Muscle Mass Tips

Is It Possible To Gain Muscle Mass With A Vegetarian Diet?

When you think of feeding someone who is trying to gain muscle, you probably imagine a lot of chicken fillet, egg white, whey protein and steak, Is not it?

While this is in fact the standard diet for bodybuilders and wanting to gain muscle mass, the good news is that you can rather gain more muscle mass on a vegetarian diet. And, contrary to what many people believe, following a vegetable-based diet does not have to be difficult or require the use of dozens of supplements.

Is the Vegetarian Diet Deficient?

All proteins are made up of amino acids, some of which are produced by our own body and others must be obtained from food. Vegetables are able to provide all these amino acids that we need, without the need for animal protein supplementation.

Therefore, it is possible to gain muscle with a vegetarian diet because it meets the protein requirements of bodybuilders. But you need to pay attention to a few points to avoid nutritional deficiencies.

What happens in many cases is that vegetarians end up suffering from protein deficiency because they do not consume the right amount of calories they need every day and also because they do not maintain a vegetarian diet varied It is not uncommon to find people who do not eat meat but eat snack foods, sweets, breads, and a very restricted amount of greens, vegetables and cereals.

The secret, therefore, to gain muscle mass with a vegetarian diet is to have a very varied diet, which includes legumes (beans, lentils, soybeans, chickpeas), whole grains (rice, quinoa, wheat and oats), oilseeds (nuts, nuts, hazelnuts, almonds) foods that offer a good amount of proteins, as is the case of vegetables, mushrooms, seaweed and seeds (flaxseed, sunflower, pumpkin).

How much protein should I consume every day?

Those who train intensively should consume a greater amount of protein to ensure the necessary amino acids for muscle recovery and hypertrophy. Daily protein requirements vary according to age, gender, level of physical activity and genetic we can say that an adult man should consume around 100 grams of protein per day to ensure the gain of muscle mass.

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The table below lists the amount of protein in the main foods of a vegetarian diet. And, as you can see, there are several good choices for you to fit into your food without having to repeat the same food every day.

protein framework


Now that you already know that it is possible to gain muscle with a vegetarian diet, here are some tips to ensure success in training and achieve your goals:

1. Consume the ideal amount of calories

Eating less than your body needs to maintain metabolism will force you to use your muscle reserves as source of fuel, causing catabolism and making it harder to gain muscle mass on a diet vegetarian

Because vegetables are less caloric than food of animal origin, it is important that you regularly consume good quantity of calories to guarantee the proteins and other nutrients necessary for the regeneration and growth of the fibers muscles.

Do this by giving higher priority to legumes, nuts, whole grains and seeds, which tend to be more caloric than vegetables and fruits.

2. Do not miss fruits and vegetables on your menu


Remember that it is not just protein that you need to form muscle tissue: vitamins and minerals play a fundamental role in the process and must be part of their diet daily.

3. Change the juice or soda for a protein shake

Add a scoop of vegetable protein powder to your water and take with each meal. Without realizing it, you will have added 20 grams of protein to the vegetarian diet in a quick and practical way.

Isolated protein from rice, soybeans, peas, artichokes and hemp are some of the plant-based protein choices you can include in your shakes.

4. Include grains and vegetables at all meals

Those who do not eat meat and are trying to gain muscle can not in any way neglect the consumption of vegetables and whole grains. Remember that they will be your main source of protein in the vegetarian diet, and besides, they still have a very low fat content, being a great option for post-workout.

5. Add quinoa to your diet


Quinoa is a grain of very high nutritional quality, considered to be more complete than soybeans and with a protein content higher than most cereals (23%). One tip of consumption is to switch brown rice with quinoa day by day, since the taste is similar and quinoa has the advantage of being more nutritionally complete than rice.

6. Eat good fats

Since you will not be consuming omega 3 fish or supplements, add to your vegetarian diet other sources of good fats: olive oil, flaxseed, avocado and coconut oil are all great source energy.

7. Do not overdo processed foods

In addition to not consuming adequate amounts of protein, vegetarians too often end up making another big mistake: over-consumption of highly processed foods.

As tempting as it may seem, not eating meat does not mean a free pass for you to eat whatever you want, as long as it is not of animal origin. Stuffed biscuits, frozen pizzas, salgadinhos and soft drinks are nutrient-poor and make the space of food healthier and more nutritious. Not to mention that they will certainly increase your body fat levels and will hamper your muscle definition.

8. Go Beyond Soy

Another common mistake among vegetarians is to believe that soybeans must be the main source of protein in their diet. Although tofu, tempeh and soy milk are excellent sources of essential amino acids, the presence of isoflavones and antinutrients makes soybeans a food to be consumed in moderation, especially for men.

9. Supplement when needed

For those who are not achieving the minimum amounts of protein or are can be a good option to combat catabolism muscular.

It is also important to be aware of the deficiency of B12, the only vitamin that is found exclusively in animal products. You can find it in capsules or in the form of injections.

Because vegetarians do not consume dairy products, calcium can be a problem for those who need the nutrient for important organic functions, including muscle contraction. If you do, however, regularly include cabbage, broccoli, almonds and spinach in your food, there will be no need for additional calcium supplementation.

10. Do short and intense workouts


Nowadays, it is already known that spending hours in the gym is not the best option to gain muscle mass. Long workouts cause increased muscle catabolism, making maintenance lean and gain lean.

Try adding super bodybuilding workouts to your routine, which focus on intensity and reduce rest between sets. In this way, you not only shorten the session but also get maximum intensity with minimal time and no wastage of precious proteins.


Is your diet a vegetarian diet? What types of foods are your main sources of protein? Is it hard for you to gain muscle? Comment below!

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