How To Build Muscle & Consume Enough Protein As A Vegan

Aug 12, 2022by Olivia - F&F

Is it possible to lose fat, build muscle, and improve physical performance on a plant-based diet? Until recently, many assumed that it wasn’t possible to make ‘vegan gains’. We’re here to tell you that it’s 100% possible — just by following these three key steps!

Woman Muscle Body BuildingWoman Muscle Body Building

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Why Should We Follow A Vegan Diet To Build Muscle?

We’ve been conditioned to believe that we need animal protein to build muscle. Whilst animal protein may be slightly more effective to build muscle mass, a growing body of evidence suggests that a plant-based diet is also effective! 

Reema Patel, dietitian at Dietitian Fit says, “for someone who follows a vegan diet, it can take careful planning to ensure your diet contains the required intake of protein, calories and nutrients to optimise health and muscle growth. Eating well, combined with regular muscle-strengthening exercise, will help to build muscle over time”.

According to Healthline, a vegan diet can help you shed excess weight, lower your blood sugar, improve kidney function, lower the risk of  diabetes and heart disease. Those are some pretty compelling reasons!

Vegan Protein SourcesVegan Protein Sources

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Tip #1: Eat In A Caloric Surplus To Build Muscle 

If you’re beginning stages of building muscle, you need to give your body enough calories to grow. Eating in a caloric surplus is essential to building muscle, unless you’re overweight. In this case, a caloric deficit is necessary to build muscle and lose fat. Eating in a caloric surplus means consuming 20-40% more calories than required for daily maintenance, and for more advanced lifters, 10-20% more. 

Here’s the problem! Most plant-based foods aren’t very rich in calories or protein. Typically, plant-based foods are rich in fibre, carbs, and water. If you’re looking to build muscle, you need to incorporate more foods with a high caloric-density. 

According to the Game Changers, in addition to your regular fruits and veggies, you’ll also consume hefty amounts of grains, beans, tofu and tempeh, meat and dairy alternatives, nuts and nut butters, seeds, avocados, and dried fruit.

Amazonia Protein PowderAmazonia Protein Powder

Image: Amazonia

Tip #2: Get Enough Vegan Protein In Your Diet 

You don’t need to be downing eggs, whey protein shakes, and endless chicken breasts to meet your daily protein requirements! But first, why do we even need protein? Well, protein contains essential amino acids that are needed to repair and increase muscle mass. This process is called muscle protein synthesis (MPS).

For those of you that are looking to build muscle, it’s recommended that you consume around 1.6-2g of protein per kg of body weight. Looking for vegan sources of protein? Here’s a few to get you started: quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, hemp, chia seeds, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, spirulina, tempeh, tofu, plus a variety of beans and peas. 

Vegan Protein Powders are a fantastic way to meet your daily protein requirements and muscle-building goals!

Woman Weight LiftingWoman Weight Lifting

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Tip #3: Establish A Regular Strength Training Routine

Last but not least, it’s crucial to build a sustainable strength training routine! Your routine will be built upon realistic and achievable habits, so it’s important to build discipline but prioritise rest, too. Strength exercises are key to building the strength, size, power and endurance of your muscles. Resistance training can be squats, push-ups, sit ups and lunges at home, or using weight machines at the gym. 

When starting your weight training program, it’s important to start with lighter weights and fewer repetitions, and gradually increase the number of sets and reps with each workout. 

"When trying to build muscle, progressive overload is key during your workouts. Each session, try for a heavier weight, more repetitions or better form,” said Rachel Ball, registered British Dietetic Association (BDA) freelance dietitian.

All in all, losing fat, building muscle, and improving physical performance on a plant-based diet is completely possible. By eating in a caloric surplus, getting enough vegan protein in your diet, and establishing a regular strength training routine — you’ll be well on your way to meeting your nutritional and muscle-building goals! 

To supercharge your muscle-building capacity and maximise your protein consumption, why not incorporate a Vegan Protein Powder into your diet? We have so many fantastic vegan options from brands like Amazonia, Essential Hemp, Nutra Organics, Botanika Blends, and more!

For more health and wellness tips, check out our Food & Health category and the blogs below.

Everything You Need To Know About Vegan Protein

Achieve Your Weight Loss & Muscle-Building Goals — With Proganics!

8 Essentials To Have In Your Gym Bag

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