High protein diets are a scam. You don’t need all that much protein to build muscle. Muscles are 70% water. The only reason you read about the benefits of high protein area because that’s what everybody sells!
Being a vegetarian will not affect your strength gains at all. In fact it shouldn’t really affect your size gains that much either. You need a caloric surplus to build muscle. To do this as a vegetarian, you need to focus on good fats like nuts, oils and avocadoes, starchy carbohydrates like oatmeal, sweet potatoes, pasta and brown rice and for protein sources you will be limited to dairy or if you are a true vegan- beans, legumes, quinoa, soy, hemp protein, nuts, etc. You simply do not need high protein diets to build muscle.
When it comes to adding muscle while maintaining body fat, this is the only place you may have difficulty. Because it will be impossible to get all the calories you need from veggies and fruits you are going to really need to pile down the
starchy carbohydrates like rice and bread. If you are lean, this shouldn’t be a problem. But since your insulin sensitivity is lower when you are fatter, you may have trouble staying lean by eating all those starchy carbohydrates. This may slow down your size gains because you may end up looking like a fat slob in no time.
To combat this problem, try carbohydrate cycling the way a normal meat eater would do it. Have super high carbohydrates on training days and limit your starchy carbohydrates on non training days. Maybe one day per week, only have vegetables as your carbohydrates and eat nuts, and beans that day. First, the low carbohydrate days help you to create a calorie deficit needed to lose weight. Second, the cycling or carbohydrate rotating helps you to keep your metabolism from slowing down as it often does when we reduce our overall calorie intake. The metabolic influence helps us to continue losing weight far into the future. On average, women should lean towards 125-175 grams of carbohydrates on low days and 200-300 grams on higher days.
Building a great physique as a vegetarian is definitely possible. You don’t need 400 grams of protein per day to grow. You will progress just fine as a vegetarian. Good luck and train hard.
For Strict Vegetarians
If you cannot consume eggs, dairy or fish and you still wish to build muscle, take the following suggestions.
1) Invest In A Good Protein Powder
The truth of the matter is, you need to keep your protein intake high to build muscle. It is nearly impossible to get 200 or 300 grams of protein per day from fruit, vegetables and grains, so a good protein powder will go a long way.
2) Add Healthy Fats To Bump Up Calories
Vegetarians struggle to build muscle because of low fat intake. Ultra-low fat intake hampers testosterone which is one the prime hormones for muscle building. By adding dairy to your diet, you can boost your fat intake. Try adding extra virgin olive oil to your daily diet. Just one tablespoon contains 120 calories. And the extra fat intake could help raise testosterone levels and spare protein.
Man was probably actually intended to be an herbivore and not a carnivore. Physiologically speaking, man has all the characteristics of an herbivore and none of the characteristics of a carnivore. We have the teeth, jaws, digestive enzymes, stomach acidity, and small intestine length of herbivores. Probably the most disturbing and nauseating of those is the small intestine length. Carnivores have a small intestine that is 3-6 times body length. This is because meat rots very quickly and needs to pass through the body very rapidly.
Unfortunately, humans have a small intestine length of 10-11 times body length. What this means is that long after the meat has gone rotten, it’s still in your body decaying and contributing to untold number of diseases. When you add in all the chemicals and other unhealthy substances that our meat contains these days you can see that eating meat might actually not be the best option for those interested in remaining healthy long into the future.
Your body is a tool and you can use it to achieve many things. Don’t be afraid to try different things, especially if you have hit a plateau. Changing things up, whether it be nutrition or your workouts, are always a good way to stir up your metabolism and help you to start making progress again.