Vegetarianism: The Effects on Training

*(Lance McCullough and Fitness Results does not intend this article as a recommendation for a vegan diet but rather an option or those who may feel inclined to a vegan lifestyle for any personal reasons. A balanced and healthy diet can be achieved with or without animal ingredients. You can refer to past posts for other nutritional information and diet plans.)

For some people, vegetarianism has been a lingering thought on a change for their lifestyle. However, for the same people who also workout, they may be wondering how much they will be affected by such a massive loss of different animal products in their diet. It has been said that there is commonly a drop in essential nutrients, but the truth is, the drop isn’t as significant as you may think.

The first thing people think of when losing meat in their diet is the lack of protein. Protein is essential to building muscle and hunger. The good thing is there are a variety of different protein supplements, bars, and shakes to meet your body’s needs. Soy products found in most meat replacement products are also good, as well as tofu which is light, healthy, and filling. There are also supplements for just about every other vitamin and mineral, including iron which is also mostly found in meats. These supplements make up for the missing nutrients for vegans/vegetarians, but are also a great way to enhance a well rounded diet.

Another positive effect of this lifestyle is it often forces people to open their minds to different foods. Because of this, it often leads to healthier or more organic choices of eating. Vegetarians commonly have a healthier heart due to the consumption of “good” fats and cholesterol found in soy and nuts. More whole grain, fruits, and vegetables means more fiber which can lead to better skin health and digestion. With a good vegetarian diet, it can help lower the risk of high cholesterol and high blood pressure, lower your Body Mass Index, and lower the risk of obesity.

These effects don’t have to be just for those on a non-meat diet. Anyone can make a change in their diet by adding some extra fruits and vegetables, whole grain, and organic foods and enjoy the advantages it has. Depending on how strict you take your vegetarian diet your nutrient intake will be different, so always make sure to find foods that are well rounded in nutritional value, or invest in dietary supplements to help fill the void.

With that said, vegetarianism does have its set of cons. Vegetarians typically do not heal as well after injury due to a low range of amino acids. While supplements can cover for lost nutrients it is not the same as consuming actual meat. While a vegan diet can lead to good health it does take extra work and some extra money however you are no less prone to bad health as anyone else if the right diet is not being practiced.

As an extra, we have provided an example of a diet plan for vegetarians. It is fairly loose with dairy/egg products but those can easily be replaced depending on the level of veganism you may partake.

                                               Vegetarian Meal Log     Nutrient Analysis