How to Build Muscle on a Plant-Based Diet

Looking to make the switch to a plant-based diet?

Building muscle and burning fat on a plant-based diet seems like a daunting task, especially when you don’t know what you’re doing! The truth is, having some knowledge under your training belt can equip you with the tools you need to break any misconceptions you have about building muscle on a plant-based diet.

I have a confession, before going Plant Based, I was a plant-based bully, that’s right, I’m not proud of it. I would walk around calling my girlfriend a “grass eater” at least 3-4x a day. Well over time she helped me realize that my meat and potato brain thinking was not only a problem for the health of the planet but also for my own health! When I started changing my diet initially, I lost over 15lbs of unintended weight but since then I have been able to put on 20lbs back and my weight has been heavier on a plant-based diet than it ever was on a meat and potatoes diet. Below is a simple rule you can follow to make sure you don’t burn the muscle you are trying to build.

Rule of minus one plus one

All the food you eat contains what’s called “calories”. These calories are energy units for our body and help us to maintain basic day to day functioning. The number of calories needed to keep basic day to functioning at its optimal level is called your basal metabolic rate. Eating calories above this rate is known as the caloric surplus and it will cause you to gain weight. Eating calories below this is known as a caloric deficit and it will cause you to lose weight.  If your goal is to gain weight on a plant-based diet, then your goal should be to eat the right foods in a caloric surplus.

Plant based meal prep

Plant Based Meal Prep. Photo by Ella Olsson on Unsplash

Many people when transitioning over to a plant-based diet, transition over without knowing how this energy unit effects weight gain and weight loss and so they end up getting rid of meat in replace of a diet of salad or highly processed low micronutrient foods. In this way they get rid of a heavily dense food item in meat in replace of a low-density food item like salads and they end up losing weight and burning off muscle instead of calories for energy.

When you utilize the rule of minus one plus one, anytime you take out a meat item, you take note of the calories it has and replace it with a plant-based item that has equal calories. This is a simple rule that will ensure your body has enough calories and micronutrients on board when lifting weights in order to support muscle building.

Jason Christo Trainer

Jason Christo is a Master Trainer and health and wellness author of over 10 years. He has helped people around the world realize their health and body goals. This former semi-professional athlete has a degree in psychology which he has used to expand into his fitness business. Jason’s approach always includes motivational and empowering components specifically designed to give his clients the edge. He is an outside-the-box trainer that tests the limits of what people think they can achieve in order to get them to places they never thought possible.

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