Training, Diet, And Recovery On A Vegan Diet – Tips and Tricks
If you’re struggling to gain muscle or go through a proper cut while on a vegan diet, Go Vegan Muscle is here to help.
I’ll give you a full day of my meals and macronutrients I’m consuming at the current moment, and add some tips and tricks along the way.
See, being vegan doesn’t mean you have to struggle to gain muscle or lack in performance. You can build muscle just as easily compared to any other meat based diet plan.
It’s not the diet that counts, but the quality of the diet.
Here’s a good way to show that. How many people at your local gym eat meat? How many of them look like they’re weak and have very little muscle mass or strength?
This goes to show that even though these folks eat meat, it doesn’t reciprocate to automatically being strong or building a good physique.
There are a whole bunch of factors that are incorporated into the muscle building process.
Let’s get started
The Way You Train
While most people think showing up to the gym is good enough to reach their goals, they’re in for some disappointing news.
You need to push yourself and your limits every single workout.
If you only benched 135 pounds for 4 reps your last workout, you need to up the ante.
Either increase the bench to 140 pounds or bench 135 for 5+ reps. Always look to make progress, and always look to increase the weight or amount of reps each and every workout.
Next, stop wasting your time on stupid machines.
Machines are for lazy people.
I’m not saying I never use any machines, because I do once in a while to break some plateaus, but there are way better options than leg extensions or hamstring curls to build your leg muscles.
Get over to the free weights and jump into some deep front squats or sumo deadlifts.
Head over to the incline bench and rep out some heavy weights in the trenches!
You have to go to war on your body.
Don’t kill yourself, but working out should bring a good kind of pain.
Sitting at a silly machine which was made for you to easily push or move the weight is a waste of your time.
Compound lifts are the absolute best way to work your muscles into another stratosphere. Not to mention compound lifts engage so many more muscle groups than isolation exercises and trigger the release of testosterone and growth hormones (major muscle building chemicals).
Finally, do you ever see those people at the gym who are always on their phones?
I get it, we’ve all been sucked into Instagram, Snapchat, and text messaging.
But that’s no excuse to sit on a machine, bench, or squat rack while other people are clearly waiting.
Not only that, but the real question is, what did you come to the gym for? Improving yourself or online shopping?
This isn’t complicated.
When you work out, you should really connect with your body and mind, similar to meditation and yoga. This isn’t just about being focused for disciplinary reasons.
Focusing on your body creates a real known phenomenon known as ‘the mind-muscle connection.’ And when you connect with your body, you reap amazing results.
Feel the stretch on that last rep of squat. Recognizing that deep stretch will only make your muscles grow even more! It has proven results
Train how you want to look!
Lift all the weights you want.
But none of it really matters unless you have the proper nutrition. This means consuming a proper amount of calories, protein, carbs, and fats.
All these numbers will depend on your current weight and whatever goals you have.
For lifters bulking, take your weight in pounds and multiply it by 16 or 18. This is how many calories you should be consuming a day.
If you’re cutting, take your weight and multiply it by 11 or 13. This is the amount of calories you should be consuming to get rid of that stubborn fat.
As a vegan, you must eat protein and calorie dense foods to help promote your muscle growth.
Foods you should eat include but are not limited to:
• Soy: Tofu, tempeh, soy milk, edamame, and more. Soy is 100% a complete protein and provides all the 9 essential amino acids needed to accelerate muscle growth
• Beans: There are a million different kinds of beans out there on the market. Buy dry so you can save your money, not to mention its healthier than canned beans. Minus soybeans, lentils would have the most amount of protein, around 20 grams per cup.
• Seitan: An unknown source of protein that everyone is missing from their diet. Seitan is made from vital wheat gluten and has 23 grams of protein… per quarter cup! A great meat substitute for vegans and vegetarians alike.
• Seeds and Nuts: Not only do they have a lot of protein and healthy fats, but they have a ton of wonderful benefits, including raising testosterone. Hemp seeds, chia seeds, and pumpkin seeds are straight from the earth. Incorporate real whole foods into your diet. Nuts and seeds will bring you strength and health.
• Greens: Spinach and kale are not only delicious but have a ton of iron and heart healthy ingredients. Also high in cancer-preventing properties, there should be 0 reasons why you avoid your dark leafy greens.
• Grains: Couscous, wholegrain bread, rice, and barley. All these foods pair well with beans, hot sauce, and vegetable. They also have an insane amount of carbs and you should generally add them to every meal.
• Quinoa: Another complete protein. Quinoa can be added to anything and has the most amazing nutrient rich profile. A superfood that makes you big and strong, I highly suggest using it to make salads bowls with tofu, tomatoes, spinach, pumpkin seeds and more.
If you want to see the full list of high protein vegan foods you should eat, check out the article here.
My Current Diet Plan – With Macros
And now, I’ll give you a current view of what I eat in a day.
Since I’m currently bulking, I’m eating in a caloric deficit. Generally, when eating in a deficit, you should take your weight in pounds and multiply it by 11 or 13 to get the amount of calories you need to consume in a day.
Since I weigh 195, I’m going to multiply that by 11.
195lbs x 11 = 2,145 calories a day
So, in order for me to gain mass in my bulking phase, I should be eating upwards of 3,100 calories a day minimum.
My protein intake should be around .6-.8g/lb.
At 195, this means consuming between 117 – 156 grams per day.
Now for the meals.
Meal 1 – Breakfast
It’s no lie that eating breakfast has an effect on you for the rest of your day.
I prefer to eat a meal that is high in protein and fast digesting carbs that can get me amped up for an immediate workout. I like to consume a protein bowl filled with an abundance of great food.
Not only is it delicious but it’s super nutritious and very quick to make.
- ½ cup Trader Joe’s steel cut oats
- 1 cup vanilla soy milk
- 1 tablespoon chocolate chips
- 1/3 cup mixed berries
- 3 tablespoons of hemp seeds
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
- 1 scoop Raw Life Organic Protein Powder
- Total Macronutrients = 900 calories, 47g protein, 91g carbs, 40g fat
Meal 2 – Lunch
It’s important I get an adedquate amount of protein in my lunch since it’s technically my post-workout meal. I add some greens along with some tofu to get those extra vitamins.
- ½ block of Trader Joe’s extra firm organic tofu
- Handful of spinach, kale, and greens
- 2 slices of multigrain toast
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- Total Macronutrients = 627 Calories, 48g protein, 41g carbs, 30g fat
Meal 3 – Dinner
Last meal of the day. Nothing too complicated here, just eating enough food so I stay in a caloric deficit while still getting the proper amount of protein needed in a day.
- Seitan: ½ cup Bob’s Red Mill Vital Wheat Gluten
- ½ cup of lentils
- 1 medium avocado
- Total Macronutrients = 600 Calories, 59g protein, 40g carbs, 23g fat
Daily Totals = 2,115 Calories, 154 grams of protein, 172 grams of carbs, 93 grams of fat
This might seem like a lot of food, and that’s because it is!
But like Ronnie Coleman and so many other bodybuilders have said, if you want to get big, you have to eat big.
Nutrition is the most difficult part about getting in shape.
It is very difficult to maintain a solid diet day-in and day-out.
It is also very easy to simply cheat and eat foods that are of bad quality, high in fat, sugar, and salt.
But this is where you must dig deep, and realize that there’s no other way. If you don’t constantly cook high quality meals filled with protein and calories for EVERY SINGLE MEAL, you will never get the body you desire.
Trust and believe in yourself and know that you can do it.
No one ever said it was going to be easy, but trust me…
Everyone said it was worth it.
Rest and Recovery
While most people think that training and nutrition are the only important aspects to focus on regarding fitness, they’re forgetting something big.
Rest and recovery.
Believe it or not but sleep and rest is actually when the muscle develops and grows, not the gym.
Even though your biceps might pump and fill up with blood at the gym, you are not making any muscle development.
Working out causes your muscle fibers to tear.
Once torn it is up to you to repair the muscle fibers. Eating proper foods and getting enough sleep is when the fibers repair themselves and get stronger and larger.
So how much sleep do you actually need to build muscle?
I recommend getting 7-9 hours of sleep a night.
For me personally, I’m always trying to get a full 8 hours. My body and mind feel well rested and ready to take on the day.
Any more than 9 hours and you might be oversleeping, causing you to get very tired throughout the day.
And if you can’t get that much, most doctors recommend a minimum of 6.5 hours of sleep a night, although for building muscle, more is better.
If you can’t get enough at night I suggest trying to take a nap sometime during the day around 2pm. But for most people, their schedules do not permit them to do so.
Although sleep is not a complicated process, some people are so busy that they have a tough time getting enough of it.
Another issue is the quality of sleep.
Here’s a tip. Get off your phone or any other form of ‘blue light’ before bed.
It inhibits your body’s creation of melatonin, a chemical your mind produces that helps you sleep at night.
You should have a bedtime routine that prepares your mind and body for rest. I don’t recommend working out an hour or two before bed, this will just make you awake.
I also don’t recommend doing high importance or mind busy tasks within an hour before you hit the sheets.
Getting the mind busy is not the goal here.
My bedtime routine includes reading a book for half an hour, followed by 10 minutes of meditation. The last 20 minutes are for self-reflection.
Use self-reflection before bed to think about what you want to do tomorrow.
Think about your goals, the things you love, and how awesome it really is to be alive. Incorporate some gratitude into your life.
Thinking this right before bed programs your sub-conscious. The next morning you wake up and already have the right mindset to get to work and live another wonderful day!
Think about it…
Feeding your mind nonsense from social media
Positive visualization and self-reflection before bed.
Which one is going to make a greater positive impact on your life?
You already know the answer.
This will also help you get the correct amount of sleep and recovery at night to help you make those gains!
Think of exercising or bodybuilding as starting a fire.
You need three things: Fuel, oxygen, and a spark.
In the case of muscle building, the
- Fuel = Food and Nutrition
- Oxygen = Rest, Sleep, Recovery
- Spark = Exercising
Similar to the fire analogy, the more fuel you have the bigger your fire. The same goes for fitness. The more healthy food you consume, the better and bigger your bodybuilding results will be!
Oxygen can be represented by sleep. You always generally have oxygen, the same way you always will sleep every night. But the more sleep/oxygen you get, the more potential for a large fire!
And lastly, the spark! The spark is something that combusts and creates a potential for fire. But without adding fuel to it, the spark creates nothing. In this case, the spark is exercise or lifting. It creates the necessary combustion in order to get your body on the path of building muscle.