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Muscle-Building Workout and Diet

Hey, what’s up, guys. Sean Nalewany here
at – My voice is a little bit off here. I just
got back to Canada from Australia a few days ago and I came down with a cold, still a bit
jet lagged as well, but definitely do for a video here. In this video we’re talking
about vegan bodybuilding diets. The question being: can you build muscle and gain strength
effectively while following a 100% plant based diet that excludes all animal products. So,
no meat, no dairy, no eggs, no cheese, no whey protein, just pure plants sources only.
It seems we’re, sort of starting to see more and more discussions about vegan diets
popping up in the YouTube fitness community. It’s something I’ve personally been researching
and it’s something that a lot of people have asked me as well, so in this video I
just want to address, nothing to do with the ethical side, but just in terms of bottom
line effectiveness. How does a vegan bodybuilding diet stack up against a diet that includes
both plant and animal sources? The simple answer that I would give is that as long as
you’re tracking your diet with reasonable accuracy, meaning that you’re consuming
the proper amount of calories each day to support muscle growth and you’re getting
a sufficient amount of daily protein and fat, then I don’t see any reason why you can’t
build muscle and gain strength just as effectively while following a plant based diet, pretty
much as simple as that. Nutrition is really just a numbers game when it all comes down
to it and as long as you take the time to planned things out properly, then yes, you
can use plant based foods sources exclusively to meet all of your nutritional needs for
building muscle and gaining strength. Now the main area that people get concern with
here is when it comes to protein, but the reality is that there are actually plenty
of high protein plant based foods that you can eat that will pretty easily allow you
to get all the protein and amino acids that you need to optimize muscle growth as long
as you planned things out properly. You’ve got things like beans, lentils, tofu, quinoa,
tempes, seitan, nuts, whole-grains meats substitutes, these are just a few examples and if you’re
planning out your diet properly it’s actually pretty easy to hit your daily protein needs
using those types of foods, and then on top of that there are also plenty of vegan protein
powders out there that are going to give you just as much protein per scoop as whey and
if you throw in a scoop or two of that per day then hitting protein needs is really not
a problem at all. Not to mention that most people actually require far less protein than
they think. Now I’ve traditionally gone with the 1 gram per pound of body weight figure,
but realistically 0.8 grams is probably enough for most people. That is something that I’m
going to revise moving forward in my recommendations. Not that going a bit higher is a problem,
but 0.8 grams is likely enough if you do want to bring that figure down a bit, and that’s
going to be about 140 grams of protein for a 175 pound person which isn’t really much
when you start adding everything out throughout the day. Now in terms of carbohydrates, that’s
obviously no issue whatsoever on the vegan diet, and then when it comes to fat intake,
again, not a problem. Nuts, nut butters, seeds, avocado, healthy oils, tons of options to
choose from there as well to make sure you’re getting enough fat to control your appetite
and keep hormone levels optimized. Now the one point that I would make is that for those
who are wanting to follow a vegan bodybuilding diet and who want to fully maximize their
muscle gains, then tracking your food intake does become increasingly important here. The
reason being that most plant based foods are on average going to be lower in protein by
default, lower in calories by default and if you’re just trying to wing a vegan bodybuilding
diet without planning things out in advance, then there is a reasonable chance that you
could end up too low in total calories or too low in total protein or even fat. If that
happens obviously that is going to compromise your results. That’s why on average, if
you took the total vegan population versus those who do consume animal products as well,
vegans will be, again, on average thinner and less muscular, but that’s not because
of vegan diet is inherently inferior for gaining muscle, it’s just that the average person
out there doesn’t really track their diet in terms of calories and macro nutrients,
and by default those who follow an entirely plant based diet are going to be getting in
fewer total calories and less protein. That’s why people tend to, sort of have this image
of vegan’s being weak and skinny, and they think that it’s not possible to build muscle
that way. But again, it’s not the diet itself, it’s just the fact that it does take a bit
more work and a bit more planning to specifically [inaudible] a muscle growth. However as long
as you do plan things out and you can say that, “This is how many calories I need
to maintain a surplus for building muscle. This is how much protein I need. This is how
much fat I need and this is how many carbs I need, and these are the foods in quantities
that I’m going to use to meet all of those needs”, then it really shouldn’t be an
issue because, again, it is just a numbers game at the end of the day. With proper planning
all of those needs can be met using plant based sources. It’s just a matter of putting
in the work and planning things out in advance, it’s really as simple as that. So thanks
for watching, guys. Make sure to follow me on Facebook, Twiter, Instagram if you aren’t
already. You can check out my complete Body Transformation Blueprint over at
by clicking here, or by using the link in the description box. That program is going
to give you all the tools you need to build muscle and lose fat at your maximum potential,
whether you’re following a vegan bodybuilding diet or you are consuming animal products.
The official website is and make sure to comment, like, subscribe and
share the video if you did find the information helpful. Talk to you guys again soon.

52 thoughts on “Vegan Bodybuilding Diet: Effective For Muscle Growth?

  1. Would do it if I had the funds, it's incredibly beneficial – healthier, efficient digestion, less inflammation, (dairy is ultra pasteurized [milk] you're not really absorbing anything from it…), you'd have to spend so much money on plant based protein powders to get enough especially when cutting.

    I find that vegan lifters try to get their protein from foods like quinoa which have carbs and end up taking in idk 200-500grams of carbs or more just to hit their protein intake.

    If you wanted to enter a contest/ be huge with low bf or just wanted to get in contest shape lol, you might not be able to, so substitute with protein supps

    Then there's hormonal levels idk getting in enough saturated fats, grass fed butter like Irish gold butter contains a great amount Vitamin K and the fats you need for hormones and your brain.

  2. The best thing vegans can take after their workout as a postworkout cocktail are just plain, natural, pure synthetic roids… Even a vegan

    Lol no, just making fun it. Great video Sean and very insightful as well. I think that through this video a lot of people will gain a better understanding regarding vegan lifters and nutrition.

  3. First of I have to say veganism is so much more than just a plant based diet. However in terms of health it's so great too see good no BS advice. Everything you said in this video is correct. Would be nice if you included some of the general health benefits of vegan diets tho like vegans tend to have lower rates of obesity, diabetes, cancer, hearth disease etc.

  4. ive tried it doesnt work vegan sources are less bioavailible and the protein that is availible imo are not as efficiently used to build muscle same does for eggs and whey if eggs and whey are really better than meat than why arent all bodybuilders vegetarian….

  5. I'm vegetarian, and I still have a hard time meeting my macros/daily calories. It'll usually be around 4 p.m., and I'm tired of chewing. Go hemp or go home, lol. Thanks for not bashing veganism and just stating the facts.

  6. I would disagree. High protein doesn't mean optimal amino acid acquisition. Plant proteins are exceptionally high in anti-nutritives (which decrease protein digestibility through several mechanisms; phytic acid, trypsin inhibitors, protease inhibitors…), low in essential amino acids (methionine, cysteine, leucine, lysine), and otherwise low protein digestibility. So can it be done? Sure, but it would require exceptional planning and supplementation; it's arguably not just a simple numbers game.

  7. Hey Sean I had a really simple question but am sure it will help alot of people.. I wanted to know while training 2 body parts a day should I complete one body part then move on to the next or alternate em for eg. one variation of chest then one of tri n vice versa …?

  8. Thanks a lot Sean, I'm a vegan and I followed your channel for more than a year now. Appreciate you making this video to vegan out there.

    I just wanna add somethings else that a lot of people overlooked – greens. If you look at protein % per calorie, greens is actually the highest % in protein per calorie. And greens have tonnes of nutrients that starch, fruits, legumes and nuts don't have. Lookup the protein % per calorie of spinach, rockets, broccoli, kale, asparagus and watercress. I hope this helps a little.

  9. Dear Sean,
    Since last two years, I have been educating myself through your videos. I won't deny, you deliver what you say 'No B.S, just Science'.
    But I have a query. Say, A particular meal of mine needs 61g Carbs-35g Proteins- 5g Fats. But a Carb source like Brown Rice has some protein in it. Should I count that, too. Should I consume 33g of first class protein, the rest coming from my carb source?

  10. It would definitely be a lot of work. Also most of the proteins are incomplete, so they would have to use complementary proteins to get the full amino spectrum as well as other supplements like vitamin B12. My other concern would be protein absorption rates. I know whey is 8-10g per hour, but most plant based proteins are only 2-3g per hour, I think, I'd need to look that up to be sure. Even at three grams per hour that's only a maximum of 72g of protein absorbed in a day, so they would need some faster absorbing proteins as well. Even soy, I believe is only about 3.9g/hour, so, unless my understanding of absorption rates is wrong, I'm not sure how any vegan with lean tissue much over 125lbs would be able to absorb 0.8g of protein per lb of lean tissue. Maybe digestive enzymes would be the answer, but they can only help to a certain extent.


  12. Sean, bad choice man… "Vegan Gains" is coming for you next, good or bad things said. He's going to do a "Sean Nalewanyj vs Vegan Gains"

  13. You sound like Brandon Campbell…. lol not the message but how your voice sounds and the way you speak… not a bad thing, Brandon Campbell is a great resource in fitness

  14. Good video! Informative and fact-based.

    I'd like to add that the issue of protein combining is not as troublesome as most people might think.

    For example, when combining barley and mung beans (a grain + a legume), I could use a ratio (in terms of protein content) ranging from 0.25:1 all the way to 1.42:1, and the amino acids would still compliment to form complete protein.

    This gives you a very broad margin of error, so you're likely to meet your amino acid requirements without much hassle.

    Amino acid ratios used are those suggested by the Institute of Medicine (which scales with protein intake, so it applies to high-protein diets as well):

  15. I'm kinda concerned about soy protein tho… I heard it affects thyroid. And yeah that's a good point, most vegans are thin and skinny, probably because they forget that fibers is potentially zero calorie. That's why vegan based diet is good for making us feel full.

  16. I watch lots of bodybuilding videos on youtube but your channel has become my 'go to' channel when I need facts and no B.S on a subject, cheers for the videos

  17. Protein sources: Hemp seeds, Oats, nuts and other seeds, adzuki beans
    Fats: Avocadoes, seeds and nuts, Cocnut, and olives
    Carbs: Potatoes, bananas, sweet potatoes, potatoes, adzuki beans

    Eat at a ratio of 25-30-45 ratio of protein fat carbs
    Use intermittent fasting
    8 hours of sleep
    workout each muscle group every third day
    whole foods organic

  18. Awesome video and information! I'm a baby vegan (6 months into it), but yes you can build muscle on a vegan diet!

  19. Thanks for making this video.
    I went vegan because murdering billions of animals for food and clothing is immoral. I've made more muscle gains as a vegan than when I was a meat eater. My mental game was in the trash when I ate meat and dairy. Always feeling down and dazed. I feel much more alert and energized now and going to the gym actually feels good compared to before. My recovery has increased significantly. I squat 6 days a week and I have no joint pain or fatigue like I used to. The micro-nutrients and anti-oxidants in the veggies I eat are responsible for this. I no longer get soar from most workouts. My biceps and triceps soar up once in a while but no sourness from squats, bench, and OHP.
    #VeganLife #EthicalGains

  20. Honest info and with solid explanation.Well done dude.Unfrotunatelly there are so many fools out there who believe that building muscle on a 100% plant based diet is impossible.Thats ridiculous.

  21. Been vegan for about a year and bench just hit 260 for 4 reps. I'm benching more now than I ever have and getting lean.

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