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DNAFit Blog

How to bulk up on a vegan diet

Posted 220 Days Ago in: Training, Nutrition


Being on a vegan diet means that you'll need to get your protein for muscle building from other sources, but it is still possible to achieve. Here are a few things to take note of when you're want to bulk up as a vegan.

Bulking, as a whole, is dependent on the relationship between both your diet and training. In order to bulk more, read our blog which gives you helpful tips about why you might have plateaued and how to ensure that this won’t happen.

When you’re vegan, it becomes even more difficult due to the restriction on your food choices. Protein is essential for anyone who wants to build muscle and while there are alternative sources, animal protein has the highest content of protein. According to the International Society for Sports Nutrition, to gain muscle, you need more protein than the average person. Protein assists with muscle synthesis, repair and recovery. Instead of the 0.8 g of protein per kg of body weight recommended for most adults, strength-training athletes need close to 2 g per kg of body weight daily.

Whereas this may appear to pose a problem, it shouldn’t deter you from reaching your goal. What you need to take note of is that if you are working out regularly you shouldn’t be doing cardio and strength training on the same day, as this will be counterproductive to your goal. You should aim to do cardio one or two days a week while focusing on strength training and lifting heavier weights on your other training days. You should also set days for specific muscle groups, rather than doing full body training every day.


A training week would, for example, look like this: 

Monday: Chest

Tuesday: Shoulders and arms

Wednesday: Cardio (treadmill, bike, swimming)

Thursday: Rest Day

Friday: Legs

Saturday:  Back

Sunday: Rest day, active recovery with light jogging


Once you’ve got your training routine sorted out, it’s time to hone in on your diet. You need to be including sufficient amounts of carbohydrates, fats and proteins into your diet, but that isn’t all. It’s also necessary to up your caloric intake. Quality of foods count but if you want to get bigger then you need to eat more, it’s that simple. You’ll be burning way more calories now that you’re training and if you intend to bulk up then you need to make sure you aren’t experiencing a deficit.

Don’t be dissuaded by your vegan lifestyle or people telling you that it is impossible to bulk up. Yes, you’ll need to experiment with what works for your body and it may take more time than it does other people but if you’re eating correctly and listening to your body then you will eventually see the results that you want to obtain.

Key Takeaways

·      It’s more about your diet than your workout

·      Add more snacks to your diet

·      Bulk up on the vegan protein

·      Increase your overall calorie intake

·      Lift more and do less cardio


Foods to eat

·      Quinoa

·      Soy

·      Buckwheat

·      Beans and legumes

·      Ezekiel bread

·      Seitan

·      Nuts and seeds

·      Chickpeas and falafel

·      Edamame beans

·      Hemp protein


A few extra tips

·      Drink more (vegan) protein shakes

o   Here is an example:

  • 12 ounces raw almond milk
  • 2-3 tablespoons raw, homemade almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seed
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon flax seed oil
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 scoops soy-free veggie protein powder (about 22 grams of protein)
  • 1 teaspoon maca powder
  • 1 banana
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon wheat grass powder


·      Make use of supplements

Supplementation is an important part of bulking, especially when you are finding it difficult to get the necessary amount of protein you need. A few supplements that can help you bulk up, and are animal-free alternatives, are:

o   Creatine

o   Glutamine

o   Vegan protein powder

o   Vitamin D2


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