Vegan Diet Plan For Bodybuilding


Vegan diet plan for bodybuilding is just one part of your prize. If you want to get in great shape, there are other things you will need to put into practice. People eat different types of food to maintain a healthy diet. Some people like to eat vegetarian diet while some may prefer a vegan diet plan. But, when it comes to bodybuilding and gaining lean muscles, people avoid vegan diet. This is because they think that they won’t be able to get required proteins from the food they eat. But, the fact is that today’s bodybuilders are making faster progress with newer and better methods to build muscles and increase energy levels to compete in their favourite sport by following vegan diet plan for bodybuilding.


Lifters may picture limitless amounts of chicken and weightlifting when they think of bodybuilding. They’re not completely incorrect, but not all lifters prefer to consume beef.

The health advantages of a plant-based diet and the option to adhere to an ethical treatment of animals for food, clothing, and any other reason have made veganism more and more popular.

There are many non-animal sourced foods that have enough protein to repair your body after a workout, enough carbohydrates to give you energy, and enough fat to help you absorb all the nutrients you need. Those who are unfamiliar with a vegan diet may wonder how a bodybuilder could build muscle from a vegan meal plan.


Any food derived from animals, including but not limited to meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, cheese, and honey, is not allowed on a vegan diet.

When compared to vegetarians, this is different because they often just forbid meat and shellfish.

Even though this diet forbids the use of any animal products, there are many substitutes to meals like meat and milk, including soy milk and black bean burgers. A plant-based diet can encourage muscle growth just as much as a non-vegan diet can, and it still provides plenty of nutrients to help fuel your body for activity and function.

You can improve your general health by eating a vegan diet for bodybuilding.

It can aid in lowering cholesterol, blood pressure, and the risk of developing heart-related disorders.

Furthermore, it can be less expensive than diets that incorporate meat. Going meatless also has the added benefit of improving digestion, as vegans often consume more fiber each day.

A vegan diet can also aid in weight loss and body fat reduction, which is crucial for bodybuilders who want to lower their body fat percentage to under 10% for a competition.


You must consume more calories if you want to grow muscle. Your age, gender, weight, and level of activity must all be taken into account when calculating how many calories you should consume each day.

You should increase your calorie intake by 10-15% for men and 5-10% for women in order to grow muscle. Check out the most accurate method for calculating your calories and macros.

You might need to eat more to reach your caloric target because vegan diets are often lower in calories and high in nutrients.

That does not obligate you to have a hefty meal all at once. It could be better to spread out your meals throughout the day.

A higher metabolism and the burning of body fat, both of which are crucial for bulking up, can be aided by eating small meals frequently throughout the day.


Vegan bodybuilders must obtain enough protein from plants, seeds, and nuts because animal meat products are notoriously heavy in this macronutrient. Since many vegan diets are deficient in critical amino acids, you should consume a wider variety of foods on a regular basis.

You may implement extra amino acids and speed up muscle regeneration by taking a vegan dietary supplement like V-BCAA.

However, for active persons, ingesting up to 1.5g-2.2g of protein can assist develop muscle mass. The recommended daily protein consumption is 1.0 gram of protein for every pound of bodyweight.

Below are some high-protein vegan foods that are essential for a vegan bodybuilding diet:

  • Tempeh – 31g of protein/ one cup
  • Tofu – 10g of protein/ 0.5 cup
  • Quinoa – 8g of protein/ one cup
  • Lentils – 18g of protein/ one cup
  • Seitan – 75g of protein/ 100g
  • Nuts – ~ 27g of protein/ one cup
  • Nut butters like peanut butter and almond butter – 3.5g of protein/ 1 tbsp
  • Chickpeas – 39g of protein/ one cup
  • Brown rice – 5g of protein/ one cup
  • Black beans – 8g of protein/ 0.5 cup
  • Vegan protein powder like VEG-PRO – 20g of protein/ one scoop


The list of carbs won’t alter that much from a non-vegan diet. To provide your body enough energy for your exercises and daily activities, you must consume enough of them. Fruits and vegetables are excellent choices for anyone who is bodybuilding because they are known for having a high carbohydrate content.

For vegan bodybuilders who exercise moderately for up to an hour, the suggested carb consumption ranges from 1.5g per lb of bodyweight to up to 5.5g per lb of bodyweight for those who train vigorously for up to five hours.

Below are some high-carb vegan foods that are essential for a vegan bodybuilding diet:

  • Sweet potatoes – 27g of carbs/ one cup
  • Whole grain bread – 12g of carbs/ one slice
  • Whole grain pasta – 37g of carbs/ one cup
  • Barley – 135g of carbs/one cup
  • Fruits (bananas, apples, berries, kiwi, etc.) – ~20g of carbs/ one cup
  • Oats – 51g of carbs/ one cup
  • Brown rice – 45g of carbs/one cup
  • Quinoa – 8g of protein/ one cup
  • Non-starchy vegetables (asparagus, beans, brocoli, peppers, etc.) – ~6g of carbs/ 0.5 cup
  • Starchy vegetables (potatoes, corn, peas, etc.) – ~20g of carbs/ 0.5 cup


Fats are an important macronutrient for cellular energy, hormone synthesis, and nutrition absorption. Fats include nine calories per gram, more than double the number of calories found in protein and carbohydrates.

For vegan bodybuilders who require more calories, this is encouraging news because fat makes a plate of food appear smaller.

Omega-3, which may be helpful in reducing heart disease and various malignancies, is another component of fats.

For vegans, high levels of omega-3 can be found be found in many nuts and seeds.

Below are some healthy fat vegan foods that are essential for a vegan bodybuilding diet:

  • Peanuts/peanut butter – 72g of fat/ one cup
  • Chia seeds – 9g of fat/ 1oz
  • Almonds/almond butter – 14g of fat/ 1 oz
  • Cashews – 12g of fat/ 1 oz
  • Flax seeds – 71g of fat/ one cup
  • Walnuts – 52g of fat/ one cup
  • Avocados – 29g of fat/ one avocado
  • Sunflower seeds – 72g of fat/ one cup
  • Olive oil – 14g of fat/ one tbsp


Even while a plant-based diet can boost your health and help you gain muscle, you still need to be sure you’re getting the vitamins and minerals your body needs to grow muscle.

One vitamin that may be deficient in a vegan diet is vitamin B12, which also happens to be crucial for building muscle. The main sources of this vitamin are chicken, fish, and dairy products, all of which are excluded from a vegan diet.

To add more vitamin B12 to your diet, try include vegan sources such nutritional yeast, almond milk, whole-grain cereals, and leafy greens like spinach.

A vegan diet may also be deficient in calcium, which is necessary for developing stronger bones and facilitating muscle contractions.

Almonds, soy milk, dark leafy greens like kale and spinach, and legumes all have adequate calcium levels.

Iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficit worldwide, regardless of dietary choices. Iron has a significant function in performance by supplying oxygen to the muscles.

Animal meat contains iron, but fortified morning cereal, almonds, hemp seeds, raisins, and other foods are also excellent sources.


In order to reach your bodybuilding goals, you need to incorporate the right amount of protein, carbs, and fat into your diet.

Below are some vegan recipes and meals to help you build muscle:

  • Oatmeal with chia seeds, soy milk, and a banana – This is a quick and easy option for breakfast and/or for apre-workout meal. Oats and chia seeds allow you to get a good serving of carbohydrates and fat for fuel, and soy milk is a great source of protein. Make sure to eat one to two hours before exercise.
  • Whole grain toast with avocado and almond butter – Another great option for a quick breakfast or snack during the day. The carbs and fats can help push you through a workout, so eat itbefore hitting the gym, but remember to eat no less than one hour before your workout to properly digest.
  • Fruit smoothie with peanut butter, strawberries, bananas, and almond milk – Smoothies can be prepped the night, or even a couple days before they’re eaten, making them a convenient option for breakfast or as a snack. This smoothie can be a greatpre-workout meal choice since it’s heavier in carbs and fat.
  • Tofu with brown rice, spinach, and broccoli – Tofu and brown rice are versatile and make for a great option for meal prep. With the heavy amount of carbs and protein, this can be a greatpost-workout meal for lunch or dinner.
  • Stir-fry with veggies and edamame pasta – This meal is a greatpost-workout option as it can help replenish muscle glycogen lost when lifting, as well as help repair your muscles for muscle growth.
  • Burrito with black beans, brown rice, corn, and avocado – Everyone loves a good burrito especially after a tough workout. You can add different types of beans or veggies to give you some variety while still getting thosepost-workout carbs and protein.


Whether you’re a novice or an experienced bodybuilder, knowing the right nutrition is crucial for muscular growth.

Whatever your lifestyle diet is, as long as it maintains your body healthy and working to its full potential at the gym, it doesn’t matter. Bodybuilding is about more than just lifting weights. What you put inside your body is mostly what matters.

Get ready to witness those muscle gains by eating nutrient-rich, healthy foods, taking rest days, and staying hydrated.

What to know about vegan bodybuilding diets

For the support of the growth of wholesome muscle, bodybuilders require more protein than the average person. Since typical sources of protein, such meat and dairy products, are avoided when eating a vegan diet, getting adequate protein may seem difficult.

However, a vegan bodybuilding diet is feasible and might even provide some health advantages, such as improved gut health, weight management, and cardiovascular health, with a careful approach to nutrition.

Learn more about vegan diets for bodybuilding, including their advantages, possible drawbacks, and sample meal plans, by reading on.

What is a vegan bodybuilding diet? 

Weightlifting dumbbells made of steel bar and watermelon slices to represent vegan bodybuilding

A diet for bodybuilders often consists of a lot of high-protein foods. It’s important to eat foods that are nutrient-dense to avoid gaining too much fat and to encourage muscle building.

The vegan diet, which often forbids the use of meat or other animal products like milk, cheese, and other dairy items, combines these ideas.

Because animal products are important sources of protein, someone who doesn’t prioritize consuming high-protein plant-based foods may not get enough protein in their diet.

Bodybuilders typically spend the majority of the year in the “off season.” They should consume between 1.6 and 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight throughout this time. This is due to the fact that calorie consumption is typically substantially higher during this time than it is throughout contest preparation.

Most bodybuilders require between 2.3 and 3.1 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight while preparing for competitions.

Divide a person’s weight in pounds (lb) by 2.2 to translate it to kilograms (kg).

A person needs a very low calorie intake during contest preparation compared to their energy requirements, which is one of the reasons why their protein intake needs to be so high to prevent muscle loss.

To give one example, a person weighing 200 lb would be 90.7 kg. They require three to five times as much protein as the normal person should consume, or 208–281 g, each day. Given this high intake, vegan bodybuilders would require protein supplements.

What are the health benefits vs. a non-vegan bodybuilding diet? 

The same health issues that affect everyone else might affect bodybuilders.

In fact, persons who use steroids may already be at increased risk for some diseases, such as cardiovascular disease. Consuming a vegan diet could reduce some of these dangers.

A vegan diet for bodybuilding has the following health advantages:

Better digestive health

According to several studies, vegans have a wider variety of beneficial bacteria and other germs in their stomachs.

Healthy gut flora may support overall health, particularly digestive health, while researchers are unsure of the potential health benefits.

Better cardiovascular health

Vegan diets generally contain less cholesterol and saturated fat. Consequently, people who follow them may have lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol.

Better weight control

Most vegan foods are lower in fat and calories than animal-based products. This can make it easier for a person to maintain a moderate weight.

High in certain nutrients

Vegan diets are high in fiber, which can help control blood sugar and appetite.

They are also higher in certain nutrients that are abundant in plants, including magnesium, potassium, and vitamins C and E.

Lower cancer risk

Plant-based diets correlate with a lower incidence of certain cancers, including breast, prostate, lung, and colorectal cancer.

Better brain health

Following a vegan diet may lower the risk of certain cerebrovascular conditions, such as cerebral aneurysms or stroke.


There are also some potential health issues associated with following a vegan diet.

For example, people who do so are more likely to become deficient in vitamin B12, which is present only in animal products and fortified foods.

They may also develop deficiencies of:

  • zinc
  • iron
  • vitamin D
  • calcium
  • omega-3 fatty acids

Vegan bodybuilders should check nutritional labels and consider eating fortified foods. They may also need to talk with a doctor about taking a multivitamin or supplement.

Top foods to include

Some foods to consider including in a vegan bodybuilding diet include:

  • beans, such as black beans and red beans
  • vegetables, such as artichokes, avocado, and asparagus
  • vegan meat replacements, such as tofu, mycoprotein, and tempeh
  • nuts, such as pistachios, cashews, peanuts, and walnuts
  • seeds, such as chia, sunflower, pumpkin, and hemp seeds
  • protein bread, or Ezekiel bread
  • grains, such as buckwheat, amaranth, quinoa, and millet
  • milk alternatives, such as soy milk and almond milk
  • soy products, such as soybeans and soy-based meat replacements
  • snack foods, such as hummus and peanut butter

Some vegan bodybuilders will need to include vegan protein shakes because of the extremely high protein requirements that bodybuilding imposes. Some of these shakes have additional important nutrients or mix well with produce.

It might also be a good idea to include vitamin-fortified foods in the diet, particularly those that contain vitamin B12.

Numerous breakfast cereals have essential vitamins added to them. To gain a little more protein, one should try to select whole grain morning cereals and eat them with nut milk.

Meal plans 

Bodybuilders typically need to eat much more than the average person to get enough calories.

Vegan bodybuilders may need to eat even more frequently to get adequate protein. They may wish to plan on eating every few hours and on supplementing meals with high protein snacks.

Some meal options include:


  • vegan protein powder with avocado, banana, frozen mixed berries, and leafy greens, such as kale or spinach
  • overnight oats with peanut butter, chia seeds, and banana pieces
  • tofu and avocado scramble
  • quinoa with sliced almonds, sliced pecans, and almond milk
  • whole grain cereal or oatmeal with almond milk


  • red beans and rice
  • lentils with roasted vegetables and tofu
  • mycoprotein sandwich with peanut butter, almond butter, or avocado
  • red beans and tofu in a whole grain wrap with vegan cheese
  • roasted chickpeas over a salad with a peanut butter sandwich
  • quinoa, black beans, and stir-fried vegetables
  • sweet potatoes stuffed with black beans, avocados, and a range of stir-fry vegetables


  • vegan sloppy Joes using tempeh and whole grain buns
  • vegetarian cheeseburger with tofu patty and vegan cheese
  • seitan stir-fry with mixed vegetables and seasoned to taste
  • lentil soup with vegan “chicken” nuggets
  • shepherd’s pie, with lentils replacing the meat


  • hummus on whole grain toast or high protein bread
  • a handful of pistachios, almonds, or peanuts
  • granola, peanut butter, and honey balls
  • roasted chickpeas on toast, with sriracha or another hot sauce, if desired
  • protein bars
  • protein shakes
  • high protein granola bars


It may seem difficult for a vegan bodybuilder to get enough protein in the absence of conventional protein sources like meat and dairy. It is nevertheless feasible and offers a wealth of possible health advantages.

Some vegans who follow a plant-based diet might want to supplement it with ethically sourced animal products during the training season before switching back to their vegan diet during the off-season.

A dietician can provide guidance on making appropriate dietary choices and achieving weight- and muscle-gain objectives.

What Vegan Bodybuilder Diets Are Really Like

Here, vegan bodybuilders and nutritionists share their top tips for powering your body with a vegan bodybuilder diet.

plate of vegetables and rice, a meal that would work for a vegan bodybuilder diet

Vegan weightlifting. Not an oxymoron, then. It may seem impossible that bodybuilding, a sport characterized by high muscular definition, and a plant-based diet can coexist. However, vegan bodybuilders may increase strength and grow muscle just as well as (and some would even claim better than) their meat-eating, egg-eating, whey-mixing omnivore rivals.

Just so you know, there are a few other types of bodybuilding, including bikini, figure, physique, and bodybuilding, all of which place various emphasis on muscle size. Bodybuilders must simultaneously gain muscle and shed fat in order to compete. Bodybuilders accomplish this by combining strength training and diet so that, on competition day, they can walk over the stage with extremely little body fat.

Is it really feasible to lose weight and gain muscle while eating only plants? “Yes. It is absolutely conceivable “According to Fit Mother Project and Fit Father Project founder Anthony Balduzzi, N.M.D. He continues, “But it involves some proactive meal planning and nutrition methods, just like smart vegan eating and competitive bodybuilding.

Here, two elite vegan bodybuilders and nutrition gurus provide their top advice for vegan bodybuilding. Ready?

First: Bodybuilding Nutrition 101

If you think you would be interested in experimenting with vegan bodybuilding, you must first comprehend some universal diet and nutrition bodybuilding “rules.”

Most bodybuilders divide their season into two phases: a bulking season and a cutting season, whether they eat meat or not. The athlete consumes a diet high in calories and protein during the bulking phase, and they engage in vigorous strength training to add as much muscle mass as they can. Athletes then attempt to reduce their overall body fat during the cutting phase, typically by progressively reducing their calorie and fat consumption.

The right number of calories and a proper ratio of the three main macronutrients—proteins, carbohydrates, and fats—are necessary for both of these periods. According to Balduzzi, in order for our bodies to recuperate, grow stronger, and lose weight, they require the proper amount of calories and fuel in the form of proteins, carbs, and good fats.

Everybody will have a varied calorie intake and macronutrient breakdown. According to vegan bodybuilder and IFBB Bikini Pro Natalie Matthews, most athletes consult with a nutritionist or coach to determine their calorie and macronutrient requirements at each stage of preparation. Natalie is also the founder of Fit Vegan Chef. However, there are some fundamentals about calories and macronutrients that may be useful.

Figure Out How Many Calories You Need

While calorie counting is a contentious topic that some people (even professionals!) say is best avoided, it plays a significant role in bodybuilding nutrition. Balduzzi adds that in order for your body to develop and enlarge your muscle fibers while you’re seeking to gain muscular mass. Similar to this, cutting calories can lead to fat loss, which can make you appear more muscular and “cut” even if you aren’t truly adding new muscle tissue, according to him.

You can use internet calculators (like this one) to determine how many calories you should consume at certain points throughout the season. “These can be useful tools for calculating an estimate of the number of calories you ought to consume. But since everyone is unique, I advise utilizing this as a starting point before experimenting “says former vegan bodybuilder Jon Venus. That’s because your calorie requirements, as well as the rate of weight loss, muscle gain, and maintenance, are all influenced by variables including your activity level, metabolism, hydration, stress level, sleep quality, and the time of your menstrual cycle.

Between omnivorous and vegan bodybuilding, none of this is different: “Both vegans and omnivores will consume the same number of calories each day. Some individuals believe that vegans must take more calories, although this is untrue “observes Venus.

Learn Your Macronutrient Breakdown

According to Balduzzi, one of the main errors people make when beginning a vegan bodybuilding diet is failing to consume enough high-quality calories, which can significantly slow down muscle-building results. So what factors into the quality of a meal? the breakdown of macronutrients. (Read more about the macro diet in Your Complete Guide.)

The three main nutrients that the body need in order to function properly and effectively are known as macronutrients: protein, carbs, and fat. Basically, “counting your macros” means ensuring that you obtain a certain ratio of each in a given day. According to Matthews, “the macro diet is also known as flexible dieting since you may use any foods to hit them as long as you’re hitting your target at the end of the day.”

So, is this breakdown different for vegan athletes compared to non-vegan athletes? Nope! According to Matthews, “the macronutrients are the same.” She says, “I get the same macronutrient breakdown from my coach as omnivores; I just use vegan foods to hit them.

The ratios will probably alter depending on how close your competition day is—there is no set formula for your macronutrient breakdown. “In general, when bodybuilding, you want to keep your protein levels high enough to encourage muscle growth, your fat intake low to moderate, and your carb intake high. Then, as you begin “cutting” before a competition, you will typically reduce your calorie and carb intake while slightly increasing your fat intake “Venus explains.

For instance, whereas the recommended ratio for protein, carbohydrates, and fat is typically 20/60/20, Matthews follows a higher protein diet with a 40/40/20 breakdown. Because this split changes during the cutting and bulking seasons, you should probably see a professional to determine the ideal ratio. Having a second set of eyes to ensure proper nutrition is important for bodybuilders, according to Matthews.

Consume a Variety of Vegan Protein Sources

A prevalent misperception about a vegan diet is that it contains little protein. It’s not surprising that there is a misconception that it is harder for vegan bodybuilders to get enough protein given that bodybuilders typically consume more protein than the average person, according to Monica Auslander Moreno, M.S., R.D., L.D.N., a registered dietitian and owner of Essence Nutrition in Miami.

Every week, Matthews adds, “I get hundreds of letters asking how vegan bodybuilders obtain enough protein. But specialists affirm that a vegan bodybuilder can absolutely consume adequate protein. Compared to what most people are aware of, there are a lot more vegan protein sources. Lupini beans, tofu, textured vegetable protein, bean pasta, tempeh, seitan, fava beans, essential wheat gluten, and hemp seeds are some of her preferred vegan protein sources. (PS: Hemp hearts have a ton of health advantages.)

Venus enjoys eating them together with garbanzo beans, chickpeas, lentils, and vegan protein powder, which, by the way, has been shown in studies to be just as good at developing muscle as whey protein. According to Balduzzi, other excellent sources of protein include oats, amaranth, nut butter, almonds, kidney beans, and black beans. Furthermore, protein can be found in foods like potatoes, greens, chlorella, mushrooms, and Brussels sprouts.

Not all vegan protein sources are made equal, it’s important to note. Amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, can either be categorized as “nonessential,” which means your body can produce them on its own, or “essential,” which means your body cannot produce them and must obtain them from food.

Our bodies need all nine of the essential amino acids to perform tasks like building muscle, according to Balduzzi. There are nine essential amino acids. All animal sources—turkey, chicken, pork, dairy, eggs, beef, and fish—contain all nine, while the majority of plant-based foods don’t.

There are three exceptions, according to Balduzzi: quinoa, buckwheat, and soy. For your information, the nine essential amino acids are present in tofu, tempeh, soy-based textured vegetable protein (TVP), and soy protein powders.

According to Balduzzi, your body can store and mix the amino acids to create complete proteins if you consume a range of plant-based foods. For instance, whereas rice and beans are both incomplete proteins when eaten alone, when combined, they provide all nine essential amino acids.

Consider Supplements

Any diet can be weak in specific nutrients with poor planning and a lack of diversity, and a vegan bodybuilding diet is no exception. According to Matthews, consuming a variety of foods and emphasizing in-season vegetables can lower the risk of deficiency.

But these other nutrients are important to know about:

Vitamin B12

“The only vitamin you can’t find in plant-based foods is vitamin B12, so most doctors recommend vegans supplement with B12,” says Venus. (He and Matthews both take a B12 supplement).


“While you can get iron from plant sources like spinach, beans, and raisins, this form of iron (called non-heme) tends to be poorly absorbed, so many vegans struggle with deficiency,” says Moreno. To boost absorption of iron, consume iron with some vitamin C, which has been shown to dramatically increase absorption, recommends Balduzzi.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency is also somewhat common since it’s most common in animal-based foods, says Moreno. This isn’t a strictly vegan occurrence: About a third of the population has low vitamin D levels.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Balduzzi suggests that you should also think about taking an omega-3 supplement. Even though flaxseeds and chia seeds provide omega-3s, Matthews still takes an omega-3 supplement made from algae.

But rather than buying supplements at random, Moreno advises that you “talk with your healthcare professional to discover if you are at risk of or have a deficiency and work with them to choose what supplements you should try.” (Also, you should make sure you’re taking high-quality supplements because they are often unregulated.)

Mix It Up

You could be tempted to eat the same meals repeatedly while you’re tracking your macronutrients and calories or meal-prepping. But a healthy vegan diet (or any meal plan, for that matter) should offer diversity.

Variety will ensure that you are getting all of the important amino acids you require as well as the micronutrients your body requires, according to Balduzzi. This is crucial during “cutting,” when inadequate meal preparation increases the likelihood that a person would experience nutritional deficits.

The Bottom Line On Vegan Bodybuilding

Matthews and Venus are living proof that you can eat a vegan bodybuilder diet and still grow muscle, but you have to know what you’re doing.

Working with a professional is still recommended instead of getting inspiration for your vegan bodybuilding diet plan from Instagram: “Vegan bodybuilding can get really complex and actually requires specific tailored attention.

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