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 Post subject: Difficulty Reaching 1g of Protein per Pound of Body Weight
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:50 pm 
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Finch

Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:18 pm
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I've seen this discussed in bits and pieces here but I haven't found a topic that gets to the heart of what I want to know. Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated.

As a quick background I weigh 133 lbs and my goal is to build muscle. Going by the rule of "1g per lb of body weight of protein" I should be consuming 133g of protein per day. I'm not. I'm finding it difficult to reach that number. In fact most days I only reach about half of that.

My BMR is just below 1,600. I figured if I attempt to add around 2 lbs (7,000 calories) of muscle in a month then I should be eating around 200 more calories per day (7,000/30 days per month minus a bunch to be conservative). This means I should be eating around 1,800 calories per day, along with 133g of protein.

So far, all sounds good and well. But I do not use a protein supplement and would greatly prefer not to. This leaves me with the option of consuming high protein, low calorie foods. (I'd like to steer away from the heavy bulk/cut cycle.)

From what I can gather, tofu and spinach are my best bets with beans as a lesser used option. But I'm weary of eating a diet composed greatly of tofu.

So to get to the point:

  • Is a vegan diet for bodybuilding possible and appropriate without the use of a protein supplement?
  • If it is, how do you personally manage it?
  • What foods have I overlooked that will allow me to get the needed protein intake without adding extra calories?
  • Are crazy amounts of cardio in my foreseeable future if I choose to continue on this path?


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 Post subject: Re: Difficulty Reaching 1g of Protein per Pound of Body Weig
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 6:51 pm 
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Gorilla
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I have never taken in 1g protein per lb of bodyweight. At my highest intake (drinking one protein powder supplement, ~30 g protein, per day), I was getting about 150 g protein at 185 lbs bodyweight. I was eating a total between 3000-3500 cals per day. For the last 9 months, I have not used protein supplements and gone from about 193 lbs to 200 lbs bodyweight. I'm not sure what my bodyfat % is, but it's probably around 15%-18% (I have no idea, but that's what it looks like to me).

1. I think that you can take in less protein and still build muscle, just at a slower rate. Keep that in mind that your progress on weights in the gym will be slower as well.
2. I eat a lot of beans, quinoa, whole grains, nuts, and tempeh every day for protein, in addition to 10 servings of vegetables and 4 servings of fruit every day.
3. If you are trying to build muscle you need to add calories, bottom line. The most protein dense foods for us are soy products, peas, beans.
4. If you do serious barbell compound lifts like squats, presses, deadlifts, power cleans, etc, you will burn the calories without needing cardio. More muscle = more calories burned.

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 Post subject: Re: Difficulty Reaching 1g of Protein per Pound of Body Weig
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 8:01 pm 
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Rabbit

Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2012 5:51 pm
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granted I'm 225lbs and eat about 4000 calories per day depending on my cardio and workout, I still have no problem taking in 330 grams per day of protein. I get 50-100 of that from shakes depending on what else I eat during the day. I keep my carbs/protein/fat to 40/40/20 and use the shakes to fix the ratio if it gets too out of line.

I eat a lot of tofu and fair bit of seitan. I don't think it's possible to get enough protein for lean bodybuilding without tofu, and I know there was that one guy who started to grow breasts, but he was eating something like over 20 servings per day. Even I don't do that. there are a number of other studies indicating no risks and some benefits to tofu.

I don't see anything wrong with shakes. I use the Vega Sport in Vanilla flavour. It mixes really well and tastes great. Why are you against them?


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 Post subject: Re: Difficulty Reaching 1g of Protein per Pound of Body Weig
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 9:46 pm 
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Manatee
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This is a good article and basically indicates that .82g/lb is max you will possibly need... and that is likely only if you are just starting out in weight training and are also in the genetically gifted pool of people who put on muscle very easily. This article agrees with most of the science and dietitian info that I have read. (tho it does not fit in with the general muscle head theories and supplement company hype you will find out there)

I generally get less than 40g/day myself (at 116 pounds) and only occasionally have a supplement (protein bar for bkfst cuz I'm lazy) and I've managed to make strength gains that I'm happy with even in the last month.

Here is a chart with protein in common plant foods.

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 Post subject: Re: Difficulty Reaching 1g of Protein per Pound of Body Weig
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:50 pm 
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Elephant
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seitan, soy bean spaghetti.

but for me my cutting diet is 1600 calories and i have to use protein powder for 3 out of my 6 meals. the other meals protein comes from tofu, seitan, soy bean spathetti..

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 Post subject: Re: Difficulty Reaching 1g of Protein per Pound of Body Weig
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 12:17 pm 
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Finch

Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:18 pm
Posts: 4
Thank you everyone for your insights.


asparagus: Good point regarding compound exercises. But I'd still need to do heavy cardio on the off days to burn an equal amount if I'm eating the same every day. Thank you for sharing your diet.

Evader: Thank you for your thoughts about shakes and tofu. It's not that I'm against supplements, I'd just prefer not to use them because of my ideology. I like to believe that eating a vegan diet is as natural and simple as eating an omnivorous diet. Because of this I try to avoid processed foods (or at least not be reliant on them) and for me this includes things like tofu and protein shakes and powders.

If it's highly challenging to build a lot of muscle without them, I'm willing to concede and use them. But I'd prefer to never have to get into a discussion with someone who isn't vegan about why I depend on these items when I could just change my diet. It's not a deal breaker, just my ideal ideology.

stcalico: Thank you for the references. I've heard that around .8g is all that is really needed, but I figured it would be better for me to aim for 1g for those days when I will inevitably fall short. I found it interesting that they dismissed nitrogen balance as an obsolete method of measuring anabolism. Is that true?

I've made strength gains in the past month, but have had no increase in muscle size (which is what I actually want). I did some reading and found that this is likely due to improvements in the central nervous system. While I think it's lovely that we can adapt this way, I still want my muscle! :)

jungleinthefrunk: Thank you for sharing your diet and supplementation.

Thanks again to everyone. I'd still love to hear more comments!


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 Post subject: Re: Difficulty Reaching 1g of Protein per Pound of Body Weig
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 12:33 pm 
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Rabbit

Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2012 5:51 pm
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I understand where you're coming from, BUT I don't know of any omnivorous body builder that doesn't need to suppliment their protein intake. Sure you can be strong and healthy as a vegan without shakes, but if you want to be less than 10% body fat with big muscles... Good luck


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 Post subject: Re: Difficulty Reaching 1g of Protein per Pound of Body Weig
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:07 pm 
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Rabbit
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Location: chicago, il
I've only been really consciously trying to count and control my protein intake for a week or two, but I've had pretty good success keeping my numbers up. Granted, I have used a protein shake the past couple days that boosted my intake 26g/shake. Without the shake I can get in 90-100g/day pretty easily, and that's while keeping my calories around 2,200 kcal. I usually eat at least two cans of beans a day, either straight or in a recipe (roughly 3.5-4 cups if I make them fresh), which is around 60g protein right there with only ~7g fat, depending on the kind of bean. I also include a lot of broccoli (my post-workout snack on the train ride home is usually around 2.5 cups raw broccoli with 3-4 tbsp hummus, which is another 10g of protein or so).
If you have the possibility of making yourself a green juice or smoothie, these can be great for getting in protein that comes from whole foods. I like to juice a bunch of broccoli and bok choy or turnip/beet greens (my juicer doesn't do so hot with spinach so I stick to more "structured" greens) and add a beet and a carrot and an apple, and that way I can get in anywhere from 4-10 more grams of protein in a quick shot.

If you do find yourself interested in protein powders/shakes, there are lots of good vegan options that are just pea protein or just rice protein or just hemp protein, and these options are very minimally processed. You don't have to go for the more highly processed vegan protein powders :)

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 Post subject: Re: Difficulty Reaching 1g of Protein per Pound of Body Weig
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 8:34 pm 
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Manatee
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Chris Califano, raw vegan fitness guy on Long Island has this interesting information about protein:

http://www.thefirstsupper.com/theproteinmyth.html

I'm not endorsing or critiquing. Just passing it along and people can make their own judgement about it. His claim is we don't need as much protein as is popularly believed.

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 Post subject: Re: Difficulty Reaching 1g of Protein per Pound of Body Weig
PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 7:37 pm 
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Gorilla
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ryanalysis wrote:
Thank you everyone for your insights.

asparagus: Good point regarding compound exercises. But I'd still need to do heavy cardio on the off days to burn an equal amount if I'm eating the same every day. Thank you for sharing your diet.

Evader: Thank you for your thoughts about shakes and tofu. It's not that I'm against supplements, I'd just prefer not to use them because of my ideology. I like to believe that eating a vegan diet is as natural and simple as eating an omnivorous diet. Because of this I try to avoid processed foods (or at least not be reliant on them) and for me this includes things like tofu and protein shakes and powders.

If it's highly challenging to build a lot of muscle without them, I'm willing to concede and use them. But I'd prefer to never have to get into a discussion with someone who isn't vegan about why I depend on these items when I could just change my diet. It's not a deal breaker, just my ideal ideology.

stcalico: Thank you for the references. I've heard that around .8g is all that is really needed, but I figured it would be better for me to aim for 1g for those days when I will inevitably fall short. I found it interesting that they dismissed nitrogen balance as an obsolete method of measuring anabolism. Is that true?

I've made strength gains in the past month, but have had no increase in muscle size (which is what I actually want). I did some reading and found that this is likely due to improvements in the central nervous system. While I think it's lovely that we can adapt this way, I still want my muscle! :)

jungleinthefrunk: Thank you for sharing your diet and supplementation.

Thanks again to everyone. I'd still love to hear more comments!


I don't think you'd need to do heavy cardio on your in-between days. I certainly don't. And while I'm not at a bodybuilder's fat %, and probably never will or care to be, I've increased my strength considerably while putting on some muscle, losing a little fat, and never doing any cardio save for running steps that I did as conditioning work for a couple months.

Granted, everyone is different and your mileage may vary, but if you up your calories while eating cleanly, lift heavy compounds 3 days/week, and sleep enough, you will get strong and put on muscle. The key is perseverance. Unless you are on the juice, putting on muscle takes time.

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My strength log
Mini Forklift Ⓥ wrote:
That's 200 solid ass-pounds! Good work buddy.
vegan_rossco, the ghost hunter wrote:
I can see how some people might mistake this as paranormal when really its just an example of your brain being an asshole


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 Post subject: Re: Difficulty Reaching 1g of Protein per Pound of Body Weig
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:02 pm 
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ICanDoThis wrote:
Chris Califano, raw vegan fitness guy on Long Island has this interesting information about protein:

http://www.thefirstsupper.com/theproteinmyth.html

I'm not endorsing or critiquing. Just passing it along and people can make their own judgement about it. His claim is we don't need as much protein as is popularly believed.


Some people do better with more protein, some do fine with less. Anyone who makes a blanket statement that would infer that we could all do well on less protein is, to me, just another person trying to sell their schtick for the usual self-marketing hype that's not based on science or the principle of individual differences in how we respond to diet. I used to do better with more carbs, not any longer, I have to cut them considerably and put protein first if I don't want to bloat up and start gaining crud weight quickly. My own experiences are too contradictory to what the low protein people claim is "fact", so I usually just dismiss them quickly as another gimmick based on scaring people into thinking their kidneys are going to blow up if they don't restrict their intake. I've said it here before, and I'll say it again - if higher protein was the evil that so many raw people make it out to be, then there would be a dialysis clinic on every corner for all the Americans who eat high protein for their entire lives who, in theory, should be needing their kidneys flushed on a weekly basis. Since that has not happened, well, we can see that the "protein myth" might just be that taking in more than the minimal amount of protein will lead to problems is quite possibly the bigger myth of the two in question.

That, and while Califano is ripped and has an okay amount of lean mass on him (nothing exceptional, basically the amount that anyone who trains effectively for a half decade or so can achieve), he's far from the size of what many who bodybuild want to look like, and sadly, he'd be on the low end of placing if he decided to compete based on what I've seen photo-wise.

More power to him for doing what he does, but I'm getting awfully tired of the "gurus" who want to proclaim that their way is best for everyone when there's no evidence to back it up. When Califano puts another 15-20 lbs. on his frame and can impress me, I'm ready to listen :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Difficulty Reaching 1g of Protein per Pound of Body Weig
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 5:22 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2013 7:50 pm
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Location: San Jose, California
Would have to echo what others have stated. Everyone has a different consitution and gains/loses according to this constitution and age . . . don't know your age and that has more than a little to do with your growth. As I wrote on another non-vegan forum many moons ago and which is just as relevant here, this stuff ain't rocket science. If you're trying to gain, just eat plenty of clean, nutrient dense, high protein meals, i.e. 6-8 per day and work out reasonably heavy with lots of compound stuff, also taper off on the cardio. Include healthy fats in your meals as well. If you shove in a variety of good high protein foods with enough healthy fats, you'll be OK. Vary your protein souces to avoid boredom . . . all have different amino acid arrays. Protein shakes are simply an efficient way of getting extra protein. In my earlier days as a non-vegan "guy", I never liked shakes myself and preferred free-form amino acids between my meals. Don't overanalyze and stress over this stuff . . . takes time away from your TRAINING. Train hard enough, you'll eat everything that isn't nailed down and with enough clean foods available in your home, you'll GAIN WEIGHT. If you put on a bit too much fat, then incorporate a little more cardio and taper off on the starchy carbs as the day progresses. I'm almost 60 and have tried every diet and supplement out there, including meat eating, vegetarianism, and now "veganism" - the basic principles noted above have applied throughout.

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 Post subject: Re: Difficulty Reaching 1g of Protein per Pound of Body Weig
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:37 pm 
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In my opinion the debate isn't about how much protein we need. When you're trying to be big and lean what matters is what type of calories you're putting into your body. All calories are not created equal, protein calories take more energy to break down than carbs, and carbs take more energy than fats. Meaning that fats are most easily stored as fat on your body, followed by carbs, followed by protein. Obviously we need the energy that carbs give us, but there's an upper limit where we can consume more than we need. Decades of experience by many competitive body builders suggest that 40% protein, 40% carbs, 20% fats is the best mix to get big and lean.

We absolutely can survive and even thrive on less protein intake, but you're likely to carry more fat than if you trade some carb calories in for protein ones.


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 Post subject: Re: Difficulty Reaching 1g of Protein per Pound of Body Weig
PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:40 pm 
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Basically I think everything has already been covered. To summarize what I know you can build muscle with less protein than is recommended for weight lifters, however you will gain more muscle in the same time period with the same exercise regimine with more protein. The only reason you shouldn't take protein powders (as far as I know + I've asked my doctor) is if you have a pre-existing kidney condition. I can understand your ideology though.

When I first started I ate a pretty low protein (HIGH JUNK FOOD) intake and still built muscle, although it was over the course of a few years. I did nothing that was conventionally recommended. I did 80 to 120 reps and I never changed my workout(vs 6 to 20 reps and always changing your workout) well after I built myself up to that many reps. Could I have made better use of my time? Probably. My motivation however was not to get as big as possible but to just do something that I was comfortable doing over a long period of time. My workout really only took 30 mins because I was so used to it. I was comfortable doing it and I kept it up over years so I'm happy. Also I gained more muscle than I was even trying to gain. I've recently started eating a lot better than I used to and doing my workouts differently but that is just because my goals have changed.

The point I'm trying to make is these 'general guidelines' are for optimal gains. While some people take it out of context and say you will get no gains at all they are wrong.

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 Post subject: Re: Difficulty Reaching 1g of Protein per Pound of Body Weig
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 1:07 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2012 1:06 pm
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I take in around 0.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight and I have muscle gains.

I think it's per pound of lean body mass isn't it? Or maybe I'm mistaken. Seems easy if you are eating 3500 calories a day but someone on fatloss would be challenged to eat 1gram per lb because the lower calories would not allow any room??


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