How Vegans Build Muscle

Where to get protein?

You need protein to build muscle, and contrary to popular belief, you can get it from a vegan diet. You can eat everything from legumes to soy products to vegan meats. According to dietitian and nutritional consultant Rida Mangels, any concern about getting enough protein is misplaced. “While protein is certainly an essential nutrient that plays a key role in how our bodies function, we don’t need huge amounts of it. Protein requirements for vegan athletes range from 0,72g to 1,8g of protein per kilogram of body weight,” notes Mangels. 

Mangels warns that athletes should not consume more than the recommended dietary allowance for protein: “More is not better. High protein diets offer no health benefits. But diets high in protein can increase the risk of osteoporosis and kidney disease.”

Vitamins and minerals

After questions about protein, the next thing some people worry about when going vegan is getting vitamins and minerals. Athletes looking to gain muscle mass need to make sure they are getting all the nutrients they need.

One of the most common problems many vegans have is vitamin B12 deficiency, but it’s not just vegans who suffer from this. In fact, anyone who does not eat a balanced diet is at risk of developing a vitamin B12 deficiency, a lack of which often results in fatigue and depression. To get enough B12, you need to regularly eat fortified grains, yeast, and mushrooms. You can also drink vegan milk and take extra vitamins if you need to.

Vitamin D deficiency can cause muscle pain as well as fatigue and depression. Make sure you eat well, get regular sun exposure, and take the right supplements to avoid vitamin D deficiency.

How to get enough calories?

The lack of calories is another problem for bodybuilders and athletes who have switched to veganism. However, overcoming this problem is not so difficult, it is enough to add healthy snacks to your diet. 

Fruits and vegetables tend to be quite low in calories, and as a result, it can be difficult for athletes to get enough calories. In this case, you should pay attention to nuts, seeds and bananas. You can add them to smoothies or eat them as snacks. 

Is it possible to be a successful bodybuilder on a vegan diet?

Massimo Brunaccioni is an Italian bodybuilder who has decided to become a vegan and regularly competes in international tournaments. He placed second in the Natural Bodybuilding Federation 2018 competition. In 2017 and 2018, he was the best in the WNBF USA amateur division. “No one can argue that vegans cannot excel in bodybuilding. I am sure that soon people will get rid of these stupid myths and prejudices, like I did seven years ago, ”the athlete believes. 

Last May, six well-known vegan bodybuilders spoke at the You Plant-Based Guide conference, including Robert Chick, Vanessa Espinosa, Will Tucker, Dr. Angie Sadeghi, and Ella Madgers of Sexy Fit Vegan fame. They shared their secrets on how to stay fit and get enough protein.

“It’s true, veganism is refreshing, energizing and gives your body the highest quality nutrients it needs to be healthy. You’re cutting out the bad fats, hormones, and antibiotics found in meats and dairy, and if you eat organic and unprocessed most of the time, you’ll get your body in great, sexy shape,” Madgers notes on his website.

What should you eat and drink to build muscle on a vegan diet?

1. Healthy Calories

Vegan bodybuilders find it difficult to consume enough calories. If there are not enough calories, you can start to lose body weight. 

To make sure you’re getting enough calories, you can start taking vegan bodybuilding supplements. You also need to make sure you are eating the right foods. Healthy protein is found in nuts, quinoa, and some fruits such as raisins and bananas.

Peanut butter and almond butter are good snacks, as are plant-based milk smoothies. Soy milk contains a large amount of protein. You can also snack on high protein vegan meats. Eat tempeh, tofu, seitan to get enough calories. You can also cook with coconut oil, which will increase the calorie content.

2. Eat Healthy Carbs

Do not be afraid of carbohydrates, they will help you build muscle. However, this does not mean that you should eat unhealthy food. Stick to low glycemic carbs like whole wheat pasta and whole grain bread. Eat oatmeal for breakfast and try to include legumes like chickpeas, lentils, and beans every day.

3. Make Sure You’re Getting Omega-3s

Omega-3 fatty acids help you build muscle and avoid injury. Most bodybuilders get them from fish, but it’s possible to get omega-3s from plant sources.

Walnuts are a good source of omega-3s. There are more of them in walnuts than in salmon. Chia seeds, flax seeds, Brussels sprouts, wild rice, vegetable oils, fortified vegan milk, and algae oil are also good sources of plant-based omega-3s.

4. Eat less, but more often

It is important that you have a constant stream of nutrients such as protein, healthy fats and carbohydrates flowing into your body at all times. Not only does this help keep your body toned and ready for your next workout, it also helps boost your metabolism and make you burn fat faster.

5. Keep a food diary

Keep track of what you eat so you know what herbal foods and recipes are working for you. A food diary helps you determine how many calories and protein you have already consumed in order to understand what else you need to eat. You can also use your food diary to plan your meals for the week. 

6. Vegan Protein Powder and Vegan Bars

You can also supplement your diet with high-protein snacks such as vegan protein shakes and vegan bars. 

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