Gaining strength on a vegan diet. Is it a myth? An Oxymoron? Everybody has heard the tales; vegans are low on protein/nutrients, this isn’t optimal for fitness. Especially weightlifting and bodybuilding. But in my experience and through some observations I’ve come to know this as complete and utter bull$$$$.
Vegan powerlifters, destroying expectations.
I’ll simple cut straight to it, there are numerous examples of powerlifters, both male and female who are openly vegan and rack some impressive numbers. Powerlifting is a sport that requires a lot of training and a lot of eating, to pull great numbers you need to fuel your body with an equivalent great number of calories. Thankfully there are lots of great vegan bulking foods. Alternatives to steak, chicken, fish with good macros and questionably more healthier. Getting enough calories in a vegan diet, with thanks to modern day advances is really easy, and the same applies to protein for that matter, vegan protein sources are both plentiful and cheap.
Here is a list: https://www.greatveganathletes.com/category/vegan-powerlifters/ of these vegan powerlifters, some of which have started as bodybuilders before switching to powerlifting. Going to show that bodybuilding is also a possibility on a vegan diet.
Personal anecdotal evidence
I have been vegan for going on 4 and a half years. Certainly enough time for the ‘power of meat’ to have abandoned my body. nearing 3 months ago I began weightlifting having never lifted heavy at all in my life. In this period of time I have made substantial strength gains, starting with goblet squats to using weights on the bar, hitting a 100kg deadlift for a triple having previously failed on grip with less than 60kg using double overhand. You can read my full post on adding 70kg to my deadlift here: https://brandondonlon.com/articles/2019/06/15/2-months-deadlift-progress/ I basically went from less than body weight to 1.5x in 2 months.
My squat and deadlift weren’t the only things to improve, and neither did I only make strength gains. In nearly 3 months I have gained over 6 pounds of bodyweight. Almost entirely lean mass with a bit of additional water weight. In total I’d say making this progress on a vegan diet was simple. I didn’t have to eat any differently, all I did was eat more of what I have already been eating.
In conclusion I’ll say it plain and simply, gaining strength/bodymass or generally being fit on a vegan diet is entirely possible and equally as easy. Veganism is no silver bullet into the gains, and nor is it a secret into a vast wealth of PR’s. At the end of the day a balanced diet is all that proves mighty, make sure you are eating lots of calories, and not only that make sure those calories are actually food and not trash that passes for it.
What do you think? Am I wrong, let your opinion be heard in the comments. Even better share to us your experience if you are a vegan bodybuilder or powerlifter, I’d love to know how you have found it.