People always ask me how the heck they could possibly gain muscle on a vegan diet. That’s because they have been brainwashed to believe that without eating a billion grams of protein per day their muscles will shrink faster than their wang in a cold pool. This simply isn’t true. Not even close.
The body can only assimilate so much protein on a daily basis and you can only build muscle so fast. If protein were really the key to building muscle you would see tons of 250 pound behemoths every where you went. They would be sitting next to you at the movies, serving you in restaurants and rubbing elbows with you in the waiting room of the dentists’ office. Because, let’s face it; everyone and their mother drinks protein shakes these days. And if that’s all it took to build muscle there would be a lot more huge dudes walking around.
I’m sure plenty of you have tried this before. You decided to start drinking an extra protein shake or two per day in the hopes of packing on new size. Or you decided to really jack up your protein intake by adding an extra three eggs to your morning omelet and another two chicken breasts to both lunch and dinner. And what happened after a month or two of this? Absolutely nothing. It’s protein, not steroids.
I only wish it were that easy. But as we have all found out the hard (and expensive) way; it isn’t. Total calories are more important than grams of protein when it comes to packing on muscle.
Having said that I will point out that some protein is necessary for those that want to build lean muscle. But this is far less than what the muscle mags and supplement companies would have you believe. Most people will need about .7 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight, daily, to build muscle. More than that doesn’t seem to offer much benefit. So a 180 pound guy looking to gain size would need about 126 grams of protein per day.
Now, you’re telling me you can’t get that on a vegan diet? Lentils, beans and peas are loaded with protein. Almonds and pistachios have 7 grams of protein per serving and both pumpkin and hemp seeds have 11 grams per serving. People usually only count protein grams from animal sources but this is a huge mistake. Vegetables have protein, brown rice has protein and even your morning bowl of oatmeal has 10 grams per cup.
If you eat a decent amount of legumes, nuts, seeds and veggies on a regular basis you should be able to hit your protein mark, no problem. If you can’t, you can always add in a scoop or two of pea, hemp or brown rice protein powder.
After a recent shoulder surgery incapacitated me for a few months I had lost a ton of weight. I gained almost thirty pounds back so far eating nothing but the foods I just mentioned. Although I am still far from my normal I deadlifted 455 for 6 this week. Last night I did heavy military presses, chins, shrugs, face pulls and finished up with 20 Prowler sprints. Some of the meat eating college kids were on the floor after 10, but at almost 35 years old, I just kept on sprinting away long after they had all fallen out.
I’ve had no trouble regaining size or strength on a vegan diet and have never felt better in my life. Trust me; you don’t need meat to succeed and you won’t lose an ounce of size or strength if you decide to go vegan.
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