Bulking means to put on muscle mass, which obviously is the primary fitness goal of bodybuilders whether vegetarian or non-vegetarian. To achieve this goal, they follow a strict exercise routine. In between, they are required to rest and to let their body regain the lost energy by consuming foods that promote faster muscle growth.

However, there is a huge difference between non-vegetarian and vegetarian bodybuilding bulking diet. Traditional bulking diets are rich in proteins as these are gained from meats including chicken, tuna, and beef, etc. But, vegetarian and vegan bodybuilders need to rely upon no-meat and plant-based diet. Therefore, it is extremely important for vegan bodybuilders to incorporate most suitable foods to encourage muscle growth.

Which Essential Nutrients Do Vegan Bodybuilders Need?

In order to increase muscle mass and bulk up, the most important nutrient that you need to consume is protein, which is responsible to aid muscle growth, recovery and repair. Although for adults the daily average protein required per kg of body weight is 0.8g, bodybuilders and athletes need 2g of protein per kg of body weight because they undergo extensive strength-training. So, if you weigh 91kg or 200lbs, then ideally, you need to consume 180g protein on a daily basis.

Furthermore, you need to intake sufficient amounts of carbohydrates as well so that you receive optimal energy. Carbohydrates are an excellent source of obtaining healthy saturated fats, vitamin absorption, and production of hormones. Typical vegan bodybuilding bulking diet should contain 50% carbohydrates, 30% protein and 20% fat.

What is the Ideal Calorie Count for Vegan Athletes?

Vegetarian and vegan bodybuilders need a higher amount of calories than average adults to bulk up. It isn’t too surprising for you..is it? The reason is that since vegans and vegetarians are on an all-plants and no-meat diet, so they need more calories because fresh fruits and veggies do not offer rich calorie count. But, this doesn’t mean you cannot bulk up simply because vegan is a low-calorie diet. The good news is that there are certain food sources that offer a high amount of calories and are perfect for bulking up. These include beans, plant oils, nuts and soy products.

Vegetarian bodybuilders need to eat at least eight meals per day to maintain the required calorie count and compensate for the lost energy and the calories burnt during the workout. It is important to note that to bulk up, bodybuilders need to undergo strength training and to remain energized and healthy, they must increase calorie intake. Wondering how many calories your body needs daily? Use an online calculator for this purpose; just provide information about your age, weight, gender, size, fitness goals and activity level and you will receive a number of recommended calories. To bulk up, add between 200 to 500 calories to that figure.

Most Feasible Dietary Options for Bulking:

Your bulking diet MUST include nuts, seeds, quinoa, dried beans, tofu, lentils, and hemp powder. Moreover, you need to incorporate carbohydrates rich foods as well including fruits, starchy veggies, and whole grains to receive the maximum number of essential nutrients and fat content. Healthy and unsaturated fat content can also be obtained from flaxseed oil or ground flaxseed, peanut butter, hummus, and avocados while other sources of fat include seaweed, vegan energy bars and seitan. Vegan bodybuilding supplements like protein powder can also be consumed to bulk up.

Time for Some Experimentation—Here is a Sample Meal Plan for Bulking Up:

You should ideally start your day with a fruit smoothie by blending together seasonal fresh fruits like berries, apples, bananas, etc., and hemp powder. Along with the smoothie, you can take a bowl of oatmeal or make a sandwich of wholegrain bread with hummus.

As mentioned above, you need to consume at least 7-8 meals per day to bulk up. So, as your mid-morning snack, you can take a vegan energy bar with mixed nuts or dried fruits.

At lunchtime, feed yourself a large portion of roasted veggies, tofu, quinoa and olive oil.

Mid-afternoon meal can include nut butter, fresh fruits or a bagel.

For dinner, how about a bowl of delicious lentil soup, a burrito, tortilla made with whole wheat flour, or brown rice with black beans and avocado?

Say No To Steroids—How to Bulk Up the Natural Way?

Bulking up on a vegan diet is definitely challenging, which is why many bodybuilders switch to supplementation options. Since steroids are prohibited from consumption, vegan bodybuilders need to rely upon strength training, nutritional diet and an active daily routine to achieve bulking up goals. If you have sufficient know-how of the right techniques to bulk up naturally, then you can develop impressive muscle mass without using steroids or chemical-laden supplements. The following tips will help you bulk up in a natural way.

  • Heavy Lifting: Since vegan bodybuilding thrives upon nutrition-rich diet and intense strength training, therefore, the heavy lifting requirement is higher for them than non-vegetarian bodybuilders. The reason is that non-vegetarian bodybuilders can use steroids and drugs to aid muscle growth and hence, they can easily get away with lighter training. So, if you want to bulk up naturally, switch to multi-joint exercises like bench press or squat and perform them with heavy weights to increase the amount of muscle fiber. Only use those weights that let you perform 3 to 5 repetitions.
  • Water Consumption: Do you know that there is 75% water in the composition of muscles? To allow healthy and natural muscle growth, you must consume plenty of water daily. Ideally, you should be drinking a gallon of water at least to compensate for the water content your body loses as sweat during a workout session.
  • Creatine Supplement: For your information, creatine is a naturally occurring compound, which is produced by the body to generate energy. If you consume additional creatine in the form of dietary supplement, you can improve endurance level tremendously. This would let you complete more repetitions per set and workouts will become more effective.
  • Shake-it-up with Whey Protein Like Supplement For Post Workout: Post workout, your muscles are ready to absorb nutrients more than their normal range. Therefore, you must drink a vegan shake like Soy Protein , Hemp Protein or Pea Protein to counteract the breaking down of muscles after training and ensure faster muscle growth.