Three Keys To Building Muscle Tissue On A Plant Based Diet

People have been asking me if it is possible to build muscle on a plant based diet. 
The truth is that muscle building is natural and definitely worth going about it the natural way without the risky use of steroids. 

Steroid use has been linked to acne, baldness, depression, infertility, and impotence, according to the FDA — so there’s more than enough reason to embrace the natural route instead.  

So, aside from lifting weights, what can do you to make sure you get more muscle tissue?

1. Eat sufficient protein (no need for “high quality protein”)

Protein is everyone’s go-to muscle-building macronutrient for good reason. It repairs the tiny tears in the muscle tissue which occur during weight training — helping muscles grow bigger faster. Protein allows for faster muscle rejuvenation.

So, how much protein do you need to build muscle? This depends on your individual needs and your training program. In general, for muscle building, 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight is ideally recommended by the British Journal of Sports Medicine. So, if you’re a 165 pound adult, that’s 120 grams of protein per day.

As for your protein sources, aim for high-quality whole foods. These are better than “high-quality proteins that come from animal products because any protein ingested is broken down into individual amino acids and then put back together again as new protein in a process called protein biosynthesis. The entire amino acid pool changes three to four times a day. 

It is through slow and steady synthesis of new proteins from “low quality” plant proteins that has proven to be healthier for humans.

Organic soy is a great choice — soybeans have 36 grams of protein per 100 grams! Most beans average 21 grams of protein per 100 grams and lentils average 10 grams of protein per 100 grams. Nuts and seeds also pack a big protein punch with 20 grams/100 grams on average. You may add them to your snacks, soups and salads. Whole grains are also rich in protein with about 14 grams of protein on average. Quinoa has a little more with 15 grams of protein per 100 grams.

The superfood spirulina is an excellent supplement providing you with 57 grams of protein per 100 grams a day! As well as a wealth of nutrients and iodine to keep your performance up.

By consuming 3 meals a day with each meal having a whole grain and a legume, and two daily snacks of nuts or seeds, you’ve already passed the daily protein requirements for muscle building and if you also consume some spirulina, you’ve surpassed all protein requirements.

Nutrient dense diet

Your diet should also be nutrient-dense for optimal muscle growth, so you want to include plenty of vegetables. Broccoli, and kale are also particularly rich in protein. Add kale to your sandwiches and add broccoli to your lunchtime salad, or as a cooked side dish for dinner. Every food you choose to consume should help to give your overall daily nutrient intake a boost. Here is a list of nutrient dense vegetables:

Asparagus

Artichoke bottoms

Avocado

Bamia (Lady fingers)

Cauliflower

Celery

Cucumber

Ginger

Garlic

Leeks

Mushrooms

Onions 

Red peppers

Parsley and parsley root

Potatoes

Red beets

Spinach

Sweet potatoes

Swiss chard

Tomatoes

Any other local in season vegetables.

Get sufficient rest 

Weight training stimulates muscle growth, but resting is just as important for building strength, endurance, and muscle tissue. This means taking a rest day at least once a week and getting enough sleep. Sleep is when your body’s in its most anabolic state — essential for muscle growth. During REM sleep, growth hormone production is stimulated, which in turn burns fat, builds muscle, and repairs injuries.

Interval weight lifting

Finally, aim for a mix of lifting lighter and heavier weights. When you lift heavier weights, your nervous system needs time to adjust to new fiber activation in the muscles. Using lighter weights with more repetitions lets your nervous system recover, while still challenging your muscles. The combination of lifting both light and heavy weights will work to strengthen and build muscle tissue without exhausting your body.

To conclude, I recommend eating sufficient “low-quality” protein foods rich in protein, getting sufficient rest to support new muscle growth, and using both lighter and heavy weights in intervals in your routine to build muscle without burning out.

You may also find an interest in this article on the 5 critical guidelines for athletes here.

Feel free to comment below and let me know what you liked best about this article.

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Thank You 🙂

Galit Goldfarb

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