This is likely the mostly frequently asked question I get. Being a lifelong vegetarian, it’s common for people to assume I can’t get protein into my diet. Because only meat has protein, right? Being a personal trainer and in a gym environment day in and day out, filled with meat loving guys and girls, I often get challenged and questioned – some even implying I must eat meat with the added muscle and strength.
So, here’s to unraveling the secrets of gaining muscle, without eating animals, to filling my body with protein rich plants (what?) and micro and macronutrient dense foods.
A plant based diet has undoubtedly health benefits, but you can get some unhealthy vegetarian foods too so I follow simple principles.
Eat real food, and not too much of it. I track my food daily, by using an easy food tracker app which tracks macronutrient profiles of food (carbohydrates, protein and fats). I don’t stick to a set diet or meal plan, I eat the foods I love and I just ensure it’s within my calorie allowances for that day. I refrain from eating cookies and doughnuts (I keep them as treats) and I stick to a caloric surplus (only small) and I make up those calories with wholesome nutrient dense food. This approach may seem like too much work but once the basics are understood and you opt for macronutrient goals that work alongside your training goals then you are on the right track.
When starting a new programme (or new to CrossFit Thames) it is important to ensure you diet is aligned with your training goals. Ask yourself what you want to achieve and why you came to CrossFit Thames, perhaps why you have started a new programme. Whether your goals are fat loss or muscle gain, your diet must reflect that.
Protein is required for muscle function and repair, however not all proteins have a full amino acid profile and so it is important to eat a wide variety of protein rich foods to get all of the essential amino acids. Get carbohydrates the right way by eating whole food that isn’t processed, ie. brown rice, oats, quinoa, starchy vegetables and fruit. Fat is a macronutrient that is commonly overeaten. It’s important for your body to have in order to function properly (helps to absorb all those vitamins). Not all fat is equal so I opt to gain my calories from whole foods such as nuts, seeds, avocados and coconut – nutrient dense foods.
So where does my protein come from? Check out the table below.
We are constantly told that we cannot put on muscle on a plant based died, but if you commit and put in the work required, like anything in life, then the long term health benefits of such will pay you dividends. A plant based diet is not only rich in micronutrients it also reduces the risk of coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.
If you have any questions then don’t hesitate to get in touch 🙂
Workout of the Day
Interclass Throwdown Day 1!
Team of 3
1 RM Deadlift
1 RM Squat
1 RM Press