When it comes to packing on pounds as a bodybuilder, of course, you need to be adding a lot of proteins to your diet to help build muscle. But what about vegetables? Should they be pushed aside and make way for an all (or mostly) protein diet?
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Vegetables for a Bodybuilder Diet
This caused a bit of a stir in the last few years when NFL player (or, a former player, I guess) Colin Kaepernick posted on Instagram a photo of his plate full of steak, eggs, and fruit with a caption of “This is lunch, I don’t eat vegetables. They make you weak!”
Yes, he is/was a professional athlete and has a physique that an average person would kill for, but is he right? Inarguably, NO! In fact, there are many professional athletes who swear by their veggies. Famous athlete vegetarians include Prince Fielder (tell me that guy isn’t buff!), Joe Namath, and Martina Navratilova, and Ironman champion Dave Scott, just to name a few.
Veggies are loaded with vitamins and minerals that are essential for everyone, not just bodybuilders or athletes. These nutrients are best consumed in their plant form. Even the best multivitamin on the market can’t come close to providing the nutritional content. So make sure to add these to your diet!
You can rope this in with all kinds of leafy greens, but I’ll highlight kale here especially. Surely you’ve heard of this vegetable becoming all the rage in recent years, and for good reason. This veggie is a nutritional powerhouse, full of fiber and copper (a nutrient that is otherwise hard to get enough of in a regular diet), as well as iron, Vitamins A, C, and K, manganese, and a whole slew of phytonutrients.
As for leafy green in general, they aren’t all created equal. When choosing between them, go with the choice that is darker in color as they are higher in nutrient content. This is because they contain folate, which boosts vascular function and blood flow. Dark leafy greens include arugula, romaine lettuce, and spinach.
I only ever really remember eating these when served as Thanksgiving, but it’s time that I (and you) add these to my diet more regularly. There’s a reason why so many athletes swear by drinking beetroot juice, and why it has become an essential part of many pre-workout drinks. Beets are rich in nitrates, which your body converts into nitrites and nitric oxide. This gas opens up your blood vessels to increase circulation and boost oxygen and nutrient delivery, all of which help deliver nutrients to your muscles.
You may not remember this, but after Usain Bolt set the world record for the 100-meter dash at the Olympics in Beijing in 2008, his father was interviewed and boasted that the secret was the “Trelawny Yam” he’d been consuming. While that particular yam may not be available locally to you, that doesn’t mean that yams, in general, aren’t great for your body and your athletic performance.
No matter what color or variety you get them in, yams are an amazing source of manganese, fiber, vitamins B6 and C, and tons of nutrients. They also have a high potassium content, which helps to regulate blood pressure and can ward off muscle cramps. On top of that, they are loaded with carbohydrates to provide energy.