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A beginner’s guide to bodybuilding while on a vegan diet

Date Posted:27 September 2022 

A lot of people say that going vegan and bodybuilding do not mix, and the reasoning behind this belief is understandable. How could a plant based diet, where protein is difficult to come by, help you build all that muscle? When folks learn about the physique of vegan bodybuilders, their jaws often drop. 


If you're new to vegan body building, you might be wondering if there's anything special you need to eat. Is it possible to build muscle if you don't eat meat? If so, what are the best vegan body building supplements for beginners? Let’s answer these questions and more!


Get healthy while building muscle mass

Building muscle mass is one of the objectives that people have in mind when they switch to a healthier diet, and the good news is that you can still reach this goal even when you go vegan. How is this possible? The answer is simple: there are many natural ways to be healthy and build the muscle you want, which means that vegans can get that tight bod even though their diets are plant based. 


Where to get that protein?

The big myth is that vegans need to stock up on large amounts of protein in order to grow their muscles. This is not true since, when it comes to proteins, quality matters more than quantity. This is why vegans must consume high quality proteins instead. This isn’t difficult since most veggies are a great source of protein, and a lot of them pack quite a punch. Vegans can also get the protein they need from pre workout supplement and post workout supplement. Research shows that the optimal daily protein intake for adults is around 0.8 grams to 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. 

The myth that "vegetables have no proteins" needs to be busted. It’s easy to believe in this myth since protein often comes from meat, but it’s important to note that plants pack a punch, too! Broccoli is high in protein for a veggie. For example, a pound of good old broccoli contains 13 grams of protein. Green peas have 8 grams of protein by the cup. Although plants contain less protein than your average meat, you can still get the recommended daily protein intake by consuming vegetables. 

The best way to gain muscle mass is to consume vegan protein before and after a workout. But it cannot just be any type of protein. In order to have bigger muscles, vegans must consume high quality proteins. Here are just some of the protein and other supplements that vegan body builder should consume, in order to thrive on vegan diet. Not only is it important to consume adequate quantities of protein, vegans must not forget the importance of essential vitamin and minerals.



Hemp seeds

Hemp seeds, or hemp hearts, are the raw and shelled part of the hemp plant. They’re high in essential fatty acids, which help to make up our cell membranes and are critical for absorbing nutrients. Hemp seeds also contain magnesium, zinc and iron—all excellent minerals for vegans who want to build muscle!

Additionally, hemp seeds are a good source of protein: 6 grams per ounce (28 grams). This makes them ideal for anyone looking to increase their daily intake of protein without relying on animal products. If you’re concerned about getting enough protein as an athlete or vegan bodybuilder looking to bulk up this is a great option!


Hempseed powder

Hempseed powder is made from the seeds of hemp plants. This vegan bodybuilding supplement is a good source of protein, essential fats and vitamins and minerals. It also contains fibre, which helps with digestion and helps to lower cholesterol levels.

Hempseed powder can be added to smoothies or baked goods for an extra nutritional boost. Hempseed oil can be used in salad dressing or drizzled over steamed vegetables for an antioxidant rich meal that will give you energy without weighing you down.


Pea protein powders

Pea protein is made from yellow peas and is a complete natural protein powder, which means that it contains all the essential amino acids (protein building blocks) our bodies need to function properly. It's also a good source of iron, zinc, and B vitamins.

The best part about using pea protein powder as part of your meal plan? It's low in fat! This makes it an ideal option for vegan body builders who are looking to get leaner without sacrificing their gains in strength or muscle mass - just make sure you're getting enough fat elsewhere in your diet so you don't end up with dangerously low levels.


Brown rice protein powder

Brown rice protein powder is a good vegan bodybuilding plant based protein because it's hypoallergenic, gluten free, lactose free and vegan. Brown rice protein powder also contains all nine essential amino acids that your body needs to build muscle. It's low in fat and low in sugar, so it can help reduce your overall calorie intake when you're trying to lose weight.



Spirulina is a blue green algae that can be found in lakes, rivers and oceans. It's rich in vitamins B12, C and E as well as iron, calcium and magnesium. It can be taken as a powder or pill form.

Spirulina is often referred to as "nature's multivitamin." It is high in protein and contains all nine essential amino acids. It also has a high amount of beta carotene which may help protect against certain types of cancer.

Spirulina has been shown to aid in digestion, boost immunity and improve cardiovascular health by lowering cholesterol levels. It may also help with weight loss due to its high protein content. Spirulina powder is a great alternative for those who do not eat meat because it contains all nine essential amino acids that your body needs but cannot produce on its own.


Nutritional yeast

  • Nutritional yeast is a great source of B vitamins.
  • It can be used as a vegan substitute for cheese in recipes.
  • It can be sprinkled on vegetables or used as a vegan substitute for parmesan cheese.
  • Nutritional yeast is a good source of protein, making it an excellent addition to smoothies or baked goods.



Additional vegan supplements

The following are some of the main vegan body building supplements that you should consider.

  • Vegan protein powder
  • B12
  • Vitamin D

Vegan protein powder is a great way to get additional protein in your diet as well as a variety of other important nutrients that will help with muscle growth and recovery. You should look for something that doesn't use whey, which is often derived from dairy products.

There are many different types of vegan B12 supplement available on the market today. The two most common are methylcobalamin and cyanocobalamin. Methylcobalamin is more bioavailable than cyanocobalamin, so if you're looking for something that will give you more energy during your workouts then this might be a better choice for you!

Vitamin D supplements are important for bone growth, calcium absorption, and immune function. The recommended daily intake of vitamin D varies based on age but it's generally recommended that adults get between 800 IU-1,000 IU of vitamin D every day. It's also important to note that even if you're eating a plant-based diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, not all foods have high levels or may contain none at all so taking supplements might be necessary in order to ensure daily adequate amounts.


Where are you going wrong? 

Going vegan does not necessarily change the amount of protein one consumes. In fact, many vegans are actually consuming larger amounts and healthier types of protein in its "pure" form, so to speak. The defining factor is becoming aware of what you put on your plate. Be conscious about the type of food you are eating and the macronutrients you are consuming.


Best steps to build a meal plan

There are four steps to optimize your vegan diet and ensure it’s ideal for bodybuilding.

1. Make sure you are eating enough. Compute the ideal calorie intake for your needs and goals and diligently count the number of calories you consume. Going below the recommended calorie intake will not help you. 

2. Work your macros out. Carbs, fat, protein - see which macronutrients you must increase or decrease in your diet.

3. Remember that the size of your meals and when you eat them are essential. Make sure that your meals optimize your workout or enhance muscle recovery. 

4. And lastly, plan your meals ahead of time! 


Final thoughts

Bodybuilding and veganism are not mutually exclusive. You can have both in your life quite successfully. The important factor is knowing the correct ways to exercise and the healthiest diet you can have to achieve your bodybuilding goals as a vegan.