May 19, 2024

Are you avoiding a plant-based diet because you think it is impossible to build muscle and strength?

Unfortunately, this myth is alive and well. Serious bodybuilders preach eating lots of steak, chicken and other types of animal protein to build muscles. There is no mistake about it, protein is definitely required if you want to strength train and build muscle.

However, your body does not care where that protein comes from. Your body uses 1 ounce of plant-based protein the same way it does 1 ounce of animal-based protein.

So if you decide to take up a healthy vegan diet, don’t worry about losing muscle mass.

The Key Is in Your Protein Ratio

If you eat nothing but plant-based protein, you can experience pretty fast weight loss. One of the key reasons is that plant based diets are very high in water and low in calories.

finding protein in a plant based diet

This means you need to eat more than just protein. That is because many fruits, plants and vegetables deliver a minimal amount of carbohydrates and calories.

Your body needs carbohydrates, calories and protein for a healthy life. Get the right ratio of these healthy fitness requirements into your diet and you can turn your vegan lifestyle into a muscle building machine.

After you strength train, you need carbohydrates for energy and protein to build muscle. Within 60 minutes of working out you want to focus on a meal that is 2 or 3 parts carbohydrates per 1 part protein.

You should also remember your body cannot process more than 1.0 to 1.25 grams of protein per 1 pound of body weight every day.

Use the above information hand-in-hand with your recommended daily caloric intake and you will give your body the perfect plant-based recipe for building muscle.

Strength training (like lifting weights or body weight training) builds muscle much more quickly and effectively than aerobic training.

So make sure you are strength training while enjoying a vegan diet. Make sure you get plenty of rest at night, and stay hydrated. With the above recommended protein/carbohydrate ratio and a sensible calorie count each day, strength training helps to build muscle and promote overall health on a plant-based diet.

Plant-Based Foods High in Protein

Make sure you are eating plenty of protein-rich plant-based foods or you will have a tough time building muscle. Red meat, chicken and fish in many cases deliver more protein per ounce than plants and vegetables. That is why the traditional muscle-building recipe includes lots of animal-based protein.

Look at these numbers though. There is protein in vegetables:

  • Cauliflower – 2 grams per cup
  • Brussels sprouts – 3 grams per cup
  • Broccoli – 2.6 grams per cup
  • Mustard greens – 1.6 grams per cup
  • Collard greens – 1.1 grams per cup
  • Spinach – 0.9 grams per cup
  • Artichokes – 3.3 grams per cup
  • Sweet corn – 5 grams per cup
  • Lima beans – 15 grams per cup
  • Peas – 8 grams per cup
  • Bean sprouts – 9.2 grams per cup

One of the numbers really stands out doesn’t it? Lima beans with 15 grams of protein per cup. Actually beans in general are amazingly rich in protein.

For vegans to build muscle, that protein needs to be replaced. Focus on the following plant-based foods and you are sure to get plenty of protein for muscle-building efficiency.

3 thoughts on “Can You REALLY Build Muscle on a Plant-Based (Vegan) Diet?

  1. Hi there, this is a very good post for vegan people about how to increase their muscle, anyways I’m not vegan and I think that meat is the best source of protein for muscle.

    Hope you don’t get me wrong, it’s just an opinion: Meat has to be in a “gain” diet for better results.

    Have a good day

    1. I tend to agree but just because I m a sucker for a steak or a hamburger sometimes. Over the years though I have been amazed over and over again with the amount of protein in plant based foods. The problem is just making sure that you get all of the essential amino acids in your meals

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