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Vegan Gym Diet: Build your Body In A Healthy Way

Updated: May 17, 2023

The stereotype of the vegan has become such that most people do not believe their ears when they come across anyone built with strong muscles claiming that they do not actually consume animal-based products. The belief that you can’t get ripped on a vegan diet is nothing but a myth. Well, hear the truth: ‘Muscle building on a vegan diet is completely possible’. Contrary to popular belief, for vegetarians that love the gym, can get enough protein through a vegan diet to build muscle. You can also adopt a vegan diet for a healthier lifestyle.

If you are a vegan, do not let opinions and rumors from the outside deter you because a research study has proven that a vegan diet is sufficient for bodybuilding. Researchers from the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom and the University of Texas Medical Branch conducted a study that revealed that a vegan diet can support resistance training to the same extent as an omnivorous diet. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has even approved the study. No animal-based diet, no problem!

Important things to be consider for a vegan gym diet:

Important things to know before adopting a vegan lifestyle.

A well-organized gym schedule and plant-based diet plan are ample for bodybuilding. But, before you actually dive deep into an actual workout plan and diet plan for bodybuilding, it is important to understand a few crucial aspects pertaining to vegan bodybuilding as a heads-up.

Understanding your calorie needs:

The precise amount you require depends on your body weight and how intensely you train. A good guideline is to consume between 15 and 20 calories per pound of body weight. If you’re into lifting weights and strength training, aim for the upper end of the calorie intake scale. It is recommended that you eat between 250 and 1,000 calories more on training days in order to gain muscle mass.

Note that vegan gym diets are not naturally high in calories; therefore, you’ll need to eat a lot more than you’re used to if you want to gain muscle. Remember that it is important to exercise caution and strike a delicate balance in terms of increasing your calorie intake just enough to build muscle while avoiding excess body fat.

Understand your protein needs:

Your protein requirements are directly related to your muscle mass or body weight. Basically, the more you have and use, the more protein you require. A good approximation is to consume 0.8–1g of protein per pound of body weight. When using a calorie surplus to gain lean mass, this amount can rise to as much as 1 to 1.5 g/pound.

A sufficient intake of protein is imperative for bodybuilding. Your muscles require protein for development. Also, your body needs enough protein in your diet to have the building blocks to build muscle mass. Protein is essential for muscle building because amino acids aid in the repair and maintenance of muscle tissue. Protein helps you recover from workouts because muscles can easily be overworked during workouts. Remember that to build a healthy body and get ripped, you must consume the appropriate amount of protein.

Do not shy away from the use of protein powders:

Protein powders are an excellent source of protein and are often described as “complete proteins” because they fuel the body with all the required amino acids. A vegan diet plan for the gym is incomplete without plant-based protein powders. Plant-based protein powders come in various forms, the most popular of which include pea protein, soy protein, hemp seed protein, brown rice protein, and others. Pea protein powder is also one of the best-concentrated sources of protein. Pea protein, in general, contains 25 g of protein per normal serving, which is actually higher in comparison to some of the common animal-based protein powders out there.

Using soy protein powders is also a wise decision. These will significantly increase your protein intake and are quick and easy to prepare. They are a ‘must have’ for your daily vegan gym diet as long as you mix them with other sources of protein.

Drink plenty of water:

A vegan diet for gym-goers can often have too much fiber because fruits and vegetables largely make up the diet plan. It is important to understand that certain negative effects, such as bloating, flatulence, and gastrointestinal pain, might occur when you dramatically increase your fiber intake. Therefore, it is really important to drink plenty of water. Drinking plenty of water also helps fend off any digestive issues when you are new to protein powders.

Vegan Gym Diet:

A vegan diet plan for bodybuilding often includes a variety of whole, unprocessed plant foods, such as vegetables, fruits, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and small amounts of healthy fats. A diet plan here is not just about eating plant-based foods throughout the day; instead, it also entails following a proper daily chart. It starts with planning foods or dishes to take in from morning to night.

Breakfast options:

Vegan diet breakfast options.

First things first! Breakfast is the first and most important meal, as it sets you up for the rest of the day. The following are useful breakfast options for a vegan bodybuilder:

Oats with fruit or seed topping:

One cup of oatmeal for breakfast is arguably the best food to start your day in the morning. Oats are a fantastic source of carbohydrates that are very helpful for getting your muscles ready for exercise because they give your body the energy it requires.

You can always add some fruit for a quick energy boost, a handful of nuts, or chia seeds for a plethora of additional health benefits.

Bread, Toast, and Banana:

A multi-grain toast with a banana can pack you up with the right amount of simple and complex carbohydrates to help you perform at your peak during your workout. If not multi-grain, you can also turn to whole-grain bread instead. Whole-grain bread will provide you with the energy you need to get through your workout. Eating a banana before working out can help you meet your potassium requirements, promote muscle function, and prevent cramps.

Fruits and Nuts:

Having fruits in the morning is another excellent way to start your day off on the right note because it increases your metabolism rate. The carbohydrates in an apple or banana will give you a natural energy boost during your workout. To support long or intense workouts, add nut butter for healthy fats and protein. Also, it is worth reminding gym goers that a vegan bodybuilding diet is often high in fruits and vegetables because it reduces your risk of heart disease and cancer while also promoting a healthy body weight.

On the other hand, the likes of peanut or almond butter provide you with healthy fats that will keep you satisfied during your workout. By increasing your intake of healthy fats, you are not only increasing your calorie intake but also assisting your body in building muscle mass. This is due to the fact that fats aid in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, which in turn aid in protein synthesis.

Lunch options:

Vegan Diet Lunch ideas.

Lunch is the second meal and is often the one that demands more calories to ensure peak performance and remain full. It is important to ensure that you eat foods or dishes that provide you with carbohydrates and protein. The following are useful lunch options for vegan diet:

Rice and spinach:

Rice and spinach as a lunch meal are excellent vegan diet options for gym-goers. Brown rice, in particular, is versatile and makes an excellent vegan meal prep option. Because of their high carbohydrate and protein content, both or either of them can be great post-workout meals for lunch.

Coconut rice with spinach is another interesting option. It has a high protein content as well as essential vitamins and minerals. Well, it’s healthy, tasty, and nutritious at the same time.

Brown rice and paneer masala:

You can take brown rice instead of white rice for your lunch. Brown rice is touted as a muscle-building food because it is a complex carbohydrate that is the unrefined version of white rice, which provides a sustained release of energy to your growing muscles and results in mass gain.

Paneer masala, a relatively simple recipe, is an excellent accompaniment to rice. Paneer is rich in protein and calcium. Therefore, it aids in muscular development and strengthens your bones.

You can try incorporating paneer into your gravies, side dishes, and even salads. Along with this, you can eat soybeans as a vegetable. Soybeans are high in protein and have a variety of additional nutritional benefits.

High protein vegan salad:

A vegan salad with high-protein ingredients like tofu, tempeh, chickpeas, and hemp seeds packed in it is a quick and easy plant-based vegan meal for gym goers and those into bodybuilding. The best thing is that you can make it oil- and gluten-free. You can add broccoli and avocado as well, for additional mineral component to the salad and make it extra healthy. This way, the salad would be high in protein and fiber and keep you full for hours.

Dinner options:

Vegan Diet Dinner options

Dinner is the last meal of the day and is of paramount importance as it boosts metabolism. While you do not have to take in calories, it is still important to ensure you take in the necessary nutrients. The following are useful dinner dishes that serve as stunning high-protein dinner options:

Small amounts of brown rice and black beans:

Having some beans along with brown rice for dinner is arguably one of the simplest and most effective dinner options. Kidney beans are usually widely available in canned form and are inexpensive. Black beans, in particular, can be preferred because they supply the required amino acids. Beans have a high-calorie content and are ideal for those who need more calories to build muscle effectively. One cup of dried black beans provides you with 227 calories and 15.2 grams of protein. Well, beans always top the list of any vegan diet plan for bodybuilding because they are rich in protein.

Plant-based Ranch bowl:

A plant-based sheet-pan ranch bowl recipe with roasted ranch and a creamy nondairy ranch dressing is a delicious dinner option. Whole grains, cucumber, greens, tomato, avocado, potatoes, and tofu can be coated in a dairy-free ranch dressing. It provides roughly 16g of protein. Because of the potatoes and tofu, these bowls are extremely filling.

Slow cooker chickpea curry with rice or chapati:

A vegan and gluten-free slow cooker chickpea curry is high in protein and a dinner option to be considered. Chickpeas are used to make a healthier version of the popular Indian dish Butter Chicken. This is such a simple dish; it’s the ideal healthy weeknight dinner to prepare ahead of time. This dish is high in protein, vegan, and gluten-free making it perfect for you vegan gym diet. It’s about as healthy as it gets! This recipe contains plenty of spices amidst a creamy coconut milk sauce, so it’s not lacking in flavor. You can add tofu and chickpeas to make this protein-packed and eat it with rice or chapati. This provides 18.6g of protein per serving from both the tofu and the chickpeas.


Well, vegan gym diet is no longer an oxymoron. Vegan bodybuilders can build muscle and increase strength just as well as or even better than their nonvegetarian and whey-consuming counterparts.

Interestingly, the vegan diet has grown in popularity in recent years, with an increasing number of people adopting this way of eating for its health benefits and ethical concerns about animal treatment. It has provoked a real sense of interest not only in the general public but also in athletes, including bodybuilders. It is about time that the shackles surrounding the stereotype of the vegan are well and truly broken. A proper vegan diet together with a well-executed workout plan is optimal for a shredded body packed with muscles.

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