For some the words “vegan bodybuilding” are oxymoronic. With one flex of his biceps, Robert Cheeke is smashing through cultural assumptions and pioneering the road to vegan bodybuilding success. With ten years of vegan bodybuilding under his belt, Robert Cheeke’s book, Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness: The Complete Guide to Building Your Body on a Plant-Based Diet, encourages vegans to demonstrate strength and fitness through the bodybuilding lifestyle. “Bodybuilding should be approached like beginning anything you want to be successful in,” he explains, “It starts with having a reason or meaning behind it, creating a detailed vision of what you want to achieve, and constructing and implementing a consistent program to ensure that you adapt, improve, and succeed.” Step-by-step instructions follow for achieving bodybuilding success through a vegan diet paired with proper workout routines.
“It has to be clarified that there is a difference between eating for health and eating for athletic performance, for muscle growth, or for mass gain, especially in bodybuilding.” Adequate calorie intake is crucial to bodybuilding success. The truth is food that “comes from nature such as a grain crop, a garden or fruit tree, is a natural form of food and will contain the highest amount of nutrients which will support any nutrition lifestyle.” I have to agree with Robert that many people exploring a vegetarian or vegan diet fail themselves health wise by only consuming fattening, heavily processed foods like chips, breads, pasta, and low-quality faux-meat products. Further, “a vegan diet may not work for someone if they simply do not eat enough food. Many vegans cut all animal products out of their diet but fail to replace those calories with plant-based foods. Therefore, their caloric intake is reduced, they get thinner, they feel weaker, and decide that a vegan diet isn’t for them.” Because carbohydrates are the main source of energy for the body, it’s crucial to include in your diet foods such as brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, other grains, and yams.
Let’s cut to the chase and address your primary question: How on earth does a vegan bodybuilder consume an adequate amount of protein to successfully build muscle? “Protein is a critical component of a bodybuilding program because it is the component needed to build and maintain large muscle mass.” Because protein is the least effective form of fuel, Robert recommends consuming high protein foods post-workout for optimum muscle rebuilding and repairing. In a sport where massive meat consumption is the norm, vegan bodybuilding provides a healthy dietary alternative to an already physically demanding sport. Though in America we’re taught to believe animal flesh is the greatest source of protein, the truth is the opposite. “It is proven by scores of scientific studies that plant-based sources of protein are easier for the human body to digest and absorb.” Further, plant-based foods fuel the body without the negative health effects of meat consumption such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease. Usable protein can be found in any number of foods such as broccoli, tempeh, seitan, soybeans (cooked), tofu, beans, peas, peanut butter, hemp seeds, spinach, almonds, brown rice, and much, much more. Your options are widely varied, but thankfully Robert Cheeke has provided specific guidelines for what to eat and when, so you won’t be overwhelmed by all of your new food options.
After creating his website in 2002, Robert titled himself “The World’s Most Recognized Vegan Bodybuilder” and he’s been working diligently ever since to claim and hold that title. One of the reasons he wrote and published his book, was “to show non-vegan athletes and bodybuilders that there is a healthier way to live their lifestyle, therefore prolonging their life and creating a higher net gain of life without having to jeopardize their bodybuilding or athletic dreams or success.” At the same time, he improves the lives of our furry friends and protects the environment. In short, what’s not to like about this guy?
According to Robert, “To achieve a desired look you have to put in the time and dedication to commit yourself to hard work.” If you’re ready to be successful as a vegan bodybuilder, Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitnes: The Complete Guide to Building Your Body on a Plant-Based Diet offers meal plans, workout routines, detailed nutritional information, supplementation info & instructions, and inspiring tips for self promotion ultimately leading to transformation of a passion into a career. Peppered throughout this information is Robert Cheeke’s compelling story of an undersized teenage weakling turned vegan muscle-man body building extraordinaire. His encouraging story proves to readers that any goal you hope to achieve can be attained with proper focus and dedication. So, do you have what it takes?