You can still maintain strong bones as a vegan or vegetarian and gain muscle. What’s key, says Leslie Bonci, R.D., L.D.N., director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, is packing in calcium-rich dairy subs while following this simple formula for successful muscle protein synthesis: Weight training plus adequate protein—that is, getting enough protein and spreading intake throughout the day.
Then, aim to get .5-.7g of protein per pound of bodyweight daily, suggests Bonci, divided evenly among meals. For a 150-lb man, that’s 75-105g daily. Ideally, slip 25-35g of protein and at least 2g of leucine (an essential amino acid and protein building block largely found in whey-fortified foods—including Better Whey of Life yogurt, Detour bars, and Mix1 shakes—into each meal.