Bodybuilding, in one form or another, has been a sport for over a thousand years. Beginning with stone-lifting competitions, the sport has evolved, with strong man competitions on one side and bodybuilding one another, with eating being hugely important in all activities. Traditionally, meat is associated with masculinity and strength and power. Most people believe that you can only get strong by eating the protein of animals, meat, eggs, fish, dairy. They think that eating lean meat and egg whites non-stop is the only away to gain lean muscle. But there’s a growing group of bodybuilders who are leading the way in disproving old beliefs.
A Brief History of Bodybuilding
Stone-lifting competitions were a show of strength used by men used for thousands of years. Being able to lift a stone that another man couldn't was proof that, not only were you stronger, you were more virile, tougher, better. In Viking times stone lifting was used to prove your worth. Norsemen were known throughout Europe and the Middle East a fierce and strong warriors. They were huge, tall and muscular, but these were mainly the ones that got to travel, the ones that had a place on a boat. Positions on a boat had to be earned, to ensure that everyone on the boat deserved to be there, a village established a series of stones of increasing weight. To achieve a position on a boat, the Viking would need to lift stones to prove their worth, the heavier the stone they lifted the better the job that they got. It is said that, to get the best job, a man would have to lift a stone that weighed a minimum of 341 pounds, this had to be lifted to hip height!
Lifting heavy objects, solely to improve the body, is thought to have started in the Greek and Egyptian eras. Competitions of strength and stamina became popular with the public, with parades of these lean, muscular men, being a part of the performance. At the start of the 19th century, weight-training and stone lifting was turned into a training system, with well-muscled men showing their bodies to earn money, people would buy tickets to see them, they sold photos of themselves to increase their income. This evolved into bodybuilding competitions, with weight classes being introduced to include higher strength levels, increasing public interest.
How To Be A Bodybuilder
Bodybuilding for competition, beyond training, lifting weights and other forms of exercising, involves "bulking" and "cutting". Bulking is a process of gaining weight, you physically bulk up. This means eating a lot, every 2 -3 hours, with most calories coming from protein. Cutting is the process of eating at a calorie deficit with the aim being to burn off excess fat, leaving only lean muscle. It is a long held belief that the only way to do this if to eat animal protein, steak, chicken breast, milk proteins. This is not only untrue, it is also dangerous for your body. Animal protein sources are also sources of things that our bodies don't need to want, such as cholesterol. Meat is also very hard on our guts, taking a long time to process and containing no fibre to help the process. The gasses produced in a persons gut during this time can be potent and not in a good way.
One reason for the long held belief that eating animals is necessary for muscle growth is that people think that only complete protein can be used by our bodies. A complete protein is a food source of protein that contains a proportion of each of the nine essential amino acids necessary in the human diet. The problem with this theory is that our bodies don't take bits of animals and stick it on where we want it. All proteins are broken down into amino acids and then recombined to make what our body needs at any given time. It's like a lego set, a person builds a house then they take that apart and use the pieces, along with a part of a car, to build a boat. It doesn't matter where we get our protein from, just as long as we get all of the amino acids that our body needs. Plant proteins also come with a host of benefits, vitamins, minerals, fibre, phytochemicals.
With veganism becoming more popular it is no surprise that there is an increasing number of bodybuilders ditching mean, eggs, fish and dairy. Some vegan bodybuilders say that their diet gives them an advantage over their meat-eating competitors, as eating plants helps to accelerate their recovery and the recuperation of muscles. Some great examples of vegan bodybuilders are:
Dominick Thompson - Ironman triathlete and bodybuilder
Nimai Delgado - California-based vegan advocate and social media star
Samantha Shorkey - 2014 INBF South Western Natural Champion
John Lewis - The “Badass Vegan,” partner of the VeganSmart supplement company
Torre Washington - Competitive bodybuilder
Check these guys out and see for yourself how you don't need to eat animals to be strong.