How to Gain Muscle Mass and Maintain a Vegan Diet
The body needs protein to grow and build muscles. And just because individuals on a plant-based diet don’t consume animal products, the misconception that they can’t gain muscles is misguided. While the vegan diet has garnered some bad rap when it comes to muscle gain, there are still some heavy-built individuals out there who are on a vegan diet. Muscle growth depends on many things, and even though proteins are a core element for this, it doesn’t mean that they have to come from meat only. Muscle growth can be achieved on a non-meat diet; all you need is proper planning and relentless commitment. This write-up details a few tips that can help you gain muscle growth with a plant-based diet.
Monitor the food you are consuming
While protein is considered as the primary muscle building component, it is crucial that you also incorporate other food components such as carbohydrates, vegetables, and enough calories in your diet. Preparation and planning are also essential if you want to create a vegan meal plan that is well rounded and cover all your bases. So, what can you consume when on a plant-based diet?
Proteins help to build up muscles, repair worn out tissues, and assist in recovery after workouts. The most important thing when you want to gain muscles when on a plant-based diet is to ensure that you furnish your body enough proteins from a variety of sources. While the body produces some amino acids, (the building blocks for proteins) there are some which must be introduced into the body through a diet. And since vegans and vegetarians don’t consume meat, they need to find alternative sources of proteins. There are plenty of plant-based foods that can supply proteins, including legumes such as beans and peas, tofu, nuts and seeds, and soy, among others. Additionally, there is a wide list of protein powders for vegans, which can also boost the level of essential amino acids in the body.
Carbs are also crucial components in a diet as they provide the fuel needed for muscle growth. Carbohydrates provide you with the vital energy you need to work out. The main idea here is to stick to complex carbs such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains while ensuring that your body gets the desired amount of proteins. Although lowering carbohydrates in a vegan diet is daunting, selecting the right type of carbs is what matters the most.
Calcium is very essential
Calcium is a very crucial element in any diet as it helps to keep the bones, strong and healthy. And because the vegan diet doesn’t contain dairy products, you should find alternative sources of calcium. There are plenty of plant-based foods which are rich in calcium such as almonds, kale, figs, bok choy, and navel oranges. Additionally, vegans should also consume foods which are rich in vitamin D such as orange juice, and also get enough sunlight per day, since vitamin D plays a significant role in the absorption of calcium.
Be on the lookout for deficiencies
When on a plant-based diet, it is imperative that you watch out for deficiencies by listening to your body. Iron and zinc deficiencies can lead to various problems such as difficulties in sleeping, fatigue, and trouble in completing workouts, among others. If you experience such issues, try to tweak your diet a little bit. For those with iron deficiency, there are some excellent plant-based sources such as sunflower seeds, legumes, and dark leafy greens. As for zinc, vegans can get it from walnuts, macadamia, almonds and sesame seed, and pumpkin seeds among others.
Gaining muscles while on a vegan diet is not a walk in the park; it calls for commitment, planning, and extra preparation. And while the traditional muscle-building diet plans are stacked with protein-heavy menus, mainly with plenty of animal products, it is also possible to achieve the same muscle gain when on a plant-based diet. All you need is to find alternative sources of the said nutritional components such as proteins, carbohydrates, and minerals.