Is it possible to be a bodybuilder and a vegan?

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Vegan Bodybuilding

With 50% of the UK engaging in “vegan buying behaviours” and a total 1% of the British public are now full-time vegan, veganism has been named one of 2018’s most important consumer trends. In sports including bodybuilding, elite athletes are showing us what the human body is capable of on a plant-based diet. But with steroid use rampant in competitive sports – is everything as natural as it seems? And are steroids technically vegan-friendly?

  • 1% of the British public are ‘full-time’ vegan, and that number is rising
  • 50% of Brits now adopt ‘vegan buying behaviour’
  • The number of ‘full-time’ vegans has more than quadrupled over the last 10 years

Instagram is packed with gym freaks professing their love for #veganlife, but with most competitive bodybuilders chugging down up to 6 chicken breasts and 20 egg whites every day, is it realistic to think you can build a beast body on plants alone?

The most common age to begin is between 20 and 24, but users range from 13 to mid-70s.

Where do you get your protein?

How do vegans fare alongside carnivores on the bodybuilding scene?

Pretty well actually. Vegan bodybuilder, former Mr. Universe, and Guardians of the Galaxy actor Barny du Plessis ditched animals products in 2014.

Bodybuilding legend Jim Morris was always upfront about his steroid use. In addition to his marvelous physique, Morris credits veganism with solving his health problems from allergy flare-ups to arthritic joints. He died in 2016 at age 80.

Are steroids vegan?

In the impressive world of vegan bodybuilding, the subject of steroids is a bone of contention. The question of whether or not steroids are vegan-friendly is the subject of some debate among plant-based strongmen.

So are steroids vegan? On the whole, no. Many anabolic steroids are not vegan-friendly because they’re synthesised from lanosterol cells in animals.

This isn’t always the case – some are synthesised from lanosterol cells in fungi or cycloartenol cells found in plants. If a vegan did manage to get hold of a vegan-friendly steroid this would, in my opinion, still be going against the vegan ethos.

How can you tell if a vegan bodybuilder is on steroids?

Are there any surefire ways to tell if the vegan bodybuilder in your life is jacking up or is just naturally swole bruh?

Two words: water retention. A bloated middle seemingly not in proportion with the rest of a person’s physique is a dead giveaway when it comes to steroid use – particularly in vegans. A vegan diet is incredibly healthy, made up of natural foods that the body can easily digest. When you eliminate dairy, excess salt, and refined carb sources, you’ll lose water weight and your muscles will become harder.

If a vegan bodybuilder is looking overly puffy, has smooth-looking muscles or excessive bloating, this could be a sign he or she is taking steroids. Other signs include gynecomastia, flushed skin, disproportionate trapezius or deltoid muscles, “boulder shoulders” and paper-thin skin with veins for days.

Finally, should vegans take steroids?

Vegan bodybuilders are very focused on health and moral and ethical values, which may come into question if they start taking harmful or illegal drugs. This goes against what they stand for: striving for optimal health and a natural look.

 

Vegan Bodybuilding Infographic

Further reading

Vegan bodybuilders proving that you can be meat-free and strong

Can being vegan affect running performance?

Vegan muscle building

 

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