Resource Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Building Muscle on a Plant-Based Diet

Slim well built woman holding a horizontal bar

Look, we’ve all heard the jokes. Here’s my recent favorite:

“Vegans wouldn’t hurt a fly only because they aren’t strong enough to swat one.”

Or there’s this dig, from one of the greatest shows of all time:


The worst part about the weak vegan jokes isn’t that they’re poking fun at us — we’ve got to be able to laugh at ourselves — it’s that over time, they slowly begin to create doubt.

… Doubt about whether you really can build muscle and get strong on a whole-food plant-based diet.

… Doubt that you’ll ever have the muscles or physique you want eating only plants.

So today, in celebration of the beginning of summer, when bathing suits and shirtless running flourish, we’re telling the world otherwise.

We’re telling the world you can have your muscle, and eat broccoli too! (Or something like that…)

The team and I have gone through all the best strength fitness and nutrition articles and podcasts on No Meat Athlete and compiled them into a single guide. A guide you can arm yourself with for the next time a doubt creeps in, or share with your friend when they say you need to eat meat to hit your goals.

(Note: Want even more? Get started with the new Summer Vegan Strength Bundle, available through Sunday.)

How to Build Muscle on a Plant-Based Diet

One ironic twist to the whole weak vegan story line is that more and more, professional bodybuilders are going plant-based. That’s right, they’re reaching for plant-based fuel — not meat — to build muscle.

The first place to start with a guide like this is with the professionals, whose main focus is building and sustaining muscle and strength.


How to Build Muscle on a Plant-Based Diet: Staple Foods, Meal Plans, and Philosophy

The 15-Minute, Strength-Building Bodyweight Routine for Plant-Based Athletes

The Skinny Vegan’s Guide to Gaining Muscle


Plant-Based Muscle with Robert Cheeke and Vanessa Espinoza

Building Muscle and Losing Fat on a Vegan Diet with Marcella Torres and Derek Tresize

Strength Exercises for Runners

While most people don’t think of endurance athletes as having big muscles, full-body strength can help you run faster and longer, and prevent many of the common injuries most runners encounter.

And it all starts with simple bodyweight exercises. Here are two guides to get you going:


The 23-Minute Post-Run Routine that Builds Strength, Recovery, and Mental Toughness

16 Easy Strength Exercises & Stretches to Help You Run Faster & Injury-Free

The Truth about Protein: What You Need to Know

Now, as much as I believe protein is an overblown, over-hyped nutrient, it would be tough to call this guide complete without bringing it up.

Protein is, after all, the genesis of most of the doubts I talked about earlier (and jokes, for that matter).

So, where do we get our protein? And how do we make sure we’re getting enough?


How to Answer the Question: Where do You Get Your Protein?

Protein – A Primer for Vegetarians

Protein for Vegans: A Fresh Approach to Getting Enough

Vegetarian Protein Foods


Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Protein, with Garth Davis, M.D.

Feeling confident yet?

Make this summer the year you finally build the strong, lean body you’ve wanted. And show the world that we vegans are more than just the butt of some silly joke.



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  1. Patrick Peart says:

    February next year will b two years i became vegan, your information will help to improve even more my existing diet, and help i become more spiritually and physically stronger.
    U people keep up the good work

  2. Is the kickstart protein meal plan the same as the 7 Day meal plan?

  3. I’ve been flirting with this idea for a while now, but I always have some hesitations that keep me from doing it. At least now I can find all the answers here, and I thank you for that. Still, I have a question because I don’t know how to work my way around it. I cannot eat mushrooms or beans due to some health issues, and I was wondering if there is a way around those plant-based proteins? What should I focus on instead and would that alternative be enough?

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