Building Muscle On Plant Based Protein
Do vegan protein powders contain everything we need to build muscle?
Every good bodybuilder knows that building muscle means protein. More than that, muscle gain (and repair) means getting adequate protein from a variety of sources. This variety is important, because there are 20 amino acids within protein – and it’s difficult to get all of them from one protein source. The more types of protein you eat, the more combinations of amino acids you’ll get. And that’s good news for your hungry muscles.
Vegans and plant-based eaters have made a decision to cut out animal products from their food intake. This automatically means no protein from meat, fish, eggs, or dairy. Of course there are still plenty of places to get protein from (tofu, tempeh, seitan, pulses, legumes, beans to name a few).
But are plant based sources of protein enough for a healthy muscle building diet?
Combining Plant Proteins For Amino Acid Intake
The main challenge with plant based eating is amino acids. Most complete protein sources are animal based. If you don’t eat meat, fish, eggs, or dairy then you need to get a bit smarter about food combinations in order to get all the amino acids you need. Don’t worry too much, though. You don’t need to get every essential amino acid in each meal and snack. Tick them off across 24 hours of eating – that’s enough.
Supplements For A Plant Based Diet
Using a vegan BCAA supplement can help you top up the amino acids you may be missing from your plant based diet. BCAAs are the key amino acids for muscle gain (leucine, valine, and isoleucine).
A quality plant based protein powder will also help you optimise your vegan protein intake. It’s best to use 2 or 3 plant protein powders so you can rotate them and maximise amino acids. Or choose a vegan protein blend which will automatically be closer to a complete protein source due to the combination of ingredients.
4 Muscle Gain Rules For A Plant Based Diet
Lift hard and heavy. Your body needs stimulus in order to build muscle, so make sure you train smart with a periodised programme, progressive overload, and enough volume.
Vary your protein sources. As we’ve already said, you need to get protein from plenty of different sources on a plant based diet. This maximises your chances of getting all the amino acids your muscles need.
Supplement to cover deficiencies. A plant based diet may leave you deficient in key micronutrients, and this can put your body on the back foot for muscle gain. Consider supplementing with a multivitamin, electrolytes, zinc, and creatine.
Mostly real healthy foods. It can be tempting to rely on shakes, bars, and protein snacks but make sure you put the effort in with your plant based diet.
Get excited about creatine healthy, home cooked meals and start learning how to combine ingredients to maximise that important amino acid profile.
There are plenty of muscular, lean, and strong vegans out there across a lot of sports including bodybuilding, strongman, Crossfit, and Olympic lifting.
It’s definitely possible to get strong and be an elite athlete on a plant based dietBP Crew