“The Best Way To Predict The Future Is To Create It.”
We’ve all seen it. The stereotypical scrawny vegan that certainly may be healthy, but is far from inspiring at a glance. Let’s face it. Humans are visual beings. Appearance is important to us, though many of us haven’t made peace with that fact. With that being said, building muscle isn’t merely a vain pursuit, it benefits one’s health in a myriad of ways. Namely, anti-aging. Resistance(weight) training is probably the closest thing we have to a fountain of youth. While building muscle can certainly be challenging, it absolutely does not have to be complicated. The differences between building muscle for someone on a more typical diet and someone on a vegan diet aren’t drastic, but they do exist. In this article, I’ll show you how to build muscle on a vegan diet in as simple a manner as possible.
I remember when I first went vegan 5 years ago. Within a year I went from this:
I didn’t want to have to show you that, but it’s for your own good. Just kidding. Seriously though, keep in mind that I’ve been working out for 19 years and that didn’t change between the two photos. In all fairness, some people would say that I look great in both pictures, and they’re certainly entitled to their opinions. However, for me, I was light years away from the standards that I have held myself to for over a decade. The only thing that changed was my diet. I had no idea what I was doing. I was bloated, holding more body fat than I wanted to, and my performance was suffering massively. I’ve seen this happen to far too many people. They go vegan and become bloated, or lose muscle. Don’t get me wrong, I love being vegan and I think everyone should at least give it an honest try, but when you go vegan, there is a learning curve. Whereas before you may not have put much thought into what you were eating, now you’ll have to make a some effort. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming, but you do need to have a basic idea of how to structure a well balanced diet. Honestly, this doesn’t only apply to vegans, but anyone desiring a better physique.
So, after months of slowly losing muscle and feeling bloated, I finally started to piece things together. It took some time, but eventually I got rid of the bloating, leaned out, and began to feel great, even better before. Can you guess what happened next? That’s right, I started looking better and better. Within 6 months or so, I was as ripped and strong as ever, as you can see here:
How’d I do it? I implemented a few key principles that honestly changed my life. I now feel better than I ever have in my 30s. I’m lean, strong, flexible, and have more energy than a teen on prom night. Okay, maybe not quite that much energy, but I feel amazing. I haven’t been ill in almost 4 years, not even a cold. Now, I’m going to give you all the tools I used to create this transformation so you can do the same. If you’re not currently in the shape you’d love to be in, or you’re just a go getter looking to take your health and fitness to the next level, you’ll definitely want to read on.
I used this success to create some basic rules for being in great shape as a vegan. They’re simple, and can be applied by anyone intelligent enough to read this article. They are as follows:
- Stop eating processed vegan meats. Sure, they’re high in protein, but they’re also usually high in sodium and often contain oils that are high in Omega 6 fatty acids. Consuming too many Omega 6 fatty acids causes inflammation in the body, which over time can lead to a whole host of illnesses. Omega 3 fatty acids on the other hand reduce inflammation and are healthy for the brain and heart.
- Don’t eat too much salt. I can’t stress this enough. Most people eat far beyond the recommended daily allowance for sodium. This can lead to bloating, which makes you look and feel like crap. It’s also not healthy in the long run, and while I’m not suggesting that anyone tally up their salt intake, doing a little due diligence to check labels can go a long way. Also, Try eating 1 or 2 meals a day with little to no salt. Something I do is eat Japanese sweet potatoes covered in cinnamon, lentils, and sweet peas all mixed together. It tastes great even without salt because of the Japanese sweet potatoes.
- Limit your fat intake. Vegans tend to eat nuts, seeds, and avocados more than the average person. There’s nothing wrong with that, but if you’re looking to be lean, use moderation.
- Take fermented protein powders. Seriously, your digestion will thank you for this one. Protein powder certainly isn’t essential, but when you’re trying to consume enough protein to build muscle, it’s very convenient.
- Train with maximum intensity. This one applies to anyone, but this wouldn’t be complete without it. I recommend that anyone looking to build muscle naturally train with the highest possible intensity, but very briefly. This means weight training for no more than 30-45 minutes at a time, but making it so challenging that it seems like hours. Apply yourself, focus, and give it your all. Then leave the gym, rest, and recover. Always train safely and with proper form. This will keep you injury free, and therefore making progress.
That’s all there is to it guys and girls. If you are new to weight training and have no idea how to create a routine, you can check out my article on a practical way to begin weight training. It contains a basic workout routine that you can use for 3 to 6 months, and then perhaps create your own routine from there. So, as you can see, it’s fairly simple to build muscle on a vegan diet, but it’s not always easy. Now let’s get out there and represent health and conscious eating in the right way.