Can you really grow muscle on a plant based diet?
Hang, on let me go ask my quads… 🤣
But in all seriousness, I get asked this question all the time… “I want to be more toned so I know I need to build muscle, but can I really build muscle on a vegan diet if I’m not eating any protein?”
Cue the eye roll 🙄and exasperated sigh. Then, I smile and tell them this.
First, the issue of protein. Plants provide more than adequate protein for our bodies’ long-term health AND for our fitness goal- just like any flexible diet philosophy, if we prioritize protein at each meal and supplement when needed.
Second, the science on muscle building says that there a few things that have to happen to build muscle, none of which are exclusive to a plant-based eating philosophy.
You have to be using strength or resistance training to stress the muscles to grow them over time. That is how muscle tissue gets stronger and how you build the toned body you’re looking for. Read this blog post for more about how.
You have to be eating ENOUGH. You body simply can’t create new tissue if it doesn’t have enough fuel. It will use the calories from your food to first fuel the functions necessary for survival and the tissue that is already there. So, there as to be enough gas in the tank to also build new muscle tissue. This is why it’s so important to determine a calorie range that is appropriate for your body and your goals. Be careful not to under eat! That will keep you from making the progress you are looking for. Check out this post for more info.
You must prioritize getting sufficient protein to rebuild and repair the muscles as you work them in your killer workouts. This is where the plant-based philosophy may differ from others… the amount of protein needed. Most often, a plant-based athlete will argue that they need less total daily protein than other fitness buffs. Obviously, I agree with this… but is my diet low protein? No way! I’m getting plenty as is evident by my muscle development over the past several years. So yes, you need enough protein. But also yes, you can get that on a plant-based diet. Check out this post for protein ideas.
Lastly, give yourself time! Just like all other fitness goals, muscle growth does not happen quickly. Be patient and keep doing the things above. It WILL happen if you stick to it.
Despite what some may say, eating a plant-based diet doesn’t mean becoming frail or weak. Quite the opposite! Getting rid of inflammation and extra mucus producing in your body by eliminating inflammatory foods (which happens pretty automatically with a plant-based diet) will make your fitness journey even easier! Some of the strongest animals on earth are proof of this.
The science is clear, and my experience, as well as many other strong ass vegans will show you that with the dedication, a good training plan, and the right nutrition, you can definitely build you dream body!
I believe in you! Always cheering you on,
P.S. If you’re ready to start a muscle building program, fueling your body optimally, to finally reveal that lean and toned physique that you have always dreamed of, CLICK HERE to apply for my one-on-one Plant EmPowered Transformation program! I am opening up new spots next week, but you get early access to the application since you found me through the blog!