It will come as no surprise to now there are a number of facets that go into building muscle. Firstly, there’s the exercise and resistance training aspect. But perhaps more importantly, is what you put into your body. Your diet.
On a ‘standard diet’ it can already be difficult for some individuals to put on muscle mass. Although building muscle mass on a vegan diet is absolutely a suitable goal to have, it does add an extra layer of difficulty because muscle growth is a challenge when you nutrient intake is not absolutely on point.
However, if you have chosen the vegan path (whatever your reasons may be), there are some important factors and muscle building hacks that you can lean into. Let’s take a look.
How To Build Muscle Mass On A Vegan Diet
1. amino acids
It is often overwhelming to get a list of essential amino acids and to find food groups that have all of them for your daily diet. Instead, we’re going to give you a bit of a cheat code… One amino acid stands above all else from a muscle building perspective, and that is L-Leucine.
Vegan protein sources that include L-Leucine include:
- Most beans
These are all easy ingredients to add to our daily diet and it is highly recommended that you add them. The other amino acid that you can get in pill form is L-carnitine, which can help with anabolic hormone activity and upregulate androgen receptor sensitivity (all good things when it comes to building muscle).
2. vitamin B12
It is well known already that a vegan diet can often lack vitamin B12. It is incredibly important for the maintenance/repair of nerve tissue (that can affect your muscular strength), the production of red blood cells (that can affect your muscular endurance) and it aids the functioning of DNA (which is vital for protein synthesis). At this point you should realise how vital it is to supplement this one if your intake isn’t quite up to scratch.
3. creatine monohydrate (It is vegan friendly!)
Whilst natural creatine does generally come from animal products, the Creatine found in supplements come from sacrosine and cyanamide, which in essence make them vegan friendly. The benefits of creatine cannot be understated as it will help you put in more effort in the gym which will result in more muscle built over time. It also has the added benefit of making your muscles look fuller.
4. vegan protein shakes
It does tend to be difficult to consume enough quality protein in a vegan diet. It’s one of the main challenge a vegan diet represents. The easiest solution, if you’re really looking to ensure you are taking on board enough protein is to try vegan protein shakes. Pea protein shakes seem to be the best whey substitute and should act in a similar way to help you achieve your goals.
The world of nutrition can be big, scary and it can be very easy to drown in the sea of information that is out there. That is why following these four simple tips can help simplify the problem for you and provide easy and actionable solutions. You of course do not have to use all of the tips at the same time, but they do work well in synergy.
When starting any new diet or nutritional program, we recommend that you seek the advice and support of a qualified professional to ensure that it is suitable for you and your individual circumstances.