Arnold Schwarzenegger Reveals If Plant-Based Protein Powder Offers Same Muscle-Building Benefits as Whey – Fitness Volt (2024)

Schwarzenegger took a closer look at the science and research behind plant-based and whey proteins for muscle building and strength gains.

Written byDoug Murray

Published on21 May, 2024 | 11:14 AM EDT

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Meeting your daily protein intake can be challenging, especially for those who refuse to consume animal-based products. Arnold Schwarzenegger understands these struggles, as even he cut back on meat for his health and well-being. In a recent Arnold’s Pump Club newsletter, Schwarzenegger compared the muscle-building benefits of plant-based protein powder versus animal-based whey protein.

As a seven-time Mr. Olympia winner, world-renowned actor, and former governor of California, Schwarzenegger has led many lives in one, which he credits to his passion for fitness and weightlifting. Although he can’t resist a medium-rare New York steak, Schwarzenegger switched to an ’80 percent’ plant-based diet to preserve his cardiovascular health.

Initially, studies suggested that plant-based protein alternatives weren’t as effective for building muscle as those derived from animals. However, in light of new research, Schwarzenegger explains that plant-based protein can offer similar muscle and strength gains thanks to its strong amino acid profile.

‘More Plants, Bigger Muscles’ – Arnold Schwarzenegger Talks Plant-Based Proteins vs Animal-Based Whey

According to Schwarzenegger, plant-based protein powders offered the same muscle-building benefits as whey protein.

More Plants, Bigger Muscles
Many used to believe that plant-based protein powder was inferior to animal-based. However, it looks like the old research was wrong.

A new study found that plant protein powder increased muscle protein synthesis after a workout just as much as whey protein.”

Initially, whey protein options had more essential amino acids that fueled muscle growth and recovery but in the last few years, plant-protein alternatives have caught up.

“It was assumed that whey protein was superior to plant-based protein because — per gram of protein — whey protein has more essential amino acids, which help power muscle growth and recovery. However, in the last few years, not only have studies evolved, but so has the development of better plant-protein powders.”

“By combining multiple sources of plant proteins, you can create a similar amino acid profile to whey. For example, pea and rice protein is a common combination for plant-based power.”

‘The Austrian Oak’ maintains that 32 grams of plant protein serves as the ‘sweet spot’ for those aiming to to build muscle.

“In the most recent study, scientists found that 32 grams of plant protein was the sweet spot for a similar outcome as traditional dairy-based proteins.”

Additional research indicated that plant-based protein offered similar muscle and strength gains as whey options.

“And it’s not just that your body reacts similarly; the results should also follow. Other research found similar muscle and strength gains for people who follow a plant-based and omnivorous diet.”

To ensure a proper amino acid profile from your plant protein intake, Schwarzenegger says aiming for 30 grams per serving is advisable.

“In other words, you do not need to let your personal dietary preferences stand in with your fitness goals. Because animal proteins contain more amino acids, consuming more plant protein per serving is best to get enough essential amino acids. As a general rule of thumb, consume about 30 grams of plant protein per serving.”

Health expert and professor of kinesiology at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, Dr. Stuart Phillips has also explored the muscle-building benefits of plant-based protein options.

“A variety of contrived (manufactured foods) plant-based protein sources are very high-quality proteins. They are not something people need to worry about in terms of if they are getting an ‘inferior’ source of protein.”

Kate Cohen, a registered dietician at the Ellison Clinic at Saint John’s, suggests that animal-based protein is superior to plant-based because the body more easily digests it.

“Animal protein is more easily digested and absorbed than plant protein. Plus, it’s the best source of omega-3 fats, vitamin B12, calcium, vitamin D, iron, and creatine,” said Kate Cohen, a registered dietitian at the Ellison Clinic at Saint John’s.

Check out our Protein Calculator To Discover YourDaily Protein Intake

At 76 years old, Schwarzenegger has taken a keen interest in preserving his health, having just endured a pacemaker surgery. He believes you can achieve similar benefits with plant-based proteins as you would with whey protein, provided you consume approximately 30 grams per serving.

RELATED:Try Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Homemade Protein Bar for a Healthier Snack

If you have any questions about this news, please feel free to contact Doug by leaving a comment below.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger Reveals If Plant-Based Protein Powder Offers Same Muscle-Building Benefits as Whey – Fitness Volt (2024)


Arnold Schwarzenegger Reveals If Plant-Based Protein Powder Offers Same Muscle-Building Benefits as Whey – Fitness Volt? ›

“A new study found that plant protein powder increased muscle protein synthesis after a workout just as much as whey protein,” wrote the bodybuilding icon in Arnold's Pump Club.

Does plant-based protein work the same as whey protein? ›

In fact one study, which put whey and pea protein head to head, found both options produce similar outcomes for key metrics including body composition, muscle thickness, force production, performance, and strength after following an 8-week high-intensity functional training protocol.

What kind of protein powder did Arnold Schwarzenegger use? ›

"For protein, my staples are eggs, salmon, and chicken. But I have more and more veggie burgers with lentils and beans," Schwarzenegger said. "I also use my Ladder Plan protein powder, powered by pea protein." The former governor co-founded sports nutrition company Ladder with LeBron James.

Is Arnold Schwarzenegger plant-based? ›

Arnold Schwarzenegger eats an 80% vegan diet, which he said has helped lower his cholesterol. His go-to protein sources are eggs, salmon, chicken, veggie burgers, and protein shakes. Schwarzenegger eats steak, hamburgers, and Austrian wiener schnitzel when he wants a treat.

Can you build muscle with plant-based protein powder? ›

While plant proteins may contain different amino acid profiles compared to animal proteins, they can still effectively support muscle growth, especially when consumed in a varied and balanced diet.

Is plant protein the same as regular protein? ›

They are both made up of amino acids, and they both contain the same 22 amino acids. However, the ratio of these amino acids is different. It is commonly cited that “plant foods aren't complete proteins,” meaning that they don't contain all of the essential amino acids.

What did Arnold Schwarzenegger use for bodybuilding? ›

If I want to get medical advice from a doctor, I got to UCLA or I go to the Cleveland Clinic." Schwarzenegger tells the mag that he used to take testosterone and the steroid Dianabol during his bodybuilding days, always under the supervision of a doctor.

What does Arnold say about protein? ›

Schwarzenegger also suggests that if you intend to consume protein powder in the lowest amount and prioritize your health, your daily protein intake must be from 1.2 to 1.6 g/kg of your total body weight. This is for people who want to be healthy but do not focus on optimizing muscle growth.

What was Arnold known for in bodybuilding? ›

Schwarzenegger was known as the Styrian Oak, or Austrian Oak, in the bodybuilding world, where he dwarfed his competition. He won his first amateur Mr. Universe title in 1967. After moving to California in 1968 to train and compete in bigger events in the United States, he won three more Mr.

What does Arnold Schwarzenegger eat every day? ›

“In the morning after my workout, I usually have oatmeal with Greek yogurt or granola,” he continued on the podcast. “For lunch, I always have a salad, sometimes with a plant-based burger or maybe salmon or chicken. Other times, it's with a scramble or omelette. For dinner, I always have soup.

Is Brad Pitt vegan? ›

While the star isn't known to comment on his diet publicly, and often remains low-key at unexpected local eateries, various publications, including Glamour and Men's Health, have reported that the celebrity follows a mostly vegan and alcohol-free diet.

Is Sylvester Stallone vegan? ›

He eats meat and other animal products and wears leather and other animal materials. He also used to play polo and still frequently rides horses. He has never publicly spoken about veganism, plant-based diets, or animal rights.

Why is plant protein not as good as whey? ›

It contains more leucine. Another benefit of whey is that whey naturally contains more of the amino acid leucine than plant protein. Twyman mentions there is a "meal threshold theory" in which 2.5 to 3 grams of leucine is required to trigger muscle protein synthesis.

What are the disadvantages of plant-based protein powder? ›

Potential Side Effects of Plant-Based Protein
  • Digestive Issues. ...
  • Allergic Reactions and Intolerances. ...
  • Potential for Nutritional Deficiencies. ...
  • Impacts on Blood Sugar Levels. ...
  • Starting Slowly with Protein Powder. ...
  • Diversifying Your Protein Sources. ...
  • Choosing the Right Protein Powder Brand.

Is it OK to mix whey and plant protein? ›

Combining the two gives higher levels of both amino acids than they would have individually. These are called complementary proteins.

What is a good substitute for whey protein? ›

The most common alternatives of whey protein are vegan proteins such as hemp, pea, brown rice and soy proteins. Other non-vegan alternatives include egg white and casein protein.

What are the benefits of plant-based protein powder? ›

Plant-based protein powders can be a valuable, effective source of protein to help meet your health, wellness, and fitness goals. Some benefits of plant-based protein include: Supporting muscle growth and strength gains, with the most evidence for soy and pea protein.

What is the most bioavailable protein? ›

Whey Protein – Whey is the most bioavailable source of protein. Full stop. Whey Protein Isolate is at the top of the tree as this is the purest form of whey. Absorption is extremely quick which makes it a really popular post-workout option.

Is plant protein good for weight loss? ›

Plant-based proteins are considered better for weight loss because they have viscous fiber, a type of soluble fiber that helps you feel fuller after meals, so there's less snacking. They also help reduce cravings. Good sources of viscous fiber include oats, beans and flaxseeds.

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