3 Ways To Build Muscle on a Vegetarian Diet
The vegetarian diet is common as many people have adopted this lifestyle for a variety of reasons. Some of the reasons are nutritional and health-related, such as lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. But there is a popular belief that building muscle on a vegetarian diet can be difficult and stressful because animal proteins are synonymous with muscle growth. However, there’s no need to fear because developing muscle as a vegetarian is absolutely possible. Read on for three tips on how to build strong, long-lasting muscle on a vegetarian diet.
1. Be Aware of Your Calorie Intake
The stepping stone in achieving your fitness objectives is to calculate the number of calories you need to consume in order to maintain, or increase, your weight. Keep in mind that consistency is the key when it comes to fitness. So, if you want to gain muscle, be sure that what you’re consuming is adequate. This rule applies to everyone, regardless of eating style.
When following a vegetarian or vegan diet, protein intake tends to be one of the areas where most people miss the mark. Therefore, protein intake needs to be closely monitored, because protein is the pillar of muscle growth. Bear in mind that carbs are crucial as well, so make sure you’re eating enough to meet your energy needs. Other than that, investing in some kitchen devices like an electric scale or measuring cups is a great start to identify portion sizes and understanding how much you need to build muscle.
It’s also critical to keep track of how much you eat. If you’re not sure how much you should get on a daily basis, try using an app like MyFitnessPal to monitor your food intake. While it may not be necessary for the long run, tracking calories are useful to assess your overall food intake. Keeping track for at least five to seven days can help you see how much or how little you normally eat.
2. Choose the Right Plant-based Protein
When following a vegetarian diet, it doesn’t imply you can’t eat protein. You actually can consume protein like eggs. Eggs are one of the most frequent protein sources for vegetarians, because they provide a nutrient rich protein punch. Fortunately, there is also a vast variety of plant-based proteins to choose from, all of which can help with muscle growth.
Soy Protein: You can opt for soy protein, which is one of the most common vegetarian options. The flavorful soy protein is extremely low in fat and cholesterol.
Pea Protein: Pea protein is likewise high in protein, cholesterol-free and has a good branched-chain amino acid profile. And it is vital to consume an adequate number of essential amino acids, because failing to do so will result in the degradation of existing muscle tissue.
Hemp Protein: There is also hemp protein, which is high in magnesium and iron and is high in Omega-3s.
Whey Protein: The final option is whey and other protein powders, which are popular among athletes for bulking up quickly and safely. It is significantly easier to meet the required daily protein amount by adding these proteins to fruit and yogurt smoothies. Just remember that as long as you’ve eaten enough calories and protein throughout the day, you can gain muscle without a problem.
3. Avoid Nutrient Deficiencies
Generally, fruits and vegetables are abundant in a well-planned vegetarian diet. However, any diet that does not include full food categories can contribute to a deficiency of certain nutrients. There is no doubt that a meatless diet can be healthy, but vegetarians and vegans, in particular, must be aware of two major deficits on a plant-based diet.
The first is vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 is essential for healthy blood cell development and DNA synthesis. However, B12 is usually available in a variety of animal-based meals and the kind of B12 found in plant-based foods is not as efficiently absorbed by the body. Furthermore, low B12 levels can cause fatigue.
There is also zinc deficiency, which arises as a result of zinc being found largely in animal-based food but not so much in plants. Zinc is required for regular growth and development. It is involved with testosterone production, helps regulate hunger, and many other things for most athletes. To combat this, consider increasing your intake of nuts and seeds.
To help prevent either of these nutrient deficiencies, we recommend you take both a zinc and vitamin B12 supplement daily.
In conclusion, do yourself a favor by following these tips and consume sufficient nutrients so that you can feel good about yourself and get the most out of your healthy lifestyle. If you want to begin a fitness adventure as a vegan or vegetarian, read more to determine which diet programs are ideal for you.