How To Gain Weight On A Vegan Diet. Don’t Overcomplicate It!

When it comes to gaining weight, especially muscle mass, people like to overcomplicate the process.

Truth is, it’s really not as difficult as it seems.

It just takes hard work and time.

Unfortunately, whenever something requires both work and time, people try to look for a shortcut or some secret pill to help them quickly reach their goals.

Many people waste so much time looking for a shortcut that they’ll never find! Instead, they could be using that time dedicated to working towards their goals!

If you want to put some muscle mass on that skinny frame, it comes down to a few key principles.

Here’s how you can gain weight on a vegan diet.


Caloric Surplus

Gaining weight comes down to a very simple equation.

More calories in than more calories out.

Your body burns calories as a way to function. Everything your body does requires energy. It acquires that energy through food in the form of calories and other macronutrients such as protein, carbs, and fats.

The amount of calories your body burns a day is known as your ‘caloric maintenance.’

If you ate the same amount of calories as your caloric maintenance every single day, you would never gain nor lose weight (barring some kind of sickness/disease).

For example, I weigh 200 pounds and my caloric maintenance is around 2,400 calories. If I eat 2,400 calories worth of food every single day I will neither gain nor lose any weight.

So, if my goal is to put on weight, I must exceed the caloric maintenance.

Exceeding the caloric maintenance level is known as a ‘caloric surplus.’

The same concept goes for losing weight, but instead, I must consume less than the caloric maintenance.


Find Your Caloric Maintenance

Step one is to find your caloric maintenance.

The number will depend on a variety of factors such as your:

  • Weight
  • Gender
  • Height
  • Daily Activity Level

The larger and heavier you are, the higher your caloric maintenance.

The more active you are, the more calories your body burns. Therefore, your caloric maintenance is higher as well.

Someone who weighs 250 pounds will have a much higher caloric maintenance than someone who weighs 120 pounds.

Finding your caloric maintenance on your own is pretty difficult.

That’s where we turn to the internet for help!

Check out this caloric calculator by

Fill out the info including your gender, height, weight, etc.

The select caloric maintenance as your goal.

At the end, you’ll get a number that ROUGHLY estimates your caloric maintenance level.

Now with your caloric maintenance, add another 300-500 calories to this number.

This final number will be a caloric surplus and the number of calories you should consume a day if you want to gain weight.


Eat The Right Foods

Now that you have found how much you need to eat, the real question is… What do you eat?

It’s important to ask because you can eat 3,000 calories worth of junk food in a day but you can also eat 3,000 calories of vegetables, grains, and quality protein.

Which one is going to benefit your health and weight gain more?

I think you already know the answer to that question.

Eating the right foods during a caloric surplus will help you control your weight gain and help you put on the good weight (muscle) and not the bad weight (stubborn body fat).

If you eat heavily processed foods that are high in sodium and sugar you’ll have a much harder time controlling your weight gain. Plus, it’s really not that healthy to begin with.

Foods you should avoid include:

  • Chips and Junk Food
  • Fake/Substitute Meat
  • Pre-made/Ready-to-eat Meals

Don’t get me wrong, it’s okay to eat these once in a while. I enjoy eating some fake meat like a Beyond or Impossible Burger from time to time as my go-to cheat meal. Just don’t make it into a daily habit.

You should also avoid alcohol and weight gainer shakes.

Alcohol is filled with empty calories and lowers your muscle-building hormones as well as your body’s ability to recover.

So what foods should you eat?

Plant-based organic whole foods that come straight from the earth.

Foods like:

  • Pasta/Grains
  • Tofu
  • Plant-based milks
  • Leafy Greens
  • Fruits and Berries
  • Oats
  • Nuts and Seeds

These foods aren’t heavily processed. In fact, all these foods aren’t processed at all for the most part.

They come straight from the ground or are plucked from a plant. Super nutritious and healthy for the body.

I always say: “The less steps it takes for your food to get to your plate, the better it is for you.”

For example, blueberries have practically no steps for you to consume. You pluck the berries and you can eat them right then and there.

That can’t be said for fake cheese or substitute meat.

You need all these ingredients of things you can’t even pronounce, followed by combining everything and transforming it into a patty that tastes like meat. A lot of oil and salt is used to make everything taste better. Then you cook it on the grill with more oil and salt.

There’s a lot of ‘processing’ and steps that go into getting the fake meat to your plate, which ultimately makes them unhealthy.

Although processed foods are tasty and easy to prepare, they can ultimately end up hurting your health in the long wrong.

Meanwhile, organic plant-based whole foods have been shown to do incredible acts of healing such as:

  • Preventing/fighting cancer
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Lower risk of brain diseases
  • Increase heart and bone health
  • Improve mood
  • Increase athletic performance and recovery
  • And so much more!


Continue To Exercise And Lift Weights

If you want to gain more muscle mass than fat, you must regularly lift weights so that the extra calories you consume turn into muscle mass rather than body fat…

Try to lift weights around 3-4 times a week.

The exercises you do will have a great impact on how your muscles adapt and grow over time.

Instead of doing isolated exercises like biceps curls, tricep pull downs, and leg extensions; focus on heavy compound based movements.

  • Squat
  • Deadlift
  • Bench Press
  • Military Press
  • Rows
  • Pull-Ups
  • Dips

Your main goal should be to get stronger on every single one of these movements. If you can increase the weight on each compound movement by just a little bit every single workout, after a year you’ll gain great strength and size.

Want bigger legs? Increase your squat…

Want a bigger back? Increase your deadlift and do more pull-ups…

Want a bigger chest? Increase your bench…

Simple but effective.



Again, gaining weight even on a vegan diet is not as complicated as it seems.

Simple biology and anatomy is all it takes.

Eat more calories than your body burns and you’ll gain plenty of weight.

Just be sure it’s the good weight (muscle mass), and not body fat. Body fat can be rather hard to get rid of and will take some time and effort just to cut it out.

Just to go over the main points, here’s what you should remember/do:

  • Find your caloric maintenance and consume 300-500 calories above this (caloric surplus)
  • Eat the right foods so that you gain weight as healthy as possible
  • Continue to exercise and lift weights so that you pack on muscle mass rather than fat

Follow these steps and you’ll get those sweets gains you can only dream of!