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Author Topic: Maintaining muscle/putting it back on/while on vegan diet - article/other ideas  (Read 11006 times)

Yowbarb

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http://www.nomeatathlete.com/gain-weight-vegan/

http://www.nomeatathlete.com/gain-weight-vegan/   

The Skinny Vegan’s Guide to Gaining Muscle
Written by Matt Frazier in Miscellaneous

You hear a lot about how to lose weight. Not so many of us are trying to gain it.

This article would be so much cooler if it had a headline like, “How I Gained 20 Pounds of Muscle in 30 Days (On a Vegan Diet).” And if it included dazzling before and after photos, it would probably do a lot to show people it’s possible.

That’s what I had in mind when, earlier this summer, I took a look at myself in the mirror, realized I had gotten too thin, and decided it was time to hit the gym.

Actually, even for a small guy like me (I was all the way down to 132 lbs when I decided it was time to start putting weight back on) a goal like 20 pounds in 30 days wasn’t as crazy as it sounds.

Twice in my life, once in college and once shortly after, I’ve gone from 140 to 160 pounds very quickly, drastically increasing my strength and staying fairly lean at the same time. The only difference now, with a vegan diet, would be the absence of chicken breasts and milk — two foods I absolutely relied on during any rapid muscle gain diets I did the past.

I knew that adding weight wouldn’t be any help to me as a runner, but that was okay. I needed a break and a change of pace, and I didn’t like being so skinny. And if in the process I could show a bunch of people that it is possible to put on a ton of muscle really quickly on a vegan diet, then all the better.

How it really turned out

I didn’t gain 20 pounds in 30 days.

I did, however, gain 17 pounds in about 6 weeks
, topping out at 149. Not exactly a strike-fear-in-the-hearts-of-enemies number, I know, but it’s a lot more than 132, and a total weight increase of almost 13%. And although the point wasn’t to gain strength but to gain mass, I got a lot stronger too, increasing my chest press from 130 to 195 pounds for a 7-rep set.

But my results could have been a lot better if not for two interruptions to my regimen:

I traveled a lot and was not able to maintain the volume of eating I could do at home. This killed my momentum on three separate weekends. I suppose I could have been more disciplined with my eating, but a large portion of my calories came from a “fat shake” that I just couldn’t make on the road (more on the fat shake later).
I got injured when I made a careless mistake in the gym. Six weeks after I had started, I tore a disc in my back when I inadvertently loaded more weight on one side of the barbell than the other for a deadlift and tried to lift the unbalanced load. When I learned this would keep me out for three weeks, I decided I was done with muscle gain.
Still, 17 pounds is nothing to shake a carrot at, especially for a skinny guy who has always found it harder to gain weight than to lose it. So here’s what I did, the vegan-adapted version of what I found success with the other two times I’ve succeeded at quickly putting on a bunch of muscle.

If you can’t gain weight, you’re probably making this mistake

Shortly after I got interested in fitness in college, I wanted desperately to get bigger. I drank all these Myoplex shakes, ate six meals a day, and lifted like crazy. And yet I just couldn’t get past 140 pounds.

After every trip to the gym, I’d eagerly weigh in, feeling all puffed up from my lift and sure I’d tip the scales. And every time, I’d see 140. F’ing 140.

So I did some research, and came across Anthony Ellis, a guy who went from 135 to 180, and finally discovered what was wrong:

Trying to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time is completely counterproductive.

Prior to learning this, I thought the road to muscle gain was more lean protein along with more lifting, and of course some cardio to keep the fat off. Wrong.

I made three big changes as a result, and experienced drastic, immediate muscle gain.

I stopped running and all other forms of cardio.
I started lifting fewer times each week, training each muscle group only once per week.
I started eating more fat. Way more fat. Like, getting up in the middle of the night to make a peanut butter sandwich.
And I gained weight. I went from 140 to 160 pretty quickly. I don’t remember exactly how long it took, but I figure it was about six weeks.

My approach this time
Really, putting on weight is about only two things. Lifting, which is important. And eating, which is more important. I’ll explain what I did for each.

The lifting

For the lifting, I decided to try out Tim Ferriss’ methods from The 4-Hour Body, specifically the chapter “Occam’s Protocol I: A Minimalist Approach to Mass.”

Here, Tim proposes a lifting regimen that requires less than half an hour a week of gym time per week: just two sets of exercise each session (one each of two different lifts), performed at extremely slow cadence (5 seconds up, 5 seconds down), until utter and painful failure is reached.

And not just “I can’t get this next rep, so I’ll quit” failure, but really putting every bit of effort you have into pushing that last rep up, and then lowering it as slowly as possible. (Tim quotes a funny line from Arthur Jones: “If you’ve never vomited from doing a set of barbell curls, then you’ve never experienced outright hard work.”)

There are way more details you should know about Tim’s plan before you try it, especially about how frequently to work out and how to increase the weights. And since I don’t want to get sued for plagiarism, you’ll have to check out The 4-Hour Body to learn about that stuff.

I must admit, this was fun. An unexpected benefit was what knowing that my gym time was precious helped me get amped up for it –knowing, for example, that this one set of 7 or 8 reps is my only chance all week to do chest press certainly made it easy, almost fun, to keep going until I reached that point of true failure.

And it worked. I followed Tim’s plan to the letter for about three weeks, gaining 3-4 pounds per week, until I decided I wanted to alter the plan to include some lifts I really liked, like squats and deadlifts (in hindsight, not my best idea). But I followed the same cadence, rep scheme, and frequency of workouts, and kept getting results.

As it turns out, Tim’s approach isn’t all that different from what I had done to put on weight before. Infrequent workouts, heavy weight, and sets to all-out failure. So I knew going in it would work. The diet, however, I wasn’t so sure about.

The eating

As I wrote before: The major difference between this time and previous ones was my diet. I wasn’t vegan then, or even vegetarian. When I wanted to bulk up in the past, I just ate tons of cheese, milk, steak, and chicken breasts, and it was pretty easy.

Not that I doubted it was possible for people to get big on a vegan diet. Look at Robert Cheeke or Derek Tresize. But for me, a guy whose equilibrium size is more sapling than mature oak, I wasn’t so sure.

In looking at my diet, it was pretty clear that it was lower in both protein and fat than what had worked for me in the past. So I focused on adding those two nutrients to my current diet, without reducing carbohydrates, hence increasing total calories.

I also tried to eat larger portion sizes in general, and found that after just a few days this became comfortable. I did eat fewer salads and raw vegetables, since they take up a lot of room without providing many calories. (That’s just one reason why I would never stick with  diet like the one described here long-term, nor recommend it for all-around health.)

Looking back at the journal I kept of my meals, I see that the protein and fat increases came primarily from protein powder, almond butter, flax and coconut oil.

Here’s what a typical day looked like (I don’t have calorie counts, because I just hate counting calories, even with mass-gaining):

Smoothie, with an extra scoop of protein powder (11 additional grams protein) and an extra 2 tablespoons of almond butter
12 ounces coffee
Orange
1 cup brown rice with 1.5 cups yellow lentils and zucchini
Whole wheat bagel with almond butter
Banana
Vega Sport Performance Optimizer before workout
Apple juice immediately after workout
Vegan Fat Shake (see recipe below)
Handful of snacks, like Mary’s Gone Crackers sticks
2 servings of millet with kidney beans, carrots, and collard greens
Glass of red wine
Clif Mojo Bar, peanut butter pretzel flavor
Not a crazy amount of food, really. But way more than I usually eat, and definitely higher in fat, thanks to the “fat shake.”

The vegan fat shake

The fat shake is something else I got from 4-Hour Body. Tim’s version is about as far from vegan as a shake could be, with raw milk and raw eggs as key ingredients. My vegan version was obviously lacking in the raw animal protein category, but I found it did a nice job of providing a lot of protein and fat among its roughly 1000 calories. I drank it about two hours after each workout, and also the first day after each workout.

Here’s the recipe:

12 ounces raw, homemade almond milk
2-3 tablespoons raw, homemade almond butter
1 tablespoon ground flax seed
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon flax seed oil
2 tablespoons chia seeds
2 scoops soy-free veggie protein powder (about 22 grams of protein)
1 teaspoon maca powder
1 banana
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon wheat grass powder, just to be a granola-crunching hippie badass
Blend all ingredients together in a blender.

Supplements

I also added a few supplements, in addition to the multivitamin I usually take. Each day, I added to one of my smoothies:

5 grams creatine
5 grams glutamine
1000 IU tablet of Vitamin D3
And right before I got hurt, I realized that I was missing one thing from my earlier mass-gaining days, which was a proper post-workout carbohydrate drink. I had been using apple juice, but in hindsight I wish I would have used something that was designed to deliver quick, post-workout carbs.

Conclusion

It worked. Maybe with not staggering results, although if I didn’t have any experience with gaining muscle from the past, then perhaps I would have found a 17-pound gain to be staggering. I did start to gain some fat towards the end: my overall body fat increased by 1-2% throughout the process (that’s as accurate as I can get with my cheap body fat scale), so I probably would have stopped within a few more weeks anyway had I not gotten injured.

Just to restate, I wouldn’t recommend a diet like this long-term. I’m sure consuming that many calories (and that much fat) isn’t healthy. If you’re looking to gain weight on a vegan diet, then sure, you can look at my experience as one example, but I highly recommend checking out Robert Cheeke’s book, Vegan Bodybuilding and Fitness, for diet advice from someone more experienced than I am, and Tim Ferris’ book 4-Hour Body for the details of the lifting regimen (which I have nothing but good things to say about, with the results I got in so little gym time).

And now, three weeks after my injury, I’m happy to say that the torn disc in my back is healed. I probably won’t do deadlifts for a little while, and I’m done with weight gain for the foreseeable future. But I’ve got lots more planned, and I’m excited about what’s next.

http://www.nomeatathlete.com/gain-weight-vegan/

jrobert69

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Thank you. I had gained over 20 pounds after surgery last year. Since March Ive lost 26 as of this morning. Unhappily both fat and muscle. I weight less now than when I got out of boot camp back in 86. Time to put a little muscle back on....

Yowbarb

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Thank you. I had gained over 20 pounds after surgery last year. Since March Ive lost 26 as of this morning. Unhappily both fat and muscle. I weight less now than when I got out of boot camp back in 86. Time to put a little muscle back on....

Hello are you vegan? Well even if not, maybe some of the ideas will help? Let us know...
Yowbarb

jrobert69

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I was vegan for close to 15 years now more of a macrobiotic. Nothing like a pan seared coriander encrusted tuna, fresh asparagus and a solid cigar with chianti.
Though I think the tuna thing is over given the state of our oceans......

Yowbarb

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I was vegan for close to 15 years now more of a macrobiotic. Nothing like a pan seared coriander encrusted tuna, fresh asparagus and a solid cigar with chianti.
Though I think the tuna thing is over given the state of our oceans......

Sounds wonderful! 
Well, with any luck you will have some fish without any problems.  :)
All The Best,
Yowbarb

jrobert69

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Started protein shakes yesterday. A mix I picked up at gnc. Doing some curls and sit-ups. Wife and kids already members at local health club for pool and kids things. Going to join this week and work out with wife. See what the trainer says. They give you hour and half with him/her when you join to come up with workout plan. Lets see what happens.

enlightenme

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Started protein shakes yesterday. A mix I picked up at gnc. Doing some curls and sit-ups. Wife and kids already members at local health club for pool and kids things. Going to join this week and work out with wife. See what the trainer says. They give you hour and half with him/her when you join to come up with workout plan. Lets see what happens.

Excellent jrobert and good luck with your new plan of action!  Will look forward to hearing updates from you on your progress.

JKB

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I'm not sure where this is going, but I thought I might chime in...  I used to be into bodybuilding and knew everything about all of the supplements at the time, back then.  As for being a vegan, it should still work, in theory.  Please keep in mind that the supplement industry is huge and they all promise exceptional gains.  Few actually deliver. 
 
Adding muscle is a simple mathmatic equation, really...  Sure, high protien shakes help, taking chromium picolinate helps even more.  Creatine is a temporary solution, and a short cut, to getting big.  As soon as you stop taking it you lose all of the gains you had.
 
The best way is to to do it the right way.  Seems like that applies to pretty much everything in life.  Protein is a key though, as that is food for your muscles.  The awesome thing about lifting weights is that you are using all kinds of muscles everytime you lift, and those muscles burn fat and consume energy.
 
If you want to get big, use as much weight as you can lift while doing 5 to 6, maybe 7 repetitions.  Doing 3 sets of that will rip your muscles and scar tissue will grow on top of it.  Hense, your muscles will get bigger. 
 
My wife and I are doing the exact opposite at present.  Neither one of us needs to add any muscle but we both need to lose some fat.  Therefore, we are lifting light (relatively) amounts of weight and doing high repetitions, which still burns a ton of calories but doesn't rip the muscles.  The end effect is that we are toning our muscles, burning calories, and we have both lost weight.
 
Someone was talking about running and weightlifting and I can verify that.  If you run more than a few miles per week your mucles will not get any bigger, no matter how much you lift.  Your muscles need to be smaller in order to provide oxygen to the rest of your body while you are running.  Therefore, if you want to get big you have to stop running.
 
I know it sucks but that is just the way it is.  It works out fine for me though as getting big is not my goal. 
 
I strongly encourage everyone reading this to keep up with any physical activity program you may be using as you never know when you will actually need it.  It seems fate doesn't give us a heads up as to what is coming down the pike. 
 
At any rate, I hope this helps and if anyone wants anymore information, please contact me
You have to let it all go Neo.  Fear, doubt, and disbelief...  Free your mind.

jrobert69

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thanks man, Ill check that stuff out. Im not looking to get to much bulk. More interested to see what and how the protein works with my body. Not just the shakes, tofu, beans,nuts etc.
Maybe a little ripped ;D
since the neck surgery I cant run anymore anyway so that wont be holding me back.

jrobert69

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I started the chromium stuff yesterday. Just 1- 200mg tablet a day. Had my initial workout, kinda different than what I thought a workout was. Its always been curls, bench, situps crunches and things like that. this was much more of a core exercise routine. Had a little bit of rubber band legs, kinda weak after. Was good this morning till the tenth hole, my freakin thighs got some real burn going now. I think its going 5to take a bit to get those muscles back into action.  Im such a puss now. Have not gained a pound yet, the shakes almost taste good at this point. time will tell. Added a vitamin powder to the shakes. The difference was noticeable right away on some things, which my wife can attest to....

steedy

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I'm more of a lacto-ovo vegetarian.  I will occasionally eat meat for now because my mom wants more protein in her diet to help with illness.  I'm not planning on continuing like that and will become more lacto-ovo later.  I never had problems keeping muscle when I was a strict lacto-ovo a number of years ago.  I think that's because I was getting more regular exercise.  Today, I'll have to do more exercises to maintain my muscles.

Yowbarb

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I'm more of a lacto-ovo vegetarian.  I will occasionally eat meat for now because my mom wants more protein in her diet to help with illness.  I'm not planning on continuing like that and will become more lacto-ovo later.  I never had problems keeping muscle when I was a strict lacto-ovo a number of years ago.  I think that's because I was getting more regular exercise.  Today, I'll have to do more exercises to maintain my muscles.

I'm lacto-ovo again after many years of eating meat. I can't drink milk, lactose intolerant, and do need to limit dairy. I do have the natural greek yogurt and some cheddar, light mozarella, light provolone, etc. moderation. Eggs - will be eating them more regularly again...
I feel people should do whatever works for them to make them more capable of survival...and/or what they believe in and what feels best.

BTW if your mother feels she needs the meat, beefheart and organ meats are the highest in coenzyme Q10, and are very strenghtening for many people. Other CoQ10 - rich foods are broccoli, what germ etc. Q10 is found in every healthy cell. It is anti - aging and especially good for the heart, lungs, gums and also wherever there is disease in the body.
Not that it matters so much what I do...but to share that,
     1)  I take the 100 mg a day supplement of Q10 and also B12 and
     2)  recently got my liquid vitamin and minerals again (with blue green algae
          and chlorella, garlic etc.)
     3)  We have protein powder in the house again too...


Still finding my balance.
Had a big salad along with two vegeburgers and cheese for brunch...olive oil and liquid aminos for flavoring and to make it more moist. I get bulk natural olive oil from COSTCO; the Bragg Liquid Aminos is a staple I get at a local health food store.
Beginning tomorrow will make a protein shake with some green veges in it, a dab of fruit and the liquid vites with chlorella and algae. Daughter cannot tolerate fruit juice or much fruit (too much sugar) so I need to concoct something she will like, too and she can take it to work...
Also going to get the Korean seasoned kelp for snacks next time I go to shop.
The last time I was vegetarian I hardly got any dairy or seaweed or algae and now I will make sure I do get these into my diet.
I'm not selling algae  :) Info below,
Yowbarb

chlorella a complete high quality protein:
   http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/custom/569428/2 

Blue-green algae protein:

   http://www.klamathbluegreen.com/information-about-klamath-blue-green-algae/information-about-algae-klamath-lake-blue-green-algae-afa-blue-green-algae-blue-green.html

Yowbarb

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steedy

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I ordered resistance bands to help maintain muscle tone.  I think it would really work if I spent more time using them!  :P

Yowbarb

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I ordered resistance bands to help maintain muscle tone.  I think it would really work if I spent more time using them!  :P

Sounds good tell us more...

 

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