Developing your physical fitness is a great way to work on improving your overall wellness, but exercise alone is often not enough to lose weight or improve your athletic ability. You must consume the right kind of diet as well. What you choose to fuel your body with is just as important as how you decide to use that fuel. Whether it's swimming, running, lifting weights, or playing sports, you need to have the right nutritional foundation from which to build. When you've chosen to lead a vegetarian lifestyle, selecting the diet for your fitness routine is even more important. Balancing critical nutrients isn't always easy, but it can have a noticeable effect on the way you perform while exercising.

If your current goal is to develop and build muscle with your workouts, you'll have to alter your vegetarian diet to include the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that will assist muscle growth the most. Unfortunately, there aren't helpful labels at the grocery store to tell you which veggie dishes will help you build the most muscle. Today we'll go over the kinds of things you should eat, and in what quantities, to promote muscle development. Best of all, everything will be compatible with your existing vegetarian diet. Let's get started and take a look at five helpful tips:

  1. Understand what nutrients you need the most
  2. Protein and where you can find it
  3. Stay on top of your essential vitamins and minerals
  4. Don't forget about the power of healthy fats
  5. Create a meal plan and stick to it

Better Muscle Growth On a Vegetarian Diet Fat Carb Protein

Understand what nutrients you need the most

OK ? so you know you need to eat right to get stronger, but what's happening when you take in those nutrients? It can often seem like your body just magically changes. The way nutrition impacts your health and fitness is not always easy to discern. Knowing how building muscle mass works, though, can help you to select the right foods for your diet. That's especially important (as we'll see a little later) when it comes to developing your body on a plant-based, meat-free diet.

There are three major categories, and you're going to need to plan your diet around all of them. You might know them already; they are fats, carbohydrates, and protein. Of the three, protein is the most important; it has the biggest impact on muscle growth. Protein aids in oxygen delivery and rebuilding muscle tissue after exercise. Fats, though they should be a sparing part of your diet, provides you with easy energy to burn and aids in crucial hormone production.

Finally, carbs are the essential fuel of your dietand will provide the most help when it comes to bulking up and added more muscle mass. More muscle mass equates to better strength, and that is the goal of what you?re trying to achieve. Do some homework to learn more about how the roles these nutrients play. This knowledge will help your understanding of how to structure your workout diet.

Better Muscle Growth On a Vegetarian Diet Protein Sources

Protein, protein, protein: where to find it and how to get enough

Now you know protein is critical for building muscle mass, but how are you going to get enough? Supporting muscle growth requires a very substantial intake of protein. You can expect to consume between one and two grams of protein for each pound you weigh. Many athletes know that this kind of sustained high protein intake is essential when you're putting your body through lots of anaerobic activity like heavy lifting each week.

As a vegetarian, though, you can't just reach for the chicken breasts and canned tuna. You'll need to get your protein from somewhere else. Where? Whey protein powders, which you can find in energy shakes, for example, are a go-to supplement for many people working on their muscles.

However, it's important to read labels carefully and choose a vegetarian whey powderthat suits your dietary needs. Eggs, soy, peas, and even many kinds of nuts are all excellent sources of protein as well. Find a variety of sources for your protein, so you don't tire out; that way, you'll always be ready for that next set of reps.

Better Muscle Growth On a Vegetarian Diet Green Vegetables

Stay on top of your essential vitamins and minerals

Just like it's important for you to manage the nutrients carefully you're taking in, Vitamins are critical as well. While a carefully controlled diet of whole and raw foods will contain many of the minerals you need, supplementing your intake is not a bad idea. Certain minerals, such as zinc, aid in muscle development. Others will ensure that your workouts continue smoothly and without unnecessary difficulty.

While a multivitamin is a good way to tackle any deficiencies you might face, it's also helpful to know some common sources of essential minerals. For example, calcium helps muscles contract properly. A lack of calcium can lead to sluggish workouts full of breaks to soothe your cramping muscles.

Milk is traditionally an excellent source of calcium, but you can also find it in vegetables like kale, spinach, and broccoli. Adding these greens to your daily meals will ensure your calcium intake is on point. As for zinc (which promotes muscle growth), your multivitamin is the easiest way to see to that need. Pumpkin seeds can also be a good source. Many nutrients play a part in muscle growth; don't neglect your vitamin intake!

Better Muscle Growth On a Vegetarian Diet Healthy Fats

Don't forget about the power of healthy fats

Working out puts your joints and muscles through a lot of punishment. The right diet doesn't just kick the body into gear when it comes to repairing that diet; it can actually help with the process. Beneficial fats are one of the substances which promote better joint health, which in turn helps you put in more reps, creating more gains. Overall, the way healthy fats help you restore muscle tissue is all the reason you need to make an effort to include more of them in your diet.

Many nuts, such as almonds and cashews, are chock full of healthy fats that will supply your body with the amino acids it needs to repair muscle at the cellular level. Consider looking for a vegetarian-friendly source of omega-3 fatty acid, which is often available in supplement form. Flax seed oilprovides an excellent source of this nutrient as well.

Look for other foods rich in unsaturated fats, but avoid highly processed foods. Those are more likely to contain the kinds of fats that you want to avoid. Incorporating the right fats into your daily food intake will make recovery from those heavy arm and leg days seem like a breeze compared to before.

Create a meal plan and stick to itbetter muscle growth on a vegetarian diet meal planner

Building muscle while on a vegetarian diet clearly requires careful management of your diet in addition to the planning you do for your exercise. If you just try to diet without planning, you're not likely to stick

solely to eating the foods which are good for you. The temptation to cheat on the diet is simply too high. Why not make up a schedule for your meals, just like you plan out your exercises? In fact, linking the two is an excellent idea. Increasing your protein intake on heavy workout days and adjusting your diet for rest days will help you to work towards the biggest muscle gains.

Plan your meals out for each week at the same time you map out the exercises and sets you'll be doing. Include plenty of variety to keep yourself interested. Break your meals up across the whole day; eating smaller meals more consistently keeps your body in the right state for development. Have some fun with this part! Planning a menu lets you be creative with your fitness. There are many vegetarian meal plan ideas on the Internet from which you can draw plenty of inspiration, too.

Balanced nutrition leads to better fitness

With these five tips under your belt, tackling your strength training regime while sticking to your vegetarian diet will be no problem. You'll be able to curl with confidence and bench press with gusto as you power up your muscles. Remember, though, that it requires careful planning and some thought. Select a diet that caters to your tastes as well as your nutritional needs; otherwise, you'll find it's hard to stay on top of your meals. Your nutrition has such a significant impact on the results you see from your hours in the gym that it's worth taking the time to plan it all out. When you want to shape and tone your body, analyze your nutritional needs and link them to your daily exercise program. You'll be bulking up in no time.