How to Build Muscle on a Vegan Diet

Building muscle, no matter what diet you follow, is no easy feat. However, understanding how muscle growth works and the nutritional factors that contribute to growth will help you start seeing results! Here, we’ll explore how to build muscle on a vegan diet. It’s time to get pumped up on plants!

Enjoy your favorite vegan dishes at Beyond Sushi! On the menu, you’ll find globally-inspired dishes that will leave a lasting impact on both your palette and the planet. Order Now

Muscle Building 101

Whether you’re a vegan or an omnivore, if you want to get “ripped,” you have to eat and work out correctly. Sounds simple right? Not quite.

Muscle growth occurs when you consistently work out and challenge your muscles by increasing the level of resistance or weight. This process, known as muscle hypertrophy, will create micro-tears in the muscle fibers. The only way to repair the damage is if you eat enough calories. But it can’t just be any kind of calorie, such as ones that come from candy or processed food. You have to make sure those calories contain amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. They also aid in muscle recovery, as well as repair and grow muscle tissue.

If either of those two elements are missing from the equation—as in not eating enough or not working out enough—you won’t gain muscle.

Proper Nutrition

Getting proper nutrition is essential to any fitness regimen, and building muscle is no exception. If your diet is made up of pizza, fries, cookies, and other processed foods that are high in calories but low in nutrients, reaching any fitness goal is going to be a challenge.

When you eat a vegan diet that consists of whole plant foods, you’ll not only be able to reach your muscle-building goals, but you’ll also be fueling your body with important nutrients that promote good health. It’s a win-win!

In addition to eating the right foods, you also need to make sure you get enough calories and eat the right macronutrients.

Understand Your Caloric Needs

One problem vegans face, especially those who are more active, is undereating. Fruits, vegetables, and other whole foods are not only lower in calories, but also more filling. If you aren’t eating enough calories, your body won’t be able to build muscle.

To make sure you’re consuming enough calories, you need to determine your basal metabolic rate or BMR. BMR is the number of calories your body needs to perform basic, life-sustaining functions, such as breathing, circulation, nutrient processing, and cell production. This number is based on your gender, age, height, and weight.

Say that your BMR is 2,000 calories. That means you need to eat 2,000 calories a day just to maintain weight. If you want to gain muscle, you would need a calorie surplus of 10-20%. So, using the same 2,000 calorie BMR, you would need to consume an additional 200-400 calories every day.

If you want to gain muscle on a vegan diet, it’s important to focus on foods that have a high caloric density, like nuts, nut butters, avocado, dried fruits, and seeds. You can easily add these foods to protein shakes or smoothies or enjoy them as snacks.

Eat Enough Protein

Protein is synonymous with muscle building because your muscles are made out of protein. Without it, it would be impossible to bulk up. There’s a common misconception that protein equals meat, but contrary to popular belief, you can absolutely get enough protein on a vegan diet.

Although plant foods are low in certain amino acids (the building blocks to protein), as long as you eat a variety of options from each food group, you’ll be able to build big, strong muscles. Some vegan items that are richest in amino acids include legumes, beans, mushrooms, and quinoa.

So how much protein do you need to build muscle on a vegan diet? It all depends on your fitness goals. However, research suggests that most athletes need between 1.2 and 2.0 g/kg of protein. If you want to build muscle mass fast, you may want to eat as much as 2.2g/kg of protein. But protein isn’t the only macronutrient responsible for muscle growth!

Don’t Forget Carbs

Protein usually gets all the credit when it comes to building muscles, but carbohydrates are just as important. Thanks to trendy low-carb diets like Atkins and Keto, carbs have become somewhat of a dirty word. But when it comes to gaining muscle, carbs aren’t your enemy—they’re your friend!

When you work out, your body needs energy to power through all those reps and lifts. This energy comes directly from carbohydrates! However, not all carbs are equal. Unlike simple carbohydrates, which are found in foods that contain sugar and flour and provide a short-lived energy spike, complex carbohydrates provide sustained and long-term energy. Good sources of complex carbohydrates include oats, beans, quinoa, brown rice, potatoes, and sweet potatoes.

Carbohydrates do more than just fuel your workout. They also regulate muscle glycogen depletion, prevent muscle loss and weakness, aid in muscle recovery, and repair muscles. All in all, if you want to build muscle on a vegan diet, eat your carbs!

Visit Beyond Sushi in NYC

We hope you have a better understanding of how to build muscle on a vegan diet. When you’re ready to fuel up on a nutrient-rich, vegan meal, choose Beyond Sushi as your vegan restaurant of choice. We’re best known for our innovative, plant-based offerings and globally-inspired menu that will leave a lasting impact on both your palette and the planet. Dine-in with us or order takeout or delivery today!

Order Now

How to Be Vegan in College

When most people think of a typical college student’s diet, visions of pizza, boxed macaroni-and-cheese, and microwave noodles come to mind. But what do you eat if you’re vegan? Whether you’re a rising college freshman or a current student, use these tips on how to be vegan in college. These suggestions will make life a little easier and a lot more delicious!

Enjoy your favorite vegan dishes at Beyond Sushi! On the menu, you’ll find globally-inspired dishes that will leave a lasting impact on both your palette and the planet. Order Now

Do Your Research

If you’re in the early stages of applying to college or are looking to transfer to a new university, do your research and see if the schools you want to apply to are vegan-friendly:

  • Check out PETA’s Vegan Report Card. Every year, the animal rights organization releases a survey of more than 1,400 colleges and universities’ dining programs across the United States. For each school, they share details such as if they offer non-dairy milk options, have an all-vegan station, and label vegan entrees. PETA also includes how satisfied students are with the school’s vegan offerings as well as student reviews.
  • Review meal plan information. Most colleges have information about their dining hall options online, including menus. You may also want to look into how flexible the school’s meal plan options are. Some plans may only let you eat in a dining hall while others might allow you to use your account balance at other on-campus dining spots.
  • Look at the surrounding area. Not living on campus? It’s still a good idea to see how vegan-friendly your college town is and what vegan options are available at local restaurants. It may not be essential, but it’s always good to know for social situations or when you need some vegan comfort food while studying for finals.

On-Campus Dining

Thanks to the rise in plant-based diets and more students becoming aware of how their food choices impact the planet, vegan options are now more common on college campuses. In fact, 70% of colleges offer at least one vegan option for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Even if your college doesn’t provide dedicated vegan options, it doesn’t mean that you can’t follow a vegan diet—you’ll just have to get a little creative with what’s available to you. For example, you can make easy meals like oatmeal, salads, grain bowls, and veggie sandwiches out of your dining selections.

Pro tip: Always be nice to the dining hall staff. Better yet, talk to them about your dietary needs. They’ll be able to tell you more about how certain items are prepared and how they can be modified to be vegan. Also, if they know that more people are asking for vegan options, they may make changes to future menus.

If you live off-campus and aren’t eating in the dining halls, see what other options are available on campus. Most colleges have popular fast-food chains or other casual restaurants in the student union. More often than not, they’ll have at least one vegan option that can tide you over when hunger strikes.

The Vegan Dorm Room

Dorm room living and cooking is a far cry from what you’re used to at home. Most colleges have strict rules about what kind of appliances you can and can’t have in your dorm room due to fire hazards. So unless your dorm has a kitchen or access to a community kitchen, you’ll have to make do with just a microwave and a mini-fridge.

Here are some tips for eating vegan in your dorm:

  • Purchase a dedicated mini-fridge. It may be tempting to want to share one fridge between you and your roommate, but with limited space, it can fill up fast. This also ensures that your roommate doesn’t put tempting non-vegan options in your space.
  • Stock up on vegan-friendly snacks and staple foods. For instance, some basic vegan items include oatmeal, plant-based milk, nut butters, canned beans, crackers, bread, hummus, fruits, and veggies.
  • Keep easy, dorm-friendly recipes on hand when you want a quick meal. For example, you could easily make overnight oats, veggie sandwiches or roll-ups, salads, and grain bowls with microwave rice or quinoa.

Connect with Other Vegans

Food is one of the easiest ways to connect with people. It’s also a great way to make a large campus feel smaller. Check with your school to see if there are any vegan clubs or groups. In addition, if you see other students in the dining hall eating vegan food, sit down next to them and start a conversation.

Visit Beyond Sushi in NYC

When you properly prepare, going vegan in college is easier than you think. If you’re ready to fuel up on a nutrient-rich, vegan meal, choose Beyond Sushi as your vegan restaurant of choice. We’re best known for our innovative, plant-based offerings and globally-inspired menu that will leave a lasting impact on both your palette and the planet. Dine-in with us or order takeout or delivery today!

Order Now