A vegan diet is most commonly associated with losing weight or attempting to live a healthier lifestyle. But there is no reason why someone should force themselves to consume animal products if they want to put on extra mass.
Through a plant-based vegan diet, anyone who is attempting to put on weight or build muscle mass can do so in a safe and healthy way. Since there are so many diverse food options available within a vegan diet, putting on mass is a lot easier than most assume.
And the best part is that one does not need to consume unhealthy or unethical foods, such as red meat, cheese or poultry. Here are six ways to put on mass through a vegan diet.
1. Set Realistic Goals
Whether someone sets a target to gain 20 pounds through fat or muscle, goals should always be realistic. Too many people set targets they would have a hard time achieving, leading to disappointment. Gaining one to two pounds a week is a safe target when bulking.
Much like losing weight, bulking is about the numbers. It takes 3500 extra calories to gain a pound, which means someone who wants to gain a pound a week must eat roughly 500 calories a day more than what they are burning.
2. Eat Real Meals
The worst thing that a person can do when they are attempting to bulk up on a vegan diet is to eat processed foods. The whole idea behind a vegan lifestyle is that it is healthy and ethical.
Those two words do not apply to processed foods! Processed meals also have many hidden sugars and other harmful ingredients, which can impact one’s dietary goals.
3. Watch Macros
Gaining weight through lean muscle mass or a combination of muscle and fat requires a dedicated diet. It is not only about eating a lot, but eating the right combinations of carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
Lean muscle mass is built when a person eats more calories than they burn, but also eats the food that fuels muscle growth, maintenance and recovery. Foods such as oats and sweet potatoes are very helpful when bulking.
4. Get All the Nutrients
Calories are the goal during bulking phases. But it does not mean that fruits and vegetables should be ignored. Getting the entire rainbow of these foods will help maintain micronutrient levels in the body, providing a vegan athlete with enough vitamins, potassium, iron and other vital micros.
5. Vegan Protein Powder
Despite plenty of vegan foods, such as chickpeas, nuts, quinoa, beans and tofu, offering valuable protein to the body, supplements can be necessary during a bulking phase. Adding vegan protein powder to fruit and vegetable smoothies is one way to add a dose of healthy, muscle building calories to one’s diet.
Options such as pea, hemp, pumpkin seed, soy and sunflower seed protein ensure that vegans are able to get natural and healthy doses of protein through powders, without needing to resort to consuming whey protein.
It is tempting to consume two or three massive meals while bulking, but it can leave one feeling lethargic and overfilled. Since vegans who are bulking want to maintain their lifestyle, which includes exercising, working and enjoying life, snacking is the best way to get extra calories while bulking. Snacks such as dried fruits, nuts and seeds are a great way to get a quick dose of 100 to 200 calories throughout the day, without the need to consume massive meals.
By following these steps, vegans can ensure they are putting on extra mass in a healthy and safe way.