Can You Build Muscle with Plant-Based Protein?

Can you build muscle with plant based protein

It doesn’t matter if an athlete has plans to be 100 percent vegan or if they just want to avoid animal-based protein sources like whey protein. In either case, it’s common for them (and their peers) to have concerns about whether or not it’s possible to build muscle and gain strength when eating plant-based protein sources.

Can you build muscle with plant-based protein? Is it possible to get swole without dairy-based protein? In short, absolutely. Everything you need to know about muscle building with plant-based protein is explained below.

Common Muscle-Building Challenges

You can build muscle with plant-based protein instead of traditional protein sources (such as whey protein). There are some potential challenges that come with getting your protein from plants instead of animal sources, though.

Listing these challenges isn’t meant to steer athletes away from consuming plant-based protein sources. Once you’re aware of the obstacles, you can take steps to avoid them and maximize your muscle gains.

Here are some of the most common challenges athletes face when they switch from animal-based protein sources to plant-based protein sources:

Lack of Complete Protein

Some plant-based protein sources are incomplete proteins. This means they don’t contain all nine essential amino acids, which the body cannot produce on its own.

One of the most important essential amino acids that is often missing from plant-based proteins is leucine, which is especially important for building muscle.

Differences in Absorption

The body doesn’t absorb as much protein from plant-based sources compared to animal-based protein sources. Because of this, those who get most (or all) of their protein from plants will likely need to consume a little more protein than those who eat more of an omnivorous diet.

Differences in Texture and Flavor

Some plant-based protein sources have a taste and texture that are off-putting to a lot of people. This is especially true of plant-based protein powders, some of which can be chalky or have an unpleasant after taste.

Digestive Problems

Sometimes, plant-based proteins can cause digestive issues. Some folks might experience bloating or gas after consuming low-quality plant-based protein sources, especially when they first add them into their diet.

How to Build Muscle on a Plant-Based Diet

Incorporating plant-based protein into your diet can present some challenges at first. It’s not impossible to build muscle on a plant-based diet, though.

By following these six steps, you can overcome the obstacles mentioned above, build muscle with plant-based protein, and reach all of your fitness goals:

1. Check Your Protein Sources

As we mentioned above, not all plant-based protein sources are created equal. Some plant-based proteins are complete proteins, and others are missing essential amino acids. If you’re going to start incorporating more plant-based proteins into your diet, it’s important to be mindful of the types of proteins you’re consuming.

Certain types of plant-based proteins contain more amino acids (and nutrients in general) than others. The following are some of the plant-based protein sources that will give you the most nutritional bang for your buck:

  • Pea Protein: Peas contain 21 grams/.74 ounces of protein per serving and are rich in iron
  • Brown Rice Protein: Brown rice contains 5 grams/.17 ounces of protein per serving and is rich in magnesium, manganese, and selenium
  • Fava Bean Protein: Fava beans contain 13 grams/.45 ounces of protein per cup and are a good source of manganese and copper
  • Soy Protein: Soy contains 23 grams/.81 ounces of protein per serving and is also a good source of iron
  • Quinoa Protein: Quinoa contains 8 grams/.28 ounces of protein per cup and is a good source of magnesium, manganese, and phosphorous

Not all of these, such as brown rice protein or fava bean protein, are complete protein sources. However, you can combine them with other sources to create a complete protein and enjoy more nutrients in one meal or snack.

2. Choose High-Quality Plant-Based Protein Powder

As an athlete, protein powder is likely a staple in your daily supplement stack. If you’re going to be switching to a plant-based diet, it’s important to find a high-quality plant-based protein powder to take the place of your daily whey or casein protein shake.

These days, there are tons of plant-based protein powder options on the market. Not all of them offer the same nutritional benefits, though.

When searching for a plant-based protein powder, here are some of the most important factors to consider:

  • Protein sources: What kind of plant protein is used in your plant-based protein powder? Is it made with a blend of quality protein sources for maximum nutrition?
  • Amino acid content: How many grams of branched-chain amino acids does your plant-based protein powder contain? Does it contain a sufficient amount of Leucine, specifically, to promote recovery and muscle building?
  • Reviews for taste and texture: What do people have to say about the protein powder’s taste and texture? Are the reviews generally positive?

Keep these factors in mind and you’ll be less likely to run into the digestive issues, flavor issues, and performance issues that many people complain about when consuming plant-based protein powder.

3. Track Your Protein Intake

If your primary goal is to build muscle, it’s essential that you take the time to track your protein intake.

It doesn’t matter if you’re eating a plant-based diet or an omnivorous diet. Either way, you need to be cognizant of how much protein you’re taking in each day. It’s easy to assume you’re getting enough and then, after looking at your diet a little more closely, realize that you’re under-doing it in the protein department.

There are lots of apps you can use that can help you to calculate how much protein you’re consuming on a daily basis. Take advantage of these apps, especially since most of them are free (or at least come with a free version).

Make sure you’re being precise when it comes to tracking your protein, too. Don’t just eyeball your portions and guess at how much you’re eating or drinking during each meal or snack. Weigh and measure your food so you know exactly what you’re taking in.

4. Be Consistent (with Workouts and Nutrition)

Another crucial part of building muscle while on a plant-based diet is consistency. Athletes who want to make progress in the gym need to be consistent with both their workouts and nutrition. What you eat and do matters, of course, but the way in which you do them matters even more.

If you don’t lift on a regular basis, or if you aren’t tracking your food and hitting your goals (especially your protein goals) consistently, you’ll have a hard time seeing the kind of results you’re after.

5. Lift Heavy

Keep in mind, too, that the way you exercise is just as important as the consistency with which you exercise. When you’re trying to build muscle, you’ll need to make sure you’re strength training on a regular basis.

Lifting weights and resistance training are essential for muscle building. Most athletes also see the best results when they’re lifting heavy weights with low reps and longer rest periods. For example, you might do 4 sets of 2-4 reps with 2-4 minutes of rest in between.

Be sure to pick a weight that lines up with this rep scheme. By the time you get to the second, third, or fourth rep, you should be feeling pretty taxed and as though you need a break (the weight shouldn’t be so heavy that you can’t lift it with proper technique, though).

6. Eat Enough Food

Finally, don’t forget to eat a sufficient amount of food when trying to build muscle. Hitting your protein goal is key, but you’ll need to hit your daily calorie goal, too.

If you’re undereating and in a calorie deficit, you won’t be able to build muscle and see good results. It won’t matter how heavy you’re lifting or how much protein you’re consuming.

This is another place where tracking your daily food and drink intake comes in handy. If you use an app (and weigh or measure your food precisely), you can ensure you meet all of your macronutrient and calorie goals.

Start Building Muscle with Plant-Based Protein Today

As you can see, it’s definitely possible to build muscle with plant-based protein. As long as you’re consuming high-quality plant-based protein sources and being consistent with your workouts, there’s no reason why you can’t make progress and stick to your diet.

Of all the plant-based protein powders on the market, none can compete with ProSupps Plant Perform. Made with a combination of plant protein sources and 3 grams/.10 ounces of additional leucine, it’s perfect for improving your performance and maximizing muscle growth. Check it out and start seeing results today.

It doesn’t matter if an athlete has plans to be 100 percent vegan or if they just want to avoid animal-based protein sources like whey protein. In either case, it’s common for them (and their peers) to have concerns about whether or not it’s possible to build muscle and gain strength when eating plant-based protein sources.

Can you build muscle with plant-based protein? Is it possible to get swole without dairy-based protein? In short, absolutely. Everything you need to know about muscle building with plant-based protein is explained below.

Common Muscle-Building Challenges

You can build muscle with plant-based protein instead of traditional protein sources (such as whey protein). There are some potential challenges that come with getting your protein from plants instead of animal sources, though.

Listing these challenges isn’t meant to steer athletes away from consuming plant-based protein sources. Once you’re aware of the obstacles, you can take steps to avoid them and maximize your muscle gains.

Here are some of the most common challenges athletes face when they switch from animal-based protein sources to plant-based protein sources:

Lack of Complete Protein

Some plant-based protein sources are incomplete proteins. This means they don’t contain all nine essential amino acids, which the body cannot produce on its own.

One of the most important essential amino acids that is often missing from plant-based proteins is leucine, which is especially important for building muscle.

Differences in Absorption

The body doesn’t absorb as much protein from plant-based sources compared to animal-based protein sources. Because of this, those who get most (or all) of their protein from plants will likely need to consume a little more protein than those who eat more of an omnivorous diet.

Differences in Texture and Flavor

Some plant-based protein sources have a taste and texture that are off-putting to a lot of people. This is especially true of plant-based protein powders, some of which can be chalky or have an unpleasant after taste.

Digestive Problems

Sometimes, plant-based proteins can cause digestive issues. Some folks might experience bloating or gas after consuming low-quality plant-based protein sources, especially when they first add them into their diet.

How to Build Muscle on a Plant-Based Diet

Incorporating plant-based protein into your diet can present some challenges at first. It’s not impossible to build muscle on a plant-based diet, though.

By following these six steps, you can overcome the obstacles mentioned above, build muscle with plant-based protein, and reach all of your fitness goals:

1. Check Your Protein Sources

As we mentioned above, not all plant-based protein sources are created equal. Some plant-based proteins are complete proteins, and others are missing essential amino acids. If you’re going to start incorporating more plant-based proteins into your diet, it’s important to be mindful of the types of proteins you’re consuming.

Certain types of plant-based proteins contain more amino acids (and nutrients in general) than others. The following are some of the plant-based protein sources that will give you the most nutritional bang for your buck:

  • Pea Protein: Peas contain 21 grams/.74 ounces of protein per serving and are rich in iron
  • Brown Rice Protein: Brown rice contains 5 grams/.17 ounces of protein per serving and is rich in magnesium, manganese, and selenium
  • Fava Bean Protein: Fava beans contain 13 grams/.45 ounces of protein per cup and are a good source of manganese and copper
  • Soy Protein: Soy contains 23 grams/.81 ounces of protein per serving and is also a good source of iron
  • Quinoa Protein: Quinoa contains 8 grams/.28 ounces of protein per cup and is a good source of magnesium, manganese, and phosphorous

Not all of these, such as brown rice protein or fava bean protein, are complete protein sources. However, you can combine them with other sources to create a complete protein and enjoy more nutrients in one meal or snack.

2. Choose High-Quality Plant-Based Protein Powder

As an athlete, protein powder is likely a staple in your daily supplement stack. If you’re going to be switching to a plant-based diet, it’s important to find a high-quality plant-based protein powder to take the place of your daily whey or casein protein shake.

These days, there are tons of plant-based protein powder options on the market. Not all of them offer the same nutritional benefits, though.

When searching for a plant-based protein powder, here are some of the most important factors to consider:

  • Protein sources: What kind of plant protein is used in your plant-based protein powder? Is it made with a blend of quality protein sources for maximum nutrition?
  • Amino acid content: How many grams of branched-chain amino acids does your plant-based protein powder contain? Does it contain a sufficient amount of Leucine, specifically, to promote recovery and muscle building?
  • Reviews for taste and texture: What do people have to say about the protein powder’s taste and texture? Are the reviews generally positive?

Keep these factors in mind and you’ll be less likely to run into the digestive issues, flavor issues, and performance issues that many people complain about when consuming plant-based protein powder.

3. Track Your Protein Intake

If your primary goal is to build muscle, it’s essential that you take the time to track your protein intake.

It doesn’t matter if you’re eating a plant-based diet or an omnivorous diet. Either way, you need to be cognizant of how much protein you’re taking in each day. It’s easy to assume you’re getting enough and then, after looking at your diet a little more closely, realize that you’re under-doing it in the protein department.

There are lots of apps you can use that can help you to calculate how much protein you’re consuming on a daily basis. Take advantage of these apps, especially since most of them are free (or at least come with a free version).

Make sure you’re being precise when it comes to tracking your protein, too. Don’t just eyeball your portions and guess at how much you’re eating or drinking during each meal or snack. Weigh and measure your food so you know exactly what you’re taking in.

4. Be Consistent (with Workouts and Nutrition)

Another crucial part of building muscle while on a plant-based diet is consistency. Athletes who want to make progress in the gym need to be consistent with both their workouts and nutrition. What you eat and do matters, of course, but the way in which you do them matters even more.

If you don’t lift on a regular basis, or if you aren’t tracking your food and hitting your goals (especially your protein goals) consistently, you’ll have a hard time seeing the kind of results you’re after.

5. Lift Heavy

Keep in mind, too, that the way you exercise is just as important as the consistency with which you exercise. When you’re trying to build muscle, you’ll need to make sure you’re strength training on a regular basis.

Lifting weights and resistance training are essential for muscle building. Most athletes also see the best results when they’re lifting heavy weights with low reps and longer rest periods. For example, you might do 4 sets of 2-4 reps with 2-4 minutes of rest in between.

Be sure to pick a weight that lines up with this rep scheme. By the time you get to the second, third, or fourth rep, you should be feeling pretty taxed and as though you need a break (the weight shouldn’t be so heavy that you can’t lift it with proper technique, though).

6. Eat Enough Food

Finally, don’t forget to eat a sufficient amount of food when trying to build muscle. Hitting your protein goal is key, but you’ll need to hit your daily calorie goal, too.

If you’re undereating and in a calorie deficit, you won’t be able to build muscle and see good results. It won’t matter how heavy you’re lifting or how much protein you’re consuming.

This is another place where tracking your daily food and drink intake comes in handy. If you use an app (and weigh or measure your food precisely), you can ensure you meet all of your macronutrient and calorie goals.

Start Building Muscle with Plant-Based Protein Today

As you can see, it’s definitely possible to build muscle with plant-based protein. As long as you’re consuming high-quality plant-based protein sources and being consistent with your workouts, there’s no reason why you can’t make progress and stick to your diet.

Of all the plant-based protein powders on the market, none can compete with ProSupps Plant Perform. Made with a combination of plant protein sources and 3 grams/.10 ounces of additional leucine, it’s perfect for improving your performance and maximizing muscle growth. Check it out and start seeing results today.

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