Strength training for Vegans creates a different set of challenges than those faced by athletes who eat a diet including meat and dairy.
Although there are benefits of the vegan diet, including reducing cholesterol, lower risks of certain cancers and improved function of the digestive system, vegan athletes risk deficiencies of protein and iron, leading some to ask, “Can You Build Muscle On A Vegan Diet?” By planning one’s nutrition and exercise program carefully, keeping the dietary considerations it is possible to build muscle on a plant based diet.
Once the vegan begins weightlifting, he or she should consume an additional 500 calories daily in order to add each pound of muscle weight in a week. Unless the athlete consumes enough calories, it is impossible to add muscle.
Keep notes of every bite of food you consume in a journal for at least a week. Careful analysis of your eating habits helps to identify any deficiencies you may be experiencing as a vegan.
Set a goal of 1.2 to 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of your body weight every day. Muscle building protein can be found in nuts, tofu, quinoa, chickpeas, peanut butter and legumes.
Select a large variety of protein sources, fruits and vegetables. Remember that vegetable proteins do not contain the complete set essential amino acids needed by the body for muscle cell building and repair. However, by mixing the vegetable sources of foods, it is still possible to choose foods that mix to supply these essential amino acids.
Use a soy-based protein powder to supplement protein intake, both before and after a workout if your diet does not supply enough. Providing the body with this dose of fast-absorbing protein before beginning exercise helps to limit muscle degeneration.
Weight lifting sessions should be short but intense. With a vegan diet, the body may not recover as quickly as when consuming meats. Weight sessions should be limited to 45 minutes.
Choose heavy weights with fewer repetitions to maximize growth of muscles. If muscles grow fatigued in 6-8 repetitions, you know you are lifting the right amount of weight.
Each muscle group should be exercised once per week using 2-3 exercises for smaller muscles along with 3-4 exercises for larger ones.