Gain Mass

What Some Vegetarian Bodybuilders Won't Admit

This weightlifter acknowledges the downsides, but sees a much greater upside in following a plant-based diet.

What Some Vegetarian Bodybuilders Won't Admit

I used to be the standard-issue, meat-and-potatoes gym rat from the Midwest.

Fast forward to 2012 when I arrived in California, the land of the quintessential health nut. During this time, I was asked to provide business-consulting services for a newly launched health food cafe in Hermosa Beach.

Part of the compensation was a generous store credit, with which I drank copious amounts of raw veggie juices and plant-based foods. Within days, I was hooked on how great I felt in terms of mood and energy, and adopted this new infusion of twigs and berries into my carnivorous diet. Because I was curious to learn more about the food I was eating, my research resulted in an experiment to try a semi-vegetarian diet for 30 days.

My concern for maintaining muscle mass acquired over 20 years of lifting cannot be understated.

The information online about plant-based fitness was sparse, to say the least. Worse yet, most of the guys who promoted plant-based fitness had muscle tone, but looked like athletic teenage boys, not well-built bodybuilders.

Eventually, I discovered a handful of vegetarian bodybuilders who looked how I wanted to look. So I became inspired to proceed with my experiment. I quickly fell in love with this new lifestyle and created VegetarianBodybuilding.com, a website for anyone curious about vegetarianism who had the desire to eat more plants and less meat (like myself at the time).

Did I lose muscle mass or strength eating plants?

On the contrary, I put on noticeable size and have never been stronger in my life. As I write this article, I weigh 229 lbs. with a 6’0’’ frame at about 14% body fat. I’m not a fitness model, just well-built and fairly strong. Both of which are my personal goals.

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