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Is there a vegetarian diet for building muscles?

Q: I am 24 years old and into body building. I exercise a lot every day. Please suggest me an ideal vegetarian diet that will help me building a good body and pumping up muscles. Also, how long does the body take to recover after a workout? Should I wait for 12 hours or 24 hours before the next workout?

A:Many people frown upon protein from vegetable sources viewing it as inferior to animal based proteins. However, along with supplying the body with a valuable source of protein, plant foods also contain micronutrients, phytonutrients, minerals, vitamins and fibre that you will not find in meat. To gain weight rapidly, eat 1 gram of protein for each kilogram of lean body weight. Thus, if you weigh 75 kg and have 12% body fat, eat 75 g of protein every day. Start off on the lower end of the scale and work your way up. A wide range of vegetables, fruits, grains and nuts provides all the protein you need. Soybeans are also a good source of protein. Next, get an ample supply of quality fats in your diet. Almonds, walnuts and pistachios are all high quality sources and are loaded with both protein and fat. Also, add a tablespoon of flaxseed oil (alsi oil) to your salads and protein shakes. Next, unlike the weight loss advice, eat several servings of rice, potatoes and bread. The key to gaining weight rapidly is an abundance of calories. Thus, do not hold back and have 6-7 high quality meals a day. Also, consider having a protein shake before and after workout as well as before bedtime. It does not take much to stimulate muscle growth; heavy weight and low repetitions will get the job done. Base your workouts around these following guidelines:

  • Work each body part once per week.
  • Keep workouts under 45 minutes.
  • Lift heavy weight and low repetitions.
  • Perform 3-4 exercises for large muscle groups and 2-3 exercises for smaller muscle groups.
  • Keep your repetitions between 4 and 6 for core lifts (Bench Press, Deadlift and Squats) and 6-10 for all other lifts.
Recovery time should be 24 hours, and in case you are doing a core lift you can even maintain a 48-hour gap.

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