How to Gain Muscle as a Vegan: It’s Easier Than You Think
Learning how to gain muscle as a vegan is a two-pronged approach; you’ll need to know what food options are best to eat and what kinds of workout programs will help you see the most progress.
With thorough programs like the Visual Impact Muscle Building, you can create at-home or in-gym programs to assist with bulking. We also recommend using this guide to help you figure out several other fantastic tips for gaining muscle on a plant-based diet.
How to Gain Muscle as a Vegan
1. Managing Your Diet
When the average person says they are vegan or vegetarian, it might not mean a lot, as they could still be eating highly processed foods. Just because the meat is absent in your diet doesn’t mean you’re eating the right foods to build muscle.
Similar to omnivores, vegans require an assortment of macronutrients to achieve their wildest physical goals. You will need to eat the appropriate amount of protein, fat, and carbohydrates for your weight.
You’ll also want to make sure you’re consuming the right vitamins and minerals such as niacin, vitamin B12, and iron. With a combination of supplements and healthier choices, you can easily manage your diet.
There are a few basic rules that you can use to help get started with keeping track of your macros as a vegan. On average, you should consume up to 30% of your daily diet in healthy fats, one gram of protein per pound of body weight, and the rest in slow-releasing carbs. Try to avoid processed foods and items with high sugar content, as it will significantly impede your progress.
2. Find a Shake Recipe
The most challenging part of managing a vegan’s diet is to make sure you’re eating enough protein, especially when building muscle. It’s difficult because eating one gram of protein per pound could cause you to need to eat an excess of 160 grams of protein each day. However, as difficult as it might seem at first, it’s simple with a protein shake recipe.
With the surge in popularity of plant-based diets, more fitness companies are developing protein shakes specifically designed for vegans. You can easily use protein powder as a way to catch up on your daily protein requirement in one sitting.
The best part is that there are numerous flavors and shake recipes you can use to your advantage. Our favorite is a basic strawberry “milkshake” protein shake, for which you’ll need:
- Five to six ice cubes
- Handful of spinach
- Handful of strawberries
- Two scoops of vegan protein powder
- One cup of unsweetened oat milk
- 1/4 cup of coconut flakes
Alternatively, you can combine your protein powder with a milk substitute or water and still get the same protein-packed benefits as our shake recipe.
3. Get the Correct Supplements
Not every person eating a plant-based diet needs supplements, especially if you’re working with a nutritionist or have done a lot of research. However, it’s essential to admit that a plant-based lifestyle can lead to deficiencies in a few vital vitamins and minerals.
If you’re just starting, we highly recommend getting a good assortment of supplements ready to boost your physical performance. Vitamin B12 is likely the most common vitamin people experience deficiencies with, only because it’s naturally occurring in meat.
Having too little B12 in your system can result in depression, issues with balance, confusion, and intense fatigue. All of these symptoms are not only detrimental to your overall health but your physical performance as well.
We also highly advise you look into vitamin D supplements, whether vegan or not. If you have minimal amounts of vitamin D, you’re likely to experience depression, fatigue, and muscle pain, which will keep you out of the gym. Multiple vegan alternatives are fortified with vitamin D, but supplements wouldn’t hurt, as well.
It’s important to note that you certainly can get all of the vitamins and minerals you need from food, but it’s going to take a lot of planning. To start seeing the best results as quickly as possible, you’ll want to start with supplements and transition slowly.
4. Understanding Body Composition
No two people are the same, and our bodies all react to dieting and exercising differently than one another. For some, losing weight is simple, whereas, for others, it’s the hardest thing they’ve done. When you’re looking to build muscle, don’t pay close attention to the scale but instead focus on measurements and your physical appearance.
Toning and bulking is a process that takes a lot of time and effort, and your body will go through plenty of changes. Some bodies need to lose weight before they start bulking, and other people can turn their fat straight into muscles. The most important thing to look for is change, as any change means your diet is working, and you can adjust it accordingly.
Having a friend or someone to encourage you to achieve your goals is always a good idea, especially if you struggle with motivation. It will also give you a visual representation of how body compositions can vary from person to person.
5. Focus on Clean Eating
If you talk to a vegan about transitioning to their plant-based lifestyle, they might ask whether you want to become an actual vegan or a junk food vegan. Junk food vegans are those who rely on takeout meals and unhealthy foods that don’t contain meat. Although avoiding meat helps the environment, you’ll still need to eat clean similar to an omnivore.
Eating clean is of the utmost importance for anyone, as it gives you the ability to avoid harmful antibiotics, GMOs, and synthetic chemicals you can find in numerous types of doos. Even as a vegan, it’s incredibly simple to eat foods packed with GMOs if you don’t prepare your meals at home. Supporting your body correctly is all about finding the cleanest fuel sources possible.
When you’re preparing your meals at home, you’ll want to think of every plate as a color wheel. You should have a variety of different colorful ingredients on your plate, including legumes, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and grains. All of which should work together to meet your calorie, protein, nutrient, and fat needs.
Even though you always have protein shakes to rely on to help you meet your protein goals, every meal should help you get closer to your daily allowances.
6. Rely on Starches
Every athlete knows that starches are essential, especially if you need to bulk. When your body consumes carbohydrates, it transforms the carbs into glucose, which your body then uses as a fuel source. Even though fats can also be used for energy, carbohydrates are the most efficient.
There are numerous ways for you to add starches into your diet, primarily as most vegan meals use them as a base. However, you’re going to want to make sure you eat healthy carbohydrates, similar to how you need clean ingredients. Otherwise, you’ll only be providing your body with short-term energy.
Opting for potatoes, pumpkin, oats, whole grains, and fruits is a far better choice than sugar, alcohol, and white bread. Complex carbohydrates will become your best friend when you start focusing on a diet for building muscle. The more whole the carbs are, the better they are for your body, and the longer they’ll provide you with energy for the gym.
7. Finding Important Nutrients
No matter what diet you’re getting into, one of the most important tips is to make sure you eat enough nutrients. Have you ever thought about the specific nutrients your body needs? As a vegan, finding an assortment of vitamins and minerals has never been easier, as your diet revolves around vegetables and fruits.
You’ll want to focus on the most nutrient-rich ingredients in each of your meals. Below are a few fantastic examples of nutrients for building muscle.
- Iron: The less iron you have, the less energized you’ll be, which will turn into less time spent at the gym. By eating a lot of lentils, beans, dried fruits, and dark leafy greens, you’ll have more than enough iron at your disposal.
- Calcium: As another essential nutrient, especially for women, calcium is responsible for the health of our bones, joints, muscles, and teeth. Consider adding hemp milk, kale, collard, broccoli, and spinach to more meals for better calcium.
- Zinc: Ideal for helping our bodies ward off illnesses, as well as assisting with muscle repair, zinc is essential. You can find it in plenty of places such as cereals, oatmeal, almonds, and pumpkin seeds.
- Potassium: Without potassium, you’re at a higher risk of suffering from muscle cramping and discomfort. The more you eat, the higher your electrolytes will be, which can also assist with preventing dehydration. You can get your potassium from kale, avocados, oranges, bananas, and even potatoes!
8. Eat A Lot
When you’re building muscle, you’re going to need to eat an influx of calories daily, meanwhile tracking your macros. This process means you’re going to have to eat a lot more than you ever have before. When you’re bulking, the calories you consume should always be more than the calories you burn while working out.
Eating at a surplus can be very tiring and at the beginning, may lead you closer to cheating on your diet. This reason is why it is a great idea to start meal prepping as soon as you decide to get into the gym. Create an assortment of meals throughout the week, so you are never tempted to grab fast food or processed food instead of whole meals.
Taking the time to food prep also gives you the ability to monitor your portions, so you’re eating the perfect amount of the size of your muscles. You will also have a lot of fun designing meal plans and picking recipes for the upcoming weeks.
9. Establish Pre and Post-Workout Meals
Just like every other part of your body, your muscles need nutrients to grow. Establishing pre- and post-workout meals can help you to give your muscles energy and nutrients for recovery. A good recommendation is to try to eat at least one to two hours before working out to get as much power out of your food as possible.
Waiting at least two hours is a better idea for people who are prone to stomach upset, as you won’t want to deal with indigestion and cramping at the gym. With the perfect pre-workout meal, you’ll get enough energy without filling your stomach too much.
It’s also essential to have post-workout meals, as your muscles will need support during their recovery. As you work out, you’re creating microscopic tears in your muscles that will eventually heal, causing the muscles to grow. To have these tears heal faster, you will need protein, electrolytes, and carbs.
Some of our favorite items to include in your pre- and post-workout meals include:
10. Find a Workout Regime
Above all else, one of the most important things to do when you want to build muscle is to find a workout regime that works with your schedule. The Visual Impact Muscle Building system is an advanced and intuitive approach to controlling your workouts. With an assortment of exercises and informative guides within its 227 pages, you can easily focus on building muscle without a personal trainer.
In three phases, this plan will help you to create a razor-sharp cut physique by the end of stage three. The best part? You can determine where and how you want to complete the workouts.
This program features three main resistance methods: your body, free weights, and machines. Depending on your personal preference, you can custom tailor each of the exercises to meet your specific needs. There’s nothing better than having a fully online eBook to give you a more in-depth insight into how you can have your dream body.
For beginners, figuring out how to gain muscle as a vegan might seem like a difficult task, but it’s no more complicated than doing so as an omnivore. By paying close attention to your calories, your macros, and your exercise regime, you’ll be nourished, packed with energy, and have healthy muscle.
Using resources like Visual Impact Muscle Building will help you to get to your final goals much faster than on your own.