Over the years diet trends come and go, whilst I follow an 80/20 approach to eating, I cannot deny that the biggest growth seems to be those adopting a vegan diet. Which has seen a surprising 700% rise in the UK alone over the past year and has no signs of slowing as consumers move away from animal products completely.
Because of the move away from animal products to plant-based products, nutritional supplement manufacturers are now offering a range of plant-based protein alternatives for those who want to train, workout and gain muscle without consuming animal products.
Protein is an important nutrient for the body and is a key building block for body tissue. It can also serve as fuel and is especially adept in the growth of muscles. Taking protein powder after training or working out can help you to recover faster, grow muscles and serve as a fuel source for the body.
Here, Scitec Nutrition talks us through how to build muscle on plant-based diets and what nutrients and vitamins we should be consuming.
Can I build muscle on a plant-based diet?
In short yes, you can build bigger muscles, at the same rate as people who are eating animal products on a plant-based diet. However, it does take a bit of preparation and planning to get right. Research is key to maintaining and growing muscle while consuming only plant-based food, but as you learn what foods provide the right nutrients and vitamins, it will become second nature.
Here are some tips for those looking to transition to a plant-based diet:
- The number one factor to consider is whether you are getting enough calories. Whether you are bulking up or losing weight, making sure that you are consuming the right amount of calories is key to reaching your goal.
- Because plants usually contain lower calories than animal products it is important to consume a variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet. Not only will a good mixture of fruit and veg provide your body with a variety of vitamins, but it will also provide antioxidants to help keep your immune system strong.
- Legumes are a great source of protein and eating a range of soy, beans, and peas alongside grains such as buckwheat, rice, and quinoa help to ensure that you get the essential amino acids your body needs.
- Make your plates colourful. A good rule of thumb to follow is to make your meals as colourful as possible. A mixture of natural greens such as broccoli and kale, reds from tomatoes and peppers and yellows from sweetcorn and beans complement each other perfectly and provide a good mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats for your body to use
- Nuts are a great source of fat and are proven to provide a long-lasting form of energy just when you need it. Eat a handful of nuts before your workout to boost your calories and provide energy, or sprinkle some onto your breakfast to keep you going till lunch.
- Depending on your goals, your lifestyle and your diet, in general, you may want to look into supplements to complement your plant-based diet. Tracking what you eat on an app or website will give you a good insight into the vitamins and nutrients that you may be lacking, meaning that you can add more into your diet. Many nutritional supplement manufacturers now offer plant-based proteins, BCAA’s and multi-vitamins to help you reach your nutritional targets.
As with any training or diet regime, having a healthy, balanced diet is key to performing well and recovering faster. These supplements are designed to help you reach your goals, but are not intended as a sole source of nutrition.