It’s a common misconception that you have to eat copious amounts of meat in order to build mass. The reality is that you can enjoy tremendous gains while following a plant-based diet, as long as you take the right vegan bodybuilding supplements and follow an effective vegan bodybuilding diet. Read on to discover how to bulk up while still avoiding meat and dairy products.
1. Vegan Protein Supplements
In order to build muscle, you have to have plenty of protein in your diet. While meat is the most common protein source, vegetables, beans, tofu, and other meat substitutes pack plenty of protein too. However, just eating protein-rich foods isn’t usually enough protein to really put on mass.
Taking whey protein powder is very common in the fitness community, but whey isn’t vegan. Fortunately, whether you follow a vegan diet or you get an upset stomach from whey protein, there are vegan bodybuilding supplements that can help you to boost your protein intake drastically.
Our fantastic vegan protein powder uses a balanced blend of organic pea protein, watermelon seed protein and pumpkin seed protein, providing 20 grams of protein per 110 calories. It’s vegan, non-GMO, organic, gluten-free, and non-allergenic – perfect for bodybuilders with dietary restrictions or sensitive stomachs.
2. Consume More Calories
It’s no secret that following a plant-based diet usually means you’re naturally going to consume less calories. However, if you want to build mass, you need to follow a vegan bodybuilding diet that includes a higher calorie intake than a typical vegan diet provides. If you don’t consume enough calories, your body may start to use itself as an energy source, causing you to lose mass.
In addition to taking vegan bodybuilding supplements, you should consume foods that are dense with healthy calories, such as nuts, quinoa, raisins, and whole-wheat bread. You can add peanut butter or coconut oil to foods to boost their calories. You may also want to drink calorie-rich smoothies with soy milk.
3. Eat Healthy Carbs
Carbohydrates help you to build muscle. However, not all carbs are equal. You want to eat low-glycemic carbs that contain plenty of fiber – whole wheat bread and pasta, barley, lentils, chickpeas, black beans, and oatmeal are all great carb choices for a vegan bodybuilding diet.
4. Drink Healthy Beverages
While there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself to your favorite beverage occasionally, it’s important that you stick to healthy beverages whenever possible. Fruit smoothies are fantastic, especially when you’re taking your vegan bodybuilding supplements, but when it’s time for a lighter drink, go for water, tea, or natural juice instead of a soda.
5. Get Your Omega-3s
Omega-3 fatty acids help you build muscle, lose fat, and avoid injuries. While non-vegan bodybuilders often take fish oil to boost their omega-3 intake, that’s not an option for those who don’t consume animal-based products. Instead, eat plenty of flax seed powder and/or oil. Flax seeds are loaded with omega-3s, fiber, and lignans.
6. Eat Before and After Working Out
It’s easy to become so focused on your meals that you forget about snacking in-between them. Eating directly before you workout gives your body the energy it needs to really push hard, and then eating after helps with the recovery process.
Before you start exercising, take your vegan bodybuilding supplements alongside snacks that contain a healthy blend of carbs and protein -- fruits such as apples or bananas work great. After you’re done, enjoy something light and healthy like veggies and hummus.
7. Monitor Your Diet and Progress
If you’re serious about following a vegan bodybuilding diet, you must keep track of every single bite and sip. Keeping a food journal is a fantastic option, or there are plenty of apps for tracking your diet.
When you have a food journal, it’s easy to reference how many calories and protein you’ve already consumed so you can eat more or less as needed. It also helps you to be aware of your eating habits.
For instance, you may notice that you don’t snack at a certain time of day, so you can make it a point to fill in those gaps as needed. You can also use your journal to track your vegan bodybuilding supplements.
You can monitor your progress by stepping on the scale and writing down your weight every day, but if you’re really serious about putting on mass, you should be checking your body fat levels regularly and comparing them to your overall body weight. This helps you to make informed changes to your workout regimen and your diet as you go.
8. Pay Attention to Common Deficiencies
If you’re not careful, a vegan diet can lead to nutrient deficiencies. As you keep your food journal, make sure to pay attention to your nutrient intake and then take supplements or adjust your diet as needed.
Here are some of the most common nutrients that vegan diets lack:
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin D
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
9. Eat Multiple Small Meals
In order to maintain a positive nitrogen balance when following a vegan bodybuilding diet, it’s important that you have a steady flow of nutrients such as protein, healthy fats, calories, and carbs constantly entering your body. While vegan bodybuilding supplements certainly help with this, you need to be eating consistently, especially on days when you’re training hard and burning fuel fast.
Instead of following the classic three-meals-per-day formula, eat six to eight smaller meals (or larger snacks) throughout the day – every two to four hours or so. Not only does this help to keep your body fueled and ready for your next workout session, but it also helps to boost your metabolism and make you burn fat faster.
10. Eat Food You Enjoy
Following a vegan bodybuilding diet can be seriously tough if you’re choking down your meals. Make it a point to eat food that you genuinely enjoy. Try new styles of cuisine (Indian food is fantastic as far as vegan options).
While you do want to be meticulous with your eating, you also want to enjoy your life. The right vegan bodybuilding supplements go a long way in helping you to boost your gains, so don’t be afraid to change your diet around to keep things fun and exciting.