5 GREAT TIPS TO GAIN WEIGHT AS A VEGAN
Gaining weight as a vegan can be challenging, but if you follow these 5 tips you'll be able to pack on those pounds.
There is a common belief that veganism weakens your body and your health. That is furthest from the truth, what really destroys your health or your body is an unbalanced diet and a sedentary lifestyle.
Nature is awesome, and there’s ALWAYS something that will provide you with the nourishment your body needs. A carnivore diet is easier, but the benefits for your health and the planet if you stop consuming products of animal origin are just huge and totally worth the cost.
I have to warn you though, gaining weight and getting ripped on a vegan diet is very challenging, don’t fool yourself thinking that it will be easy. After all, gaining weight is not a natural thing for your body. Your body is programmed to maintain your weight inside an optimal level. Well, at least what your body perceives as optimal taking into consideration the amount of physical activities you do, your subconscious processes and your dietary habits.
Bodybuilding takes a lot of discipline, attention and routine, and at first you will get small progresses until you reach the sweet spot. Then, you’ll start growing fast and furious, and healthy which is the most important thing you should take into consideration.
Being a Vegan bodybuilder is no different than a non vegan bodybuilder. Both ain’t easy, but if bodybuilding as a non-vegan is hard mode, doing it while keeping a vegan diet is hardcore mode. Pay attention to what’s happening daily, and you will get results faster.
1. PLAN YOUR WORKOUT
This is obvious but it is so important that it must be mentioned. Have a workout plan, keep track of it every week to make sure you’re gaining strength and moving the weights forward. Don’t get complacent. Don’t get comfortable. Push your limits if you want to grow.
2. DRINK A LOT OF WATER
Ok, this is another no brainer. Seriously, drink a ton of water. Not some water or a lot of water, but a TON of water. Even if you already drink a lot, challenge yourself to drink even more. If you don’t believe me, test it on yourself. Go to your workout without being properly hydrated and you’re going to notice how paramount water is for your performance.
When you’re dehydrated, your workout will be 30% worse. If you usually do 10 reps, without water your body will start fluking after the 6th or 7th rep. Keep yourself hydrated and you will bulk up way faster, and you will feel and look bigger as well because your cells will be plumped up with water. That will make you feel good and motivated to keep going.
3. TRACK THE CALORIES
If you’re wondering why you’re still here, take this as useful reminder because these tips are of utmost importance, because if you don’t do these things, no diet will work!
Use an app, write it down or make a message group only for yourself and send audios. It doesn’t matter how you do it, all that matters is that you’re doing it. If you’re not gaining weight after a couple of weeks, that means you are not eating enough. It’s as simple as it can get.
It is hard to eat enough because when you are in an advanced state of bodybuilding, your body will demand a lot of calories to keep growing. You will often need to keep eating even after you are full. It is not about satisfying your hunger, but providing energy for your cells to grow.
Now things start to get interesting. Have a lot of smoothies! They are an excellent and healthy way to put up those extra calories without feeling bloated. I’m not talking about one smoothie a day, but as many as you need to keep your caloric level high enough to gain weight week after week.
Liquid calories are also great because they will be used fast and become muscles instead of being stored as fat, and is easier on your digestion. Actually, the digestion process itself consumes calories, it is not much but we’re trying to make every calorie count here. Make sure you add mass gainers to your smoothie, that way you can pack in a thousand calories easily and chug it down fast, without feeling full.
If you need to eat a thousand calories worth of potatoes and tofu, you will understand the challenge. It's a full belly of food, and you would need to do it three or even four times a day, depending on how much energy you need.
This is awesome at night, when you’re already full. Picture your stomach with a lot of food chummed together, like a bottle full of small pebbles. If you try to put more pebbles, it won’t fit, but if you pour water on it, you will still be able to get a considerable amount inside the bottle, because it fills all the little nooks and crannies around the chums of food in your belly.
If you’re having a hard time gaining weight, try adding an extra smoothie at night for a week and you will notice the difference!
5. ROTATE YOUR MEALS
This is probably the secret you were waiting for! You have to rotate up to six meals daily and keep things simple. Your goal is to make it mechanic, so you don’t need to think about it.
If you need to put up your recipes every time you cook, chances are that’s when some work related project or other unpredictable events happen in your life (and believe me, they will happen, that’s what life is all about) you will flunk your diet. Either you’ll surrender to fast food, try to pack two meals at once or even skip a meal and lose the calories. Those are all bad scenarios that won’t contribute towards your goal. Stop thinking!
This will take a massive load of stress out of your mind. Thinking “what meal should I have” is time consuming and you probably won’t be prepared. So get used to having 5 or 6 main meals and make sure the ingredients are always available. It is even easier to prepare them that way! That way, instead of thinking “what will I eat” you will think “which meal will I eat” so that narrows down the decision making and helps you.
If you get tired of something, just prepare yourself to substitute it. You can rotate one dish or two every week to make it interesting. That way, you won’t get tired and the results are going to get you hyped.
And if you’re inspired or want to do something different, you can go for it! No problem at all. This strategy is just to get the daily routine in the automatic mode to prevent you from leaving your optimal diet.
Maybe you already knew a few of these tips, but they are very important. Look at this as a chance to get back on track if you got off the rails, or to motivate yourself if you’re doing everything right. It is very easy to slack at something, especially hydration and sleeping schedule (this wasn’t mentioned it before, but getting enough rest is indispensable for muscle growth).
Keep your schedule tight and be at peace with your routine, because if you fail on one thing, usually it triggers a domino effect: you eat bad, then you sleep poorly, loose performance, end up drinking little water and enter into a vicious cycle that will cut you back a month or two.
Be meticulous, always go to sleep at the same time, drink a lot of water and keep track of everything and results will come sooner than later. Those habits must be wired into your brain, so repeat them until they become second nature for you and you’ll notice a lot of growth.