Bodybuilding plant proteins: 6 rules for success 👌

As vegan diets become more and more popular, exercisers are wondering “Are muscle-building vegetable proteins effective? »

This article aims to answer your questions about plant proteins, but how to gain muscle on a vegan diet.

Do you need meat to have muscles?

It is a certainty, you have protein need to build muscle. But contrary to what many believe it is entirely possible to get enough of it by following a vegan diet. However, you need to make a number of changes to your diet to avoid deficiencies.

Some athletes have made the serious mistake of thinking that it is enough to eliminate all animal sources to achieve this. But it's more complicated than that. Indeed, meat, fish, seafood, eggs or dairy products are important sources of complete proteins for the body.

Conversely, the plants often provide protein incomplete and therefore need to be combined. This is why the bodybuilding plant protein powder are so helpful. They generally contain the 8 essential amino acids for the human organism.

So to answer the question, no you don't necessarily need meat or other animal products to build muscle. But you need to change the way you eat to find the right sources of amino acids.


How not to lack vitamins and minerals?

After worrying about protein, many vegans worry about vitamin and mineral deficiencies. The question is particularly important for those of you who want to gain muscle volume. You absolutely need to get the right nutrients in your diet to do this.

Vitamin B12 deficiencies

A common deficiency linked to vegan or even vegetarian diets is that of vitamin B12. You should know that this micronutrient is mainly found in animal products. And if you lack it, the associated symptoms can be fatigue, depression, confusion, and problems with balance.

You must therefore look for foods that contain this vitamin or are enriched with it, as is the case with certain commercial cereals or certain milk substitutes. There are also quite a few mushrooms that can help you fill this deficiency. You can also consume vegan vitamin B12 supplements.

Lack of vitamin D

Another deficiency is that of vitamin D, which can cause muscle pain, as well as fatigue and depression. Be sure to take a herbal supplement, or eat vegan fortified foods. Also get enough sunlight to avoid becoming deficient.

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It is possible to get all the vitamins you need from plant-based foods. But if you find it difficult to maintain a balanced diet, you may need to consult a nutritionist.

Are you eating enough calories to build muscle?

In addition to protein, consuming enough calories is essential for building muscle. This is a common problem for athletes transitioning to a vegan diet. However, overcoming the problem is not too difficult if you add healthy snacks between your meals.

Fruits and vegetables are generally filling and low in calories. Therefore, it may be difficult for some to consume enough calories. In this case, rich vegan foods like nuts, seeds, and bananas should be added to smoothies or eaten as snacks.

For bodybuilders trying to bulk up, meals are usually big. However, some are 100% vegan and prove that it is possible. But it requires a lot of rigor and many snacks 😉

Build muscle with a vegan diet

The opinion of an Italian bodybuilder on bodybuilding vegetable proteins

Of course, there are even bodybuilders who are vegan. This is the case of Massimo Brunaccioni, an Italian bodybuilder who decided to go vegan for animal welfare in 2012. His food choices haven't held him back. He regularly competes in international tournaments and was ranked second in the World Natural Bodybuilding Federation (WNBF) in 2018.

"No one can say that vegans can't excel in bodybuilding," the athlete wrote last year. "There are still some who consider plant-based protein inferior and talk about others as superior, not realizing that the world (and science) is moving forward."

He continued: “I am convinced that maybe in a while these people will also get rid of these stupid myths and preconceptions, like me seven years ago. »

Brunaccioni is not alone. In May 2019, at the You Plant-Based Guide conference, 6 prominent vegan bodybuilders shared their secrets to staying fit and getting enough fat. protein from plants only.

Point of view of a vegan fitness trainer

Ella Magers is an expert in bodybuilding and fitness. She feels that in the bodybuilding community, there is an "unhealthy obsession" with animal-based protein. For more than 12 years, she worked as a vegan fitness and wellness professional, and in 2013 she was named personal trainer of the month by

She claims on her website that “going vegan is refreshing, energizing, and gives your body all the highest quality nutrients it needs to be healthy.” She also says that this diet “cuts out the bad fats as well as all the hormones and antibiotics that you find in meat and dairy. »

ALSO READ:  The best sources of dietary protein in 2022 👌

It therefore seems entirely appropriate to focus more on the vegetable proteins for bodybuilding. For my part, I opted for the pea protein which I digest perfectly (much better than the whey). It goes very well with oat milk for example.

Gain muscle with a vegan diet

1. Eat more often

If you're weight training on a vegan diet, it's important that you have a steady stream of protein, healthy fats, calories, and carbohydrates in your body. Taking supplements will help keep this flow constant, but so will healthy plant-based snacks like fruits, nuts, seeds or protein bars plants.

This will help keep your body fueled and ready for your next workout. Also, it will boost your metabolism to burn fat faster.

2. Eat healthy calories

Whatever your diet, you need to make sure you're eating the right foods. Eat healthy proteins like nuts and quinoa, and fruits like raisins and bananas. Peanut and almond butter are also good sources of calories.

the soy milk tends to be the richest in protein, but there are other vegetable milks with interesting properties based on rice, quinoa, almonds, oats, spelled, hazelnuts, etc. You can also incorporate vegan meats like tempeh, tofu, or seitan into your meals.

Look for all natural sources of protein in seasonal foods or legumes, because there are quite a few.

3. Eat healthy carbs

Organic whole wheat for bodybuilding vegetable proteins
Wheat field to make vegetable proteins bodybuilding

Don't be afraid of carbs as long as they are healthy. They You will help build muscle and give you energy. On the other hand, avoid sweets, fruit juices and sodas. Stick to low-glycemic carbs, like fiber-filled pasta and whole-wheat bread.

Have oatmeal for breakfast and eat pulses like chickpeas, lentils and black beans often every day.

4. Supplement with muscle-building plant proteins

You can also supplement your diet with protein snacks like shakes and vegan bars. There are many protein powders that can easily replace Whey or casein. To find out about all the plant-based proteins or supplements, you can also go to

These powdered herbal supplements are often made from soybeans, rice, chickpeas, as well as pumpkin, flax, chia and quinoa seeds. Often, the ideal is to opt for a mixture of different sources and to check that the 8 essential amino acids for the human body are present: lysine, threonine, leucine, isoleucine, methionine, phenylalanine, tryptophan and valine.

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5. Consume Omega 3s

Omega 3 or polyunsaturated fatty acids help build muscle and prevent injury. Fish is a great source of omega 3s, but you can get them from plant sources as well.

Walnuts, for example, contain more omega 3 than salmon, which is nevertheless a reference. Chia or flax seeds, Brussels sprouts, wild rice, vegetable oils, fortified vegan milk, and seaweed oil are also good sources of this plant-based fat.

6. Keep a food diary

Keep track of what you eat, so you know which foods and plant-based recipes suit you best. For extra busy days, maybe a peanut butter and banana smoothie will do, or a bowl of oatmeal in the morning.

On days when you have more time, experiment with different recipes and write down which ones were easy to make. Also note which ones take you longer, as you can always prepare them in advance. You can also use your diary to plan what you are going to eat throughout the week. This is an especially good practice if you know you have a busy week ahead of you and want to maintain a balanced diet.

To make your work easier, you can download a free application like FatSecret. When you have a food journal, it is easy to reference how many calories and protein you have already consumed. You can eat more or less of it as needed. It also helps you become aware of your eating habits.

Bodybuilding Plant Protein Reviews

Eating vegan and gaining muscle volume are 2 realistic goals. But you must be disciplined not to do anything and put your health at risk, or simply ruin your efforts.

If you have opted for a vegan diet while exercising, I would be very happy to hear from you. Leave a comment below to share your experience. Tell me what challenges you had to face, the advantages and disadvantages of such a diet. I'm interested !

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