- Powerlifter Nick Squire has been eating a vegan diet for nearly a decade.
- Additionally, he has earned several championship awards and state records in the sport.
- He said plants provide abundant protein and energy, and he shared his specific diet and training.
When Nick Squire started trying to get in shape nearly a decade ago, he never expected to break records, let alone do so on an entirely plant-based diet.
The now 37-year-old California native has won multiple championships in his class in addition to setting state records for the 550-pound squat, 617-pound deadlift and 1,515-pound total.
But he initially wanted to get a little more fit after the birth of his daughter, and before hitting the powerlifting gym he was training for hurdles.
“I decided I didn’t like running but I did like lifting weights,” Squire told Business Insider.
Around the same time, Squires was involved in dog rescue, and said this process inspired him to begin cutting meat from his diet for ethical reasons.
“I had cognitive dissonance about spending time, money and energy helping these animals and eating other animals. It had an impact on me,” he said.
Over a year, he gradually transitioned to an entirely plant-based diet, which provides plenty of fuel for big lifts: Squire has since achieved all-time personal bests of 374 pounds on the bench press, 611 pounds in the squat and 666 Have done. Pound deadlift.
Here is his daily routine for lifting big weights.
Their typical diet includes over 220 grams of protein from plants.
Like most vegetarian athletes, Squire is asked questions about how he gets enough food and enough protein to build muscle and strength on a plant-based diet.
A typical day of eating for him includes:
Breakfast: Oatmeal, Vegan Protein Powder, and Banana
lunch: A traditional bodybuilder-style meal with broccoli and rice, but with vegetarian “chicken” instead of traditional poultry.
Pre-Workout Snack:Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich
dinner: Protein Pasta and Vegetarian Sausage
Overall, Squires aims for about 220 grams of protein per day (about one gram per pound of body weight), in this example he said it works out closer to 240 grams.
Recent research suggests that 0.7 grams per pound of body weight per day is the optimal amount of protein for building muscle, which is generally in line with the advice of dietitians.
While not all vegetarian proteins are considered “complete” proteins, combining different plant sources of protein can provide all the essential amino acids. Vegetarian protein sources include brown rice, peas, soy, other legumes, seeds, and even grains like oats and quinoa.
Plant-based foods are also rich in nutrients, full of vitamins, minerals, and compounds called phytochemicals that provide health benefits like reduced inflammation, and a healthy heart, brain, and digestive system.
Squire said that he had recently suffered a major injury that kept him from going to the gym, but that he recovered in about half the time that doctors expected, although he cautioned that he had no way of knowing. Whether it is related to their diet or not. However, other high-profile athletes have credited plant-based diets with faster recovery and improved flexibility.
He lifts heavy weights and prefers active recovery
Squire competed in his first powerlifting competition in Huntington Beach in 2016 and placed second in his class, despite primarily wanting to gain some experience.
He said, “It wasn’t about winning, it was about seeing what I could achieve. I learned more in a six-hour meeting than in two years of training.”
Since then, he has participated in several state and world championships. Squires compete in “raw” powerlifting, which is done without the use of compression devices such as special suits that can assist in lifting more weight (although wrist wraps are allowed for some gear, such as the bench press).
His training routine, determined with the help of powerlifting trainers, consists of about 90 to 120 minutes each session in the gym three to four days per week.
Squire said rest between sets and workouts is important for lifting thousands of pounds in workouts.
“When lifting 500 pounds off the rack and moving it, it takes a lot out of your body, so you don’t want to rush your next set,” he said.
He added that rest days are important to re-strengthen muscles and prevent overtraining which can halt progress.
“People have this idea that you have to go to the gym every day. Half the work is recovery,” he said.
Squires said he spends time on the Peloton the rest of the week for active recovery, a period of light movement that can improve blood flow to speed muscle healing.
Nearing a competition, the volume of his training cycle decreases, so he is performing fewer reps, giving his muscles time to be in peak shape for the meet.
Squire said that in powerlifting he likes to focus on performance rather than aesthetics,
He said, “All my life, I will sign up for the gym and do bodybuilding and other things. The expectations of the fitness industry lead you to think that your body will change rapidly and when it doesn’t, It’s discouraging.” “With powerlifting, there is tangible feedback that you are getting better because it is about the numbers that are going up. What you are achieving matters more than how you look.”
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