Bodybuilding is a tight knit community that also welcomes different ideas.

Workout ideas, posing routines and optimal nutrition are varied but accepted.

This inclusion extends to vegetarian bodybuilders. Even carnivores may consider adding vegetarian options to expand their food pallets.

Reasons for not eating meat run the gamut, but pose common challenges to finding alternate protein sources.

Muscle building from intense workouts requires nutrient packed calories for all bodybuilders, including vegetarians.

So, how can vegetarians balance their diets and performance needs?

Here are some tips for you to consider:

Create Complete Proteins


Proteins from animal sources have a complete profile of essential amino acids.

EAAs are vital to efficient protein synthesis, especially for the high intake of bodybuilders.

You must consume EAAs through diet, as our bodies do not produce these building blocks of hormones and muscle tissue.

To eat complete proteins, vegetarian athletes should combine plant, grain and other sources.

Doing so is made easier by scores of supplements and macros. For instance, combining rice and pea protein powders creates a more complete protein.

Dining out or like to cook? Consider recipes with quinoa and buckwheat.

Each of these super foods is chock full of all 9 essential amino acids. Pairing chickpeas with brown rice builds a complete protein, as well.

You can turn to the Middle East and India for flavorful recipes that often combine vegetarian proteins in complete ways.

Remember Cholesterol


Cholesterol is the biological fuel to make testosterone.

For men, this conversion occurs in the testes. Meanwhile, women produce testosterone in their ovaries. Many vegetarian foods are lower in cholesterol and fat, which may put a damper on T levels.

Women should consult with a medical professional before taking oral testosterone supplements.

Testosterone is also correlated with levels of HDL cholesterol. HDL in the bloodstream removes plaque buildup from arteries to promote cardiovascular health.

The symbiotic relationship is seen in testosterone boosters that balance each of these needs.

Gamma oryzanol and maca root are supplements that can balance hormones and promote heart health.

For optimal heart health, women should consult with a medical professional before taking oral testosterone supplements.

Eggs are a fatty protein source that provides cholesterol to fuel testosterone levels. Keeping your strength training and cardio to short but intense bursts can also boost testosterone.

Include Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)


Similar to essential amino acids, EFAs must be supplemented. EFAs include omega 3 and omega 6 varieties, which each offer important health benefits.

Muscle recovery, hormone balances and nervous system function are all enhanced by EFAs.

Vegetarians who choose to eat fish and fish derived oils have quality choices for EFAs. Otherwise, almonds and other nuts are alternatives. Olive oil and walnut oil are also sources of healthy fats.

Remember Calcium


Calcium intake can pose challenges to vegetarians. While multivitamins are convenient, adding flavorful veggies helps expand your food pallet.

Spinach and okra help support bone strength through vegetables. Consider mixing calcium rich greens and nuts for a power salad. Drizzling olive oil over collard greens with Brazil nuts is an example.

Non-meat options have appeal to many diets.

Vegetarians who balance their food choices with performance needs can excel in any sport.


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