Nutritional Tips For Vegan’s Wanting To Build Muscle!
Some of the most famous athletes in the world are vegan, including Serena and Venus Williams, Lewis Hamilton, David Haye, Novak Djokociv and Mike Tyson just to name a few! If this doesn’t prove that vegan foods contain enough fuel for the body to perform to its absolute best, we’re not sure what will.
Vegan foods can be packed full of protein and nutrients when you know where to look, so we are here to introduce a few tips to help you get started, whether you want to become fully vegan or you want to transition towards eating more plant based foods. So, throw on your mens or womens gymwear and lets learn how to fuel your body with plant based power!
Eat Enough Calories and Protein
Our first tip to help you build muscle as a vegan is to eat enough calories! Most non-processed plant based foods are naturally lower in calories and protein and they also have a low caloric density, so you need to eat more of it in order to eat a meal that has a similar amount of calories or protein as one containing meat and dairy. The body needs you to be taking in more energy than you are burning in order to put on muscle, including around 30% of your calories being protein.
For example, there are 271 calories and 25g of protein in 100g of steak, but only 116 calories and 9g of protein in lentils, a plant based source of protein. So, you need to be tracking your food to make sure you are eating enough calories and protein, so your body has the support it needs to build muscle!
Some high protein, high calorie vegan foods to try are things like lentils, beans, chickpeas, nuts and seeds. You can also boost your calorie intake with your carbs, olive oil and dairy substitutes.
Add Plenty of Flavour
Now that we’ve told you that you need to eat bigger portions to help you build muscle, let’s find out how to make it taste great! You want to be enjoying your food, and naturally it takes a bit more work to make non-processed plant based foods taste great. When you are eating bigger portions as well, you don’t want to feel like you’re forcing food down that doesn’t taste good.
So, the key is to go in heavy with the flavour! If you’re making a tofu dish, marinade it in your favourite herbs and spices the night before you’re going to eat it and then when you come to cook it, it will be packed full of delicious flavour. If you’re making stews with legumes, start the dish by spending time cooking down garlic and onions to get them caramelised, so you have lots of delicious flavour right from the start. Start any curry sauces with delicious and fragrant curry pastes that will bring any plant-based food to life.
Eating plant-based definitely isn’t boring when you find your favourite flavour combinations and give your food a bit of love. This will make it so much easier for you to eat the amount of calories and protein you need, as well as helping you to stay disciplined with your nutrition because you’ll enjoy the food you’re eating.
Eat A Balanced Pre-Workout Meal
To give you the energy you need to lift heavy and put on muscle, you should be eating a balanced pre-workout meal. When you don’t eat before a workout, your body won’t have the energy it needs to sustain itself throughout. Whilst you don’t want to eat just before you workout, eating around an hour before will transform your workouts.
If you like a sweet meal, then go for a bowl of oats with protein powder mixed in, fresh fruit and a scoop of peanut butter. Or, for something savoury, go for two slices of toast with your favourite nut butter and a chopped banana. Both of these meals are carb heavy, so you will be fuelling your body, and you will really feel the difference when you are working out!
A healthy and balanced pre-workout meal is important for everyone, but especially those on a vegan diet, as it will allow your blood glucose levels to be maximised to give your body the support it needs