As a bodybuilder optimizing your body composition is the goal, which means that most of the time you’re focused on macronutrient intake, not your micronutrients. Quality of food is essential, especially when your focus is physique. Vegetables contain valuable micronutrients, fiber, minerals, complex carbohydrates, and phytonutrients which are vital to a successful bodybuilding nutrition program. Therefore, vegetables that contain a higher number of calories and complex carbohydrates, tend to be the best bodybuilding vegetables since they provide more energy and potential gains.
Vegetables are typically associated with people who want to lose weight, as opposed to those trying to gain weight, especially bodybuilders. Most people are familiar with the fact, that bodybuilding does require more protein. However nutrient and carb rich vegetables are a critical element to your overall body aesthetic.
Macro and Micronutrients
Bodybuilders are focused on protein intake. Slamming protein shakes and shoveling down chicken and rice all day can be an effective way to cut body fat and increase lean muscle mass. But it’s also an effective way to sustain some major micronutrient deficiencies.
Vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, and yams are rich in complex carbohydrates and some of the best bodybuilding vegetables. These types of bodybuilding carbohydrates are essential and truly effective, especially pre-workout because they boost energy levels. When you’re trying to build more muscle, vegetables rich in complex carbohydrates offer the most benefit for optimal wellness and athletic performance. That’s why we created Clean Carbs.
Vegetables are also stacked with essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale are full of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and iron which conduct hundreds of vital biological functions. Vegetables also contain powerful plant compounds and antioxidants which are found to be beneficial for athletes such as nitrates, polyphenols, and carotenoids.
Vegetables are extremely high in fiber which can greatly benefit digestive health and support your bodybuilding goals. Fiber passes directly through your gastrointestinal tract and is not metabolized like other carbohydrate sources. Vegetables that are high in fiber maintain stable glucose levels, improve satiation, and support healthy bowel movements, all of which are important for your bodybuilding goals.
Studies have shown that certain vegetables can improve athletic performance. Beets for example, are rich in nitrates which promote nitric oxide production. Nitric oxide (NO) is a vasodilator and improves blood flow, oxygen, and nutrient uptake. Nitrates improve muscle efficiency by reducing the oxygen cost of submaximal exercise and thereby improving endurance exercise performance. Therefore, with more oxygen, blood flow and nutrients transported to your skeletal muscle, comes an improvement in strength, endurance capacity, and workout recovery. Research suggests that beets can improve endurance capacity, peak power output, and time to exhaustion, which means higher workout volume.
Brussels sprouts may be one of the most polarizing vegetables, but, when it comes to bodybuilding, they are one of the best. Brussels sports are rich in vitamins K, B, and C, and are loaded with minerals like manganese, folate and copper. Brussels also contain Omega-3 fatty acids, which have a host of health benefits. They’re also loaded with fiber and sulfur containing nutrients to aid digestive health and help detoxify your body.
Kale is one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. This cruciferous vegetable is loaded with A, K, C, B6, and minerals like manganese, calcium, copper, potassium and magnesium. Kale also contains alpha-linoleic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid, which has been shown to prevent cardiovascular disease. Kale is also very high in antioxidants, such as beta-carotene, and the flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol, which reduce free radical damage and oxidative stress.
There was a reason why Popeye ate spinach and had huge biceps. Spinach is extremely nutrient dense and one of the best bodybuilding vegetables. Spinach vitamins and minerals like Vitamin A, C, K1, and minerals such as folic acid, iron, and calcium. Not only that spinach contains several important phytonutrients, incuding lutein, kaempferol, nitrates, quercetin, and zeaxanthin, which have been shjown to reduce inflammation, ward off infection, and improve eye health. Try out this amazing Spinach Muffins Recipe from our nutrition coaching partner The Swole Kitchen. You’ll thanks me later.
Beetroot is a low-calorie vegetable packed with antioxidants such as polyphenols, carotenoids, vitamin c, vitamin B2, potassium, manganese, folate, potassium, betanin and nitrates. Research shows that beetroot has a host of health benefits, with recent evidence purporting that the nitrate content may improve athletic performance by increasing nitric oxide (NO) levels.
In addition to performance benefits, beets are a powerful superfood and provide numerous health benefits due to its nitrate, betanin and are a rich source of potent antioxidants, such as vitamin C, carotenoids, phenolic acids and flavonoids.
Research suggests that betalains is a powerful phytonutrient and may reduce inflammation in the body, which are associated with chronic disease states such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes [R]. Nitrate content has also been associated with a reduction in blood pressure and hypertension, by relaxing and widening blood vessels thus increasing oxygen and nutrient uptake [R].
Sweet potatoes are rich with energy boosting complex carbohydrates. Sweet potatoes have naturally occurring sugars which are full of dietary fiber, micronutrients and loaded of Vitamin B6, which can help in maintaining good brain health, improving mood and energy levels. Sweet potatoes are also a great source of beta-carotene. Your body converts beta-carotene into Vitamin A, which can help in immune health, eye health, and maintain low blood sugar levels. Bodybuilders are required to eat a ton of complex carbs throughout the day. if you’re having a hard time meeting your carb intake, grab some Clean Carbs. Made with Sweet potatoes, yams, oats, and blueberries, it provides 24 g of complex carbs per serving, and it’s an easy and convenient way to get more quality carbs in your diet.
Broccoli is no stranger amongst bodybuilders. Broccoli is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. As a low carb vegetable Broccoli is the perfect addition to your diet, if you’re trying to cut body fat and lean out. Broccoli is also one of the most nutritious vegetables on the planet, providing an abundance of Vitamin C, K and antioxidants.
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