Vegan Bodybuilding – What you need to know about building muscle on a vegan diet

It is possible to build muscle on a vegan diet. There are plenty of quality proteins in a plant-based diet, and eating vegan comes down to getting enough protein in your diet. Use common sense; frequently eat quality whole foods and the right kinds of foods to keep and gain muscle. Most people are under the false impression that eating meat, dairy, fish and other animal protein is the only way to be able to build a muscular form. Being a vegan and achieving heroic fitness standards are not believed to be possible by many. Not sure if this is true? There are many vegan body builders like Jimi Sitko and Patrik Baboumian, Germans “strongest man”. In fact, martial arts pro Mac Danzig or even the marathon runner Scott Jurek are perfect examples of fitness icons who are vegan.

Vegan Bodybuilding

Most people who are already on a fitness regime or who are looking to start one have three major concerns about going vegan.

1. Will being vegan affect my performance?
2. Will the amount of nutrition be sufficient for my energy needs? and
3. What supplements would I need to take if I am going to be a vegan and workout?

Most people have the notion that being a vegan and trying to get fit affects their body’s ability to receive wholesome nutrition. If you are one of those people, you are not alone.

The answer to this question is “no”. Being a vegan will not affect your performance in anyway nor will your energy be affected. If you are supplying your body with the right vegan proteins, you will be able to provide your body with the right amount of nutrients to continue a fitness journey. The right kinds of vegan foods that are consumed when working out is important because non-vegan diets provide a lot more protein from smaller amounts of animal protein.

It is known that the ability to be able to bulk up when on a vegan diet is a lot more difficult. However, it is definitely a way to lean out easily as opposed to not following the vegan diet. Lean muscle is very important for people who are trying to lose weight or start off on a fitness journey.

Maintaining weight and muscle is determined on your age, size, gender, and weight. Base these around how many calories you consume and burn each day. Your burn calories in everything you do. This means from sleeping to walking to exercise and just sitting. However, the more intense the activity, the more calories you burn.
Athletes burn far more calories than non-athletes .They require more calories through the consumption of food. Athletes need to eat well and often eat, but, due to what they eat, and particularly on a vegan diet, do not ingest .08 to 1.2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight.

Bodybuilding requires that we break the body down through exercise and build it back up through adequate nutrition. Muscle building requires the consumption of 1.2-2.0 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight.
The protein you eat does not have to be meat-based. According to famous bodybuilders, plant-based diets that consists of raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and sprouted greens heated under 110°F are very healing and highly digestible. Eating plant-based foods can reverse diabetes, arthritis, joint pain and provide energy throughout the day. A raw plant-based diet is physique-finding and used in adding size as well as losing body fat.
Developing lean muscle is totally possible when following a standard diet. Recovery time from exercise and activity will be quick, you have fewer injuries, and you will find you have more energy.

Vegan Bodybuilding Meal Plans and Plant-Based Fuel Foods

Common vegan bodybuilder meal plans include these 4 vegan foods to provide optimal nutrients and proteins for muscle building:

Vegan NutsFruit and Nuts
Bananas are excellent sources of energy, calcium and potassium. They help in preventing muscle cramps and provide a good amount of energy before a workout. Nuts also are excellent sources of protein that can be consumed before or after a workout.

Vegan OatmealOatmeal

Apart from keeping hunger at bay, oats help in providing energy for the body in small amounts for a long time. Adding some nuts, chia seeds or blueberries to an oatmeal porridge will provide vegans with an additional dose of protein.

Vegan BreadWhole Grain Bread
Whole grain bread promises energy that will aid a vegan get through a workout session with enough energy levels. Adding avocados and almond butter increases the nutrients in the bread and arrests hunger pangs for a longer period of time.

Vegan Sweet PotatoSweet Potato
Sweet potato and kumara are excellent sources of complex carbohydrates. A vegan diet can consist of these super foods to provide energy for fitness as well as provide essential vitamins and minerals.

Recommendations for any athlete or bodybuilder who is on a vegan diet should be to eat a diet consisting of bananas, grapes, blueberries, dates, cantaloupe plus oranges and watermelons. Grapefruit, mango lime, apples and lemon make up the fruit menus of your diet. Eat raw almonds for protein. Leafy green like romaine, kale, and spinach plus the super foods of goji berries and chia seeds, plus flaxseeds all contribute to protein stores and muscle buildup. All types of squash, beets and cucumbers plus avocados, tomatoes, carrots, and buckwheat are foods for a vegan/muscle diet.
Add to your diet, plant-powered vanilla-coconut super shakes or other protein shakes.

A plant-powered vegan bodybuilder shake has been proved by bodybuilders to work.

Vegan Bodybuilding Shake– Toss in a handful of frozen strawberries
– Toss in a handful of fresh spinach
– Use 2 scoops of vanilla protein powder (read the label and make sure it is plant based)
– 2 tablespoons of raw almond butter
– 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
– ¼ cup coconut flakes
– Ice cubes.

Toss everything in a blender, blend and drink. Include in your daily diet a muscle-building tofu scramble and a bowl of oatmeal and berries.
While you are trying to add muscle to your body, add a scoop of protein powder to your water and drink with every meal. Don’t be shy about supplementing when you feel it is necessary.

When it comes to supplements, it is recommended that every person over the age of 21 take a multivitamin. This is irrespective of whether they follow a vegan diet or not. Not all foods have all the nutrients packed into the foods. Therefore, to make up for the loss, a good multivitamin should do the job.

If you have the time, check out this 5 minute video of Joshua Knox giving a TED Talk about his vegan bodybuilding experiment:

There are many successful vegan athletes out there who have consistently performed well and maintained their physical fitness and muscle gain on a vegan diet. With a bit of meal planning and adjustments to your diet, you too can become a true vegan athlete!

Leave a Comment

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris February 26, 2015

I like to also focus on my calcium as well when I am weightlifting because that is how your muscles contract and it’s good for your bones that are supporting all that weight. Broccoli, kale and collard greens are a good source of calcium


Pero February 22, 2017

Joshua Knox is not vegan anymore. Check his Instagram, one of his last meals:
“Had an insane chest pumped fueled by that gravy train. Omelette filled with an entire diced chicken fried steak, hash browns and cheese?”


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