Building Muscle on a Plant Based Diet

There are many vegan and vegetarian athletes who manage to compete and perform at top levels without having to rely on any animal products for protein, although the conditioning from the meat and dairy industries has programmed many into believing it is impossible to do so. These industries have done such a good job of marketing their products that they have fully convinced most of the world that there’s no way to get the calcium, protein and adequate nutrition needed without their assistance.

It is believed that many people are getting 50 per cent more protein than they can possibly use or need. Too much protein intake puts excessive strain on the liver and kidneys as the body tries to flush out the remaining amounts which are not being incorporated into enzymes, cellular membranes, muscles and connective tissues. This is the same as you consuming more calories than your body can use. The body then stores the excess as fat resulting in toxicity build-up.

The only major difference between a beautiful, youthful, fit, athletic physique and an old, frail, weak physique is the amount of human growth hormone available to that person. When you exercise, HGH is released and, for this reason, it is extremely important to exercise regularly. HGH is also released during certain brainwave states of sleep. Muscle is needed to remain youthful and there is no age limit whatsoever where you cannot gain muscle with the right dietary practices and application of knowledge.

In the modern age, many people eat like they are major athletes, and athletes require more protein than non-athletes. A major problem is that, although many are eating like athletes, they tend to spend most of their time at a desk, computer, travelling to work or watching television on a sofa. Those who do not work out regularly should not be consuming too much animal protein and should cut down on refined sugar, cholesterol, saturated fat and general calories. The bodily instincts of modern man are still centred on the times when humanity had to get up and gather food in an active manner such as fishing, hunting, farming, cultivating fields, lifting, bending and so forth, and moving more in one day than many do in a week!

At first, when eating in a vegetarian, vegan or raw vegan way, you will lose some muscle and weight as the body starts to detoxify large amounts of waste from a diet rich in animal products. Your body fat index may drop but will eventually settle, and once it does, your foundation for clean muscle growth is ready as your absorbability rate of the gastrointestinal tract is increased. You will, however, have to work hard to achieve the results desired, but the muscle you will pack on will be very lean and strong.

Athletes also need more calories as a body that is regularly active tends to burn fuel in a more effective and rapid manner. It is possible to get the adequate amount of protein and calories on a vegetarian or vegan diet as all plant food contains protein and amino acids in some amount. This is not including supplementation and superfood smoothies, which provide powerful, absorbable amounts of vitamins, proteins, nutrients and enzymes.

If protein was the complete answer and magic formula for building muscle, it would be so simple and with the overall large protein intake everyone would be muscular and have a ripped physique. You may be aware that this is not the case; the body needs complex carbohydrates in order to fuel workouts, boost stamina and supply the power force behind repairing muscle tissue. Good healthy fats are vital in order to supply energy, aid cellular repair and control inflammation.

Remember that muscle is composed of 70 per cent water, 22 per cent protein and 7 per cent lipids or fats. You must train with sufficient intensity to stimulate new muscle growth by drawing in the amino acids from the bloodstream; this is done by trained muscles more easily than untrained muscles.

It is important that the body has the right conditions to tear muscle before it can rebuild it. Intense exercise is needed around 1–3 times per week which includes cardio workouts for lean muscle and strength training to build larger muscles. It is also important to mention cholesterol. Healthy cholesterol is needed to promote anabolic reactions within the body. Cholesterol affects the production of pregnenolone which, in turn, generates progesterone. Progesterone generates DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone a hormone produced by your body's adrenal glands) and androstenedion, which is responsible for the production of testosterone, which, in turn, stimulates muscle growth. All major steroids descend from cholesterol.

Men can become feminised without these dietary essentials and women can become very skinny. Many people over the age of 40 become weak, fragile and have half the sex drive of a younger man or woman because of the depletion of vital hormonal messengers. This can be counteracted with a balanced vegetarian/vegan diet. Foods such as hemp seeds, kale, flax seeds, avocados, walnuts and rapeseed oil (non-GMO) have high healthy cholesterol and essential fatty acid content.

When eating a vegetarian, vegan or raw vegan diet and wanting to build muscle, you will have to increase the amount of protein in each meal or supplement with superfood smoothies (preferably the one given in the juicing section). However you will only need to assimilate a small amount per meal as any excess proteins that the body cannot absorb at one time will be stored as body fat. This is where many go wrong when wanting to build a lean figure; they eat huge meals two to three times per day, expecting the body to absorb it all in one sitting! This is just crazy and it is important to begin to eat smaller meals per day.

Growth hormone, sleep & nitrogen

If you were to believe the ads for protein supplements, there would be no way to build muscle and increase healthy body weight as a vegetarian or raw foodist. Bodybuilding magazines and websites usually recommend one to two whole grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. They have advocated such a high protein intake firstly to sell protein supplements and, secondly, due to the clogging of the cellular basement membrane for those people who stuff themselves with animal products and junk foods (which actually creates a protein deficiency) a higher protein intake is needed.

The clogging of cell membranes and lower absorption rate is the actual reason for some people needing more protein in order to build muscle; this is not the case for those who eat clean. Raw protein from plants and superfood supplements has double the strength and effectiveness of cooked protein. A raw food eater requires half the protein that a cooked food eater needs to build quality muscle.

‘Man is born without frying pan or stew pot. The purest natural food for humans would therefore be fresh, uncooked food and nuts’ – George Hackenschmidt (old time strongman)

Medical science made the discovery that growth hormone helps drastically in increasing muscle mass and strength. This finding included people who did not exercise and whose muscles were atrophied. Human growth hormone was administered to the elderly and frail as a method of regeneration as growth hormone is said to drop by 14 per cent for each decade of adult life, muscle wasting conditions also accelerate in a person who is bedridden. However, if you can stimulate human growth hormone, you can prevent nitrogen loss. This allows you to maintain muscle mass even if you are unable to work out.

For you to maintain muscle mass, you must first replace the muscle cells faster than you lose them. The word anabolic means your body is in muscle building whilst catabolic means you are losing muscle and anabolic states can only be achieved when your body can properly assimilate the amino acids obtained from food. If you cannot assimilate amino acids or have a lack of amino acids in your diet, then nitrogen will be lost. Stress hormones such as cortisol also speed up the loss of nitrogen.

These stress hormones increase blood sugar levels, impacting the fight or flight response mechanism in your body and once you enter that wired state of being you can forget about trying to gain muscle. You must have peace of mind, adequate rest and sleep to enter the anabolic state and regular exercise increases the amounts of oxygen and glucose that the brain receives, thereby clearing away mental cobwebs and dead brain cells. Exercise increases the pleasure chemicals known as endorphins and decreases high-density lipoproteins, which clog the brain circulation that helps in combating depression.

When your brain is in a delta brainwave state, you will have strong spikes of growth hormone released into the bloodstream from the pituitary gland. You may know how good you feel after a deep and dreamless sleep; this is because of the deep delta brain wave frequencies. For maximum muscle recovery, growth and repair, it is recommended that you go to sleep listening to a delta brainwave audio track, which can be found on the YUSA YouTube channel. Do this for a month every night alongside your dietary and physical exercise routine to reap tremendous benefits and have HGH soak your muscles for improved strength, size and sexual libido. You can also listen to the Delta track for 15 minutes just before a workout for optimum results.

Amino acids such arginine, ornithine and alpha-ketoglutarate are very effective when taken around one hour before a workout and before sleep. These amino’s are so effective in releasing growth hormone that they have been used successfully to improve pituitary function in the brains of undersized children. These amino’s can be found in the superfood supplements listed in this chapter.

Nitrogen must be consumed in equal amounts to the amounts of nitrogen excreted through urine, faeces and perspiration. If you want to increase the growth rates in human cells, the same goes for the biochemistry in plants, too. If you excrete more nitrogen than you ingest, you are in negative nitrogen balance, which means your body is in a catabolic state. An unhealthy plant will have pale leaves, whereas a healthy nitrogen rich plant will have vibrant, rich, dark green foliage.

When there is a lack of nitrogen, there is a lack of electrolytes, as mentioned previously. An electrolyte is a substance that is ionised in solution enabling it to conduct electrical currents. Where there is no spark of life, you’re dead; nitro is needed to go! Nitrogen is equally important as protein when muscle growth is concerned, as it cannot be formed without amino acids and amino acids are dependent on nitrogen.

The highest nitrogen foods include almonds, pine nuts, walnuts, peas and black beans. A small nitrogen-rich, pre-workout dish: 1 handful sea lettuce, 1 handful of dulse, ¼ cup pine nuts, ¼ cup walnuts, Four TSB extra virgin olive oil, ¼ cup organic tomato sauce, steamed broccoli, dash of Himalayan salt.

A key mineral to take note of is phosphorous. Muscles cannot grow without cell division and cells cannot divide without phosphorous. It is also what regulates blood PH and is found mainly in sea vegetables, black olives, walnuts, almonds and sunflower seed sprouts. These essential minerals are delivered by fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds that have been grown in mineral rich soil. Remember, a plant cannot give you what the soil can’t furnish! To grow quality muscle, the foods must come from quality soils.

In order to build muscle, you must bring oxygen to the cells. It is a matter of having a sufficient supply of nitrogen and minerals found in leafy green plants and superfood supplements as protein stores. You will need more calories and more grams of protein than someone who doesn’t work out, but half the protein intake of a cooked food eater. In order for muscular contraction to take place, the electrical potential of the nerve and muscle fibres must be high and in place, this is achieved with organic sources of calcium and almost every person is deficient in this mineral as drugs, soft drinks, caffeine block its absorption.

Calcium supports liver function so that gastric juices can be produced as well as enzymes. Your entire digestive system will not absorb vital elements if the food you eat is of poor quality as is the case with most food produced worldwide. Barley grass powder is an excellent source of calcium you can add to your daily super smoothies.

Quinoa, lentils, red rice and sprouted seeds are some of the most powerful muscle builders around. Keep the super smoothies and green juices flowing as they will mineralise the body and uphold maximum hydration, experiment with superfoods and create a program that suits you and you only. Remember to add fatty acids into your training regime as they are needed for the health of your eyes, ears, brain, adrenal glands and sex organs. These beneficial fats help create muscle building hormones and boost physical energy levels.

Flaxseed oil, avocadoes and avocado oil are the best because they are unsaturated. Unsaturated simply means they have empty spaces within the molecular structure, which allow them to link up with other beneficial biologically active substances, whilst saturated fats are completely clogged with hydrogen atoms, making them inert and useless.

Final workout words

You will never grow bigger muscles through pumping movements, as they do not reach the deeper fibres that provide for massive growth. Getting larger muscles requires overload; you must use heavy weights to make the muscle do something it isn’t used to doing, and you must force the cell components to grow! When you are doing repetitions, focus your mind on the muscle you are working; really feel the squeeze and breathe slowly in and out through the nose to enhance the storage of QI/CHI life force energy. This is known as the mind-muscle connection.

Your ‘‘fast twitch’ muscle fibres have a very thick nerve supply and, when properly stimulated, can give you huge muscles that deliver great power. The ‘slow twitch’ muscle fibres hold the ability to endure long, enduring workouts. People with a larger proportion of slow twitch fibres make great long distance runners or swimmers. The myofibrils amount to 30 per cent of a muscles cells size and to activate cellular growth, the muscle mused be taxed enough to fail in the range of 6 to 12 repetitions, with the weight at the level of 60–80 per cent of your best single.

By increasing resistance, you increase overload. Increase overload and you will increase muscle size. However, you must be overloading the largest number of muscles possible at the same time. Squatting is brilliant as it forces the body to release muscle building anabolic hormones alongside parallel bar dips. When doing dips, attach a dipping belt so you can add more weight. Do five sets of five with a weight you can handle with perfect form and you will soon be on the way to muscle growth.

This was excerpted from the YUSA Guide To Balance: Mind Body Spirit which you can view in full HERE where it’s available in physical and digital format. You can also see what our current worldwide readership is saying about the book. If you are outside of the UK we advise that you visit for your copy for more cost effective delivery costs.