Going vegan is becoming increasingly popular, especially among health and environmentally-conscious individuals. However, some people believe that you can’t build muscle or get enough protein on a vegan diet. These are just some of the myths surrounding veganism and fitness that this article will debunk.

You Can’t Get Enough Protein

One of the biggest concerns about vegan diets is getting enough protein. After all, protein is essential for building and maintaining muscle mass. However, you can absolutely get sufficient protein from plants. Beans, lentils, tempeh, tofu, nuts, seeds, and whole grains are all excellent sources of plant-based protein.

As long as you eat a variety of these foods and consume enough calories, meeting your protein needs on a vegan diet is achievable. Even vegan bodybuilders who need upwards of 0.8-1g of protein per pound get enough from plants alone. If desired, you can even find a vegan option for mass gainer supplements to bump up your daily protein intake. The key is focusing on variety and calories.

You Won’t Make Gains

Another common myth is that it’s not possible to build muscle effectively as a vegan. Some believe that animal products like meat, eggs, and dairy are necessary for making strength and muscle gains.

However, plenty of vegan athletes and bodybuilders are proving this myth wrong. With a well-planned diet and proper training, you can absolutely make gains on a vegan lifestyle. As long as you eat enough calories and protein, your muscles will still have the fuel they need to recover and grow.

Low Energy and Poor Recovery

Some critics argue that vegan diets provide insufficient energy for intense training and adequate workout recovery. Without the saturated fat found in meat and dairy, they claim that you’ll feel chronically fatigued.

In reality, plants provide plenty of energy from carbohydrates, fat, and protein. As long as you consume a calorie surplus and a mix of nutrients, your energy levels will be fine. Focus on whole plant foods like starchy vegetables, fruits, legumes, and nuts to meet your caloric needs. You can also use vegan pre-workout meals and supplements to boost energy if needed.

For recovery, make sure you eat protein after training. Aim for at least 20-25g of protein from vegan sources like tofu, edamame, and peas. Eat carb-rich meals to replenish glycogen stores as well. A vegan diet can absolutely support intense and frequent workouts.

Difficulty Gaining Weight

Gaining muscle requires a caloric surplus – and some people find it challenging to eat enough calories on a vegan diet. All those vegetables, fruits, and whole grains are very satiating. Compared to meat and dairy, plant-based foods have a lower calorie density.

However, it is certainly possible to gain weight eating vegan. Focus on incorporating more nuts, seeds, avocados, nut butters, dried fruit, and vegan protein shakes into your diet. Opt for starchy vegetables like potatoes over greens. Add oils when cooking. Smoothies are also an easy way to pack in more calories. At the end of the day, consume what works best for your body and goals.

Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies

The last common myth is that plant-based diets lead to deficiencies in key vitamins and minerals like B12, iron, calcium, and zinc. Without animal products, critics argue you won’t obtain optimal levels of these nutrients.

Yet a well-planned vegan diet containing lots of whole foods, greens, nuts, and seeds provides sufficient amounts of these micronutrients. Pairing foods strategically can enhance absorption, too – like eating vitamin C-rich fruits with iron-rich beans. Those eating restricted diets should take a B12 supplement to be safe. However, with variety and planning, deficiencies on a vegan diet are avoidable.

These are just some of the common myths and misconceptions regarding veganism and fitness. With strategic meal planning and training, it is certainly possible to thrive as a vegan athlete. A whole-food plant-based diet can provide sufficient protein, calories, energy, and nutrients to support your fitness goals. So, don’t let these myths deter you from going vegan. With a little know-how, you can bust these plant-based myths and reach your full potential.