5 Tips to Build Muscle on a Vegan Diet
Building muscle and achieving your ideal figure while on a vegan diet is not as difficult as some make it out to be. If you’re a dedicated athlete, you’ll have no problem - especially because we’ve curated a list of the Top 5 Tips on building muscle while following a vegan diet.
1. Determine How Much Protein you Need for Optimal Performance
To start things off, you’ll want to get an idea of just how much protein you’ll need in order for you to reach optimal performance. The Food and Nutrition Board and the Institute of Medicine recommend about 0.8 g of protein per kilogram of body weight each day for the average person.
However, exercise changes the way that our bodies absorb protein, so even if you consume the seemingly right amount, your body will likely only use about half of it. Depending on individual goals and genetics, a strength athlete or bodybuilder should consume 1.6-2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight or .73-1 grams per pound of bodyweight. For a more in depth explanation on protein needs, please visit our Vegan Muscle Building Myths Debunked blog here.
A great way to help you achieve your protein goals is to supplement your workout with VEGANMASS™, a delicious plant-based protein powder. It’s a healthy and wholesome way to meet your daily protein intake.
2. Supplement with Protein and Carbs Before AND After a Workout
One little important piece of information you should know is that your performance in the gym is not only dependent on how much protein you eat or drink. Protein accounts for only a small portion of your energy - carbohydrates pretty much cover the rest!
Protein and carbs are fairly equal in importance when it comes to muscle-building, simply because you need carbs to push you through the exercises and you need protein to build muscle.
Loading up before a workout and replenishing afterward is the best way to go. Kreider from Sports Medicine suggests that an equal balance of carbs and protein before and after training can actually activate certain hormones in your body that are responsible for more rapid muscle growth, allowing you to build quicker.
VEGANMASS™ has the perfect combination of protein and carbohydrates, making it the ideal vegan workout supplement.
3. Include Specific Amino Acids in your Diet
Certain amino acids, especially BCAA’s, are known to have positive effects on building muscle. In today’s busy world, obtaining these specific amino acids can be difficult if you do not prep your meals, which is why it’s important for serious vegan athletes to include supplements that have fortified amino acids in them.
In an article found in The Journal of Nutrition, they recommend lysine, leucine, and methionine in particular.
4. Supplement Creatine
Creatine is a popular supplement - and for good reason! While there are so many products out there that promise enhanced muscle growth, creatine is one of the few with studies that show it actually works! Kreider from Guanidino Compounds in Biology and Medicine discusses how taking creatine can boost your workout performance by up to 15% - that’s a pretty hefty increase!
If you’re not sure where to get this miracle supplement, Vegun Nutrition has it for you. VCRE® features the purest vegan-friendly form of Creatine Monohydrate available, Creapure®.
5. Drink Lots of Water
It’s no secret that you need to stay hydrated while working out. After all, your body loses fluids through sweating. And, muscles contain water - that’s why muscle weighs more than fat.
Studies show that not staying properly hydrated can have a negative impact on your workout performance. According to the article, “Hydration and Muscular Performance” in Sports Medicine, improper hydration can lead to a decrease in strength by about 2%, and a decrease in endurance by about 10%.
The Food and Nutrition Board and Institute of Medicine recommend 3.7 liters a day for men, and 2.7 liters a day for women. Keep in mind that this is a minimum recommendation, so feel free to drink more as needed throughout your workouts. Staying hydrated is so important for athletes wanting to build muscle, so drink up!
Food and Nutrition Board, and Institute of Medicine. “Nutrient Recommendations: Dietary
Reference Intakes (DRI).” National Institutes of Health - Office of Dietary Supplements.
Judelson, Daniel A, et al. “Hydration and Muscular Performance.” Sports Medicine, vol. 37, no. 10, 2007, pp. 907–921., doi:10.2165/00007256-200737100-00006.
Kreider, Richard B. “Dietary Supplements and the Promotion of Muscle Growth with Resistance Exercise.” Sports Medicine, vol. 27, no. 2, 1999, pp. 97–110., doi:10.2165/00007256-199927020-00003.
Kreider, Richard B. “Effects of Creatine Supplementation on Performance and Training Adaptations.” Guanidino Compounds in Biology and Medicine, 2003, pp. 89–94., doi:10.1007/978-1-4615-0247-0_13.
Lemon, Peter W.r., et al. “The Importance of Protein for Athletes.” Sports Medicine, vol. 1, no. 6, 1984, pp. 474–484., doi:10.2165/00007256-198401060-00006.
Vliet, Stephan Van, et al. “The Skeletal Muscle Anabolic Response to Plant- versus Animal-Based Protein Consumption.” The Journal of Nutrition, vol. 145, no. 9, 2015, pp. 1981–1991., doi:10.3945/jn.114.204305.