7 Plant-Based Muscle-Building Foods That Athletes Love

Drinking green smoothie

Are you looking to improve your shape and body composition? Gaining muscle is vital! It's not losing weight that will really change your body - you will simply look like a smaller version of yourself. By building muscle, you can make desired changes to the shape of your body, which then gives you the 'toned' look. You can't 'tone up' by slashing calories and slaving away on the treadmill. By using a resistance training program paired with the right muscle building foods, you can start to build the body you dream of!

1. Oats:

A staple for bodybuilders and athletes everywhere, oats are your go to breakfast fuel or workout snack for a steady boost of energy. With an ideal macronutrient profile for muscle mass, oats contain 13% protein, 68% carbohydrates (carbs) and 8% fat. Carbs are important for your muscle building process - they help fuel your hard training sessions in the gym, needed for getting those extra few repetitions that will make the difference in whether you grow muscle or not. After hard exercise, your muscles will also be depleted of glycogen, and consuming a serving of carbs will give them the nutrition they need. By having enough carbs in your diet, you'll be able to give your muscles that nice 'full' look. The type of carbs that oats have matters too - oats have complex carbs that contain a low GI - perfect for sustained energy and those long workouts. Lastly, oats contain vitamins and minerals that help you feel great!

2. Bananas:

Are you looking for a quick source of pre-workout energy? Instead of a coffee, give yourself an extra boost with a delicious banana! Packed full of vitamin B6 for energy, you’ll be ready to smash it out in the gym in no time. It’s a moderately fast-digesting fruit, so you can have it 45 minutes before your strength training session and be ready to go! With 23g of carbohydrates per 100g, it’ll give your muscles the fuel they need to perform at their best. It’s also an essential source of minerals like magnesium and potassium, which are necessary for performance and muscle recovery. For an extra yummy post-workout, try it frozen in a shake with almond milk and your favourite Ultimate Plant Protein by b Raw!

3. Tofu:

On a plant-based diet, you’ll need to make sure your protein levels are on point. If muscle gain is your goal, this is a critical factor of helping your muscles to repair and grow! Not to mention, this macronutrient is vital in helping you keep strength and muscle when you decide to diet down and show off your gains. In 100g of tofu, you’ll find 8g of protein, so you’ll need to eat more in comparison to say 100g of chicken breast (which has approximately 26g of protein). It also has more fat, so you’ll need to take that into account, but if you’re trying to build muscle anyway, it’s a great source of calories! Tofu makes an excellent choice for your muscle-building program, as it has all nine essential amino acids. It also contains vitamins and minerals that are necessary for your overall vitality!

4. Peanut Butter:

An athlete’s much-loved tasty muscle snack, I’ll forgive for wanting to scoff the whole jar down in one go! Peanut butter provides a dense form of energy; it’s the perfect food when you’re looking to make some muscle gains. Not only does it taste amazing, but you’ll have a snack that will be an added protein source. One tablespoon gives you 3.5g of protein, 8g of fat and 3.5g of carbs. Peanut butter is suitable for low-carb dieters or anyone looking for a balanced macro profile! Have it in your muscle gain shake, enjoy it in your healthy recipes or even on its own – warning, it’s very energy-dense, so even though you’re trying to gain, you might want to weigh out portions, so you don’t increase your calories too quickly!

5. Spinach:

Pop-eye was onto a good thing! Greens are the ultimate muscle mass food, and spinach, in particular, has been shown to help speed up your body’s conversion of protein into muscle. Spinach has ecdysterone, a hormone that helps build strength and muscle mass – scientists have even called for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to include it in the athlete banned substances list!

Packed full of nutrition, don’t skip a day without having your dark leafy greens – especially spinach! You can have it raw in salads, sauteed as a side with your protein meal. If you don’t like the taste, you can easily mix it into smoothies so you won’t notice it as much.

6. Sweet potato:

Sweet potato is versatile complex carb that can help fuel your intense training, and promote better muscle recovery afterwards. This delicious tuber is rich in fibre and muscle-protecting potassium. The humble sweet potato is also an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C and B vitamins for energy, health and aesthetics. For a delicious lunch, bake them in the oven and have with your protein source. Enjoy sweet potato fries for a clean treat that feels naughty! You can even turn them into a sweet dessert - try sweet potato brownies or pancakes for muscle-growth edibles you'll always come back to!

7. Plant-based protein powder:

On a plant-based diet, it can be hard to meet your overall protein needs. When you’re on a plant-based diet, you’ll naturally be eating plenty of fibrous foods, which can be great for your overall digestive health but can make trying to pack those calories in a lot harder! By using a plant-based protein powder, you can top up your protein stores any time of the day. The Ultimate Plant Protein by b Raw is an excellent source of complex amino acids - perfect for your muscle building and dieting efforts! Rich in essential and non-essential amino acids, it's made from organic golden pea, sprouted brown rice, sprouted fermented golden pea and sacha inchi. With an added ancient grains blend, superfood blend, amino acid blend and digestive enzymes, you're getting a complete protein with extra health benefits!

Final thoughts:

By using these foods in conjunction with a strength program and a calorie surplus, you can start to build the muscle you want today. Remember to vary your nutrition sources, and be consistent with your training and eating in order to see the best results. With smart nutrition and exercise programming, you can feel stronger, more energetic and start to create your desired body shape!


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