People usually think about eating lean chicken breasts and protein shakes when they think about gains, but it’s possible to bulk on vegetables and beans.
One grilled chicken breast holds 25 grams of protein and only 3 grams of fat, which is substantial. In comparison, you’d need to eat 5 cups of broccoli to get the same amount of protein, and more importantly, you wouldn’t be eating ‘complete’ proteins, which are found in all animal protein sources.
So why choose vegetables over meat? It helps you build clean, healthy lean mass. Meat products often have high amounts of artificial growth hormones, which can lead to a wide range of issues, from acne to imbalanced fat and cholesterol content.
In comparison, one serving of firm tofu has 15 grams of protein, as well as high calcium and iron content. While tofu has less protein than chicken breasts, chicken breasts also have high cholesterol (90 mg), while tofu does not have any.
Along with kidney beans, black beans, peanuts, and other sources of healthy plant nutrition, there’s no reason that you can’t bulk on veggies, and it’s definitely delicious!
- Make sure to eat balanced meals.
It’s easy to subsist off of corn, potatoes, and onions, and processed ones at that, but it’s definitely healthier to get crisp, fresh greens such as spinach and broccoli, as well as a mix of legumes such as chick peas or green beans. While tofu might not be everyone’s favorite, bean chili or pea soup do just as well and certainly fit the vegetarian bill. It’s just as likely that a vegetarian diet can lead to nutrition deficiencies, so eat your peas and carrots too!
- Do resistance training, HIIT, or lifting exercises.
Naturally, to build muscle, you have to use them! You can be overweight from vegetarian diets, and legumes and nuts have a decent amount of fat. Whether you’re doing resistance training or lifting, you’ll see your body respond in a similar way as to when eating meat. Your muscles will feel a limit during sessions, and you’ll feel a similar kind of soreness and recovery. What’s different isn’t how your muscles heal and function, but building muscles from plant proteins helps build very lean, high-quality muscle.
- Make sure to eat 4-5 times a day.
It’s important to make sure to have enough calories in your body. Sweet potatoes, quinoa, barley, and other complex carbohydrate sources are excellent sources of energy that gets digested evenly throughout the day. Having more meals, but lighter in quantity, can help you adjust to not having animal protein, and fuel your workouts just as effectively. Bulking requires a lot of calories, so you’ll want plenty of food like rice with beans and grilled veggies.
Eating different kinds of legumes and nuts can provide the ‘complete’ proteins that the body needs. Vegetables also have high mineral and vitamin content, as well as dietary fiber, which is all great for building strong and flexible muscles.
If you’re looking to grow leaner and meaner, try using FITTO to track your muscle mass gain with veggies instead of meat for one month!