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You Can’t Build Muscle On A Vegan Diet. Right?

Updated: Mar 4, 2023

“As a coach and a vegan bodybuilder, this is the most common question I get” personal trainer and vegan nutritionist Steve Pilot states.

“People just can’t believe that I built my physique on a plant-based vegan diet.
But for me, going vegan was the best thing that ever happened to me in terms of exercise and dieting.”

Can you really build muscle on a vegan diet as Steve did?

Let handstand expert Steve Pilot take you through the process of how it’s done.

First things first, conventional science suggests that in order to build muscle, one has to increase his daily protein intake up to 1,5 – 2 grams per kilogram of body weight.

Do we really need that much protein intake?

“The average female needs 1,2 – 1,5 grams and the average male 1,5 – 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.

Professional bodybuilders may increase their daily protein intake as far as 2,5 – 3 grams per kilogram of body weight” vegan nutritionist Steve Pilot answers that question.

“People think that they need to get lots of protein to look better and gain muscle but overconsumption of protein is not beneficial.
That is one of the many myths that the fitness industry has established. Protein supplements are what they do, and what they sell.

So it makes sense for them to brainwash us into thinking that we need a high protein intake which we can’t get out of real food.

Protein is super important in order to build muscle but still, you’ll need to have a balanced diet as well to preserve general health.

We also need good carbohydrates which we can get from veggies and healthy fats which we can get from seeds and nuts.

You can’t build up muscle with carbs and fats but they need to be present in your healthy diet.

Steve proceeds to explain a bit more about plants and protein.

All protein comes from plants. Then, we feed plants to industrial animals and then we eat the animals.

Why not cut out the middleman and eat plants in the first place?

You could easily skip consuming meat, which can be harmful to your health. We have so many choices available but we never utilize them.

Lentils, peas, beans, tempeh, broccoli, brown rice, tofu, and so much more.

Vegan nutritionist Steve Pilot takes us even deeper into our bodies and explains why we should get our protein from plants rather than meat.

“Protein macromolecular polypeptides have consisted of chains of amino acids.
Our bodies produce some of these amino acids but can’t produce them all by themselves, so we need to get them from food.
It’s important to know that we can get a variety of amino acids if we eat a variety of plants”.

Building muscle has nothing to do with eating meat.

In order to build muscle, you have to follow a process of breaking down the muscle tissue with exercise and then repairing it with incoming protein.

If you eat too much meat to get your protein, you put yourself in danger of inflammation which can possibly lead to disease in the long run.

On the other hand, there is no study that says the same thing can happen if you eat too much plant-based protein.

To prove the above points, coach Steve Pilot confesses how he did it.

“I was an untrained ectomorph, I was a skinny little kid” he admits in his own words.

“Everything I did, all the muscle and strength I gained, I achieved on a plant-based vegan diet”.

Building muscle essentially comes down to a simple process that can be achieved with enough discipline.

Firstly, you have to break down muscle tissue.

You can achieve this through any form of exercise as long as you achieve an overload, an overstimulation of the muscles.

The easiest way to do it is by lifting weights.

Weights can be easily adjusted to fit your level of strength and conditioning and you can manipulate them accordingly by adding more weight or reducing it if needed.

You can achieve the same thing with bodyweight exercise, but you’ll need to have a broad imagination in order to make the exercises more difficult to achieve progressive overload.

Secondly, as you might have guessed, you need to eat right, eat healthily, and repair the muscles through a healthy diet with enough plant-based protein intake.

Without being too much complicated here, Steve also mentioned that meat stays in our gut system for up to 24-48 hours. In simple words, that’s bad.

“Our gut system is our second brain and it is very sensitive”. Our gut system is an important part of the body and we need to take good care of it.
Practically, we want everything that gets into our bodies to be digested fast.

In conclusion, you will notice some positive changes in your body in the short term when switching to a plant-based vegan diet.

People who have tried it can say it’s worth it.

Now you know what to do.

You not only know the process of building muscles, but you also know how to keep your muscles healthy despite their physical appearance.

Keep up the good work and train hard.

Steve Pilot is here to help you and answer all your questions on your vegan journey.


Steve Pilot is a professional certified fitness coach and vegan nutritionist.

With over 27 years of fitness experience and a self-tested fitness program, his mission is to positively influence people’s lives by helping them become the best version of themselves through fitness, personal training, sustainable eating habits, and living an active lifestyle.

This goes beyond just lifting a few weights in the gym.

He offers a total transformation of mindset, body, and spirit.

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