Muscle gain is a challenging feat all by itself, but combining it with other influencing factors such as metabolism rates and dietary choices makes it even more difficult. Gaining body mass and working it towards muscle-building can be tricky, especially for individuals with highly efficient metabolism systems.
Adding a vegan diet to this equation seemingly makes it even trickier – however, this is not true. While vegan foods are typically considered to aid in weight loss and fat burning programs, they can also help tremendously in building muscles and helping exerted muscles recuperate.
Here, you’ll find the quickest ways on how to gain muscle mass as a vegan if you fall under the ectomorphic body type classification – and as you’ll discover, a vegan diet is no hindrance to putting on muscle for skinny vegans either!
Who Classifies As An Ectomorph?
Ectomorphs are one of the three physical somatotypes – a psychological classification that has largely fallen out of use due to them not being deeply rooted in scientific practices. These three somatotypes correspond with broad categories of the physical body types – namely, the mesomorphs, endomorphs, and ectomorphs.
The ectomorphs, in specific, comprise those who find it difficult to gain weight (refer to this article) or mass, especially in terms of muscles. Naturally, it follows that they have a high metabolism rate and are mostly taller than average. They are mostly lean and are at the lowest risk of obesity, but this also means that they find it difficult to bulk up no matter what.
What Goes Into Gaining Muscle Mass As Any Regular Gymgoer?
As a regular gym-goer, there are mainly three things you have to be keeping in mind if you want to gain muscle as quickly as possible. These things include training, recovery, and nutrition. As far as nutrition is concerned, you have to closely monitor your diet to include necessary carbs, calories, and most importantly protein – something that we will cover in the next section.
In terms of training, it always helps to build a fixed exercise routine in terms of both compound exercises and isolated exercises that focus on bulking up specific muscles. Lastly, muscle recovery is an extremely important component that is neglected often. To ensure quick muscle bulking, you have to take time to rest after your workouts to avoid injury.
How To Gain Muscle As A Vegan Ectomorph?
1. Train With Proper Form While Ensuring Progressive Overload
If you’ve found your pacing while building muscle mass, then you’re usually advised to keep at it till you see visible changes or gains. However, many individuals neglect to factor in the possibility that working the same routine every day may have you plateauing – a term that means that your muscle bulking stagnates for a while after you’ve been at the same muscle-building routine every day.
This is where the concept of progressive overload comes in – progressive overload ensures that you’re not plateauing because you’re advised to increase the intensity and frequency of your workouts. With a gradual increase in the number of reps and weight if you’re lifting, your muscles are constantly being strained and pushed.
However, you should only opt for progressive overload if you’re well-versed with your current routine in proper form. It also helps to build bicep muscles – so for instance, if you’ve been lifting 12 pounds for a month, you can go over to 15 pounds the next month. This ensures that your muscles are prepared and not fatigued instead by the increase in reps and weight – your number one priority should be making sure that you’re in proper form as well.
2. Ensure Proper Nutrition
a. Consistently hit your calorie and Macronutrient goals
As a vegan ectomorph, gaining mass and building muscle can be very tricky – especially owing to your diet. It is a widely acknowledged misconception that vegan diets are inferior to animal-based diets in terms of protein and macronutrients. While you will need to derive your sources of nutrition from a combination of foods, vegan foods are equally as effective in building mass and muscle.
You can fulfill your daily protein intake by consuming complete sources of protein from vegan sources such as quinoa, tofu, edamame, and more – allowing for around 1g of protein per pound of body weight.
Your calorie count can also be increased by the consumption of a variety of vegan foods – and make sure that your carbohydrate and calorie intake is initially higher (up to 500 calories), owing to an ectomorph body type.
As for other macronutrients, you will have to keep in mind the importance of vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin D, calcium, and more by incorporating legumes, lentils, and green vegetables into your diet.
These vitamins and minerals ensure quick recovery of muscles especially after a series of intensive workouts for muscle building. Getting the recommended amount of calories and other macronutrients in your diet is thus extremely important.
b. Don’t Overlook your Micronutrients
While we’ve talked about the importance of incorporating protein-rich content in a vegan diet while gaining muscle as a vegan, that’s not where your vegan journey to build muscle ends. Micronutrients are extremely crucial as well – incorporating micronutrients such as iron, calcium, zinc, and more.
These three micronutrients can easily be added to your diet in the form of leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale or, or even from almonds and sesame seeds. For ectomorphs on vegan diets attempting to add muscle-building and endurance, these micronutrients are absolutely crucial and accessible in most vegan foods as well.
3. Prioritize Sleep and Recovery
If you’re already doing all you can in order to ensure that you’re fulfilling your muscle-building exercise routine and incorporating the highest amount of nutrition tailor-made for ectomorphic body types, the most neglected sector of vegan muscle-building is resting and allowing your muscles to recuperate before you dive back into the intensive workout routine you’ve decided for yourself.
While it is important for everyone to get around 8 hours of sleep every day, it is even more so for those who are trying to actively build muscle in a short span of time. Whenever possible, attempt to get at least 7.5 hours of sleep every day to expedite the muscle-building process. It is also important to let your muscles relax since overdoing intensive exercises at the gym can help you avoid injuries.
4. Use Essential Supplements to Gain a Slight Edge
a. Vegan Protein Powder
If you’re worried about getting an adequate amount of protein in your vegan diet while gaining muscle as a vegan, then you can consider supplements that will supply your body with all essential amino acids that your body is unable to synthesize by itself. Depending on which proteins you’re missing out on, you can opt for vegan protein powders rich in amino acids that are missing in your diet.
As mentioned before, it can be tricky getting the balance of proteins just right to make sure you’re getting all essential amino acids. It is best to opt vegan protein powders for gaining muscle for vegan ectomorphs, that can supplement your diet along with a generous helping of fibers and omega-3 acids.
b. Vegan BCAA
Quite simply, BCAAs refer to the essential amino acids valine, isoleucine, and leucine – and all three of these can scarcely be found in high quantities in vegan foods. Hence, it is best to supplement your diet with substances rich in vegan BCAAs. BCAAs are also widely popular for increasing muscle mass and bulk and encourage your muscles to recover.
With plant-based and organic ingredients, there are countless vegan BCAA supplements available that you can choose between. For an ectomorphic body structure, remember to opt for vegan BCAA supplements that are slightly higher in calories.
c. Creatine Supplement
Whether you’re only starting your workout routine or have been at it for a while now, you already know the major role that creatine plays in increasing muscle mass and helping in muscle growth. Used by gym-goers and athletes alike, creatine is popular for preventing muscle tearing and expediting healing for fatigued muscles.
It is especially recommended for gaining muscle for vegan ectomorphs, since one of the many benefits of creatine is the fact that it helps increase mass tremendously, especially in the initial month of creatine supplement consumption. And yes, it is completely safe to consume creatine supplements.
d. Vegan Pre-workout
Pre-workout supplements have been around for a while, and for good reason as well. If you’re unable to get the adequate recommended intake for energy consumption, then vegan pre-workout supplements can help you out.
You can opt for vegan pre-workout supplements that are replete with caffeine so as to increase your performance, and thus inevitably build mass. Clearly, you do not have to miss out on any nutritional components while on a vegan diet if your goal is muscle-building.
As you have seen, having a vegan diet does not hinder you from building muscle mass as quickly as possible, even as an ectomorph. However, it is necessary to keep in mind other factors such as the frequency of your exercise routines and their intensity.
Additionally, keeping in mind nutritional components such as proteins and other important micronutrients can help you plan your bodybuilding diet to include a higher intake of calories as well – something that is crucial if you’re looking to build mass.
And lastly, if you’re still worried about not getting enough amino acids or nutrients through your diet, you can always safely supplement it with the help of the above-listed bodybuilding vegan supplements so as to not miss out on any pertinent nutrients. By adhering to your diet and ensuring progressive overload in your workouts, those muscle gains are not too far off!