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Can you lose fat and build muscle on a vegan diet?

Updated: Apr 29

Ahh, that old chestnut…

“You can’t build muscle and lose fat at the same time”.

That would be amazing, right?! So, umm, why can’t we do it? Or can we...

It used to be thought that building muscle and losing fat simultaneously was only reserved for people new to lifting, and was known as ‘newbie gainzzzzzz’. Basically, when you first start lifting weights your body responds to it really well and packs on a load of muscle #winning

But then… the longer we lift weights the less new muscle we can grow. However, all those wonderful science nerds have looked into this, and new research shows that as long as your nutrition is sorted and you’re following a structured strength training program then you can absolutely lose fat and build muscle! #bringonthegainzzzzzzzzzzz

Lemme explain…

So, the reason why it was thought that we couldn’t do both is that to lose fat you need to be in an energy deficit and to gain muscle you need an energy surplus.

And that means conflicting interests….

However, muscle and fat tissue are different, and the way your body directs calorie to these is different, and is known as partitioning - or the P-ratio… but that’s a whole other subject. You don’t want to hear me waffle on about that, you just want to know what to do, right?

Welp, as with everything with our body composition, it comes down to getting our nutrition right and making sure you’re doing some form of resistance training. The training side is a bit easier to figure out, but nutrition, well, that can be a bit more of an art form to get right, especially on a vegan diet.

But essentially, it comes down to 3 things;

  1. Protein - we are literally made of protein. Getting all the essential amino acids is another key component to building muscle, repair and recovery

  2. Hydration - one of the key elements to building muscle is being properly hydrated

  3. Glycogen - making sure our glycogen stores are topped up is also required to facilitate muscle growth.

All of these 3 things we can still do in a calorie deficit, therefore losing fat and building muscle simultaneously!

Below is what 12 weeks of losing fat and building muscle looks like. I continued to get stronger and fitter during this time, despite being in a calorie deficit!

With the right plan, in 12 weeks you can absolutely lose fat and gain muscle, but here’s the thing, there is a chance you could weigh the same at the end of the 12 weeks! (the exact process I used to get these results is all detailed in my monthly membership).

This can be mentally challenging.

Especially if we invest a lot of our emotions into what the scales are saying. I talked about this in a previous post, go and check it out if you want to see what you should really be focussing on.

Anyway, to wrap this up, the takeaway points are;

  1. You absolutely can lose fat and build muscle at the same time - even on a vegan diet

  2. Make sure you have enough protein

  3. Make sure you’re properly hydrated

  4. Eat your carbs - especially around your training

  5. Follow a resistance/strength training program where you’re progressively overloading your weights week-to-week

  6. Don’t expect too much movement on the scales

I hope this gives you the nudge you need to keep going and I'd love to hear your thoughts on it!

Vicki x

Founder | Vegan Macros 101


P.S Don’t forget the freebies if you haven’t seen them already;



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