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Fitness & Health

28th Aug 2019

Arnold Schwarzenegger explains why he’s moved to a plant-based diet

Plant-based diets are becoming increasingly popular for health and environmental reasons. Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of the latest proponents

Alex Roberts

If the greatest bodybuilder of all time has cut down on the amount of meat he eats, then so can you

Plant-based diets are becoming increasingly popular, for both health and environmental reasons. Now, Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of the latest names to voice support for cutting back on meat intake.

Ahead of the September 16th release of the Gamechangers Movie (of which Arnie is an executive producer), the Austrian sat down to explain why he’s moved to a more plant-based nutrition plan.

He said: “I ate a lot of meat – I ate my 10, 15 eggs a day. I had my 250 grams of protein in a day, because I weighed 250 pounds.”

This diet is everything you’d expect from a professional bodybuilder – especially one who lifted the Mr. Olympia title on seven different occasions before retiring in 1980.

Why Arnold Schwarzenegger has taken on a plant-based diet

While Arnold still continues to hit the gym hard, his diet has taken a different turn.

“As I got older and I started reading up on it, I recognised the fact that you really don’t have to get your protein from meat – or from animals. So we started going more in a direction of a vegetarian kind of diet. Now we’re doing it the right way, with spices, and all of a sudden I love it much more than the meat.”

But it wasn’t the taste or the texture of vegetarian foods that had Arnold cutting back on meat consumption. The purported health benefits were a bigger factor.

Arnold said: “The cholesterol went down, to around 109. That’s the lowest that it ever was in my entire life – at almost 69.”

Why aren’t more bodybuilders following a plant-based diet?

Most bodybuilders probably think in the same way Arnold used to – that meat and animal protein are essential for building muscle.

These foods are very protein-dense, but you can get by without. For instance, a single chicken breast will contain between 25 and 35 grams of protein. You can still get this much protein in a plant-baed meal, but you just have to structure your plate slightly differently.

Combining various meat-free foods such as lentils, quinoa, tofu, chickpeas and beans will help you hit the same protein target.

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