How To Build Muscle On A Vegan Diet (Part 1 of 3)


Building muscle on a vegan diet might seem like it will be impossible to a novice. But, it isn't actually that hard or any harder than building muscle on a non-vegan diet. 

There's more to building muscle than just protein, and in any event, protein is not difficult to obtain in a vegan diet anyway. 

So, let me give you my top tips for building muscle on a vegan diet. 

1. Do You Actually Want To Build Muscle, Or Do You Want To Reveal More Muscle?

This is a question I usually like to get people to ask themselves if they are wanting to look a bit more defined. 

If you just want to see more abs, then reducing body fat might be actually what you mean rather than 'building muscle'. 

But if you want a bigger booty, then you will need to build more muscle. 

Both are slightly different and, at a basic level, do require slightly different strategies if you don't know what you are doing. 

So first, get clear on what you want... and if it is to gain more muscle, then read on and this blog series will take you through what you need to do. 

2. Eat In a Caloric Surplus

To build muscle, the easiest way is to eat in a slight caloric surplus. This is going to give you more energy to train harder, lift heavier and build more muscle. 

How do you work out what is the right surplus for you? 

My blog on macros is a great place to start. You can check that out HERE

It is written with weight loss in mind, so you need to add calories on to your maintenance calories, rather than take them away to create a deficit. 

But this is a simple and straight forward adjustment. 

If you need help with your own meal plan, I can help you out. You can find out more HERE

Eating in a caloric surplus will ensure that your body has extra fuel to build that muscle tissue when you train hard in the gym. 

But won't you also gain fat eating in a caloric surplus?

Yes, you can. That's why I recommend a small surplus to begin with, as well as tracking your macros, and staying clear of doing a "dirty bulk" (aka eating all the junk food all day, every day). 

This will allow you to slightly tweak your diet and make sure that you don't start to gain fat too rapidly. If you start to get more fluffy than you'd like, you just reduce your surplus or go to maintenance calories. 

3. Lift Heavy

Lifting heavy will create rapid change when it comes to your muscles. Doing big compound lifts will improve your strength and muscle mass. 

My favourite exercises to create rapid change in your body are:

  • Deadlifts 
  • Squats 
  • Chin Ups 
  • Pull Ups 
  • Overhead Press
  • Barbell Hip Thrusts 
  • Planks
  • Hanging Leg Raises
  • Weighted Ab Crunches 

Those ones, from my personal experience and with working with clients are the ones that recruit a lot of muscles, have a lot of caloric burn and create change fast. 

You want to train until you fatigue the muscle, this is usually until failure (you can't lift any more). You need to pick a weight you can still have correct form at though. 

Also by elongating the eccentric movement and time under tension, you will help create size faster. So slow down, and do your reps properly. Don't race through them, this will defeat the purpose. 

I hope you have enjoyed these first three tips, part 2 is now live here -

If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments below... or in the Facebook group


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