Although you are a vegetarian it is still possible for you to gain muscle. It is a myth that you need to eat meat to gain muscle mass.
Of course protein is found in high quantities in meat, however if you want to put on muscle as a vegetarian there are still plenty of ways to add protein to your diet.
How much protein do you need to consume?
The rule is that you should be aiming to consume 0.5-0.7 grams of protein per pound of body weight. So for example if you weight 150 pounds you should aim to consume 75-105 grams of protein.
As meat is off the menu you will have to find alternative protein sources. Some of the best sources of protein for a vegetarian include:
- Egg whites
- Nonfat milk
- Poached egg
- Roasted soy nuts
- Soy milk
- Soy burgers
- Nuts & Seeds
- Black beans
- Hemp protein
One of the easiest ways to increase your protein intake as a vegetarian is to consider taking some soy protein powder.
How to choose a protein powder?
When choosing a protein powder there are a few things to look for to ensure it meets your vegetarian rules.
For instance both whey and casein powders are milk byproducts, meaning they are unsuitable for vegans. They are ok for vegetarians though, right?
Well, not necessarily as often during manufacturing an enzyme called rennet is added to help with the milk separation process.
The problem is that the most common source of rennet is from the stomach of slaughtered veal calves making them unsuitable for vegetarians.
Luckily there are vegetable sources for rennet, but you will have to check the label or website to ensure this is the case with the protein powder you intend to buy.
Pharmamuscle have a protein powder as well as various other supplements available that are suitable for vegetarian tastes.
Other tips for gaining muscle as a vegetarian
Here are some more tips to ensure you are able to gain muscle as a vegetarian:
Tip #1 – Eat well
This may seem an obvious tip, but in order to gain muscle you need to eat. As stated already you need to consume protein, but this is not all you should be eating.
The key to health is a balanced diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as the protein sources already listed above.
You should remember though not to fill up on the fruit and vegetables as they will not give you the gains you desire.
Tip #2 – Watch for deficiencies
You are no doubt tired of people telling you that as a vegetarian you need to watch out for vitamin deficiencies, well I am going to be another one telling you the exact same thing.
Vitamin deficiencies can severely impact your health so it is important to stay on top of things.
Common deficiencies include:
- Vitamin B12
Iron deficiencies can be resolved by eating plenty of dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale, dried peas, beans and lentils, artichokes and dried fruit such as raisins, prunes and currents
You can resolve calcium deficiencies by eating spinach, kale, broccoli and almonds. While zinc deficiencies can be resolved by eating pumpkin or sesame seeds, almonds, walnuts and macadamia nuts, fortified oatmeal and cereals.
Finally, vitamin B12 deficiencies are the most difficult to resolve as it is difficult to absorb efficiently when found in plant-based foods so it is recommended that you take a supplement.
Tip #3 – Work out
This is another obvious tip, but one that you should abide by. Go to the gym 2-3 times a week and lift as heavy as you can manage, safely.
You should push yourself each workout but should never lift more than you can manage as you will be more likely to injure yourself if you fail to keep correct form.
Tip #4 – Get adequate rest
To gain muscle you need to feed them, push them and rest them. In the gym you are going to be lifting heavy weights that are going to be breaking the muscle fibres.
These fibres will need to be repaired in order to grow and become stronger so you need to make sure you allow yourself time to rest after each workout.