Is Strength Training On A Vegan Diet Possible?
Some people would argue that I haven't been at it long enough to even have this conversation about strength training on a vegan diet. To those people I ask, what is long enough? Three months? Six months? One year? Six years? Also what makes you qualified to decide how long is long enough? I think I've experienced enough and have gone through quite a bit to share my story and ultimately help others along the way. So heres the quick story that lead me to this point in my life.
Growing up I've always been the skinny kid , the kid that was made fun of and constantly teased because of my weight. Not only was I skinny but I was tall (Im 58). Being this tall skinny kid going through puberty naturally made me look long and slangy which made me an easy target.
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Ive always been slim due to genetics and a fast metabolism. Most people would see this as a blessing, burning more calories than I consume and not putting on any weight. Rather it was pretty depressing. I learned to laugh and make fun of myself so I'd feel less pain when others made fun of the way I looked. When I was alone I'd get pretty depressed and wished that something could be done to help me put on weight.
Fast Forward to my last semester in college (2013). I had just come back from studying abroad in the Dominican Republic and had become obsessed with the gym. Why did this sudden change occur after this trip? While in theDominican Republic I got sick, like really sick. IsworeI was going to die. The only people who knew about my illness was my bunkmate and the people who we're leading the trip.
Although they knew I was sick I don't think they realized to what extent it was. I was sweating, had diarrhea, vomiting, had a fever, I just felt absolutely terrible. To this day I have no idea what caused this but I made a promise to God and myself that if I can make it out alive I would take better care of myself.
You see, at this time I was in college, living alone for the first time in my life. This meant, parties, late nights, early mornings, and eating absolutely terribly. This meant an entire chocolate cake for dinner followed by half a gallon of whole milk. Cup of noodles for breakfast and a shot for lunch. It didn't help that throughout it all I was still depressed and self conscience of my body weight so I literally ate anything,ALL THE TIME!
Two days after this horrible ideal in DR, I finally felt normal again. This mysterious illness went away and I knew things we're going to have to change. Returning to the states I became obsessed with the gym, working out five days per week. Growing up I've always been athletic, playing basketball, running track, playing softball and even handball, so working out in the gym came naturally to me.
Alongside exercising five days per week, I started to clean up my diet. I started eating six small meals and incorporated more fruits and vegetables. Things we're going great but I wasnt putting on weight like expected, just toning up. I knew I needed to up things a bit so I decided to take a trip to GNC.
While at GNC I asked the associate, What products do you have to help with weight gain? He pointed at this huge black tube that read, 'Gold Standard 100% Whey'. "Ill take that!" He spoke to me a bit about the product but everything went in one ear and out of the other. I was so excited to try this product and to start making gains.
I returned to my dorm that day, hand held blender in one hand and Whey protein Powder in the other. I mixed the protein powder with milk and wondered to myself, Is that enough? I sort of remember the guy warning me and even the label readingone scoop. Screw it! I thought and took another scoop of the protein powder.
This continued for quite some time. I'd make a protein shake before the gym, after the gym, even as a meal replacement. Soon enough the protein shakes, the clean diet and consistency at the gym paid off, I was finally putting on healthy weight. It wasnt a lot but when you're skinny you're entire life, any amount of weight you put on becomes pretty noticeable.
People in my life noticed a difference and constantly made comments about it. I was the happiest I had felt in a while. Unfortunately that came crashing down when I started to get sick. I started getting sharp pains in my stomach, I was always having to use the bathroom, I felt tired and sluggish, I just didn't feel well. I knew it was the whey protein powder because I had heard stories of people with the same symptoms who would ingest too much whey.
I didn't want to stop taking it because of all the hard work It took to gain weight, I was afraid I'd lose it all. Instead of taking it twice per day, I only take it after a workout. Eventually it was only a few days per week then once a week, finally I completely cut it out. I felt much better but as I assumed I started to lose weight.
Now I can't fully blame the whey protein powder for this, I also stopped going to the gym as often and was going through personal issues in my life. Eventually I started going back to the gym consistently and tried to find alternatives to the whey. I tried hemp protein powder, pea protein and soy, but nothing had as quick effect as the whey.
I eventually discovered Garden of Life Raw Protein and have stuck with it since then. I reached a point in my life where I was able to obtain a healthy weight without the protein powder. I did this through a strict diet and working out five days per week. I was finally satisfied with my health and fitness but then something random happened.
A random fact about me is that I am obsessed with all things videos. Whether it's creating, filming and even watching videos I am obsessed, so naturally I am obsessed with YouTube. I randomly came across a YouTube channel for Vegan Gains. (I am warning you his page is graphic and he is a really controversial YouTuber, you have been warned!) Although there are some things he says and does that I disagree with his message and passion towards Veganism drew me in. I binge watched all of his videos and and even came across other vegan YouTubers.
I could not believe how big the vegan community was! I couldn't believe how many bodybuilders and endurance athletes we're on a vegan diet for years and able to have the health and physique they had. I started doing even more research to see if this is really true, can you really get the body you desire on a vegan diet? Time and time again it was proven that you could!
After days and weeks of researching, this lead me to conducting test on myself. These test we're the trails of a no meat diet which you read about at the beginning of this post. I am now at the point where I can call myself a proud vegetarian who is slowly transitioning to a vegan diet while creating the body I desire.
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Posted in Fitness Post Date 06/26/2017