Vegan Muscle Building Guide By Sam Vas

How to build muscles on a vegan diet : Best Vegan Protein sources

Muscle Growth

For muscle breakdown and growth to occur you must force your muscles to adapt by creating stress that is different than the previous threshold your body has already adapted to.

This is can be done by lifting heavier weights, continually changing your exercises so that you can damage more total muscle fibres and pushing your muscles to fatigue.

After the workout is completed, the most important part begins which is adequate rest and providing ample fuel to your muscles so they can regenerate and grow

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Whether you’re on a vegan, vegetarian, or omnivorous diet, the basic principle of counting calories to lose weight is the same.

To lose weight and reduce body fat, you need to eat less than your body burns and build muscle you have be on caloric surplus.

This means that you need to start by figuring out your calorie requirements.

There are multiple methods you can use to calculate your basal metabolic rate (BMR)

which refers to your rate of energy expenditure your body burns at rest.

You burn this number of calories just to exist.

As a rule of thumb, vegans should try to aim for the following macro ratios:

25-35% protein

20-30% fat

40-55% carbohydrates

This is not set in stone, and you can choose to have

40% protein & 30% carbs especially if you are

competing or doing body recomposition.

Let’s have a look at how vegans can

get their macros right.


Carbs are the primary energy source for humans, and they’re essential for bodybuilders.

Consuming carbs leads to insulin response.

This hormone is the key to carrying protein into musculature—it stimulates muscle protein synthesis by increasing blood flow and amino acid delivery to your muscles.

Carbohydrates should be approximately 45-55% of your total calories when you’re trying to build muscle,

35-50% for maintenance and for fat loss 25-30%.

Vegan carbs sources for muscle building

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Whole grains : Quinoa, Oats, Barley.

Starch Vegetables : Peas, Potatoes, Sweet potatoes, Pumpkin, Carrots

Brown Rice, Basmati Rice, Wild rice

Multigrain bread and wraps

Whole wheat bread, Wrap & Pasta


Fat is way more important when it comes to muscle building than you might think.

While protein gets a lot of the glory, fat is also necessary for building healthy muscle mass.

Some vegans do well on a low-fat, high-carb diet, whereas others thrive by incorporating both fat and carbs moderately in their diet.

What definitely doesn’t work for vegans is the keto diet,

which reduces the amount of carbs to a minimum while increasing the amount of fats consumes


Protein is the macro that causes most grief to vegans, and the reason omnivorous bodybuilders state that it’s impossible to gain muscle as a vegan.

But multiple studies have confirmed that protein from plants is just as effective as protein from animal products.

The only thing that makes it a bit more challenging for vegans is hitting the optimal amount of protein every day.

Studies recommend that the optimal amount of protein to consume on a plant-based diet is between 1.6 and 2.2 grams per kg of body weight if you want to build muscle.

This amount is based on a massive meta-analysis that was conducted in 2017 to monitor the effect protein supplementation had on participants looking to gain muscle mass.

Of course, different people have different levels when it comes to the amount of protein they need to build and maintain muscle mass.

How much protein your body actually requires for the purpose of tissue growth and repair is determined by factors like sex, age, body composition, health, and activity level,

But most individuals would do well on 1.6 to 2.2 grams of protein per kg of your body weight per day.

My average protein intake is around 1.5gm and around comp prep it goes around 2.2gm.

Vegan Coach
Sam Vas – Vegan Personal Trainer

Lean Protein Sources: In this chart I have added all the vegan sources which are low in carbohydrates, calories and fats.

Lean protein sources are really helpful for fat loss and building lean muscle mass.

It’s important to note that some of them are soy products so make sure you buy organic and non GMO products.

If you have any allergies with soy or if you have any other medical conditions, you can chose lentils, beans and other foods on the list.

Moderate Carb Protein Sources: I have included all food sources which have plenty of protein but also high in carbohydrates.

These protein are excellent for bulking. My recommendation is to have those foods at lunch or breakfast. As they’re high in fiber you will feel fuller for longer.

So if you have chickpeas for lunch have some lean protein sources for dinner.

Best Vegan Protein Sources

  • Tofu
  • Tempeh
  • Seitan
  • Edamame
  • Soy Chunks
  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Spirulina
  • Quinoa
  • Soy Milk
  • Nutritional Yeast
  • Hemp Seeds
Scrambled Tofu

Vegan Meal Plan

vegan meal plan

Workout / Training

There are many different types of workout splits you can use to achieve your goals.

But as you probably already do know, fitness is highly individualized. There is no perfect workout routine that is ideal for everyone in every circumstance.

When setting up your split, elements that You need to consider include:

1. Your Training Experience : Beginners require less volume and intensity in their training programs—but often greater frequency—than advanced lifters.

2. Your Goals : Are you trying to establish a baseline of fitness, maintain your shape, or pursue larger-scale physique changes?

3. Your Availability : Can you commit to working out five days per week, or is your schedule so tight you can’t afford to make gym time on more than a few days?

4. Your Rest And Recovery Needs : Depending on your job, lifestyle, and recovery abilities (including sleep), you may need more or fewer rest days.

Rest days shouldn’t be trivialized in your pursuit for more muscle. Growth takes place away from the gym, in the presence of good nutrition and adequate rest.

In terms of recovery, you don’t want to train a muscle group that’s still ludicrously sore from a previous workout.

Custom Home Workout Plan

Why does rest play such an important role in muscle recovery?

It is during sleep where growth hormone (GH) levels are at their highest.

Physiologic improvement in bodybuilding can only occur during the rest period following hard training.

This is also why consuming the proper foods and supplements immediately following such training is key.

Rest is necessary for avoiding exercise-induced fatigue.

Remember, exercise depletes your muscles’ glycogen levels.

If these stores aren’t replaced, you’ll experience muscle fatigue and soreness.

Plus, your muscles need glycogen to function, even when you’re not working out.

By getting adequate rest, you’ll prevent fatigue by letting your glycogen stores refill.

The vegan community has to deal with lots of misconceptions, and the fact that many people don’t think it’s possible to build and maintain muscles on a vegan diet is one of the most widespread of them.

In order for muscle building to be successful we need to provide enough of the right quality nutrients, correct workout routines and get adequate rest.

As a vegan, you can have a lifetime of good health. Try not to indulge in junk foods. You should eat high quality foods with the nutrients your body needs.


Eat a variety of food in every meal.

Eat enough protein.

Do meal prep.

Train at least 3 days a week.

Keep changing your workout every 4-6 weeks.

Get enough sleep.

Stay Consistent and Positive.

If you want a custom made workout plan or a new workout (post 4 weeks) please email me at

Please don’t forget to follow me on social media for more workout and vegan recipe tips. @superveganofficial