Author Name: StartRight
The internet is loaded with information related to weight loss, and rarely you will come across articles, explaining how to gain strength and build muscles while following a plant-based diet. Regardless of the diet, the process of building muscle is a tedious and time-consuming task.
Therefore, we will not claim that you will start building muscles as soon as you go vegan. Everyone would have cracked it if it was that easy. The write-up is to clear the air about the stereotypical claims that a plant-based diet makes you weak.
Such claims have long been preached through various mediums, and our brains have accepted them without validating the facts. If you are a Hollywood fan, the famous action movie, Escape Plan, includes a scene where Arnold says to his costar, you hit like a vegetarian.
However, scientific research has shown that a plant-based diet is as effective in muscle building and strength gaining as any other diet. The only thing that matters is the number of calories that you are consuming daily.
Know Your Caloric Need
You can build muscles by following a straightforward approach – adapting a consistent workout routine, and filling yourself with lots of food. If you are training rigorously, but your body is striving to get the required calories, you will not achieve the desired results. In short, you have to improve your caloric intake.
Along with keeping a check on the calorie counter, it is also significant to balance the intake of your macronutrients. If you are on a plant-based diet and consuming foods that are high on fats or low on protein, you may not build the muscles effectively.
The recommended daily macronutrient intake should consist of roughly 40 percent carbohydrates, 30 to 40 percent protein, and 20 to 30 percent fats.
Now; that you are aware of how to calculate your caloric needs, let’s find out how you can get the required nutrients.
It is the most essential nutrient that helps repair and build muscles. That’s the reason you see all the fitness lovers pulling out their protein shakes, smoothies, and eggs right after a strenuous workout session.
Where do you get your protein? The most commonly asked questions to people on a plant-based diet. The simplest answer to this is if you are taking the required caloric intake, it satisfies the protein requirement as all whole foods are protein-rich.
The latest research suggests that you need about 105 grams of protein if you weigh 70 kgs. The calculation is simple, your body demands approximately 8 grams protein per 5 kgs of your weight. This amount can easily be consumed by adding more green vegetables, legumes, and whole-grain foods to your diet plan. The best part is these diet choices will also give you a caloric surplus.
You can add the following plant-based protein sources to your diet plan.
• Tofu – contains about 10 grams of protein per half-cup.
• Lentils – cooked lentils provide 8.8 grams of protein per half-cup.
• Almonds – offer 16.5 grams of protein per half-cup.
• Quinoa – contains around 8 grams of protein per cup.
• Peanuts – have 20 grams of protein per half-cup.
Carbs are very essential macronutrients for muscle building as they are converted to glycogen that gets stored in muscles, and supports your workout. Half of your caloric requirements are fulfilled by carbohydrates. Our body needs good carbohydrates to speed up the metabolism, support a rigorous workout session, and expedite post-workout recovery.
Fruits, starchy vegetables, and whole grains contain low-fat carbohydrates. Here is a list of food options that should be included in your daily diet.
• Quinoa – carb-rich food that contains 21% carbohydrates.
• Oats – filled with fibers with 66% carbohydrates saturation.
• Bananas – contain 23% carbohydrates.
• Sweet potatoes – cooked version contain around 20% carbohydrates.
• Kidney Beans – have 23% carbohydrates and rich with fiber.
As a general guideline, 20% of your total caloric intake should consist of healthy fats. The fats supply the required energy to your muscles during physical training. However, it is recommended to monitor the serving size while consuming fats as they contain almost twice the calories of protein and carbohydrates.
For an effective muscle-building approach, you should be focusing on sources of healthy fats. Below are the sources of fats that should be a part of your diet plan.
• Avocados – each avocado contains 19 grams of monosaturated fat.
• Olives – offer 3 grams of healthy fats per ounce.
• Walnuts – one ounce of walnuts contains 13 grams of polyunsaturated fats.
• Seeds – flaxseeds, chia seeds, and hemp seeds are healthy sources of fats.
The Final Takeaway
Since you understand the science behind muscle building, and how to effectively chalk out a plant-based diet, it is about time to put these learnings to work. You can start by increasing the portion size gradually and keep track of your progress. Remember, hard work and consistency will always be the factors behind gaining strength, building your muscles, and leading a healthy plant-based lifestyle.