If you have ever questioned whether or not a vegetarian can be muscly, just take a look at a gorilla. They’re vegetarians, and they have the ability to digest cellulose, which gives them all the benefits of the plant fibers they consume. We humans can’t digest cellulose but we can definitely get hench from a veggie diet. Famous vegan bodybuilders Patrik Baboumian, Jimi Sitko, and Billy Simmonds can certainly all attest to that.

Would you love to beef up without eating any beef in the first place? Check out these five tips for gaining muscle on a vegetarian diet:

1. Embrace Overall Health

For muscles to grow, your overall health has to be in great shape. Before you focus on building muscle, it’s a great idea to make sure you’re getting all of the vitamins and minerals you need to thrive. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, veggie protein, whole grains, and healthy fats. It’s also handy to buy fortified products like milk and cereals that have the extra vitamins and minerals you need to thrive.

2. Add Some Protein Shakes

Vegetarians can enjoy protein shakes just as well as meat-eaters. They’re very handy when it comes to boosting your protein (the vital ingredient you need to make those all-important muscle gains).

You’ll be pleased to know that you have a lot of different options when it comes to vegan protein shakes. You can use hemp, pea, whey, rice, or soy powders which can be bought plain, or flavored. You can also add ingredients like chia, silken tofu, and pumpkin seeds to naturally boost the protein content of a smoothie.

3. Eat High-Quality Proteins

Eating protein like eggs and milk, which contain all nine essential amino acids, is important when it comes to building muscle. If you’re vegan, don’t worry, you can still get all the amino acids you need, you just have to vary your protein sources throughout the day, which is a good idea even if you are vegetarian. You’ll want edamame, tofu, and soy products in some of your meals. You’ll also want to eat some protein at every meal, as well as in between with shakes and snacks.

4. Carb Up

Carbs are certainly not the enemy when it comes to building muscle on a vegetarian diet. In fact, you really do need those carbs in order to fuel all your muscle-building workouts (these are essential if you want to make gains). Your body uses those carbs to turn into glycogen which is used by your muscles when you’re pumping iron. All of your favorite fruits and vegetables, healthy grains, and whole foods should make up half of your calorie total when you’re actively building muscle.

5. Get The Basics Right

According to the groundbreaking pro-veggie documentary Gamechangers, getting muscular on a vegetarian diet is all about getting the basics right. Eating lots of food and training hard should result in you building muscle eventually. 20-40% more as a beginner, then 10-20% more when you become more seasoned. Of course, there are lots of variables, but overall, it’s actually a really simple process once you’ve gotten the hang of it.

“The world’s strongest animals are plant eaters. Gorillas, buffalos, elephants, and me. – Patrik Baboumian

Building muscle as a vegetarian is easier than you think. With the right approach, you can not only get hench with a plant-based diet, but you can also feel great knowing you’re doing better by the planet, your health, and the environment.