of the roads for a reason. It also makes people seek out nutrients that their bodies are missing.

    On another note, I have a difficult getting involved with meat eaters. It's a real sore spot with me. I'm pretty much a "live and let live" type of guy, but it's something I really couldn't forgive in a significant other.
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    Mar 12, 2007 2:44 AM GMT
    I've been a vegetarian for about 13 years. I've never not worked out, so my body has always been lean. Over the last 3 months, i've stepped things up a bit at the gym and am noticing some improvement. I also notice that I manage my appetite much better these days. For me, I eschew Morningstar Farms and Boca as much as possible for they fall into the processed foods category. They are delicious though. I stick to tofu, cashews, avocados, yogurt, eggs, beans and cheese.

    Tofu and nuts are the easiest way to get a serving of protein, especially if you are in a rush. Also, if you have a George Forman, tofu is great when cooked on there.

    There have been weeks where I've eaten a 12oz brick of tofu for lunch and dinner every day.
  • phill

    Posts: 117

    Mar 12, 2007 4:41 AM GMT
    Ive been a vegan for 4 years or so and ive done some research on the subject. Everyone who has stated that you just need to mix and match are correct it use to be belived that complete protens had to be pared at the time of ingestion but further study has shown that as long as you do eat them they will work themselves out.

    check out this site for some inspiration, they are vegans and are ripped so im sure you could find easier results as a vegetarian, keep on fighting the good fight
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    Mar 12, 2007 5:54 AM GMT
    Thanks for sharing that site, Philip. Looks good.
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    Mar 15, 2007 4:52 AM GMT
    Just to add to the last protein combining comment...he is right. New studies are showing that if you manage to consume a variety of amino acids throughout the day (within 24 hours) they will be used to form a complete protein for the body. (I am vegan too BTW).
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    Mar 15, 2007 9:55 AM GMT
    Theres no point in exceeding 2g of protein per kg of your bodyweight as no benefits to be gained. There are lots of vegetarian atheletes that compete effectively on the world stage. Wherever you get your protein from , vegatable or animal source, it is training that icreases muscle size.

    Reference: p 356, Human Nutrition, Mary E Barasi, ISBN 0 - 340 - 81025 - 4

    My light build is due to my Indian genes and lots of cycling, but my European freinds who are also vegetarian seem to suffer no disadvantage in training.
  • ATLRuff

    Posts: 15

    Mar 15, 2007 9:05 PM GMT
    I've been a veg since 1989 (when I weighed 283 lbs. . .and it wasn't muscle) and a vegan for most of that time since I'm allergic to diary products. Like everyone has said, you can do fine but you DO have to make sure that you're making up "complete" proteins. Soy is GREAT--but you also have to be careful there because of the estrogen. My nutritionist has gotten me away from soy products as the "norm" and more for "the treat" (like when I'm dining out). The easiest thing for me to make up a big steamer of brown rice with beans (red beans, chick peas, and "cow" peas are my favorites). Being from coastal South Carolina, I don't boil my rice but steam it which really makes it easy. I make a steamer of rice with beans poured right in. Then you get your greens and your fruit, and you're good to go. Now, I'm no body builder, but I'm a distance racer (used to run, got hit by a car, now do the races in a special racing wheelchair). I stay between 185-190, and I'm strong as an ox. So you can do it, pal!
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    Apr 08, 2007 7:22 AM GMT
    Vegetarian since 1988, would never go back to being a flesh eater unless my life depended on it. I'm 5'10" 200# and w/o 4x a week with 3-4 days of cardio. The only change I do, is take a whey protein/ricemilk shake at the end of my workouts.
    I don't eat any of the Garden burger/Boca/Morningstar manufactured products, as I don't digest them well (death farts)
    So I stick to veggies and lots of tofu and an awful lot of carbs (40/20/40).
  • hotversguy

    Posts: 155

    Apr 10, 2007 1:00 AM GMT
    But isn't soy allergy the new food-paranoia fat? (for humans, anyway)
  • pjc315569

    Posts: 10

    May 14, 2007 11:46 AM GMT
    I agree with a lot of the guys here, there are so many sources of good protein other than meat. For instance, nuts are awesome for protein (almonds, peanuts, walnuts) and also contain needed fats. Eggs, cheese are great if you eat animal products. I'm not a vegetarian, but have noticed that my diet is tending to be more vegetables, rice, fruits, etc in the past year. So, i also use a branched chain amino acid supplement for some extra aminos, which are the building blocks of protein. Also, try yogurt and granola and throw in some flax meal/flax seeds. I've been reading a lot about raw foods lately, and high heat (i.e. cooking) apparently kills a lot of the useful nutrients so i'm not sure how good meat is for you anyway.
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    May 19, 2007 2:02 PM GMT
    Heh, a lot of my really beefy mates have been vegetarian for years. Doesn't seem to have been a big deal for Bill Pearl or Roy Hilligan, either. ;-)