Bulking up.

Hi guys, I'm new on here and appreciate any tips on vegetarian protein and best exercises for building muscle.
Cheers 💪

Replies

  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 31,322 Member
    Are you newly vegetarian? If so, what type (lacto-, ovo-lacto-, strict . . . .)?

    I've been ovo-lacto veg for 49+ years so far.

    The standard major plant-based food sources are soy foods like tofu, tempeh, tofu noodles; seitan (gluten); legumes.

    There's a great thread here about protein sources:

    https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10247171/carbs-and-fats-are-cheap-heres-a-guide-to-getting-your-proteins-worth-fiber-also

    That links to a spreadsheet with many, many foods in order by protein efficiency, more protein for fewer calories. As a vegetarian, you'll need to scroll down past some meaty/fishy things at the top of the spreadsheet, but the vegetarian sources are in there, and there's some protein quality info as well. (You probably know that plant protein sources may not be as complete in essential amino acids as animal sources, nor as bioavailable, though there are exceptions.)

    Of course, protein supplements are also an option, if you need them to reach your protein goals.

    Your post doesn't say whether you're trying to build muscle and gain weight, or build muscle while losing weight. That limits what advice I can give you. Certainly, if weight gain is the goal, high-fat foods with some protein (nuts, nut butters, seeds, etc.) can be useful.

    Either way, as someone wanting to build muscle, you'll want to be getting relatively more protein than someone with different goals, and for vegetarians it's a good bet-hedge to get extra protein vs. similar non-veg folks (because of the completeness/bioavailability issues).

    To figure out protein needs, this is a good evidence-based reference IMO:

    https://examine.com/protein-intake-calculator/
    https://examine.com/guides/protein-intake/

    Note that the guide suggests that people who are substantially overweight may use a healthy goal weight in those protein estimates, rather than a current high weight.

    The last thing I'd say - especially if you're a new vegetarian - is that in addition to including a major protein source in each meal, it's useful to think about getting small amounts of protein from sides, snacks, flavoring ingredients, and other foods. Some things I use regularly are nutritional yeast, crispy broad beans, dry-roasted edamame, miso, peanut butter powder, red lentil pasta. There are other examples, but that should give you an idea.

    Best wishes!