Are you following a vegetarian diet? If so, you are likely wondering how to get the most out of it and how to stick to it while beginning a new workout regimen. There are specific things that you should be doing to provide your body with everything it needs to engage in an intense workout routine ranging from dietary tips to supplementation. If you are a vegetarian looking for specific supplements that you should be taking when starting a new workout regimen, you’ve come to the right place. There are a lot of different supplements that can help fill in the gaps of your diet as a vegetarian to help you maximize available energy, improve strength gains, and even build muscle mass. While a lot of the supplements might differ based on your fitness goals, we will be going over specific supplements that every vegetarian should be including in their regimen when beginning a workout routine, as well as some tips and tricks to get the most out of your workouts as a whole.
Top Supplements To Use As A Vegetarian
If you are adhering to a vegetarian diet, you will likely run low on vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is essential for proper nerve function. Having any sort of deficiency in vitamin B12 can cause major issues that can negatively impact your ability to workout including fatigue. Therefore, you will want to consider supplementing with vitamin B12 supplements to fill in the gaps caused by your lack of animal consumption, products which contain a majority of normal vitamin B12 consumption from non-vegetarians. While you can get a good amount of vitamin B12 through eating dairy and eggs, it is typically not going to be in sufficient quantities to satisfy your daily requirements. This is especially true if you are going to be implementing an intense workout regimen, or if you are over the age of 50 as the National Institute Of Health recommends everyone over the age of 50 take some form of vitamin B12 supplement due to your body losing the natural ability to absorb proper amounts of vitamin B12 through food as you age 1.
Regardless if you are a vegetarian or not, this is a supplement that you are going to want to include in your daily routine. As a vegetarian, one of the biggest issues that you might be faced with when it comes to optimizing your workouts and getting the kind of mass gains that you are looking for is protein consumption. While there are various sources of high-quality protein that you can get in your diet, you are likely to be deficient in terms of protein intake if you are really looking to build muscle mass. For this reason, you want to consider getting some type of high-quality protein supplement in your regimen to avoid wasting the effort and energy that you put in during gym sessions. The fact is, your body requires a significant amount of protein to stimulate protein synthesis for muscle gains. In fact, if you are looking to put on muscle, you want to take in 1.3 to 1.8 grams per kg of body weight per day 2. Getting this amount of protein from vegetarian sources alone without supplementation can be extremely difficult. To make it easier, you can simply add a high-quality whey protein supplement to take either before or after workouts. Studies show that whey protein supplementation can improve performance whether taken pre and/or post workout 3. Along with this, studies have shown that whey protein can have a significant benefit to strength gains 4.
Another must-have supplement for vegetarians would have to be creatine. Creatine is a very important supplement for those that avoid meat entirely because the only way that you are going to get the required creatine that your body needs to build muscle is through animal meat consumption. This means that you are going to be completely deficient in creatine production if you are not consuming any animal meats in your diet.
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This can cause issues because your body requires creatine during intense exercise. During exercise, your body breaks down creatine and utilizes it as a rapid energy source. Thus, if you have no creatine production in your body, your muscles will fatigue at a much faster rate. To make this less of an issue, you can supplement with creatine to provide your muscles with better and more sustainable energy production through having increased creatine stores for your muscles to utilize. This can be an even larger benefit for those that are vegetarians because they have much lower creatine stores in their body, to begin with. Studies have shown that vegetarians experience the greatest increase from creatine supplementation 5. This is easily the most important vegetarian supplement for bodybuilding.
Another supplement that you are going to want to consider taking as a vegetarian would be beta-alanine. This is a good supplement to consider because beta-alanine is an amino acid that is produced in your muscle tissue, and it has proven to be effective at helping minimize muscle fatigue and increase overall muscular endurance 6. The issue with following a vegetarian diet stems from the lack of beta-alanine you get while following this type of diet. This is due to the fact that carnosine being predominantly found in animal meats. This can leave you deficient in this non-essential amino acid as someone following a vegetarian diet. Thus, by supplementing with it, you will be able to effectively increase the amount of concentration you have of it in your body, which can help you gain the many benefits that beta-alanine offers in regards to maximizing your muscular endurance throughout your exercise routines and by delaying muscle fatigue.
Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
Another important supplement that you want to at least consider getting in your daily routine as a vegetarian or even someone who eats meat routinely would be BCAAs. These amino acids are essential in regulating the metabolism of protein in your body. Thus, to achieve optimal protein synthesis, you will require sufficient intake of BCAAs. Along with this, they can serve to help with achieving better muscle recovery times. Therefore, they can help you work out for longer periods of time and even recover faster from your workouts. Studies show that BCAA supplementation can stimulate protein synthesis effectively in those that consume the supplement after workouts 7.
Eat Enough Calories
One of the biggest mistakes vegetarians make when they are looking to incorporate an intense workout regimen in their routine is not consuming enough calories to sustain optimal energy levels throughout the exercise. You want to consume enough calories to provide your body with enough fuel to utilize to achieve strength and muscle gains.
If you are a vegetarian and you are finding it increasingly difficult to get enough protein in your diet, you might be better off consuming more quinoa in your diet rather than rice. Quinoa offers a good source of protein, and it can really help you get sufficient intake of protein if you replace your traditional carbohydrate source of rice with it. In fact, just one cup of quinoa cooked provides 8 grams of protein, and unlike other sources of plant-based protein, it is a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids our body requires through diet 8.
As you can see, the vegetarian diet leaves you with many gaps that need to be filled, especially if you are going to be implementing a strength training workout regimen that you want to experience the greatest gains with. Unfortunately, a lot of the protein and other nutrients essential to building muscle mass and speeding up muscle recovery are gained through meat consumption. Thus, if you are not consuming sufficient quantities of meat or if you are avoiding meat altogether, you are going to require much more supplementation to minimize these deficiencies that can have a negative impact on your ability to workout and get the best results for your daily life.
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