The most common misconception about veganism is that a vegan diet cannot provide enough protein, and while this has been disproved multiple times it still continues. There are plenty of vegan bodybuilders and athletes, including David Haye, Alexander Dargatz and Torre Washington, who all prove that building muscle on a vegan diet is more than possible. These vegan bodybuilding diet tips will give you an idea of how to use food to benefit your fitness goals, and how to get enough protein without eating animal-products.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember is to eat enough calories, and this is vital for any diet if your goal is bodybuilding. While your muscles can gain strength through exercise alone, to gain muscle mass you need to be eating in a calorie surplus (where you are eating more than you are burning). This gives the muscles enough energy to grow and repair, giving you the best change to build muscle mass. It is also a good idea to eat small but frequent meals, rather than large meals a few times a day. By eating every 2-4 hours, your body (and your muscles) have a constant influx of nutrients. This also increases your metabolism, allowing your body to burn more fat than if you were eating big meals, less often.
If you decide to track the foods you eat, working out your macros for muscle growth is also important, in order to ensure that you are getting enough of the right nutrients. Arguably, tracking your macros is more important than tracking your calories, because focussing on getting enough carbs, fats and proteins is better than getting 3000 calories of junk food, just to consume enough calories.
Protein is the most important macronutrient for building muscle, and to build muscle mass you should aim to eat 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. Protein is a vital building block for your skin, hair, organs, eyes and nails, as well as creating hormones and antibodies which fight off infections. On a plant-based diet, protein can be found in:
- Seeds (especially chia seeds)
- Non-dairy milk
- Legumes (lentils, peas, chickpeas, soybeans)
- Leafy greens (kale, spinach, etc.)
Also, if you are struggling to get enough protein into your diet through wholefoods alone, you can boost your protein levels with vegan protein powders. One of the best options on a vegan bodybuilding diet is VSS Vegan Protein – and if you mix this with soya milk you get even more protein.
Carbohydrates are also important in ensuring you have enough energy to give every workout your all, and on a vegan bodybuilder diet you should strive for 2-3 grams of carbs per pound of bodyweight. Your body uses carbs to make glucose, which is its main energy source. Also, the best sources of carbohydrates are high in fibre, including fruits, vegetables and whole grains. There are ‘bad’ types of carbs that you can avoid, however, which are sources of simple sugars, including fizzy drinks, sweets, cakes and cookies. By replacing these ‘bad’ carbs with nutrient-rich carbs like whole wheat bread, pasta or quinoa you can provide your body with necessary energy for building muscle.
By ensuring that your diet is right is the best way to start when you want to build muscle, so these vegan bodybuilding diet tips should be helpful in ensuring that you can achieve your goals in the healthiest way possible. Vegan supplements are also a great way to boost this process and aid your training, and the Vegan Supplement Store muscle and mass range are a great aid.