Can you build muscle on a vegan diet?
Many people still believe that only by eating animal proteins you can build muscles and keep them strong. They are worried about being harmed by this choice and often ask: „Will I lose muscles on a vegan diet”?
What, in that case, happens to all non-meat eaters, vegetarians, or vegans? Are they forced to stay poorly nourished and as thin as a rake? If you are reading this article you probably have already guessed the answer. And it claims: not at all!
You can become a vegan muscle builder by keeping a healthy and well-planned diet as well as doing your weight training. It all depends on your commitment and knowledge of what is beneficial for building muscles while eating plant-only.
Here are some tips and advice for anyone, who plans to become a vegan muscle builder or already have started this amazing journey. Let’s take a look at some basics.
Building muscle on a vegan diet is not as tricky as you were told!
No, it is easy to understand. All you have to do is follow calculations that base on your daily activity and personal requirement of calories. Before you realize whether can you build muscle on a vegan diet you need to acknowledge some information about how muscles work. First of all – how do they grow and how we lose them?
Notice, that we all have a basic minimum caloric need which is crucial to maintain our organisms in good health, weight, and muscle. It is determined by our size, weight or age, and even gender. In short, we can calculate this number by adding basic metabolism to our other activities. The result is how many calories we are utilizing each day.
But how do we burn them? By natural and added activities, such as sleeping, walking, doing exercises. The more intense the activity the more calories you burn. If you are a muscle builder you will burn more calories than average non-sportsman. So, to keep your muscles in shape, you need to eat properly!
As Robert Cheeke – American vegan bodybuilder and author – suggests, building muscle often requires the consumption of 1.2 – 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight. According to research and experience of the author of Vegan Fitness: Built Naturally, exemplary apportionment of nutrients should look like this:
- 50% of calories from carbohydrates
- 30% coming from proteins
- 20% coming from fats
While the macronutrient percentage breakdown for an active person may look like this:
- 70% of calories from carbohydrates
- 20% coming from proteins
- 10% coming from fats
As you can see, increasing the percentage amount of plant protein and reducing the amount of carbohydrate will be beneficial for gaining muscles.
Before we go further to the best muscle builders plant-based diet, let’s get inspired by some most famous vegan sportsmen and sportswomen.
PlantBuilt vegan bodybuilders broke a world record at the 2017 Naturally Fit Games in Austin – vegan bodybuilders brought home 32 medals of which 22 were the gold ones!
The strongest man in the world is vegan: Patrick Baboumian.
Some of the best MMA Fighters eat plants only: Mac Danzig, Jake Shields or James Wilks. Tennis players who repudiated meat: Serena Williams, Venus Williams or Novak Djokovic. Other vegan sportsman is a boxer, Timothy Bradley, Jr. They all succeeded!
Best lifestyle rules to follow for a vegan muscle builder
Follow the adjusted amount of calories
How can you build a muscle on a vegan diet without eating lots of tasty, high-protein whole food? Remember, that malnutrition leads your body to spend energy from gained proteins.
Lot of fruits and veggies. They provide your body with many high-quality nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Greens will also develop antioxidant prevention so you will stay healthy and strong.
Chickpea and leguminous plants are the most important ingredients for every vegan who desires to gain some muscles. Leguminous plants such as beans, soya, and others are a very valuable source of proteins that build muscles. Eat them also as a good source of low-fat carbs.
5-6 meals a day. Small meals full of whole plant protein are easy to digest and will provide you the equal level of energy during all day.
Variety of meals. What comes to your mind when you think about a bodybuilder diet? Lunchboxes are full of rice, chicken, and broccoli, of course. But this is not exactly the tastiest menu ever, don’t you agree? Bet on the diversity of ingredients – it may prevent malnutrition and boredom. Experiment with recipes and follow your piquant!
Drink water & sleep well. Avoid training while being underslept and dehydrated. You will be no positive results and it might be very dangerous for your health. Let yourself rest or take the day off if you feel dizzy. Working hard is the key to nice sculpture but it needs to be combined with a good frame of mind and body hygiene. Drink at least 8 glasses of water each day and sleep 7 – 8 hours every night. Your body will be grateful!
Maybe you still hesitate, asking yourself: „Will I lose muscle on a vegan diet”.
Let’s check out, how it works.
Will I lose muscle on a vegan diet?
To be clear, you can lose muscles on every diet. Eating meat does not automatically build you a sixpack on a belly and arms. And yes, you can lose muscles on a vegan diet, simply being careless with your diet. For example, eating vegan french fries with dairy-free majo for each meal will make you anything but a slim or neat fellow. Losing muscles is not about a choice of diet but the way you assort your menu. Remember that losing muscles on a vegan diet is a popular stereotype that has nothing to do with proven knowledge and research.
Now you know how to build and keep muscles on a vegan diet. Now is the time for the most important tip: be consistent and feel the joy of the way you nourish your body and mind.