Vegan and vegetarian bodybuilding can be tough, and it’s especially difficult for skinny guys and hardgainers. Successful bodybuilding requires a level of protein that can be difficult to get from vegetables, which can make it even harder for a skinny guy to put on bulk. It is possible, but you’ll need to understand your unique dietary requirements. Your body is essentially a calorie-burning furnace, so you’ll never bulk up if you don’t stoke the fire with the right foods.
Hardgainer Dietary Requirements
If you’re a skinny hardgainer, then you already know that your metabolism burns through calories with the fiery intensity of a blast furnace. Some people struggle to take weight off, but you can pour tons of fats and sugars into your furnace without ever gaining a pound. However, that blast furnace is also your greatest strength. If you stoke it with the right foods, your workout sessions will allow you to pack on insane muscles.
As a hardgainer, you need a whole lot of:
- Lean protein.
- Good fats.
- Daily meals.
It’s essential to pack in enough high quality calories to feed your furnace, which means eating tons of lean proteins, good fats, and other nutrient-rich foods. Your body also burns through nutrition very quickly, which means you won’t be able to get by with just two or three meals each day. If you want to pack on the muscles, you’ll need to eat between six and eight times every day.
Unique Vegetarian and Vegan Bodybuilding Problems
It’s difficult enough for hardgainers to pack on muscle, but the grueling task of building muscles for vegans and vegetarians can seem nearly insurmountable. As a vegan or vegetarian bodybuilder, you typically face a:
- Lack of high calorie foods.
- Lack of protein choices.
- Lack of energy.
There are a few energy-dense vegan foods, but most hardgainers rely on lean protein and good fats. The good news is that you can get plenty of healthy fats from vegetable oils. One of the biggest challenges is a lack of energy, but most energy problems can be solved by carefully monitoring your diet. If you’re suffering from a lack of energy, that’s usually a hint that you aren’t feeding your furnace the right foods.
It can also be difficult for vegetarians and vegans to eat enough food each day. When you put all that together, you’ll see that nearly every hardgainer dietary need is more difficult to satisfy on a vegan or vegetarian diet. It isn’t impossible to pack on muscles while sticking to your diet, but you will need to pay very close attention to what you eat.
Every vegetarian is different, so some people will have an easier time putting together a diet plan than others. If you eat fish, eggs, or dairy, those are great sources of protein and nutrition. Eggs are one of the most complete nutritional packages in nature, and fish are packed with healthy oils. Dairy products also include yogurt, cheese, and other items that are packed with protein and other nutrients.
Building Muscles for Vegans
Vegans have fewer dietary choices than vegetarians, but you still have a number of great options. Soy is one of the best sources of protein for both vegans and vegetarians. You can eat soy beans, tofu, and other soy-based products to meet the daily needs of your furnace. Nuts, seeds, and legumes also provide energy-dense carbohydrates that aren’t full of bad fats.
Most vegetarians and vegans eat brown rice, but you might want to consider trying quinoa instead. It’s similar in taste to brown rice, but it has a higher protein content. You can also swap out tempeh for tofu if you need to add more protein to your diet.
Eat Your Vegetables
As a vegetarian or vegan hardgainer, you also have to be careful to take in enough vitamins and minerals. This is especially important if you avoid dairy products. Calcium is a vital nutrient found in dairy products, and you may need to take a dietary supplement to get enough. Spinach and broccoli are both high in calcium, so you can also focus on adding those to your daily meal plan.
You can also satisfy most of your other vitamin and mineral needs with various nuts and vegetables. Foods like almonds, bananas, and cantaloupe are rich in potassium, and certain legumes are rich in B vitamins, iron, zinc and other nutrients. If you don’t eat fish, flaxseed oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Some vitamin-rich foods that are essential for vegan and vegetarian bodybuilding include:
- Whole grains.
Nutritional and Dietary Supplements
It’s possible to obtain virtually all of your nutrients from non-animal sources, but you may need to turn to supplements. If you’re not sure that you’ll be able to meet all of your nutritional needs, you should consider taking a daily multi-vitamin. Iron is one nutrient that most people get from red meat, so some vegans and vegetarians need to take a supplement.
If you’re suffering from a general lack of energy, you may have a vitamin B12 deficiency. Since vitamin B12 is only found in animal sources, this is often a major stumbling block for both vegetarian and vegan bodybuilding. There is no whole food source of vitamin B12, so the only option is to take a supplement.
You should try to obtain all of the nutrition and calories that you can from your food intake, but you can also consider taking a protein powder. Ovo-vegetarians can take egg white protein powders, and both vegetarians and vegans can use soy protein powders. You may be tempted to overdo it with these calorie-dense supplements, but it’s vital to use them in accordance with your overall bodybuilding plan.
Now that you’re aware of the problems you face as a hardgaining vegetarian or vegan, you should also know how to defeat those problems. You need to start by identifying foods that are full of protein, energy, and good fats, which will allow you to put together a meal plan that’s capable of stoking your furnace and promoting insane muscle gains.
After you’ve compiled a healthy meal plan that’s full of calories, protein, and good fats, you can plug that into your overall bodybuilding plan. You’re always going to have a hard time packing on the muscles, but fueling your furnace with the right foods will allow you to have the most productive weight training sessions of your life.
Hi, James McLain Here,
I own this site, and I hope this article has helped you solidify a better knowledge of how to achieve fantastic muscle gains with your dietary restrictions as a vegan or vegetarian. The basics of bodybuilding are still the same for you apart from your diet though so thankfully you just need to replace any meats and other restricted foods with better ones listed in the article instead.
The rest of the puzzle of going from skinny to muscle though can still be a difficult thing to achieve without the right guidance and advice which is why I highly recommend Vince Delmontes No-Nonsense Muscle Building Guide to any skinny hardgainers who want to really go to the next level. This guide will not just help you add a little extra meat to your bones, it can help you pack on as much as is physically possible without the use of any sorts of drugs, and with hardly any supplements (or even none at all!)
You see, Vince was once a hardgainer. A skinny runt who thought he could never gain the physique he craved but found out the secrets of skinny bodybuilding and went from 149 pounds to 190 pounds of rock solid muscle in less than 6 months!
Now a professional model and fitness coach respected worldwide Vince Delmonte has released a fully downloadable guide on how you can get the body you want without supplements or steroids. This guide has everything you need to know to pack on serious amounts of muscle and comes with a detailed diet section as well as complete meal plans for every part of your muscle gain journey based on the calories you need per day and week. All this amounts to making your eating requirements a breeze so you can concentrate on all the other aspects of your life.