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How to Build Muscle Mass on a Vegan Diet

Vegan diet myths busted.

You have probably heard, time and again, that a plant-based diet and getting bigger do not go hand in hand. Which is true, but only if you don’t know how to build muscle mass on a vegan diet (or any other diet for that matter).

Dr. Anthony Balduzzi, Men’s Health & Fitness Expert, explains with great depth how to build muscle on a vegan diet.

How to Build Muscle Mass on a Vegan Diet

Vegan bodybuilding diet first steps

If you want to get bigger you need to follow the fundamentals of a general muscle-building plan regardless of your preferred diet. This includes your training plan, which should include progressive overload and adequate rest.

What to do:

  • Set your protein goals: 0.8-1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight (2.77g per kg of bodyweight).
  • Determine how many meals will you eat throughout the day: do what works best for you.
  • Figure out how many calories you need per day: you need to be at a calorie maintenance or surplus to be able to build muscle.
  • Create your meals around your macros: there are 4 calories per gram of protein, so once you’ve worked out your protein needs you can create full meals around that to fit your macros.

Basics: How to build muscle mass on a vegan diet

vegan sandwich held by fit personSource: Roam In Color on Unsplash

Plant-based proteins

“Any individual plant-based protein may not be a complete protein, but when you combine these proteins throughout the day your body has all the amino acids it needs to build muscle,” says Dr. Balduzzi.

A quality plant-based protein powder can also help you meet your protein needs.

Read more: The 10 Best Vegan Foods for Energy to Uplift Your Days and Workouts

Soy and oestrogen

Soy, in moderate intakes, will not affect your testosterone levels, assures Dr. Balduzzi. However, he recommends limiting your soy consumption to around 70 grams per day.

Tofu and tempeh are great soy-based products you can include in your vegan diet to build muscle.

Get enough greens in your diet

“Greens are overlooked when it comes to a bodybuilding diet,” says Dr. Balduzzi. They provide you with vitamins, minerals, and other essential micronutrients, as well as the fibre to move the food from your digestive track.

vegan and vegetarian summer rollsSource: Ella Olsson on Unsplash

Muscle building exercise principles for vegans

These are the most important steps in your training towards gaining muscle:

  1. Progressive overload training
  2. Maximise recovery
  3. High protein, carb nutrition
  4. Propper supplementation
  5. Progress tracking
  6. Vary your routine
  7. Expectation setting

Watch the video above to learn why each of these steps is essential and how to get the most our of each.

Learn more

Learn how to maximise your performance on a vegan diet or what the best vegan or vegetarian protein sources are. Additionally, find out what it’s like to become a vegetarian.

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