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Vegans Turn to Bodybuilding

Animal-free dieters find ways to bulk up competitively
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 7, 2012 8:43 AM CST

(Newser) – A new trend is sprouting in the sport of bodybuilding: veganism. A burgeoning group of competitive weight-lifters are turning to an all animal-free diet, reports the New York Times. It's a challenge because the vegan diet can be dauntingly limited for bodybuilders, who need a sufficient amount of amino acids, found in meat, in order to bulk up. “Is it possible to be a good bodybuilder and be a vegan? Yes,” says the chief executive of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. “But is it ideal? No.”

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But advocates say hemp-based protein supplements, peanut butter, nuts, vegetables, and legumes can be just as effective as a meat-centric diet, and many see it as a rebuke to the steroid culture in the field. "I had buddies at the gym, they just thought I was crazy,” says one bodybuilder who has found vegan success. “I had a great physique and they said, ‘You’re going to get skinny, sick and frail, and die.’ I wasn’t encouraged.” (Read more vegans stories.)

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