Think Vegetarians Can't Build Muscle? Think Again!

Lean Muscle Fact Check Part 2: Vegetarians Can’t Build Muscle

By Staff Picks on June 16, 2016

Because protein is essential to build lean muscle, many people think it’s impossible to see significant gains on a vegetarian/vegan diet.

If you’re a vegetarian, you’re probably pretty tired of justifying your lifestyle, and maybe you’ve even started to let people get to you! Prove you CAN do it by persevering until you see results. And, in the meantime, forward this article on to the naysayers!

Shredding the Myths

Myth #1 You Can’t Get Enough Protein Without Meat

Protein get’s you lean muscle right? So, without protein, your lean muscle building goals are going to be slow going. This is the number one reason people say vegetarians can’t build lean muscle.

Let’s take it to the science. Protein is made up of amino acids. These acids work as a catalyst bringing health and vitality to your body. Plant proteins have these amino acids, but may lack one or two acids in single protein source. This means you need a large variety of plant protein to get all the amino acids your body is asking for.

Conclusion: Plants provide protein, and if you’re eating right you’ll get enough of the protein you need for muscle tone.

Myth #2 Vegetarians Are Skinny

A lot of meat eaters are skinny, or just skinny fat, so is that an argument against meat? Don’t think so. Then you can’t use the same argument about vegetarians. Some vegetarians are really skinny. That doesn’t mean they all are. The reality is, a lot of vegetarians are skinny but still have incredible lean muscle.

Being A Vegetarian Bodybuilder Doesn't Mean Suffering - Try This Happy Mouth Tip!

Myth #3 Vegetarians Aren’t Healthy

If you aren’t healthy, it’s going to be very difficult to build body strength and see lean muscle. This is true for carnivores and vegetarians alike. So, while it is true that vegetarians can’t get certain minerals or vitamins that meat eaters do, it is not true that being a vegetarian makes you unhealthy.

With the right diet and with proper supplements, a person on a plant based diet can still healthily build muscle while having the added benefits of improved heart health and a reduced risk of chronic illness.

Vegetarian’s Steps to Building Lean Muscle

1) Eat The Right Foods

Getting lean muscle on a plant based diet means eating a lot of good foods. Your daily intake should be high in healthy fats, carbs, and proteins for developing a killer physique.

Healthy Fats: Avocados, Coconut Oil, Eggs (if Ovo-Vegetarian), and Nuts.

Carbs: Fruits, vegetables and whole grains (being a complete protein, quinoa is an excellent choice!) Avoid processed carbs.

Proteins: Nuts, Rice, Beans, Wheat, Eggs, Avocados, Quinoa, Pumpkin Seeds, Chia Seed

*Make Your Mouth Happy Tip: Nut Butters are an amazing way of packing the protein into your diet. Try stirring nut butter in with your chia seed fruit bowl and top with pumpkin seeds!

2) Get The Right Supplements

If you’re on a plant based diet, you’re likely to get the proper amount of fiber and antioxidants that many other people don’t. Yet, at the same time, there are some essential supplements your body will need.

These supplements are must-haves for vegetarian bodybuilding

*Supplement Tip: V-Pro Vegan Protein is an excellent alternative to whey protein, and provides you with those important amino acids your body craves along with calcium, iron and other vital nutrients.

3) Exercise. HARD.

It doesn’t matter who you are, what you eat, where you live, this truth is the same. You have to exercise hard to get lean muscle. It takes consistency, hard work, and commitment to see the changes you want in your body.

Vegetarian Heroes

There are a number of successful bodybuilders and powerlifters who compete AND win, on a plant based diet.

Remember old school Mr. Universe, Bill Pearl? Lacto-ovo vegetarian!

Samantha Shorkey? First ever Vegan WBNF Bikini Pro.

Former Mr. Universe Jim Morris who trained into his 70’s? A 30-year vegetarian.

The list goes on. The truth is vegetarians CAN build muscle, and we think they look pretty amazing doing it (you included!)

Think women can’t build lean muscle? Check out our blog that says women can! Shattering lean muscle myths, one at a time. #NutraKey