16 Proven Tips on How to Increase Muscle Mass as a Vegetarian

vegan strongman

The vegan diet and vegetarian diet are attracting more and more people every day. But saying no to meat doesn’t mean you have to say and not your physical condition or goals for muscle building. The following training and nutrition tips will help you understand how to increase muscle mass as a vegetarian effectively.

If you want to build more muscle mass but at the same time enjoy a vegan diet, you may often feel that your efforts are an unfair effort. You hear so much about the role of protein as the most important nutrient needed to build muscle and which you need to consume in very large quantities in order to achieve the results you desire.

But don’t be so hasty in making a conclusion. While it is certainly true that protein is an extremely important nutrient in our diet, it is not true that you should take copious amounts to make progress. There are many ways for vegans to build coveted muscles, despite not consuming meat products.

Let’s take a look at the best tips a vegetarian bodybuilder should know

How to Increase Muscle Mass as a Vegetarian

1. Get Yourself an Enzymes Supplement

Proteolytic (or protease) enzymes help the body break down proteins we consume faster and better than without them.


Wade T Lightheart, founder of Bioptimizers and 3 times all-natural National bodybuilding champion says that consuming his proteolytic enzyme supplement, MassZymes™ along with P3-OM™ – a transient probiotic that eliminates bad bacteria fast, eats up excess sugar, and protects your gut from inflammation and viruses – helped him to build and maintain a muscled body by consuming only 85 grams of vegetarian protein for the past 11 years.

Of course, we are not recommending consuming proteolytic enzymes solely based on Wade’s claims, research is also our ally here.

More research on protein absorption and proteolytic enzymes can be found here and on a previously published article called Proteolytic Enzymes: Benefits & Everything you need to know.

Also, if you want to learn more about MassZymes Enzymes supplement, we wrote a complete review about it a while ago, so feel free to check it out.

2. Consume More Calories

The first thing to confirm as a vegetarian bodybuilder is that you get enough calories. If you don’t take enough calories regularly, your body is much more likely to turn to protein for fuel.

Then you may notice this deficit in your body and on your muscle gains. Some high-calorie vegan foods include buckwheat, peanut butter, and tahini.

3. Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

Make sure you eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. These are going to supply you with a source of high-quality nutrients as well as all the antioxidant protection that will keep your immune system strong.

4. Eat More Legumes

For vegetarians looking to build muscles, the precious protein they need can be found in legumes such as chickpeas, kidney beans, fava, and other high-protein legumes.

These are also a good source of low-fat carbohydrates which are an excellent snack before a hard workout.

5. Replace Rice With Quinoa

image of uncooked quinoa

If you are used to always eating brown rice with your meals, replace it with quinoa. The taste of quinoa is quite similar to that of brown rice (a combination between brown rice and oats) and it has a higher total protein content than rice.

Quinoa can be considered as a complete source of protein as opposed to rice, which is important for the process of muscle building.

6. Use Egg White Powder or Soy Protein Powder

Use egg white powder if you eat animal by-products, or soy protein powder, if not.

These will help significantly increase your protein intake and are a quick and convenient choice when you need it. As long as you make sure to mix it with other sources of protein, this can become an essential part of your daily diet.

7. Avoid Processed Foods

A big mistake many vegetarians make is to rely heavily on heavy and overprocessed foods. Don’t do that.

Remember that veganism or vegetarianism does not mean that you can comfortably consume as many carbohydrate-rich snacks as you want.

You should definitely eat healthily and try to maintain a diet rich in fresh produce such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and nuts.

8. Short But Intense Workouts

When it comes to your workout, as vegetarians you should aim for fast but intense workouts.

This will help prevent mass loss, but it will also avoid using protein as fuel during your workouts.

If you train for a long time, then your protein needs would be greatly increased, which would make your muscle growth much more difficult while on a vegetarian diet.

Related: This 4-Minute Daily Workout can Improve Your Mood And Health

9. Diversify Your Dietary Choices

Also, make sure you put a variety in your diet. As vegetarians, you may find it easy to lean towards the same foods over and over again.

Try to avoid this as much as you can. Making sure you receive a greater variety of foods will prevent any nutrient deficiencies, which will give you better results with your diet plan.

You may want to check this article on 40 foods that will help you Live Longer & Healthier. You can find some pretty good ideas in there.

10. Eat More Tofu

Tofu in a bowl
– Tofu in a bowl

Although rare for a plant, the soybeans that make up the tofu are an excellent source of complete protein – which means that the protein in the tofu is used completely by the body. About 110g of reduced-fat tofu, containing more than 10g of protein and 4g of fat.

11. Eat More Nuts

Another excellent food you can eat is nuts. Nuts provide a healthy source of fat and provide you with a long-term form of energy. A handful of nuts will significantly increase calorie intake which will help muscle growth.

12. Eat Flaxseeds, Walnuts, and Flaxseed Oil

For your essential fatty acids, since you probably do not consume oily fish or fish oils, choose flaxseeds, walnuts, and flaxseed oil. These should be your primary sources for this essential nutrient.

13. Eat Peanut Butter

image of peanut butter
– Peanut Butter in a bowl

Another good way to boost fat content is to start adding natural peanut butter to as many foods in your diet as you can.

This will also help boost your overall calorie intake, which is obviously important when you aim for muscle growth. Rub some peanut butter over your banana, apple, mix it with oats, or add it to any fruit smoothies you prepare.

14. Don’t let others discourage you

Unfortunately, one thing many vegetarian bodybuilders deal with is listening to others who tell them they are not going to see success.

Try not to listen to these people. If you really want to develop your muscles, you need to stick to a positive and healthy way of thinking – and their negative influence is certainly not going to help you do so.

15. Eat More Often

It is also important to make sure that you eat frequently during the day. Since you don’t consume the same amount of protein in each meal as an ordinary bodybuilder, taking regular meals will help ensure that there is always a steady flow of amino acids to the muscle tissues.

16. Supplement Your Self With BCAA

Another important supplement that you should use is the Branched Amino Acids.

These should be taken specifically before and immediately after training, as they will also help ensure against loss of muscle mass. A good BCAA supplement deal is this one by pureformulas.com. We’re talking for 250 capsules for $55 only (bargain).

Bottom Line

We hope you enjoyed our article on How to Increase Muscle Mass as a Vegetarian Effectively. Are you a vegan or vegetarian athlete or bodybuilder? Would you like to add your two cents on the subject? Feel free to do so in the comments section below.

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