Here at CrazyBulk we’ve recognized that vegan bodybuilding has really taken off with pros such as Massimo Brunaccioni and Torre Washington leading the way. A true vegan is someone who eats no meat or meat byproducts and does not own a single item derived from an animal. Simply put, nothing in their life ever had a mamma or took a breath.
If you’re reading this then it’s likely that you’re already a vegan or thinking about making the switch and want to know how it will impact your performance in the gym. In the beginning, taking on this type of lifestyle can be arduous. Especially if you have influences who live on meat and wear fancy leather jackets. If you’ve overcome the challenges of accepting a vegan lifestyle then you’ve nothing to worry about when it comes to building muscle as a vegan.
So you want to know how to build muscle as a vegan. The game changes only slightly compared to your average meathead, but you should definitely familiarize yourself with the path you need to take.
Eat quality foods
No meat does not mean no muscle! What you need to do, though, is eat clean, quality foods that supply you with enough protein for anabolism and recovery. As a vegan, you can get everything you need from beans, whole grains, whole grain derivatives, tempeh, tofu, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables.
Don’t believe the hype about combining two incomplete proteins together in every meal, either. This information is as outdated as parachute pants! All you need to do is eat incomplete proteins within 24 hours and they will still be recognized as complete in your body.
So if you want to have oatmeal for breakfast, peas for lunch, and brown rice for dinner, go for it!
Train hard in the gym
Contrary to popular belief, vegans aren’t these spindly pencil-necked geeks who walk around all emaciated and white as a ghost. The truth is, you can look and feel great while being vegan, and it all starts in the weight room. You don’t really have to alter anything. But it will help if you train hard and lift some hefty iron.
Your goal is to tax your muscles to a point where they break down and then repair. That’s how they grow and that’s how you become stronger. This is the same across the board, whether you’re vegan or not.
But there are some tricks you can do that will expedite your progress. First of all, focus on doing compound movements, which incorporate multiple muscles at the same time. They will maximize your gains and also help your body naturally produce more growth hormone and testosterone – two key hormones for muscle-building.
Add exercises like bench presses, back rows, military presses, pull-ups, squats, deadlifts, and lunges to your program. Since you are incorporating multiple muscles, you will also be able to hoist more weight, which works in your favor even more.
Use key supplements
Everyone who wants to know how to build muscle as a vegan should consider supplementing. Most serious weightlifters already do, and just as it gives them a boost, it can do the same for you – just be careful to look for vegan friendly products.
Good additions are protein powder, creatine, and maca. There are tons of good-quality protein powders on the market these days that are complete and plant-based. Adding these into your diet plan will ensure that you are getting enough protein, if there was any doubt.
Creatine is a powdered supplement that helps with cell volumizing and providing hydration to your muscles. It also promotes more ATP release, which is the substance responsible for muscle energy. It is found naturally in red meat and shellfish, but you can also get a vegan option in supplement form.
Maca is a root that is ground into a powder. It is good for balancing the hormones in the body and for brain function, energy, and recovery from workouts.
After your workouts, you are best served by whipping up a shake or a smoothie that contains all three of these substances. Throw in some vanilla almond milk and a banana and you have a perfect post-workout shake that can kickstart your muscle-building.
As a vegan you have just as good a shot at building muscle as anyone else. Never let anyone tell you any different! As long you follow a few quick, easy steps, your muscles will be plump and pristine in no time. If you want any more help then the best place to start is our how to build muscle guide