Many people think that building muscle and having goals in terms of mass gain is not compatible with a vegan or vegetarian diet.
In addition, many people believe that muscle mass gain is achieved through the consumption of proteins found in meat, fish and eggs.
We reassure you right away, this is totally FALSE!
So you're wondering how a vegan gets his protein intake if he doesn't eat meat or fish? It's simple! He eats a balanced diet, taking care not to miss any nutrients and vitamins.
That's right! The basis in bodybuilding is to have a balanced diet. It is no coincidence that we say that bodybuilding is 70% diet and 30% training.
To get back to proteins, why are they so important?
Protein will help the muscle to repair and strengthen itself. When we exercise, especially when we lift weights in bodybuilding, we will create microscopic tears in our muscles (nothing serious, don't worry!). These tears will be repaired by our body during the rest period. This is what will strengthen the muscle. Proteins are very important because they will help this process of muscle recovery. Therefore, in case of protein deficiency, the muscle will have difficulty repairing itself and thus becoming stronger after each training session.
Proteins are generally found in meat and other animal products. But it is possible to consume the right amount of protein without eating animal products. In fact, animal proteins can be replaced by vegan proteins. Vegan proteins offer amino acids (which form proteins) necessary for our body.
To avoid deficiencies, it is necessary to vary the vegan proteins consumed. To do this, you should include in your diet whole grains, nuts, legumes or soy foods.
Here is a short list of vegan proteins:
Whole cereals: Oats, quinoa, brown rice, etc.
Nuts: Walnuts, almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, etc.
Legumes: Beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc.
Soy-based foods: Tofu, soy milk, etc.
In summary: Vegan proteins contain amino acids that are essential to our body. These amino acids form the proteins that are useful for the repair of our muscles, thus strengthening them.
If your diet is varied and balanced, and if you give enough amino acids to your body, it is possible to replace animal protein with plant protein and therefore build muscle by having a vegan diet!