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The Seattle Vegan Meetup Group Message Board › Muscle building on vegan diet

Muscle building on vegan diet

A former member
Post #: 1
Hi fellow vegans

I have been a vegan for the last 3 years. I joined a gym a year ago and work out 3 times a week. I see that I am losing a little fat, but also muscle. The trainer at the gym, of course, says it is because my protein intake is not enough/good.

Any thoughts on how to build some muscles (or at least not lose what one got)?
user 10445099
Auburn, WA
Post #: 9

You will find that many trainers really by into the myth that you need to eat a ton of protein to build muscle. I also find that they usually believe that there is a difference from where you get the protein from. So I like asking them what protein is used for in the human body. They usually only know that it builds muscle. Which is not correct! I also ask them what the body does with extra protein that is not needed, and how does the body deal with proteins differently from plants then muscle, finally what happens to the human body if you consume to much protein? These answers will show you if they have a good grasp on nutrition and how the human body functions. Very important to know if you are going to be a trainer!

You don't give any information about what kind of workouts you are doing or anything about your diet. You say that you want to build muscle so I can only assume that you are weight lifting to gain strength and bulk.

My first question is how do you know you are loosing muscle? Because the trainer said so, or does your gym have the ability to actually measure that? Any time you diet and loose weight you will loose some muscle.

It is true you will want to provide your body with enough protein to build and repair your muscles to add more muscle to your body. You also need to provide enough calories in the form of carbohydrates and fats to make sure your body only needs to use the protein to build and repair the muscles. Also to do the other jobs proteins do in your body for the immune and endocrine system for example.

Make sure you are consuming enough calories every day. Make sure your brake up of carbs, fat, and protein is good. Eat small frequent meals. A good thing is having a good after workout snack that provides about 50 grams of carbs and some protein. Make sure you are tracking everything you eat. We usually think we are eating a lot better then we really are!

An important thing to remember is the body is fantastic at adapting to the work load and calorie intake. Most people benefit from changing them both up.

Remember that there is a lot of bad information about diet and exercise. Really educate yourself and get support from Vegans. Here are a few resources if you have not already found them.

One that has helped me a lot is It is free and has several forums for vegans. It also allows you to track what you eat and the exercises you do.

Hope this helps. This is just some basic general stuff because I don't have much info to work from. Remember that this is going to be a life long process and takes time.

Good luck.
A former member
Post #: 201
Hello Ven.

I've been vegan for over 8 years myself, and while I'm not in the best shape these days, I did have a couple of years where I worked it all the time, ate right, and wittled myself down from 265 lbs of fat to 188 lbs of lean muscle. I went through the same problem of working with a trainer (after I had hit about 205) who said I should eat meat and get more protein. It's true that protein will help with muscle regeneration and decrease your muscle soreness, but you certainly don't need to eat meat! I'd suggest looking for a vegan friendly 'pea protein' powder that you can mix with rice milk and fruit a couple of times a day. You do that pre and post workout, and you'll have most of your protein needs met.

As for eating right and working out, I HIGHLY recommend 'The Body Sculpting Bible for Men'. It gives you a lot of great information on how to adjust your workouts to maximize your returns and includes dietary guidance using the glycemic index of foods. Others will likely recommend other guidance, but I used this book to go from flab to fab (rock hard muscles, chiseled abs, etc) in under 6 months. I also think the glycemic index mechanism is probably one of the most responsible and realistic dietary tools that we can use. It's not a fad, it's real science!

Hope that helps... Good luck!
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