Building Muscle on a Vegan or Vegetarian Diet: Is it possible?
We all make some important decisions about various aspects of our lives, with the only mutual characteristic being the fact that our unique personalities and character allow us to focus on completely different things.
Going a bit further than others and achieving astonishing results seems to be everyone’s ultimate goal no matter the actual field of interest.
Some want to become famous football stars and are willing to risk everything and devote themselves to working out intensely just to see their goals come true.
Others dream of becoming pop singers, but it’s not only about the lifetime goals. Becoming a better version of yourself than you were yesterday is of great importance as well.
One really needs to understand the importance of switching to a vegan/vegetarian diet to be able to get the most out of its multiple benefits. Otherwise, it is possible to come into a situation where it is quite challenging to both continue improving and to return to the stage where you were just about to make an important decision. Once you have gotten to know your body well and are ready to cope with new challenges, things will be much easier.
Getting You Started
Being a vegan/vegetarian as you are, you have probably had dozens of situations where people were telling you that building muscle the way you want is impossible.
Not only were they telling nonsense and just pretending to be smart, but they were also interfering with your personal life. You can use the anger you might be feeling to prove them wrong, no matter how much time it takes.
Getting enough protein is important
The very basis of your diet should be proteins in an optimal quantity. Even though you do not eat meat and dairy products anymore, there is plenty of food rich in proteins that will substitute the shortages of the non-meat-based diet.
The average athlete’s daily protein intake should be between 1.5 and 2.2 grams per every kilogram of lean muscle, which translates to approximately 120-170 grams of proteins if your body weight stands at around 80kg. Body fat can be a factor as well, but you should take it into account only if you are a seriously advanced athlete.
Depending on whether you are a vegan/vegetarian, the main protein-rich food sources you should consider should be the following:
- Soy Milk and Non-Dairy Milk
- Nut Butter – Just a couple of spoons of nut butter equip you with 8-10 grams of proteins.
- Nuts and Seeds (Hemp, Pumpkin, Chia, etc.)
- Legumes (Lentils, Soybeans, etc.)
Don’t forget to add lots of fruits and vegetables, but try not to completely rely on the nutritional values of spinach and bananas to keep you moving the whole day. You need to create a diverse diet with a little bit of everything.
Note that the list above aims at giving you the most basic idea of what your diet should look like, which is why you should also take care of the daily intake of calcium, iron, magnesium, etc.
Feel free to use supplements if you do not have enough time to prepare a shake that contains more than 5 ingredients, all of which may take a couple of minutes to properly wash, peel off and cut into pieces. However, do not let this become part of your daily routine.
Building Muscle on a Vegan or Vegetarian Diet
Once you have done enough research and got to the stage where your diet can hardly get any better, you can proceed to the next vital step – structuring your training and creating a specific workout regime.
Since the diet alone isn’t enough to skyrocket you, you will need to take everything more seriously by taking the path most athletes would recommend. The most important role will be given to you, as you will have to make a decision on which pace suits you best and be patient enough to wait for the results.
Your workout should last between 30 and 50 minutes and it is recommended not to exceed the 1-hour mark. Fortunately, there are dozens of exercises that are just part of someone’s regular workout and can help you build lean muscle without having to push your limits:
- Barbell Bench Press
- Incline Dumbbell Press
- Barbell Deadlifts
- Barbell Squat
Give yourself the freedom to include whichever exercises you find entertaining or feel like they add more dynamics to your workout so that it doesn’t become too repetitive and make you want to give up on your goals.
Since you are very likely to be spending the majority of your free time in the gym and hanging out with the local bodybuilders, you should try to avoid comparing yourself to them. Not only should your diet discourage you from practicing as intensely as them, but so should the goals you want to achieve.
A Few More Words
A good way to make progress faster is to keep track of your improvement and slowly increase your goals. For example, if you added a kilogram to your muscle mass in a week, try a bit harder during the next 6 days and keep your fingers crossed that you will be a bit more efficient this time.
Even if your body is not capable of keeping up with such a pace, it is quite beneficial to focus your mind on improvement and thus ensure that you won’t become too lazy after just a couple of weeks of working out.
By the time you almost reach your starting goal, you will have developed a strict training regime and a discipline you will be able to apply to some other areas in your life, such as studying and getting rid of any unhealthy habits.
The last question you may have probably refers to the duration of your workout program. As you are already aware, many different athletes have unique training regimes and could hardly get used to exercising in a slightly different one. It’s you who should have the last word and make a decision on when to stop working out based on the improvement you make.