Veganism has become increasingly popular over the years.
Many believe that ditching products derived from animals is a positive step forward in helping to protect the planet and its resources, and ensure that animals live free from abuse.
However, those looking to body build on a vegan diet may find it a little more challenging than non-vegans, since meat-based protein is a big part of a non-vegan’s meal plan to gain muscle.
However, the good news is that it is not impossible.
By following a high calorie diet and exercising enough, you too can body build as a vegan.
There are also some great vegan supplements available to help get you the right amount of vitamins and minerals your body requires to function normally.
What is vegan bodybuilding?
The NHS recommends consuming an average of 50g of protein daily.1
Vegan bodybuilding relies on eating plant-based protein to gain energy and help build muscle.
Bodybuilders need protein as it can help repair and grow muscles. However, plant-based protein does not have as many essential amino acids as meat, so vegans need to follow a carefully planned diet.
Vegan body building foods
Some great vegan food sources suitable for bodybuilding food include pulses, chickpeas, quinoa, beans, lentils, and garden peas.
These are low in fat but high in fibre, vitamins and minerals.2
Pulses are a good source of protein, especially for those who are vegan.3
They are easily accessible and fairly easy to incorporate into everyday meals.
If you want to try out a new vegan dish with pulses, why not be adventurous and go for a delicious lentil and tofu bowl with smoky romesco sauce.
There are many other vegan protein foods to use in your bodybuilding meal plan. Soya foods such as tempeh, edamame beans and soya milk are also packed full of protein.
You can choose to opt for soya protein flakes, which have the same texture as meat.
There are also tons of meat alternatives you can choose from. These include Jackfruit, seiten and soyrizo to name a few.
For further information, we have a list of the best vegan meat substitutes on our Health Hub.
When cooking meals, you can use peanut butter instead of high-fat dairy butter. One tablespoon of peanut butter contains over 3g of protein! Incorporating this ingredient into your baking or just using it as a spread for a sandwich will help increase the essential amino acids needed for bodybuilding.
Vegan snacks such as almonds, cashews, walnuts, chia seeds and hemp seeds are also high in protein.
Healthy snacks are a good way to reduce overeating and portion sizes for meals.
While vegan bodybuilding does require a lot of plant-based protein consumption, it is also important to ensure that you are still maintaining an overall balanced diet.
This involves eating fruit and vegetables to gain the necessary vitamins and minerals. Some vegetables such as spinach, cauliflower and asparagus do contain a lot of protein as well.
You can find a pick of the best vegan and vegetarian protein sources on our health hub.
What are vegan supplements and protein powders?
Vegan protein powder is usually made up of soy, hemp, rice, or pea protein.
Alongside bodybuilding meals, you can also have vegan protein shakes.
These replacement shakes provide B12 to aid energy and iron and help to maintain your weight.
There are also plant-based protein bars available which you can consume as a snack for your bodybuilding diet plan.
Creatine can be taken as a form of a vegan supplement. It helps enhance physical performance during high-intensity workouts. It is usually taken to aid muscle growth and body build.
If you are looking to add vegan supplements to your diet, it is advised to contact a qualified expert first.
Vegan bodybuilding meal plan
When following a vegan bodybuilding diet, you will need to carefully plan out what your daily calorie intake should be and how much exercise you will be doing.
It is important to ensure that your diet does not lack in any vital nutrients.
If you do not plan out and research your vegan bodybuilding nutrition plan, you could potentially lose out on calcium, iron and vitamin B12.4
A vegan diet plan should also have enough omega-3 fatty acids which can help support the normal functioning of the body.
Some good vegan alternatives packed with omega-3 are flaxseed oil, walnuts and rapeseed oil.5
Doing meal preps the night before can save you a lot time. You can also purchase healthy tinned goods, such as chickpeas and lentils, to be money and time efficient.
It is vital to eat protein as can help to rebuild any microtears in the muscles, which will no doubt occur during your gym work out.
Our health hub has more information on the truth of vegan fitness.
To aid muscle growth you can take vegan protein powder, bars, or bodybuilding supplements.
However, it is important to contact a dietician to help you with any diet plans.
Last Updated: 30th October 2020