Vegetarian? Absolutely!!Is it possible to prep just like someone who isn’t a vegan or vegetarian? Yes!
If you are someone who practices a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle and would like to continue during a contest prep, you can and you should if you feel strongly about it.
How is that possible? Macronutrients are macronutrients - we just have to be more aware of the nutrient density of foods and ensure you are getting enough quality complete protein. Our nutritional guidance provides you with the amount of protein, carbohydrates, and fat we expect you to consume each day. We understand that vegans and vegetarians may have a more difficult time hitting higher protein intakes. Luckily, there is a lot of room for adjustment based on personal preference, dietary restrictions, progress and results, and what the latest scientific research suggests!
If this means you consume your protein while following a vegan bodybuilding diet or vegetarian diet, then so be it. As long as you are consuming enough protein from multiple high-quality sources, we are cool with that! As successful bikini competition coaches (including vegan bikini competition coaches) we establish and then adjust your vegan competition prep diet with one thing in mind: hitting your macros just like everyone else.
When it comes to bikini competition diets (or contest prep diets), we provide our clients with macro-based nutrition programs. We don’t believe in handing out cookie-cutter meal plans. Specific meal plans are very restrictive, very boring, and unsustainable. They basically say, eat these 5-6 meals everyday for the next 3 months. Ha, good luck with that!
Instead of torturing you, we allow you to practice flexible dieting during contest prep.
Flexible dieting consists of an 80/20 approach. This means 80% of your daily food intake should come from nutritious, wholesome, and minimally processed foods, while 20% can come from other foods you enjoy. The freedom of mixing in the foods you crave will ensure long-term nutrition adherence and ultimately accomplishing of your goals. We provide you with the macronutrients we think will best help you reach your goals. It is your responsibility to adhere to the 80/20 rule, track your macros, and consume the prescribed macros within 5-10% each day.
If we know you are vegan or vegetarian, we can set your protein slightly lower than those following a traditional western diet. We know it is harder for you to consume high amounts of protein, but you can still get plenty of protein from other sources to preserve muscle mass while dieting.
Here are some of the best protein sources you should work into your vegetarian or vegan bodybuilding meal plan:
#1 Seeds (be cautious with nuts and nut butter- they are also very high in fat content)
Pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, flax seed, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds
#2 Nut butter (be cautious with nuts and nut butter- they are also very high in fat content)
Almond butter, peanut butter, cashew butter
#3 Nuts (be cautious with nuts and nut butter- they are also very high in fat content)
Almonds, pistachios, cashews, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans
#4 Soy products
Garbanzo beans, lima beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, soy beans, peas, snap peas, edamame
#6 Plant-based noodles
#7 TVP (textured vegetable protein)
#8 Veggie burgers
Veggie burgers, black bean burgers
#9 Eggs (if you eat them)
Whole eggs, egg whites
Another option to get more protein is using supplemental protein shakes. A majority of our vegan/vegetarian coaching clients find it much easier to hit daily protein intakes with supplemental shakes.
The most popular brand of vegan protein is called VEGA. They make plant-based protein and nutrition shakes. Their Clean Protein has: 25g protein, 4g carbs, and 2.5g fat. Their Sport Protein has: 30g protein, 6g carbs, 3g fat. Both types come in several different flavors like vanilla, chocolate, mocha, and berry. In addition to shakes, they also have protein bars and meal bars!
Sun Warrior also makes a raw vegan protein and protein bars. Their Organic Protein has: 16g protein and 4g carbs. It comes in vanilla, chocolate, and natural.
In addition to wholesome food options to hit your protein macros, you can also try our absolute, favorite sweet treat that is vegan-friendly: Lenny & Larry’s Complete Cookies. They are out of this world amazing!
We inserted this section because just like any competitor, a vegan bikini competitor will need to wear the appropriate makeup to match the spray tan while on stage. If you hire a makeup artist they will likely have everything.
If you decide to do your makeup on your own, you’ll need to buy super dark foundation and bronzer. Here are the best makeup companies that do not test their products on animals.
B) Tarte (Empowered Hybrid Gel Foundation: Medium Tan Sand or Medium Tan Honey)
If you are competing in a bikini competition soon and want nutrition and training guidance, we are experienced and happy to work with both vegans and vegetarians through our online coaching options!
Stephanie Dorworth is the Founder of Beautiful to the Core. She is a Doctor of physical therapy, Pilates instructor, Internationally published fitness model, and Freelance health & fitness writer. She is passionate about empowering other women to lift heavy, practice flexible dieting, and love their bodies.