How to gain muscle mass as a vegan

Published December 22, 2020

Reviewed December 2020

How to gain muscle mass as a vegan

For years, the conventional belief that ruled professional and amateur athletic training programs was that consuming meat was the only way to build muscle. Today, we know a balanced vegetarian diet that includes plant-based protein assists muscular development … no steak required.

Well-planned vegetarian diets that meet energy needs and contain a variety of plant-based protein foods, such as soy products, other legumes (beans and lentils), grains, nuts and seeds can provide adequate protein for athletes without the use of special foods or supplements. Consideration must be made for the type of vegetarian diet an athlete follows:

  • Vegan – a vegetarian diet that excludes all animal products, such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, cheese and other dairy products, and which relies on plant protein only to meet protein needs.
  • Lactovegetarian – a vegetarian diet that excludes meat, poultry, fish and eggs but includes dairy products, a source of protein.
  • Lacto-ovo vegetarian – a vegetarian diet that excludes meat, poultry and fish but includes eggs and dairy products, sources of protein.

Athletes need to eat small amounts of protein throughout the day to ensure this important nutrient is available when their bodies need it most. Moreover, not every source of protein is equal — it is actually the amino acids that make up protein that our bodies need. Meat, eggs and dairy foods are typically the most coveted protein sources because they contain all nine essential amino acids in the ratios that humans require. On the other hand, some plant-based proteins do not contain the essential amino acids in proportions that humans require. Include a variety of protein sources throughout the day to provide adequate amounts of all the essential amino acids, even if all of the protein sources come from plants.

Key is Protein Quality

The standard method of determining protein quality is the protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS), which compares a protein’s amino acid quality based on both the amino acid requirements of humans and their ability to digest it.

Egg protein has a high PDCAAS since it contains the perfect balance of the nine essential amino acids and is easily digestible, making it an excellent protein source for vegetarians. Other vegetarian foods that have a high PDCAAS include dairy products such as low-fat yogurt and milk, and soy, including tofu, edamame, soy milk and soy yogurt.

Eat Protein at Every Meal

Vegetarian athletes looking to build muscle should eat good quality protein at every meal. Here are some tips for building muscle without consuming meat:

  • Eat five or six small meals per day that not only include protein, but also a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, vegetable oils and plenty of water.
  • More than half your calories each day should come from quality carbohydrates, which fuel your muscles.
  • Fats are necessary for supplying energy to muscles during workouts. Good sources of fat include olive oil, almonds, walnuts, avocados and canola oil.
  • Find a registered dietitian nutritionist who can work with you to create a personalized vegetarian eating plan that meets your individual needs.

Can you build muscle on a vegan diet?

You can build and maintain muscle mass on a meat-free diet. Whether you’re vegetarian or vegan, you can meet your needs while still eating a balanced diet. Yes, you do need protein, but you don’t need to overload on it or overlook other key macronutrients.

What do vegan bodybuilders eat?

The vegan bodybuilding diet usually includes many of the following foods:

  • Beans and legumes. These provide a good source of protein and fiber.
  • Hemp, flax, sunflower, and chia seeds. …
  • Quinoa and amaranth. …
  • Meat substitutes. …
  • Soy products. …
  • Calcium-fortified plant milks and yogurts. …
  • Spirulina. …
  • Vegan protein powders.

How do I gain muscle on a plant based diet?

Focus Your Muscle-Building Diet Around Whole Foods

When you’re on a plant-based diet, aim to eat plenty of leafy greens and brightly colored vegetables, potatoes and other tubers, beans and lentils, fresh and frozen fruit, and whole grains like oats and brown rice.

How can a vegan woman build muscle?

  1. Salads: Chickpeas, kidney beans, tempeh, falafel, nuts/seeds, hummus.
  2. Burgers and patties: Chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, nuts/seeds burgers with steamed vegetables.
  3. Pasta: Kidney beans, lentils, pesto, nutritional yeast flakes.
  4. Grills: Tofu kebabs, tempeh.
  5. Stir-fry: Tofu, tempeh, nuts, seeds.

Can you lift weights and be vegan?

Unfortunately, there are no studies looking directly at vegan weightlifters, but there is a fair amount of research that can be used to extrapolate to vegans. While reading, keep in mind that weightlifting can be divided into two types: Bodybuilding to achieve the most noticeable muscles.

Is Arnold Schwarzenegger a vegan?

No, Arnold Schwarzenegger is not vegan, since a vegan diet eliminates all animal products. Former California Governor, however, avoids meat and dairy, but still consumes eggs, which makes him vegetarian.

How do vegans get shredded?

Go Vegan, Get Ripped: How to Make the Switch

  1. You’re going to have to count your calories now.
  2. And don’t replace everything with carbs.
  3. Stock up on supplements.
  4. Learn to love legumes.
  5. Plan your meals ahead.
  6. Read your non-dairy milk labels.
  7. Find your sources of instant fuel.
  8. Keep protein-intake on the higher side.

What do vegans eat in a day?

A healthy vegan diet should contain a variety of whole grains, proteins, healthy fats, and fruits and vegetables. Foods like nuts, seeds, legumes, soy products, and nutritional yeast can all help boost your protein intake throughout the day.

Is peanut butter vegan?

Most peanut butter is a simple mixture of ground peanuts and salt. Others might also contain oil or added sugar. Once in a blue moon, you may find a kind that contains honey, but nearly all peanut butter is 100 percent vegan.

Can you build muscle with plant protein?

According to a new study, the answer is yes. Researchers found that vegetarian protein is just as beneficial for muscle mass and strength as animal protein. Protein helps repair and build muscle—that’s why it’s smart to recover after a hard workout with a smoothie, energy bites, or another high-protein snack.

What foods build muscle?

26 Foods That Help You Build Lean Muscle

  • Eggs. Eggs contain high-quality protein, healthy fats and other important nutrients like B vitamins and choline (1). …
  • Salmon. Salmon is a great choice for muscle building and overall health. …
  • Chicken Breast. …
  • Greek Yogurt. …
  • Tuna. …
  • Lean Beef. …
  • Shrimp. …
  • Soybeans.

What supplements should vegan bodybuilders take?

Here are the six vegan bodybuilding supplements that your body will benefit most from.

  1. 6 Vegan Supplements Your Body Will Find Useful. …
  2. Omega 3: Essential Fatty Acids. …
  3. Creatine. …
  4. Branched Chain Amino Acids. …
  5. Vegan Protein Powder. …
  6. Vitamin D. …
  7. Vitamin B12.

How much protein does a vegan need a day?

The recommendation for protein for adult male vegans is around 63 grams per day; for adult female vegans it is around 52 grams per day. It is very easy for a vegan diet to meet the recommendations for protein.

Read Time: | 19th April 2017

How to gain muscle mass as a vegan

Vegan bodybuilder Tsuki Harris shares her 15 top tips for developing a lean and muscular physique on a vegan diet. Follow these tips to learn about building lean muscle.

1. Eat real food

Whole unprocessed foods will help you stay leaner, because what you see is what you get. There are no hidden nasties.

While meat-free alternatives can be delicious, there are often hidden sugars and fats that prevent us from leaning up and absorbing nutrients.

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2. Macros

How to gain muscle mass as a vegan

Do you eat a good balance of carbs, fats and proteins?

When building lean muscle we need all three in unison for maintenance, muscle growth and muscle recovery.

Complex carbs like oats and sweet potatoes will nourish your nervous system and give you the energy you need to lift.

Fats like avocado and nuts keep your heart healthy as well as helping to balance hormones.

Proteins like chickpeas and lentils help you feel fuller for longer and repair faster.

3. Micronutrients

How to gain muscle mass as a vegan

Eat the rainbow! Fruits and vegetables have so many vitamins and minerals and they are low in calories, which means you can have more of them; which is great if you are trying to lean up.

Vitamins A, B, C, D, potassium, magnesium and iron will help boost your immune system and are extremely important if you want to train hard for results.

The choice is endless so be brave – from veggies like broccoli, carrots, spinach and beetroot to fruits like bananas, which help rebalance electrolytes and prevent muscle cramping.

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It is often said that building muscle mass is difficult in combination with a vegan diet. This is said to be due to a protein deficiency within this plant-based diet. But nothing could be further from the truth. By eating a varied diet and getting enough plant-based proteins, muscle gain is certainly not impossible for vegans.

Do you want to achieve maximum muscle gain with a vegan diet? In this blog we will list for you the best plant based proteins to build and maintain your muscle mass.

Why are proteins important for muscle building?

Proteins are needed to recover your strained muscles after an intensive workout. All workouts, strength training, and even intensive yoga put a strain on your muscles, resulting in cracks. Proteins ensure that these cracks recover faster and increase your muscle mass.

Fitness experts often recommend eating products such as cottage cheese, eggs, meat and fish to create muscle mass. However, there are also many vegan athletes who have achieved success without these animal products, like yoga instructor Michelle Muench and bodybuilder Jon Venus.

Plant based protein sources for muscle gain

Protein is indispensable if you are training hard and want to grow muscle mass. To get enough of it with a vegan diet, you can choose the following plant-based proteins for muscle gain:

1. Spirulina

Spirulina is a blue-green algae and king among proteins. It has a very high protein concentration of 70%. This means it contains more protein than meat and dairy. Spirulina powder can easily be added to a smoothie or dish or you can take supplements daily.
How to gain muscle mass as a vegan

2. Seeds and kernels

Hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame and chia seeds contain about 20 to 30 grams of protein per 100g. You won’t eat a handful of these, of course, but make your own seeds/kernels mix and sprinkle them over a bowl of coconut yoghurt or salad for an extra bite. Or mix them through your smoothie for an extra dose of protein.

3. Peanut butter

It is not only healthy, but also tasty and rich in protein. Peanut butter contains about 25g of protein per 100g. In general, most types of peanut butter are vegan.

4. Nutritional yeast

Not unknown among vegans: nutritional yeast flakes. It looks like dry sawdust, but this form of yeast has a cheese flavour that could be used as a substitute for grated cheese. Sprinkle a tablespoon (10 g) of these flakes on top of your pasta and you will have 5 grams of vegan protein in it.

5. Nuts and peanuts

These vegan proteins are not to be missed. Peanuts contain most proteins at 26 g per 100 g. Almonds, pistachio, and cashew nuts are also good options. Eat them as a snack or add them to a vegetarian curry, for example.

6. Beans and Legumes

Beans and legumes are often mentioned as good substitutes, but be careful which one you choose. Soy beans, kidney beans, split peas, mung beans, lentils and chickpeas are among the winners and are good for 20 to 25 g of protein per 100 g. In addition to protein, beans and legumes also contain a lot of fibre that is effective in reducing visceral fat. Try some homemade bean burgers or eat a bowl of steamed edamame as a snack after your workout.

7. Porridge oats

Oatmeal is a perfect breakfast or post-workout meal to consume protein. It contains about 13 grams of protein per 100 grams and is easy to combine with other vegan proteins. Add soy milk (good for 7 g protein), a spoonful of peanut butter, a handful of nuts and some blueberries and you’ve created your own protein booster.

8. Tofu and tempeh

These meat substitutes both contain 12g of protein per 100g and are very versatile. For example, you can use them for all kinds of stir-fry dishes, curries and salads, or eat them loosely fried next to a portion of vegetables and rice.

9. Vegetables

Fresh (green) vegetables do not contain as much protein as the options mentioned above, but they should not be missing with your meal. If you are looking for the most protein-rich vegetables, then opt for these:

  • Artichokes – 3.3 g protein per 100 g
  • Asparagus – 2.2 g protein per 100 g
  • Cauliflower – 1.9 g protein per 100 g

10. Vegan protein powder

Nutrition tips for muscle gain as a vegan

  • Make sure you get enough calories To increase muscle mass, you need to get more calories than your body needs. Of course, choose healthy calorie-rich options such as avocado and nuts. With a body analysis scale you can measure your BMR: this measurement shows the minimum amount of calories your body needs.
  • Eat enough protein Eat enough protein during the day and divide it between meals and snacks. After exercise it is good to eat at least 20 grams of protein and research has shown that muscle protein production is maximally stimulated at an intake of 20 grams.
  • Eat a varied diet to get essential amino acids Amino acids ensure the storage and transport of various nutrients (such as fat, water and carbohydrates) in your body. In addition to protein, you also need the 9 essential amino acids for optimal muscle building. These types of amino acid are not produced by your own body and so need to be in your diet. Amino acids are mainly found in protein-rich products, but not in all of them, so make sure you eat a varied vegan diet to get all 9 amino acids from it.
  • Eat enough fat Fat provides more calories as carbs and protein, which is important to take in enough calories.

Monitor your muscle gain during your vegan diet

Do you want to keep track of whether your training and eating plant proteins is successful for your muscle building? A Tanita body composition scale (such as the BC-401), gives you measurements of your muscle mass, fat percentage, basal metabolism and more. With the accompanying My Tanita App you can easily keep track of your process and set goals for your muscle building.

If your goal is to strengthen the muscle mass specifically in your legs or core, and you want to measure the muscle building in this specific area, you can also opt for a segmental body composition scale, such as the BC-545n. Our segmental scales allow you to measure the effect of your training and nutrition in more detail. In addition to the ‘standard measurements’, the device also gives you accurate measurements of your muscle mass and fat percentage per arm, leg and your central abdominal area.

Is it harder to build muscle as a vegan?

Worry not, tofu lovers. A recent Arizona State University study found no difference in measures of strength or endurance — or levels of lean body mass — in vegetarian athletes compared to meat eaters. With some strategic planning, it’s entirely possible to power your muscles on plant protein.

What do vegan bodybuilders eat?

The vegan bodybuilding diet usually includes many of the following foods:

  • Beans and legumes. These provide a good source of protein and fiber.
  • Hemp, flax, sunflower, and chia seeds. …
  • Quinoa and amaranth. …
  • Meat substitutes. …
  • Soy products. …
  • Calcium-fortified plant milks and yogurts. …
  • Spirulina. …
  • Vegan protein powders.

How can a vegan woman build muscle?

  1. Salads: Chickpeas, kidney beans, tempeh, falafel, nuts/seeds, hummus.
  2. Burgers and patties: Chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, nuts/seeds burgers with steamed vegetables.
  3. Pasta: Kidney beans, lentils, pesto, nutritional yeast flakes.
  4. Grills: Tofu kebabs, tempeh.
  5. Stir-fry: Tofu, tempeh, nuts, seeds.

Is Arnold Schwarzenegger a vegan?

No, Arnold Schwarzenegger is not vegan, since a vegan diet eliminates all animal products. Former California Governor, however, avoids meat and dairy, but still consumes eggs, which makes him vegetarian.

Is Tom Brady a vegan?

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is the most prominent athlete to embrace veganism, crediting his mostly plant-based diet for allowing him to play at an MVP level into his 40s. He made the change starting in 2014, and detailed his approach in his 2017 book, “The TB12 Method.”

Why am I gaining weight on a vegan diet?

You are ignoring portion control.

“People assume that because vegan options are ‘healthier’ they can eat unlimited portions of grains, veggies (especially starchy vegetables), nuts, and seeds,” said nutritionist Stacy Goldberg, MPH, RN, BSN. This can actually contribute to weight gain or lack of weight loss, she added.

Will I lose muscle on a vegan diet?

The short answer is yes. Protein deficiency, as well as lack of exercise, can contribute to age-related muscle loss. Vegan diets are no more likely to be protein deficient than are non-vegan diets.8 мая 2012 г.

What do vegans eat in a day?

A healthy vegan diet should contain a variety of whole grains, proteins, healthy fats, and fruits and vegetables. Foods like nuts, seeds, legumes, soy products, and nutritional yeast can all help boost your protein intake throughout the day.

Is peanut butter vegan?

Most peanut butter is a simple mixture of ground peanuts and salt. Others might also contain oil or added sugar. Once in a blue moon, you may find a kind that contains honey, but nearly all peanut butter is 100 percent vegan.

How do vegans get shredded?

Go Vegan, Get Ripped: How to Make the Switch

  1. You’re going to have to count your calories now.
  2. And don’t replace everything with carbs.
  3. Stock up on supplements.
  4. Learn to love legumes.
  5. Plan your meals ahead.
  6. Read your non-dairy milk labels.
  7. Find your sources of instant fuel.
  8. Keep protein-intake on the higher side.
Bodybuilding, Diet, Fitness, Weight Loss
by Sambhav Jain

How to gain muscle mass as a vegan

Sambhav Jain

How to gain muscle mass as a vegan

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A vegan diet is becoming more popular. In this regard, many athletes have a question: “How to build muscle mass on a vegan diet?” You can achieve bodybuilding success by avoiding animal products. We’ll answer the most popular questions vegan bodybuilders have.

How to gain muscle mass as a vegan

To begin with, let’s clarify that a vegan diet for muscle growth includes more than sufficient protein intake, calorie control, and fat dosage. This is a definite system in which success depends literally on everything: the frequency of meals, the total amount of proteins, supplements, and vegan BCAAs, the amount of water, the combination of foods, and many other factors.

The result directly depends on how you will manage to organize your nutrition – from the number of meals to the amount of water drunk. Success, in this case, is the result of an integrated approach, and not just the effect of protein, as followers of meat-eating believe. So, what is a vegan diet for building muscles? Let’s take a look at the sports nutritional guidelines for vegans.

How to get enough protein on a vegan diet?

After all, protein can be obtained from both animal and plant foods. In addition, the protein obtained from plant foods is absorbed by the human body much easier. It has undoubted benefits: it does not provoke an increase in cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and the development of cardiovascular diseases.

Plant protein is quite suitable as a building material for cells; in addition, it supplies a balanced amount of amino acids to the body. Protein is found in legumes, nuts, grains, hemp, seeds, rice, fruits, and vegetables.

Hemp protein is especially rich in important muscle-building amino acids. Hemp is a unique plant: 70% of hemp protein is edestin, a protein very similar in composition to proteins in human blood. It assimilates easily and is a godsend for vegan bodybuilders.

Yellow peas, brown rice, and soy are also excellent sources of protein. Don’t overdo it, as excessive consumption can cause allergy.

How to gain muscle mass as a vegan

Healthy Calories

It is difficult for vegan bodybuilders to consume enough calories. If you get enough, you can start losing weight.

To make sure you’re getting sufficient calories, you can start consuming vegan bodybuilder diet supplements. You also need to make sure you are eating the right foods.

Healthy protein comes from nuts, quinoa, and some fruits such as raisins and bananas. Peanut butter and almond butter are good snacks, like plant milk smoothies. Soy milk is high in protein. You can also have a snack on high-protein vegan meats. Eat tempeh, tofu, seitan to get enough calories. You can also cook with coconut oil, which will increase the calorie content.

Good Carbohydrates

Don’t be afraid of carbs. They will help you build muscle. However, this does not mean that you should eat unhealthy foods. Stick to low-glycemic carbs such as whole wheat pasta and whole-grain bread. Eat oatmeal for breakfast, and try to add legumes such as chickpeas, lentils, and beans to your vegan diet every day.

Enough Omega-3

Omega-3 fatty acids help you build muscle and avoid injury. Most bodybuilders get them from fish, but it is possible to get Omega-3s from plant sources; for example, there is more Omega-3 in walnuts than in salmon. Chia seeds, flax seeds, brussels sprouts, wild rice, vegetable oils, vegan milk, and algae oil are also good sources of vegetable Omega-3s.

Eat Less, but More Often

It is important that you have a constant flow of nutrients such as protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates entering your body. Not only does it help keep your body toned and ready for your next workout, but it also helps boost your metabolism and make you burn fat faster.

How to gain muscle mass as a vegan

Keep a Food Diary

Track what you eat, so you know which vegan diet foods and recipes work for you. A food diary helps you determine how many calories and protein you have already consumed so that you can understand what else you need to eat. You can also use a vegan diet meal planner to plan your eating routine for the week.

Vegan Protein Powder & Bars

You can also supplement your diet with high-protein snacks such as vegan protein shakes and bars. It is convenient and can help you if you have no time to cook or consume fewer calories than you need.

Useful Tips for Bodybuilders’ Vegan Diet Plan

  • Forget about artificial, overly processed food and gradually switch to natural: using such food, the body can get strength and energy.
  • Eat fruits for breakfast – they will not only nourish your body with useful substances but also wake it up, stimulating it to take action. And the right start for an athlete is the key to a successful day.
  • Even if you have at least one serving of greens a day in your diet – the amino acids contained in it will greatly promote muscle growth.
  • Avoid fried foods in favor of baked ones – this will significantly help your body and your muscles.
  • If you notice leg cramps during exercise or at night, it means that you lack sodium and potassium. Try to increase the intake of these elements.
  • If you are worried about sleep problems, add zinc and magnesium to your diet to help the body relax after exhausting workouts.

How to gain muscle mass as a vegan

Conclusion

Summing up, we would like to advise you to pay attention to the experience of successful vegan athletes. They recommend: be persistent in achieving your goals and boldly move towards them. Develop a set of principles for your training and vegan diet menus and stick to them.

Get into the habit of a healthy vegan diet plan. Organize your life – from workouts to dinners. Only those who set definite goals for themselves achieve success. People who have chosen the path of a vegan athlete always see the goal and persistently go towards it because they know what they want. And we wish you the best of luck with that!

Please share your experience in the comments. Have you tried a vegan keto diet? Tell us about your eating habits.

Following a vegan diet can be tricky at times, let alone a vegan bodybuilding diet. Trust.

Luckily for you, we have all the information to make sure you have a solid basis for jumpstarting your vegan diet and working your way up through each level of veganism.

In this post, we’ve boiled this entire process down to three steps. Each step serves to help you reach the optimal macro nutritional targets and with it, bring you closer to your vegan bodybuilding goals – so pull out your reading glasses and let’s get cracking!

How to Create One in 3 Simple Steps

A meal plan is essential to building muscle, especially when bulking and cutting as a vegan bodybuilder. We talk more about this in this Vegan Bodybuilding guide.

Here’s what you need to get right in order to design a highly effective vegan bodybuilding diet plan:

  1. Figure out your calories.
  2. Figure out your macros.
  3. Figure out what to eat.

This doesn’t seem to be too hard if there are only three steps involved, right? Well, yes and no.

People usually fall prey to various vegan diet misconceptions, such as:

  • Underestimating calorie intake needs
  • You’re eating way too little fat (which can be detrimental to your health)
  • Not enough vegan protein sources to optimize muscle growth and repair
  • Not nourishing their body with all the vital micronutrients, and so on.

Especially number three on the list above seem to trip people up, especially vegan diet beginners.

Without enough protein (which you would otherwise get from traditional bodybuilding staples such as chicken breast and ground beef), it can be a bit challenging to find adequate plant protein sources to balance your macronutrient and calorie intake.

Step 1. Figure Out Your Calories

How to gain muscle mass as a vegan

Your body simply doesn’t care what labels mainstream media or vegan diet ‘gurus’ have chosen to put on different foods.

Your body only cares about the amount of energy you consume, and the simple science behind weight gain and loss boils down to one thing:

Calories in and calories out. Here’s how it works:

  1. Consistently over-eat calories – more than your body burns per day, and over time you will store this excess energy as body fat
  2. Consistently under-eat calories – fewer than your body burns per day, and over time you will burn body fat to make up for this energy imbalance

Not only do we know this to be true from countless case studies of people employing CICO to get in shape, but scientific consensus and the laws of thermodynamics also agree that the most effective way to lose those extra pounds is to eat fewer calories than you burn on a regular basis (1).

Naturally, this will be the first thing to figure out for your vegan bodybuilding meal plan. In order to determine what your energy intake should be, use our total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) calculator below and input your own data.

How to gain muscle mass as a vegan

For men – If your body fat is at

15% or above you should start by cutting down (fat loss), until you’re at

10%. At this point begin a bulking phase (muscle building) until you hit a body fat of around

15% again. Start over the process by cutting. Rinse and repeat.

For women – The same rules apply only with different numbers. From wherever you’re starting, cut down (fat loss) until you’re at about

19% body fat. At this point begin bulking (muscle building) until you hit a body fat of approximately 27%. Rinse and repeat.

Does plant-based protein suck?

I mean think about it… the amino acid profiles of plant protein isn’t as complete as animal based protein.

Does that mean plant-based protein is inferior?

Not at all!

As long as you’re mixing and matching your plant-based protein up throughout the day, you’ll get all the amino acids you need to build some lean muscle mass!

But that begs to ask the question, how much protein do you need to build muscle as a vegan?

More Protein = More Gains

Not exactly, let’s take a look at the science behind building muscle!

Studies show that as a general rule of thumb, normal and every day healthy individuals should consume around .36g of protein per pound of body weight. For you individuals in the metric system, this rounds out to .8g per kilogram of bodyweight.

This goes for any diet: Vegan, Pescatarian, Keto, Paleo…

It doesn’t matter, make sure you get your daily protein in.

So for someone who weighs 195 pounds like myself, I should consume just around 70 grams of protein a day.

Keep in mind this is for people who don’t wish to build any muscle mass, and just want to live an everyday healthy lifestyle.

But what about individuals who are athletes, lifters, or are just trying to put on some muscle mass? This surely won’t cut it!

Ah yes, building muscle requires more protein.

If you consume the DRI (Daily Reference Intake) at .36 grams of protein per pound of body weight, accompany that with weight training, you’ll have a hard time putting on lean muscle mass and gaining strength.

.36g of protein per pound of bodyweight is not enough protein for athletes. You’ll never see great results…

If your body is straining itself through movement and activity. It’s going to require more nutrients.

This comes out to roughly around .55-.75 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight.

For a 195 pound male this means consuming between 107 and 145 grams of protein a day.

This is around double the amount of protein most sedentary individuals should consume, but hey… amping up your protein is a must if you wish to pack on some lean muscle mass.

Do you need to consume more above this threshold because you’re a vegan?

Plant-based foods have fantastic sources of protein and will provide excellent muscle growth, just as well as animal based foods.

Even as a vegan, consuming between around .6-.75 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight is perfect to achieve maximum muscle gain. Anything more is not necessary and provides no real benefit.

Just be sure to consume plenty of different plant-based sources rather than sticking to same one throughout the entire day.

This will ensure you get plenty of quality amino acids that help refuel and repair your muscles.

I made an entire article on all the one you should incorporate into your diet.

If you’re too lazy to read the whole article, here’s a list of some of the top plant-based sources of protein.

Soy: Foods like tofu, tempeh, edamame, and soy milk are all super high in protein. They’re also complete proteins and contain all the essential amino acids you need! And don’t worry, soy/phytoestrogens don’t lower your testosterone or boost estrogen levels like many anti-soy companies lead you to believe.

Seitan: Made from vital wheat gluten, this plant-based protein packs a whopping 46g of protein per ¼ cup! Makes a great meat substitute! Turn it into a patty, cutlet, or cut it up into small bite size pieces.

Quinoa: Another complete protein source, quinoa is one of the worlds healthiest and most nutrient dense foods. High in betaine, this foods helps promote muscle growth and strength and packs 8 grams of protein per cup (cooked)

Lentils: 1 cup of lentils contains 20 gram of protein.

Beans: There are a ton of beans out there for you to choose from. Chickpeas, pinto beans, black beans, white beans… as long as you incorporate some beans into your diet, you’ll reap the benefits. It depends on the beans, but usually 1 cup contains around 14g of protein.

Dark Leafy Greens: I’m talking spinach, kale, swiss chard, and arugula. Don’t skip out on these amazing superfoods. Dark leafy greens contain a ton of essential vitamins and minerals and many have shown to carry cancer-fighting properties.

Seeds and Nuts: Hemp seeds and pumpkin seeds are both super high protein. Hemp seeds contain 10g of protein per 3 tablespoons! (That’s insane!) And pumpkin seeds contain 9g of protein per ¼ cup! Both of these superfoods have also shown to increase testosterone levels to maximize muscle gain!

Even if you are consuming enough protein (.6-.75g/lb) to hit your daily macros, there are still a ton of factors that will determine your body’s ability to build muscle mass.

First and foremost, if you truly want to build muscle, you must be eating enough calories to be in a ‘caloric surplus.’

A caloric surplus is where your body is taking in more calories than what your body is burning. When trying to build muscle, you should be aiming for around a 300-500 caloric surplus every day.

If you don’t eat enough calories and are in a ‘caloric deficit,’ it will almost be impossible to build some real size.

Another factor that affects muscle growth is the quality of sleep you get every night.

If you sleep poorly or get only a few hours of sleep every night, you can kiss those gains goodbye…

Sleep allows your muscles to recover. And without proper recovery, your muscles won’t fix themselves up when you’re counting sheep.

For bodybuilders and strength athletes, it’s recommended to get 8 hours of quality sleep every night. (Sometimes 9 hours!)

Lastly, another huge factor that affects your muscle growth is your stress levels. If you’re stressing, worrying, or freaking out about something every day, you’re going to scare your muscles away.

When you stress, your body increases it’s cortisol levels, which are triggered as a response to danger. In nature, it helps keep you safe. But the bad thing about cortisol is that it tells your body to stop worrying about repairing muscle mass, and just focus on that stressor!

Cortisol also lowers testosterone levels significantly, the main hormone responsible for muscle growth!

Building muscle as a vegan is not as hard as many people make it out to be!

There are a ton of vegan bodybuilders and strength athletes all over the world who have utilized the benefits of plant protein to maximize their potential.

You don’t need to consume protein 24/7 like most people make it out to be.

As long as you’re consuming between .6-75g protein/lb of bodyweight a day, you’ll have no problem making some nice gains.