It is a common misconception that vegetarians or people on a strict plant diet struggle to build muscle. Logically, chicken or salmon contains more protein than whole grains or beans. But building lean muscle mass as a vegetarian is very much achievable.
Unlike non-vegetarians, vegetarians need to pay more attention to their diet if they are trying to build muscle. This article will help vegetarians looking to gain muscle mass without compromising their core beliefs.
Why is building lean muscle important?
You may be wondering why you need to build muscle since you are on the healthiest diet ever. After all, you are not obese, you look fit, and your clothes fit perfectly. Well, building muscle offers many benefits beyond aesthetics or having the perfect looking body.
And it is not just about your diet. While many do regular daily exercise such as running and walking, you need strength training to build muscles. Increasing your muscle mass is beneficial in the following ways:
- Building muscle reduces your overall body fat
- Increasing muscle mass will speed up your metabolism.
- You build stronger bones and muscles with strength training
- More muscles improve your strength and abilities to perform daily activities that require strength.
Build from protein
Protein is the body builder’s best friend because they need it to increase their muscle size. It is called the building block of the muscle for the sole reason that it is essential for muscle growth and vitality. Eating enough protein through your diet is crucial for building muscles on a plant-based diet.
Check out these tips for building muscle mass on a vegetarian diet.
1. Keep track of your protein needs
As a vegetarian, you have as much access to protein as a non-vegetarian because there are a variety of plants and dairy foods rich in protein. But more importantly, you want to be sure that you are getting enough of it to build muscle mass.
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein intake is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight for adults. But since you are looking to build muscle mass, you probably need more. Experts recommend around 1.2 grams per kilogram of body weight per weight daily to build muscle.
2. Eat varieties of protein
Since meat is off-limits, you need to get your protein from alternative sources to meet your daily requirement. To get the sufficient amount of protein daily, you need to combine multiple protein-rich foods such as Beans, lentils, dairy products, whole grains, soy products, nuts, and seeds.
3. Don’t shy away from carbohydrates
You need quick energy for strength training to build muscles, and that's why you need carbohydrates. Limiting your carb intake can stifle your muscle-building progress, as you will not be able to lift those weights efficiently. Experts recommend that carbs should make up around 45 to 60% of your diet
4. Switch up your workout
It is almost pointless to create the perfect diet without putting your body to work. And when you do, you need to have a well-rounded approach by combining different routines. You cannot build muscle by focusing on just cardio, so you need different types of strength training. Muscle hypertrophy is key to building muscle mass, so you must ensure that you target multiple muscle groups to get the best results.
5. Eat Lots of protein snacks
Including protein snacks as a pre and post-workout nutrition is always a great idea. Protein snacks are one of the easiest ways to complement your daily protein intake. Your protein snacks could be anything from protein-rich fruits like bananas, or you can add some protein powder to your homemade snacks.