HOW TO BUILD MUSCLE ON A PLANT-BASED DIET
Look in the right places and have the right conversations, and you’ll be able to find uber-successful plant-based athletes that have built plenty of muscle.
And one last example to round things out: Joe Venus, a vegan bodybuilder who gets anywhere from 80-180 grams of protein daily through big meals.
Putting on muscle with a Plant-Based Diet is certainly not impossible.
If you analyze how these athletes eat, you’ll notice many similarities to other “omnivore” elite athletes, and a few places where they diverge:
Let’s look at a typical day for CrossFit athlete Danielle Sidell:
“Typical breakfast is 2 slices of sprouted bread with vegan butter, half an avocado, mini fruit salad with strawberries, grapes and blackberries with peanut butter drizzled over the top and a cup of coffee.
My snack before lunch is some roasted chickpeas and plain popcorn – it’s a really filling snack.
For lunch I’ll do a serving of Beyond Meat’s chicken or beef crumbles with jasmine rice, a serving of veggies and another half of an avocado.
For afternoon snack I’m typically on my way to the gym so I’ll have a banana, spoonful of peanut butter and a glass of unsweetened soy milk. I like soy and pea milk the most because they have lots of protein.
After I workout I’ll do a shake with pea protein and dextrose. For dinner I’ll have a cup of some sort of beans, hummus for the extra fat, some sweet potato and another serving of something by Beyond Meat.
Then for a snack I’ll do a whole bell pepper with hummus or a serving of beet chips.”
Compare that to any other athlete, and you’ll find very similar strategies: get the correct amount of calories for your goals, and eat plenty of plants. The only difference is protein sources! And protein is how you build muscle.
Again, it’s not impossible to get enough protein strictly from plants to build muscle, it simply takes foresight, some understanding of your macros, and planning. So although there is an observed correlation between muscle size and animal protein intake, we all know that correlation doesn’t equal causation.
Just because someone doesn’t eat meat, doesn’t mean they will have less muscle or smaller muscles. To put it another way: eating meat doesn’t necessarily lead to bigger muscles, either!