Powered by Plants: 5 Tips for Muscle-Building Vegans

Rynnie Cotter

It’s 2020 and it’s time to leave behind the myth of the scrawny, granola munching vegan. We all know a plant-based diet is so much more than a handful of trail mix. But can vegans build muscle as well as stay toned and mindful? Check out these tips for muscle-building vegans. Body by plants, tips by Sworkit. 

Whole Health

With more and more health junkies turning to a plant-based diet, the availability of vegan and vegetarian eats is growing by the day. Convenience fare is available in take-out, microwavable, and ready-to-eat options. While fast, pre-made meals are a great option for veggies-on-the-go, the nutritional content can leave a hole in place of “wholesome.” 

Building muscle on a vegan diet means making every meal count. Know your ingredients. After all, many prepackaged snacks and meals contain hidden sugars, fats, and salt that will throw a wrench in your fitness and weight loss goals. Vegan doesn’t necessarily mean healthy. Strive for a whole food diet, steering clear of artificial preservatives and excess fillers. 

Whenever possible, opt for home cooking and keep a food diary to track your progress! 

Macro Focus

But what about protein? This is the eternal question every herbivore hears. Well, hold the steak, because a range of vegan, macronutrient options await!

Hemp and chia seeds are the perfect pairing for smoothies and protein shakes. Adding a pinch to salads, pasta, and stir fry can kick start any dish with an added protein boost. Classics like tofu and chickpeas are packed with fitness fuel and readily available macronutrients to help with muscle gain. Looking for a post-workout treat? Try a smoothie blended with powdered peanut butter, bananas, and a dash of cacao.

Anyone looking to gain muscle knows that protein is key. For vegans, it’s twice as important to incorporate muscle fuel into every meal. When all else fails, lentils are always the plant-protein fallback. 

Don’t forget carbs and healthy fats! While it’s easy to focus on protein, energy-dense macronutrients are equally important. Avocado is a fantastic superfood for a morning workout. For carbs, focus on complex carbohydrates like brown rice, sweet potatoes, and quinoa. Staying on target with a mindful lifestyle is key to achieving workouts that have results.

Micro Mania

Building muscle need not be boring! Incorporate the rainbow of micronutrients available through fruits, veggies, nuts, and grains. Many go-to vegan favorites are packed with both macro and micronutrients, such as sweet potatoes. For those looking to gain muscle, vitamin A, B12, and iron are the key elements to include in your diet. 

Looking to get creative? If your vegan life includes honey, bee’s pollen is a great source of B12 that can be easily blended into smoothies and yogurt. 

A good rule of thumb is to avoid “mono-diets” or eating too much of the same thing. Make a goal to try a new fruit or vegetable every month and create at least two dishes with your newfound fav. Acai berries, dragon fruit, goji berries, and jack fruit are just a few colorful meal boosters to try. 

Classic selections like antioxidant-rich blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are great for snacks, while veggie treats like purple carrots, bell peppers, and green cauliflower will keep you going for your next cardio session.


One of the best exercise regimes for muscle gain is High Intensity Interval Training — or HIIT. With a high-calorie burn and a focus on lowering fat and increasing muscle mass, HIIT exercises can include cardio as well as strength training. Best of all, a daily fitness routine can be done from the comfort of home. 

The variety of exercises and steady growth promoted by HIIT training provides a realistic road map to achieving your fitness goals. Diversify your workouts and fight off burnout and boredom! Sworkit tailors your home-based workout routines to match your goals, with exciting new HIIT challenges for every session. 

Pave Your Journey, Drive Your Results

Sworkit is more than a simple fitness app — it’s your finish line, your goal post, and your lifestyle app! Whether your daily routine is 5 minutes or 50, personal fitness tech can help you achieve results. Progress is measured by steps, not leaps. Remember to change up your workout by combining weight training with muscle-centered yoga and restorative meditations to keep you going all year long.

Looking for more ways to thrive? Start your free trial today!

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