Many people wrongfully believe that it’s impossible to build muscle and gain weight on a plant-based diet. Even though we’ve been conditioned to believe any person of significant size or strength has to eat meat, this couldn’t be further from the truth. That’s exactly what we’re going to talk about in this article. Hopefully, by the end of this article, we’ll be able to convince you to stay away from weight gain pills and build muscle on a plant-based diet.
Building muscles – how does it work?
From a physiological point of view, building muscle and strength is pretty straightforward. Basically, you have to work out consistently and eat lots of food (about 20-40% more calories than required for daily maintenance). In fact, the team from DubaiPT advised that a balanced diet is crucial for achieving good workout results. In case you train hard but don’t eat enough or properly, you won’t gain muscle or get stronger. This is true regardless of if you eat meat or not.
Caption: It’s a common misconception that you need to eat a lot of meat and dairy products to gain weight and increase your muscle mass.
Alt-tag: A plate with different plants cut and served
The next step towards building your muscles is eating enough protein. Protein is what muscle is made of so it’s impossible to build new muscle without it. Food such as meat, dairy, and eggs contain significant amounts of protein but are deficient in other key nutrients. That’s where plants come in – there are plenty of plants that are great sources of protein but they are also rich in vitamins and other key substances.
Ways to build muscle and gain weight on a plant-based diet
Even though “protein” isn’t the first thing that comes to your mind when someone mentions plants, there are plenty of types that are rich in protein. Therefore, the first step towards building muscle on a plant-based diet is educating yourself about them.
The importance of protein
When training hard and working on building muscle, protein is indispensable no matter the source. The fact that sources of plant protein are “inferior”, has no basis in science. In fact, getting your protein from plants is a great way to eat more and feel fuller without gaining more body fat as plant-based food contains fewer calories.
Therefore, if you are on a plant-based diet, in order to gain weight and build muscle, you need to focus on plant-based foods that have higher caloric density.
Plant-based protein sources for muscle and weight gain
Whether you want to define your abs or increase your biceps, a proper diet is one of the key factors. Here are some protein-rich plants you should include in your diet:
• Spirulina, blue-green algae, is the absolute king among proteins with a protein concentration of 70%. This makes it richer in protein than meat and dairy. You can use spirulina powder daily. For instance, add it to your smoothie.
• Nuts and peanuts are very rich in protein and are a great healthy snack you can eat daily.
• Seeds and kernels contain between 20-30 grams of proteins per 100g and can be a great addition to your salads.
• Beans and legumes are rich in fiber as well as protein.
Caption: Proteins are the most important ingredient for building muscles.
Alt-tag: A man drinking protein shake after a workout in the gym
If you feel you need an extra boost, you can find plenty of plant-based protein powders that contain all the valuable nutrients you need.
Nutrition tips for muscle gain on a plant-based diet
In order to build muscle and gain weight on a plant-based diet it’s very important you create a proper diet. First, you need to make sure you get enough calories. As you want to increase your muscle mass, you need to give your body more calories than it actually needs. It’s always best to choose healthy calorie-rich food like avocado or nuts.
We already emphasized the importance of protein intake for your muscle growth. After exercise, make sure to eat at least 20 grams of protein. Also, as you need to get essential amino acids, it’s important to eat a varied diet. Amino acids storage and transport different nutrients in your body and they are essential for healthy muscle building. And lastly, don’t underestimate the importance of getting enough fat.
Be consistent with your training
Consistency in training may be the most important factor for achieving desired results. It can make all the difference, especially if you want to build muscle. Have in mind that consistency doesn’t only apply to the frequency of your workout but how you actually train, too.
In order to build muscle, make sure to do resistance-based strength training on a regular basis. What this does is stress your muscle fibers and create micro-tears. When this happens, your body starts to repair and rebuild itself. Therefore, setting a consistent training routine that balances resistance and rest is a great way to make your muscle grow and increase your strength at the same time.
Always have in mind that giving your muscles time to recover is very important for your progress. For this reason, a plant-based diet has an advantage over a carnivore diet. As plants tend to have higher levels of antioxidants, they might help your muscles recover faster.
Make sure to balance your energy intake
What’s even more important than eating after a workout to fuel muscle growth, is eating before it and giving your body the energy it needs. For that reason, carbohydrates are very important to be included in your diet. You can take them through food or try one of the amazing carbohydrate supplements
Caption: It’s important to include healthy carbohydrates into your diet as they’ll give you both physical and mental power to exercise.
Alt-tag: A woman in a white tank top lifting weights in the gym
In order to power your muscles, your body needs quality carbohydrates. They are essential for your brain, too. Without enough carbs, you’ll feel low on energy and weak. Also, you might have issues concentrating.
The bottom line
As you can see, it is possible (some would agree that it’s even preferable) to build muscle and gain weight on a plant-based diet. Plant proteins are in no respect inferior to meat proteins so if you are considering going vegan, weight and muscle loss shouldn’t worry you if you plan your diet properly. Always remember – the fact you’re on a plant-based diet doesn’t put muscle growth out of your reach!
It’s far from impossible to build muscle and gain weight on a plant-based diet. In this article, we’ll explain ins and outs of the process.