Q&A - Vegetarian diet to build muscle quickly


Is it possible to put on useful muscle mass on a diet mainly comprising of dal-roti, and sub-continent vegetarian food with a bit of lactose intolerance? One or two eggs per day (not sure of the conclusion of the debate about dietary and serum cholestrol relationship though), and occasional meat are okay.

Also, there are other constraints as well like:
- A 13 hour job including commute, leaving very little time to do any meaningful exercise on weekdays.
- Very little possiblility of taking 5-6 balanced meals. The staple remains, lentils/legumes and Whole-wheat/Polished-rice.
- No possibility of going to a Gym, hence relying on body
-weight, and a bar with some not-so-heavy weights.Will be delighted if something could still be worked out despite above limitations.

I recently got this question and thought that writing a full answer would be useful for a number of people out there. The question is concentrating mostly around a busy life and vegetarian food. I will address both the concerns one by one, so here goes.

Yes! It is possible to gain muscle while on a sub-continental vegetarian diet. In order to build muscle you need sufficient amount of calories – protein in particular. If you cannot take lean protein such as chicken and fish etc. then the next best option is dairy which includes milk, yogurt, cheese, eggs etc. If you are lactose intolerant and are not allowed to take in a lot of diary then you take combination proteins. Combination proteins are when you combine more than one kind of food to make a complete first great protein. There are 4 major food groups for combination proteins:

Group 1: Whole grain breads, cereals, rice, pastas etc.

Group 2: Legumes – Lentils, beans, peas

Group 3: Vegetables

Group 4: Nuts and seeds

Now, you can combine foods from group 2, group 3 or group 4 with group 1 to get a complete protein meal. However, you have the possibility of getting carbohydrates and proteins with it as well, so you cannot call it lean protein but complete protein. Some examples of combination proteins are whole wheat bread and beans, rice (preferably brown) and potatoes/other vegetables, nuts and cereal. The only thing is that in the sub-continent, oil is used very frequently and in large amounts. You need to reduce the amount of cooking oil used – instead, use olive oil, omega 3 and 6 oils etc. So the answer is – YES, you can build muscle on a vegetarian diet. You can get the required amount of calories and protein to help you gain muscle mass. It is also very important to do the right kind of exercises to build muscle.

The second concern was about the lack of time. You don’t need to spend hours in the gym – unless you want to become a professional body builder. The important point is that you need to workout hard (10 – 20 minutes is enough) and keep giving your body nutrients to repair the muscle and at the same time increasing muscle mass. It doesn’t matter whether you workout at night or workout early in the morning, the key is to just DO IT. There are no excuses now. All you need is 15 minutes out of your day for a good workout and you are good to go.

I personally would recommend doing pull push sessions where one day you do pull exercises and the next day you do push exercises. You want to engage many muscle groups at the same time and exhaust them. This will take less time and give you better results. Don’t do things like single body part etc. That is more for the pros and people who are already is excellent shape. If you want to grow – then you need to increase your testosterone, HGH and insulin levels. You can’t increase insulin and HGH at the same time, so it really depends on your body type. If you are chubby then concentrate on the HGH methods otherwise use insulin.

You don’t need a nutritionist certified diet to build muscle, just eat all the healthy things around you when you can e.g. take a lunch box to the office, keep some almonds with you at all time, keep healthy snacks in the office fridge.

I have a funny feeling that there is A LOT more that should be written here so I guess I will post a diet guide and some exercises in the next couple of posts so stay tuned.

Bookmark and Share



This was so helpful to me being a vegetarian and having many of the same issues as the person in the quesion. Am printing this out now to review. Super info! thanks

Usman Pasha Siddiqui said...

Thanks for the comment and stay tuned. I have lots more to come for vegetarians.

Healthy Solutions said...

Very good info Thanks.

carla said...

**great** post.

And much needed information as there is too much YOU GOTTA EAT MEAT out there....


Christoff said...

Hi there,

I came across your site via linkreferral and thought it was a really great site! Loved snooping around a bit!

Keep it up.

Christoff Gouws

Usman Pasha Siddiqui said...

thanks healthy solutions, I appreciate that

Usman Pasha Siddiqui said...

I agree with you carla...the body builders are kind of taking over the fitness industry saying that you NEED meat for protein and thats it. I completely disagree. Although..meat is an easy option...it is not the only one.

Usman Pasha Siddiqui said...

thanks christoff, i really appreciate that. please do keep visiting

Anonymous said...


main asjad hoon

asjad pasha siddiqui


Clarisse Teagen said...

I have a vegetarian friend who builds muscles and he looks pretty hot.

Usman Pasha Siddiqui said...

There are many more clarrise :)

natural treatment for diabetes said...

well this is new discovery.

Usman Pasha Siddiqui said...

Actually natural treatment for diabetes, it is not a new discovery. This has been preached for quite some time but a vast majority just doesn't take it.

shoki said...

super cool dude. I think a huge populus in the subcontinent could benefit from this. Please write more on this. I really like how responcive you are to comments and questions. This is now my favourite fitness blog and I will be sure to tell my friends about this

Usman Pasha Siddiqui said...

Thanks for the positive words Shoki. I will be writing more very soon :)

Free Music said...

very good info. Usman you are doing nice stuff

Free Music said...

i love your info

Dieting and Children’s Health - SmartHealthShop said...

It truly is my pleasure that I've the special chance to remark on this amazing submit.

Online Personal Trainer said...

Discover the new you by following the same fitness and nutrition programs used by Hollywood's Elite.
it really works,
give it try.
Good Luck