Can You Build Muscle With Plant Protein?

by PoojaMakhija

It makes no difference whether an athlete intends to follow a 100% vegan diet or simply wants to avoid animal-based protein sources such as whey protein powder. When it comes to plant-based protein sources, it is usual for individuals to be suspicious about whether or not it is possible to gain muscle and strength while consuming these sources.

Is it possible to gain muscle when consuming plant-based protein? Is it possible to maintain a healthy weight without consuming milk protein? In a nutshell, certainly. Everything you need to know about muscle growth with plant based protein is covered in detail further down this page.

What is Protein?

Amino acids are the building elements of protein, an essential macronutrient. Among the 22 amino acids found in the human body, nine "essential" amino acids cannot be synthesized by the body. Those Amino acids are only found in the diet.

An amino acid profile that includes all nine of these essential amino acids is referred to as a "complete protein". As the name suggests, "incomplete" proteins are those that lack all or some of the nine essential amino acids. There is a general rule that animal proteins tend to be complete, while plant-based proteins tend to be incomplete (but not all of them are).

RDI of Protein

For individuals over the age of 18, the current recommended daily intake (RDA) for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight (or 0.36 grams per pound of body weight) each day. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) is the amount of a nutrient you need to meet your basic nutritional requirements; as a result, individuals wishing to prevent muscle loss, maximize muscle gain, lose body fat, or older individuals at risk of sarcopenia or muscle loss may benefit from increasing their protein intake to the recommended daily allowance.

Adults looking to optimize health and protect against lean mass loss should consume between 1.2 and 1.6 grams per kilogramme (0.54 to 0.7 grams per pound) of body weight per day, while non-dieting adults looking to maximize resistance training adaptation should consume between 1.6 and 2.2 grams per kilogramme (0.7 to 1.0 grams per pound) of body weight per day, depending on their goals. 

We have put together some simple strategies to help you improve your protein consumption throughout the day, whether you fall into one of these categories or simply struggle with getting enough protein in your diet.

Types of Protein

All chemical interactions in the body rely on amino acids, which are the building blocks of muscles. The human body has a total of 20 amino acids. The scientific community considers nine of these to be "essential" amino acids (EAA). Unlike other amino acids, EAAs are referred to as "essential" since the body cannot synthesize them and must get them from the food to function properly.

The term "complete protein" refers to foods that have enough of each of the nine essential amino acids. Meat and other animal foods are "complete" sources of essential amino acids because they have all of the amino acids you need.

Incomplete proteins are proteins that don't have all of the essential amino acids in their natural form. They are called incomplete proteins. Most plant foods don't have enough protein, so you'll need to mix them with other plant foods that have a lot of different essential amino acids to get enough protein.

Sources of Protein

Animal derived protein and plant derived protein are the two main types (or sources) of protein. Some animal products, such as the ones listed below, are complete protein sources: casein (dairy), whey (dairy), egg, meat, chicken, and so on. The following are examples of plant-based protein: Soybeans, peas, brown rice, chickpeas, and other legumes.

The most important difference between animal and plant protein is their amino acid makeup. There are a large number of animal protein sources that are complete proteins, which means they include all nine essential amino acids in the correct ratios. A crucial amino acid is missing from most plant proteins, making them incomplete proteins. The effect of complete proteins can be achieved by consuming a large number of plant proteins at once.

Common Challenges

Plant-based protein can be used in place of standard protein sources to help you gain muscle mass (such as whey protein). However, obtaining protein from plants rather than animals may provide some difficulties. It's easier to avoid hurdles when you're aware of them, so you can maximize your muscular development. When athletes convert from animal-based protein sources to plant-based protein sources, they often experience the following issues:

1. Complete Protein

Some plant-based protein sources are deficient in certain essential amino acids. This means that they do not have all nine essential amino acids, which the body is unable to generate. It is vital to note that leucine, one of the most important essential amino acids, is frequently absent from plant-based proteins. Leucine is particularly critical for muscle growth and development.

2. Absorption

Plant based protein isn't as readily absorbed by the body as animal-based protein is. Because of this people who eat a mostly plant-based diet may need to ingest more protein than those who eat a more omnivorous diet.

3. Texture And Flavor

Many people find the flavor and texture of some plant-based protein sources to be unappetizing. In particular, plant-based protein powders, some of which might be gritty or have an unpleasant aftertaste, should be avoided.

4. Digestive Problems

Plant-based proteins can occasionally cause stomach difficulties in some people. People who eat low-quality plant-based protein sources, especially when they first begin to incorporate them into their diet, may develop bloating or gas.

Build Muscle with Plant Protein

1. Protein Sources

Not all plant-based sources of protein are created equal, though. There are some plant-based proteins that are full proteins and others that are incomplete proteins because they lack crucial amino acids. The sorts of plant-based proteins you consume are vital to consider if you're going to start introducing more plant-based proteins into your diet.

There are some plant proteins that have a higher concentration of amino acids (and other nutrients) than others. The following are some of the best sources of plant-based protein for your money, Pea Protein (21 grams/.74 ounces of protein per serving), Brown Rice (Protein 5 grams/.17 ounces of protein per serving), Fava Bean Protein (13 grams/.45 ounces of protein per cup), Soy Protein (23 grams/.81 ounces of protein per serving), and Quinoa Protein (8 grams/.28 ounces of protein per cup).

2. High-Quality

Protein powder is most likely a regular component of your daily supplement regimen. Choosing a high-quality plant-based protein powder to replace your daily whey or casein protein shake is critical if you plan to follow a plant-based diet. There are a variety of plant-based protein powder alternatives available on the market these days. Despite this, not all of them provide the same nutritional advantages.

3. Track Intake

It's critical that you keep track of your protein consumption if one of your key objectives is to gain muscle.  It doesn't matter whether you follow a plant-based or an omnivore diet; you should exercise. It doesn't matter which route you take, you must be conscious of how much protein you consume each day. It's easy to assume you're getting enough protein and then, after taking a closer look at your diet, discover that you're actually falling short in the protein department. 

Apps that can help you calculate how much protein you're taking in on a daily basis are available for download from the Apple or Android App Store. Take use of these applications, particularly since the majority of them are free. 

Check to see that you're being as accurate as possible when it comes to tracking your protein. Don't just eyeball your portions and assume how much you're eating or drinking during each meal or snack; instead, measure out your servings. Weigh and measure your meals so that you are aware of exactly how much you are consuming.

4. Be Consistent

Consistency is another important component of growing muscle while following a plant-based diet. Athletes who want to make significant gains in the gym must maintain consistency in both their workouts and eating regimens. It is true that what you eat and do is important, but the manner in which you do things is even more important. In order to get the kind of results you want, you need to lift weights on a regular basis, manage your nutrition, and reach your goals (especially your protein goals). If you don't do this, you'll have a difficult time seeing the kind of results you want.

5. Eat Enough

Finally, when trying to gain muscle, don't forget to consume a proper number of calories and protein. It's important to meet your protein goals, but you'll also need to meet your daily calorie requirements. In order to gain muscle and get positive results, you must consume enough calories to avoid being in a caloric deficit. It won't make a difference how much weight you're lifting or how much protein you're eating. This is yet another situation in which keeping track of your daily food and beverage intake is beneficial. It is possible to ensure that you reach all of your macronutrient and calorie objectives if you utilize an app.


As you can see, it is absolutely possible to gain muscle mass while consuming plant-based protein. As long as you're consuming high-quality plant-based protein sources and staying consistent with your workouts, there's no reason why you shouldn't be able to make improvements while also adhering to a healthy diet.