My decision to go vegetarian, just over 15 months ago, was based purely on my ethical beliefs. Nonetheless, since I went vegetarian, I have been able to improve my physique and overall fitness levels dramatically. I’ve increased my strength and muscle mass while reducing my body-fat percentage, predominantly because of my nutritional choices. I am currently in the best shape of my life and am confident that I will see even more positive results in the future.
Since I was a teenager, I have always been quite fit and have taken an active interest in weight training and sports. I was initially concerned that going vegetarian might have a negative impact on my performance in the gym and/or other sports. This was because of common misconceptions that influence males from a young age, such as the incorrect notion that vegetarians have difficulty gaining muscle mass and strength.
My goal is to inspire and/or reassure those who may be considering going vegetarian or vegan that you can build muscle mass and be both fit and strong on such a diet. My current progress picture, taken this month, is shown above, along which a picture taken a month before I went vegetarian. I believe the results speak for themselves.
Anyone with a basic knowledge of nutrition will know that in order to build muscle effectively, you need to consume foods that contain protein. Many plant-based foods (such as quinoa and soy products) are very high in protein and low in carbohydrates and fats. The fact that someone is vegetarian or vegan has absolutely no bearing on his or her ability to gain muscle mass or strength.
My advice to anyone who’s considering going vegetarian or vegan is first to educate yourself about ethical and nutritional matters and then go for it. I do not think that there’s anything wrong with someone gradually transitioning to a vegetarian or vegan diet. That approach has worked well for me.
Just for the record: I’m not a personal trainer, and I don’t work in any fitness-related field. I’m actually a qualified chartered accountant, working a full-time job, and I have many other interests, such as making music. So fitness is just one aspect of my life. Even so, I have no doubt that I will continue to improve physically and mentally in an attempt to inspire others to do the same.
Guest post written by fitness enthusiast Chris Ballester from Gold Coast, Australia