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Lose the Fat, Keep the Muscle: Become a Plant-based, Green Bodybuilding Machine

Lose the Fat, Keep the Muscle: Become a Plant-based, Green Bodybuilding Machine

Looking for ways to ditch the extra kilos but keep your muscle mass? Going vegan may be the answer. Here’s why veganism could help you get the bodybuilding body you want.

It’s estimated that as of 2022, there are 79 million fully vegan people in the world. As the plant-based diet continues to grow in popularity, society is becoming increasingly aware of just how beneficial veganism can be—both environmentally and physically. Yes, we said physically.

It may shock you to discover that some of the world’s strongest and most powerful athletes follow a purely vegan diet. You can sculpt a strong, lean, and supple body by consuming only fruits, vegetables, grains, and water—and Jeremy Reijnders, Danielle Sidell, and Ed Bauer are proof of this.

If you’re vegan but struggling to maintain a healthy weight or are trying to build up muscle, this is for you. Here, we’ll cover some basic tips for losing fat and gaining muscle while staying loyal to a vegan diet, as well as highlight some ‌things which may hold you back.

3 Reasons Why Your Body Isn’t Changing

Many people hold the misconception that once you go vegan, you’ll have the body of your dreams. It’s just fruits and vegetables. How could you possibly gain weight, right?

Well, it’s not that simple.

There are plenty of vegan food products that are high in sugar, polyunsaturated fats, and other cholesterol-increasing compounds that contribute to weight gain. There’s also body type and metabolism to consider. Not everyone has the same physical response to a vegan diet.

There are a multitude of reasons ‌your body could struggle to shift unwanted weight. Here are the top three most common ones:

  1. You aren’t consuming enough protein

Most people know that protein helps build muscles, but it has more than one job. One of these jobs is keeping you full for longer periods of time.

If you don’t consume enough plant-based protein, you’ll feel the need to stock up on empty carbs like bread, potatoes, and baked goods. All of which contribute to weight gain.

  1. Your diet isn’t diverse enough

You need a lot more than just protein to maintain a rounded, healthy vegan diet. A wide variety of nutrients (Omega-3, phosphate, calcium, Vitamin B, and magnesium, to name a few) is essential for regulating weight and aiding muscle development.

  1. You have unhealthy lifestyle habits

When it comes to losing fat and keeping muscle, diet is not the only factor you need to be conscious of. Excessive alcohol consumption, lack of exercise, and even stress will determine the physical outcome of your diet.

3 Tips For Losing Fat On A Vegan Diet

Losing fat and gaining muscle require different approaches, so we’ve split them into two groups. If weight loss on a vegan diet is your primary objective, here are some tips to help you shift some fat in a way that’s healthy, sustainable, and in alignment with the vegan lifestyle.

  1. Eat whole foods

By “whole”, we mean foods that are as natural and unprocessed as possible. Whole grains, like quinoa, brown rice, and millet are all rich with essential nutrients and will keep you full for longer, so you won’t end up overeating.  

  Whole, natural proteins found in legumes, seeds, nuts, and even some grains will provide you with all the natural fats, proteins, and vitamins you need to regulate a healthy metabolism and keep your appetite under control.

  1. Reduce your oil intake

Very few oils have any nutritional value, and even those that do are heavily processed and limited in the benefits they can offer. Reducing your oil intake will prevent stubborn fat cells from building up and promote a much cleaner, faster metabolic cycle.

  1. Drink more water

Water truly is the key to a healthy life. Adults (vegan or otherwise) need between 2-4 liters each day, and even more if they’re trying to lose weight. Water improves your metabolic rate, gives you the energy to exercise, and fills up your stomach to prevent overindulging.

3 Tips For Building Muscles On A Vegan Diet

People all over the world are finally waking up to the fact that a plant-based diet can be just as conducive to high athleticism and bodybuilding as an omnivorous diet. If you’re a vegan on a mission to bulk up those muscles, here are three winning tips to get you there.

  1. Commit to a high protein diet

Protein is important for muscular growth for a number of reasons. Containing essential amino acids, protein plays a crucial role in the process of muscle protein synthesis (MPS), which is the process of generating muscle mass and strength.

To meet your personal protein quota, you’ll need to consume an average of 50-70g of protein every day, depending on how much your body weighs. This will allow your muscles to receive all the nutrients and fats they need to continue developing, strengthening, and growing bigger.

Some of the best vegan sources of protein include legumes like chickpeas, lentils, beans and peas, as well as food products like tofu, seitan, and tempeh. However, you can find protein in a wide variety of different fruits, veggies, seeds, nuts, and grains.

  1. Practice regular strength-training exercises

The sweet spot of muscle growth comes when you combine high protein intake with regular strength training. As your muscles go through the process of hypertrophy (tearing and stretching as they grow), protein comes in and fortifies them to grow bigger and stronger than before. You can also use supplements such as creatine to help your muscles recover faster and increase your lean muscle mass.

Depending on your weight, physical abilities, and goals, you will need to create an exercise regimen that consistently pushes you forward. Experts recommend high-intensity workouts like CrossFit at least three days a week for optimal bodybuilding results.

  1. Lead a wholesome, balanced lifestyle

When it comes down to it, all your body needs to grow leaner and stronger is to be hydrated, fed a diverse, nutrient-rich diet, and exercised regularly.

If you commit to a high protein intake, a consistent strength-training routine, and eliminate or at least reduce unhealthy habits, losing weight will become a natural by-product and gaining muscle mass will come with time. Time and WODs that you conquer like a champion!