How to Build Muscle on a Vegan Diet
Have you ever thought of what four-time Mr. Universe Bill Pearl, Ultimate Fighting Champion Mac Danzig, and triathlete Brendan Brazier have in common? Of course you haven’t. Let me fill you in… Surprisingly, the three of them plus many other athletes across the world embrace the vegan or vegetarian diets.
Introduction Into the Vegan Diet
For quite a long time, athletic training programs have conventionally ruled that eating meat was the only way to gain muscles. This misconception has; and still corrupts not only the minds of athletes themselves but for many others as well. Those who lack proper nutritional knowledge. Today, things are a little different. We now have a deeper understanding of a well-balanced diet for a vegan. Which consists of plant-based proteins and a diet that includes and successfully contributes to muscular development.
A well thought out vegan diet will ultimately meet an individual’s energy needs, whilst contributing to ones muscle-building success! But that’s obvious… What’s not so obvious is the foods that go into such a diet. Foods such as soy products, grains, vegetable seeds, other legumes (beans and lentils) and nuts are essential plant-based foods that are known to be an excellent source of protein.
As much as muscle-building may call for consistent weight/resistance training, it is essential for us to keep a careful watch over our diet, especially when nobody is there to offer them guidance. Remember: ‘You can’t out train a bad diet’ Vegan is no exception! A vegan will be avoiding foods such as dairy products, animal products, cheese, poultry, meat, fish, milk, and eggs. Instead they’ll opt for the above mention plant-based foods. In such a way they’ll be able to get sufficient protein into their diets to make plenty of gains.
The best way to go about choosing an appropriate protein source is to determine the protein quality. This statement is fully supported by Roberta Anding. The former Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Spokesperson, who argued the that bodybuilding proteins are not only found in meat but from other options too.
The Protein Digestibility-corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS) serves as the standard method used to determine protein quality. The method refers to the protein’s amino acid quality. Which ultimately affects how well we digest our food. Therefore, a vegan needs foods such as soy, edamame, and soy milk, including tofu and soy yogurt which are highly recommended as a source of protein as they’re high in PDCAAS.
For any vegan on a muscle-building program, it is important to eat small amounts of protein consistently throughout the day. This method will ensure your body gets this vital nutrient whenever it needs it. However, it’s worth noting that not all protein sources were created equal. Meaning, eating nuts may not provide you with the same amount of protein as a similar portion of eggs. Foods such as meat, eggs, and other dairy foods contain all the nine amino acids that form the best ratio our bodies need for their conversion to protein. Hence, a vegan needs to make a lot more combination of plant-based protein sources to provide sufficient amounts of these essential amino acids.
With concerns about how much protein one should take, a good rule of thumb for a hard training bodybuilder is one gram for every pound body weight. This amount may be more for the average hard-working weightlifter. However, those involved in intense training, trying to add mass, such protein and calorie surplus amounts will work perfectly right for them.
By simple mathematics, to know how many grams you need to consume per meal, you will need to divide the amount with the five or six times meals you eat during the day. For instance, a 200lb bodybuilder would shoot for roughly 200g of protein per day, getting about 40g per each of his six meals.
Here are some ideas:
Fat is a vital element of any diet. As they provide important aids required in several critical body processes such as hormone production. It is also a macronutrient that easily converts into body fat. A plant-based fat can be easily obtained from whole food based fats such as seeds, avocados, olive oil, almonds, and nuts. In this regard, they need to avoid oil or condiments such as Vegenaise and margarine. Unlike protein, fats need to be kept at a maximum of 0.5 grams for every pound of bodyweight (or rather less) each day. For a 200lb bodybuilder, this would total to 100g of fat every day as a maximum, although 70 or 80g is about right.
Carbohydrates make up the body’s mainspring of energy for any training intense or not. Therefore, fill out the rest of your daily calorie surplus with plenty of complex carbohydrates. From foods such as sweet potatoes, grains, oatmeal, brown fruit rice and any other whole fruits and vegetables you enjoy.
If you intend to increase your muscle mass, then eating more carbohydrates is essential. And you shouldn’t worry about excess fat provided the food is unprocessed. Save the infrequent processed carbs, such as sugary foods and flour for your occasional cheat meals. (Preferably after a tough leg workout!)
As much as it may appear that Vegan strength trainers may face more challenges due to their diet. Especially compared to those who take meat and dairy products; the truth proves otherwise. A vegan may enjoy the benefits of improved digestive function, low cholesterol or low risk of certain cancerous diseases. However, they very much risk chances of iron and protein deficiencies. This discovery was found by the American Council on Exercise, or ACE.
It is recommended for any vegan looking to increase their muscle mass, to find a registered dietitian/nutritionist to guide them through. They will (or at least should) create an appropriate eating plan that will be accustomed to your lifestyle and needs. They will also give you the best outline you need when carrying out your training. By taking into account everything discussed in this article, you’ll have yourself packing on size and improving your physique in no time!
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