Muscle building for vegans – that’s how it works even without animal proteins

muscle building vegans

There are people who argue that muscle building with a vegan diet is not possible. But objectively that is not correct. In this article you can read how you can best grow muscle as a vegan. 

How does muscle building work?

For effective muscle building , with or without a vegan diet, 3 factors are essential First of all, exercising with the right training stimulus is important. This gives your body the signal to build more muscle mass.

After the training, the recovery phase begins . Only then does your body really start building muscle mass. In this phase it is important that you give your body a break for up to 48 hours and take it easy with the trained muscles.

However, this does not mean that you should just lie on the couch in the recovery phase. A relaxing massage after your workout is good to stimulate your blood circulation. A nice walk, a relaxed bike ride or a cardio session at low speed are also good for your recovery.

But in order for your muscles to actually grow and convert into muscle mass, they need the right nutrients : carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Proteins in particular contribute to an increase in muscle mass. These proteins can come from animal or vegetable sources. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. We will tell you which they are.

Animal vs. vegetable proteins – which is better?

Just a few years ago, as with carbohydrates and fats, a distinction was made between good and bad proteins. The difference was in the biological value of the different protein sources .

Meat and other animal products have a very high biological value , because these foods contain all 8 essential amino acids , which your body does not produce itself, but must absorb through your diet .

Vegetable protein sources often do not contain all essential amino acids and must therefore be combined with other protein sources . For this reason, it has always been claimed that muscle building within a vegan diet is very difficult.

This question was also of interest to scientists . They have done extensive research on this. Subjects in this study were required to drink a protein shake within 30 minutes of exercise for 8 weeks.

While one group was given a classic Whey Protein shake, the other group drank a vegan rice protein-based protein shake after each training session. During the 8 weeks there were regular tests for recovery, muscle growth and strength gain.

The conclusion was clear : there was no difference in result between vegetable and animal proteins . So as long as you provide your body with all the essential amino acids it needs to build muscle, it doesn’t matter whether the source is animal or vegetable.

The best vegetable protein sources for muscle building

Plant-based protein sources with all essential amino acids for muscle building with a vegan diet:

  • Chia seeds
  • Edible hemp seeds
  • Black sesame
  • Sweet lupins
  • Quinoa
  • Peas
  • Amaranth
  • Wholewheat rice
  • Afa algae
  • Spirulina algae
  • Chlorella algae
  • Moringa Leaf Powder and Fresh Moringa Leaves

Other vegetable protein sources that do not contain all essential amino acids:

  • Legumes
  • Nuts & seeds
  • Avocados


  • Muscle building with a vegan diet is possible.
  • Vegan foods also contain all essential amino acids.
  • As long as all essential amino acids are present, there is no downside compared to animal proteins.

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