This easy-to-follow vegan bodybuilding guide is for beginners who want to start a plant-based life style.
If you want to gain muscle and lose fat to get a healthy and good-looking body, then read this guide will help you to get started on your journey to veganism.
The vegan myth
It’s a myth that vegan bodybuilders and weight lifters can’t gain muscles or get stronger. Meat eaters surely have advantage as their diet has complete BCAA (branch chain amino acids), creatine and plenty of carbs.
Amino acids are simply the building blocks of protein. There are 21 amino acids.
Twelve of those amino acids are manufactured by the human body (they are called non-essential). Nine are not. That means that you must get those other nine from the food you eat. These nine are called essential amino acids. You need them to survive.
In this article, you will learn how to acquire all your essential amino acids using a plant-based diet.
Not just about lifting
Bodybuilding is all about making quality muscles with a high-protein diet and plenty of rest.
When you go to the gym, there are hundreds of other people working out and trying to gain muscle, but many people end up failing or simply lose body mass because they never focus on their diet and workout plan.
The good news is that vegans already have a specific diet and usually pay more attention to what they eat. When implementing a vegan workout plan, vegans should create short, and intense sessions with plenty of rest to recover the muscles. Alternating muscle groups is the best way to gain muscle as it gives time for tendons to rebuild and expand.
Diversify your gym time
Here’s an example of a simple 4-day workout plan for plant-based eaters:
Monday – Chest and Shoulders
Tuesday – Legs and Abs
Wednesday – OFF Rest Day
Thursday – Back and Arms
Saturday – Cardio or Sports
This fitness plan is for beginner vegan weightlifters to get started and get stronger every week. I would suggest that you focus on compound exercises that work multiple muscles at a time like bench presses, squats and deadlifts. I make sure to do deadlifts at least once a week, which helps to keep my back stronger and maintains overall body strength.
You won’t have to work out 6 days a week to gain muscle and become strong. Remember that the working out attributes to only 20% of your muscle gain; what you eat and how much rest you take completes your ability to gain mass and strength.
Muscle building using vegan food
What you put into your body is just as important as the energy you excrete. To really gain muscle, you must have the correct compounds within your body to produce healthy tissue needed for muscle production. Here are several super foods needed to complete your fitness program.
Quinoa is super food that is gluten free and contains all nine essential amino acids for muscle recovery. For example, 185 grams of cooked quinoa contains almost 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber, which is excellent for both muscle gain and gut health.
This grain is as easy to cook as rice and can be combined with vegetables, tofu, and just about any kind of spice.
Here is a recipe that you can try for your next vegan muscle gain diet.
Almonds are delicious tree nuts that are full of protein, fiber and magnesium. I like soaking almonds overnight, which allows them to digest properly. You can also add almonds to your morning cereal or munch on them throughout the day for some energy.
One Almond contains almost 0.25 grams of protein, which means throughout the day if you consume around 20 almonds you get about 5 grams of protein and whole lot of other vitamins and minerals (U.S. Department of Agriculture Nutrient Data Laboratory).
Almonds also contain almost a complete profile of amino acids, although small amounts. Since you can’t eat enough almonds to get 100% of your daily value, other high protein foods must be consumed as well. Use almonds as a supplement or a snack to rack on more protein.
Almonds are also great as a milk too. I prefer almond milk over soy milk due to the quality of nutrients and flavor, and some people have allergies to soy. Almond butter is also an excellent high-protein, healthy-fat food that is perfect for breakfast or as snack.
You will find several almond substitutes in your grocery:
- Almond milk
- Almond butter
- Almond oil
- Almond cheese
Oats help to control blood sugar level and aid with weight loss by keeping your stomach full. I eat oats almost every day since they are very useful when trying to maintain a healthy weight. They contain soluble fibers called beta-glucan, which boosts your immune system and lowers cholesterol for a strong digestive system and heart.
Oats are very versatile and can be used in any way like as an oatmeal at breakfast with almond milk, nuts like cashews and walnuts and fresh fruit.
They are a good base for home-made protein bars or as a substitute for flour while baking.
Oats are gluten free. Just 51 grams of oats have 13 grams of protein, 51 grams of carbohydrates and 8 grams of fiber.
Ezekiel bread is type of sprouted bread, which is made by sprouting the whole grains before it is taken to the mill. By doing so, it allows nutrients to be activated and absorbed by both the bread and then by your body. This type of bread is high in carbohydrates and protein and the process limits gluten amounts, which means a healthier choice than normal breads.
It is made by mixing different 4 types of organic grains and 2 different organic legumes. You can eat it mild cooked or raw. I prefer some ginger bread, so I add some ginger and olive oil and make my own delicious healthy organic snack.
Plant-based protein supplements
These days, there are hundreds of protein brands making plant-based protein powders, which help to fill the protein requirement of a person who is working out at least 3 times a week with weights. Sometimes our jobs and limited time hinder us from cooking, so supplements fill in the gaps to ensure that our protein quota is met.
You can try different protein powders on the market after checking reviews of brand names, so you know that you are buying quality products. Go with a reputable brand like Myprotein or MusclePharm Nutrition.
My protein – Vegan Blend Protein Power
I personally consume this vegan protein powder, which has a tasty flavor and high-quality ingredients. It is a combination of pea protein isolate, brown rice, and hemp protein, which is an excellent source of protein. It has all your required amino acids with about 22 grams per scoop serving.
This protein powder is not organic. If you want an organic vegan protein powder then I suggest MusclePharm Vegan Protein, which is a little more expensive.
MusclePharm Natural, Organic Protein
MusclePharm contains organic plant-based protein and 5 billion organic CFU (colony-forming unit) probiotics that promote healthy gut bacteria. Take it during your post workout for maximum absorption.
Recovery is very important if you want to see results and not get burned out. At least 8 hours of sleep every night with plenty of zinc-rich foods help in the recovery of muscles. Lifting weights in the gym is a piece of the puzzle in muscle building. Actual muscle is being built while you are asleep and in recovery mode.
Take plenty of rest in between the workout and do not overwork tired muscles. Our body repairs our muscles every night when we fall asleep.
Get the correct amount of protein and carbohydrates on your recovery day. High protein will help rebuild tendons while low carbs will keep you from gaining excess weight when your body is at rest.
Also, remember to drink plenty of water throughout your workout as well as your recover period to replenish your body.
Don’t get consumed by big marketing promises and techniques. Lift weights consistently at least 3 times a week, eat protein-rich foods, and get a good night sleep to recovery your muscles while increasing your metabolism.
If you are new to vegan body building, then this simple guide will help you with the basics to get started. Proper food and exercise is important for a healthy and active disease-free life.