Bulking on a Vegan Diet

Many people I come in contact with are convinced that it is impossible to get big on a vegan diet. I strongly disagree, and am hoping to prove it over the next 15 weeks.

Switching to a plant-based diet makes it easy to lose weight, and hard to gain it. I will admit that this is absolutely true. Plant-based foods have a much lower caloric density than animal-based foods, which means we will feel full after consuming fewer calories. This is great when you are trying to lose weight and be in a caloric deficit. When you are trying to gain weight, on the other hand, it can cause problems. This doesn’t mean it can’t be done, it simply means you have to have a solid plan in place. It becomes more important to track your calories and macronutrients, because if you simply go based on hunger you will likely not consume enough.

My boyfriend, David, switched to a mostly plant-based diet about 6 months ago, and would currently help my opposition prove their point. He has had a hard time putting on muscle since making this transition. We are now going to do an experiment to determine whether it can be done when you follow a good program.

Meet David:

In August of 2017 I decided to go plant based. After 24 years of eating a heavily animal based diet I knew that it wouldn’t be easy, but I felt that it would be a great challenge for myself. I currently subscribe to a vegan at home, vegetarian when I’m out kind of diet, and have been for the last 6 months now. When I initially made the lifestyle change I didn’t really have a plan in place. I knew that I wanted to go on a plant-based diet while still competing and training at my usual intensities. I also knew that I wanted to continue to gain lean muscle mass and strength, but I didn’t think about it much beyond that. I made the mistake of simply taking out all of the meat, eggs, and dairy that I ate every day, and with that came a huge portion of my daily caloric intake. Over the course of 4 months I ended up losing about 6 pounds, and with that, quite a bit of strength. I became extremely aggravated with what was happening to my body and performance, things I have been working for years to develop. I reached the point where I was fed up with a plant based diet and strongly considered switching back, but I knew that the diet wasn’t the real issue. I knew that I needed to take charge of my day-to-day nutrition and focus more on how I was training, so today is my first day of taking those steps. Today I’m going to start dialing in my nutrition and following the Train Untamed template written up by Sophie (with some Olympic lifting added in).

I currently weigh 180lbs @ approximately 9% body fat. I would like to get up to roughly 186lbs. while staying below 11% body fat over the next 15 weeks of the program. I will do check in blogs periodically to keep up with my progress as well as maintain accountability. I’ll talk a little about the steps I’m taking each day to reach my goals, and I’ll go more into the backstory of my personal transition to a plant based diet. Stay Tuned!  

Follow his journey on instagram @davidbrock_22

If you want help building muscle on a plant-based diet go to our Training page and sign up!

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