10 Best Practices for Muscle-building for Vegans

10 Best Practices for Muscle-building for Vegans

The concept of veganism and muscle-building may sound alien but it is not. It may not form the perfect picture in your head because we tend to believe in the cliché that to build muscle, one needs to eat meat and dairy regularly. But from a purely scientific point of view, being vegan and still building up on muscle is totally doable.

The culture of plant-based weightlifters, athletes and foodies is actually growing these days as people have started to become health conscious and are trying to eat more greens as a healthier lifestyle choice. Not that meat and dairy are bad for you, but these days if you are vegetarian or vegan, you are considered to be as ‘trending.’

The point is that it should not be considered as an overwhelming task if you need to bulk up by staying away from animal protein and dairy. Here are a few basic tips to get you started:

  1. Time is of the essence: The key to bulking up is patience. Learn and accept this fact as soon as you can because no matter what type of diet you are on, vegan or otherwise, building muscle is a tedious, time consuming and tough process. But since you are not going to rely on animal proteins, it might take longer for you to get desired results. But not to worry- just stay consistent with your workout and diet routine and you will eventually achieve results.
  2. Portion Control: Just like the carnivores, you too will have to consume large portions of food in your daily meals. Do not take this to mean that you need to stuff yourself or overeat but you need a constant supply of energy and nutrients throughout the day to support your work out, so eat a healthy amount of food and keep healthy snacking in between meals.
  3. Breakfast- the most important meal of the day: We all know that breakfast is supposed to be the most important and most nutritious meal of the day. When you are trying to gain muscle, you have the liberty of eating two large breakfasts! Design a breakfast meal that is high in fibre and low in calories like grains, tofu, spinach, avocado, nuts, oats, sweet potato etc.
  4. Protein rich foods: Try to add protein rich foods to all your meals such as legumes and vegetables with high protein content. You can have black beans, lentils etc paired with sweet potato for taste and texture. There are a lot of plant-based protein shakes as well that can give you a break from the monotony of eating similar meals again and again.
  5. Consume Healthy Fats: Healthy fats are almost as important as protein for optimal cell growth. Make sure you eat a mix of nuts, avocados, flax seeds and chia seeds to help your body get all the necessary nutrients.
  6. Stay Away from Junk: In order to bulk up, one needs to have a calorie surplus but that does not mean that you resort to junk food for the extra calories. If you are going for meat-free options, make sure the food you choose is real, organic and is free from preservatives, hidden fats and sugars. Processed foods are a big no.
  7. Lift Heavy: Following a heavyweight gym routine is going to go a long way as well. Doing exercises that involve compound muscle movements like squats, deadlifts etc will help the muscle grow faster.
  8. Water: Consume a lot of water. Around 65% of our body is water so keeping yourself hydrated is very important. Water helps protein synthesis and stops muscle breakdown as well. It is also important to keep your joints lubricated.
  9. Supplements: Vegans usually tend to stay low on creatine levels so that is one supplement they should preferably be consuming to counteract the deficiency. Creatine keeps a regular supply of energy going into your blood stream as it is a slow digesting protein. You can also stack up on glutamine to help your tissues and muscles grow optimally.
  10. Be accountable: The best way to monitor your results is to keep a track of the food you are consuming and the workout regime you are following. Fitness tracking will not only help monitor progress but will also help identify where you may be lacking thereby giving you a chance to improve on it.