How to gain muscle as a natural vegan bodybuilder

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‘Gaining muscle is impossible as a vegan they said’, ‘Gaining muscle is to difficult as a vegan they said..’ nothing is less true. To gain muscle as a vegan bodybuilder the rules stay exactly the same: Eat lots of food, eat high protein foods and lots of carbs. The only thing people struggle with is the vegan diet. Mainly because they don’t know all of the different foods that are out there. They think vegan items don’t have protein in them and that vegans only eat salades and vegetables all day..NOT TRUE!

In this article want to show you what to eat when you’re trying to gain muscle as a vegan bodybuilder. First off I want to give a little information about myself, because I don’t want to make you think that I just copied some information from a random website on the internet. In other articles of mine I’ve been saying to eat meat and eat big if you’re trying to build muscle, reason for this is because people get turned off when you’re mentioning veganisme, because they still think it’s impossible to build muscle this way. 


I’ve personally been vegan for the past year and a half now and i’ve made the same amount of gains or more as I would’ve made as a non vegan lifter. So why did I decide to become vegan?

The main reason is because of my skin. For a lot of people dairy and meat can cause acne, this was or is the case for me. Therefor I decided to try a vegan diet and try to find out if this was going to help my acne…and luckily it did. Ofcourse I struggled with what to eat in the beginning, but I found out very quickly what I could and couldn’t eat. Through my own personal experiences I now want to educate others on this topic, now let’s dive in what to eat.

Vegan High protein Foods

This will be a list of foods that you can compare to the well know bodybuilding meat sources like chicken, beef or tuna. These might not have exactly the same macronutrients, but they are definitly awesome and high protein!

Per 100 grams:

  • Tofu – 125 calories – 13 grams of protein
  • Tempeh –  150 calories – 17 grams of protein 
  • Seitan – 92 calories – 18 grams of protein
  • Beans – 110 calories – 6.5 gams of protein
  • Lentils – 115 calories – 6 grams of protein
  • Chickpeas – 115 calories – 6.7 grams of protein
  • Nutritional Yeast (28grams)  – 110 calories – 14 grams of protein
  • Oats and oatmeal – 367 calories – 12 grams of protein
  • Vegan protein powders (28 grams) – 118 calories – 22 grams of protein 
  • Chia Seeds (35 grams) – 170 calories – 6 grams of protein
Below further breakdown of my favorite protein sources, where I go further indepth about the calories carbs and complete protein or not!


Seitan is probably my favourite source of vegan protein, because the texture and taste of seitan comes closest to chicken. Other reasons why seitan is my number 1 is because of the macro’s. With 18 grams of protein, 3.6 grams of carbs and barely any fat, these macro’s should remind you of chicken macro’.

Seitan is made from gluten, the main protein in wheat. Unlike many soy-based mock meats, it resembles the look and texture of meat when cooked.



Tofu is made from bean curds pressed together in a process similar to cheesemaking. Tempeh is made by cooking and slightly fermenting mature soybeans prior to pressing them into a patty.

Tofu doesn’t have much taste, but easily absorbs the flavor of the ingredients it’s prepared with. Comparatively, tempeh has a characteristic nutty flavor.

Looking at tofu from a fitness perspective it’s quite decent! With 125 calories and 13 grams of protein per 100 grams that’s plenty to fill your dinner with. The carbs and fats are low so this fits really well in a cutting diet.

Chickpeas / Beans

Chick peas or beans are not bad when it comes to protein, but the reason why I love them so much and why I practiclty eat them everyday with every meal except breakfast is because they fit in with every meal.

Beans are a slow carb wich will make you feel full and full for longer.

Both beans and chickpeas contain about 15 grams of protein per cooked cup (240 ml). They are also excellent sources of complex carbs, fiber, iron, folate, phosphorus, potassium, manganese and several beneficial plant compounds

Vegan Protein powders

People who lift swear by ‘whey protein shakes’ but in my persoanl experience I haven’t noticed a significant difference between whey and vegan porotein powders. 

The things you may want to look into are: is it a complete protein and how do you react to that specific brand or kind of powder. It can happen that you don’t digest a certain vegan protein that well, so it’s important that you find the best one for you!

My personal favourite vegan protein powder!

The vivo life vegan protein powder digests very well for me and has 20 grams of protein per scoop and only 3.6 grams of carbs!

vivo b

Oats (Oatmeal)

Oatmeal has been a staple in my diet wheter I was vegan or not, because it’s not just high in protein but there are so many other health benefits to oat meal. To name them all I might need to make a whole post about it.

With 12 grams of protein in the oats alone it’s a great way to start off your day! Oats are a slow carb so you’re going to stay full for a long time, therefor perfect when your dieting.

Some oatmeal benefits: 

  • Lowers cholesteral
  • Reduced blood sugar and insulin responseLoaded with important vitamins
  •  Rich in antioxidants
  • Gluten-Free
pexels-keegan-evans-101669 (1)

Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast is a deactivated strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast, sold commercially as a yellow powder or flakes.

It has a cheesy flavor, which makes it a popular ingredient in dishes like mashed potatoes and scrambled tofu.

Nutritional yeast can also be sprinkled on top of pasta dishes or even enjoyed as a savory topping on popcorn.

This complete source of plant protein provides the body with 14 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber per ounce (28 grams).

Fortified nutritional yeast is also an excellent source of zinc, magnesium, copper, manganese and all the B vitamins, including B12

Vincent Sorel

Vincent Sorel

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