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Attention fellow skinny beginners -THE IMPORTANCE OF FOOD!


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I was always skinny, even as a kid. Although I didn't think about it much, it did bother me. When I turned 20 I went vegetarian, and when I was 21 I went vegan - neither time did I notice weight loss like people usually do, I was too thin already!

 

One day in April 2010 I was browsing the web, and came across this website, veganbodybuilding.com. I thought wow! I saw Robert Cheeke's transformation pictures, and other vegan athletes in the profile section. I spent hours reading on the website, then other websites. Next thing I know I'm doing bodyweight exercises, I've ordered a cheap dumbbell set, I'm making my first nutrition plan!

 

I wanted to get big. I wanted to get into bodybuilding. I read online that it's best to start with a good strength foundation with compound exercises and I came across the Stronglifts website. Next thing I know I've ordered 100kg olympic barbell set, a bench and a power rack. June 8th 2009 I started my first weight program.

 

...

 

It's nearly been a year. I took my "after" picture. I'm really happy with the difference in my physique. A friend has been inspired by my progress and has started stronglifts round at my house. I was talking to him last night and had a good look at the start of my training log and I noticed something surprising. Surprising, but also upsetting.

 

I could divide my training over the last year into 3 sections -

8th June 2009 - 25th September 2009 (Week 1-16)

-From day 1 I was eating in way in excess of 4000kcal/day.

-No protein powders (till week 14) or supplements.

-Put on over 25lbs bodyweight

 

25th September 2009 - 9th March 2010 (Week 16-39)

-Made a new diet without counting calories, to cut bodyfat

-Week 38 started Stronglifts Intermediate

-Lost bodyweight gained by the end

 

10th March 2010 onwards (Week 39-present)

-Counted calories from average day from week 16-39, was only 2700kcal (NOT ENOUGH!!)

-Started increasing calories weekly

-Week 46 started Jim Wendler's 5/3/1, back up to 4000+kcal/day

 

 

 

Let's look at my stats from Weeks 1-16

 

Deadlift - 1x5x110kg (set on week 15)

Bench press - 5x5x52.5kg (set on week 12)

Overhead press - 5x5x37.5kg (set on week 12)

Squats (high bar) - 5x5x75kg (set on week 9)

 

 

And now let's look at my gains from this between Week 16-39

 

Deadlift - +10kg to the 1x5

Bench press - +5kg to the 5x5

Overhead press - no improvement

Squats - these did improve vastly, but when I set that PR on week 9 I was injured and it was re-occuring for sometime. If this didn't happen my last PR would have been much higher.

 

And that's what happens when you go from eating way over 4000kcal/day to 2700kcal for 6 months. You get no gains. The reason I'm posting this is I missed out on half a years worth of progress because I underestimated the importance of eating enough when you want to get bigger.

 

 

Here's some pictures for reference -

http://img535.imageshack.us/img535/7642/yearjt.jpg Left picture is me before I started stronglifts. Right picture is the newest, less than a week ago.

http://www.veganbodybuilding.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=213118#p213118. This is me on week 13

http://www.veganbodybuilding.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=227716#p227716. Me on week 38

 

It's ridiculous that it took me 9 months to get from the picture on week 13 to where I am today. Sure I had a lot of bodyfat, but the size gap isn't massive. All I needed was a quick effective cut (instead of 6 months of not eating enough) to shed the bodyfat then I could've kept gaining.

 

Don't let this happen to you, EAT!

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This is such a useful post! I'm right around the point where you were at week 13 (made good progress, put on a lot of weight, have a bit more bodyfat than I'd like). I'm planning to do exactly what you recommend - a quick cut, then get back to eating and lifting big!

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Wow that's an awesome physical transformation!

 

I might be able to lift more weight, but I look nowhere near as good as you do. That's really great.

 

Any specifics you can share? Do you bother tracking macros? Have a post-workout regimen? Etc.

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Thanks guys. Since week 39 I've been keeping track of my calories and protein (grams) daily, that's it. I don't really know enough about balancing carbs/fat/protein to do anything useful lol. I just make sure I eat clean (only processed stuff is soy milk/tofu/protein powders), real low salt, no added sugar. Worst thing I eat prob is agave nectar, and a bit of olive oil when cooking. (occasionally I'll eat at a restaurant or have fake meat at a friends house or on the move - but all quite rare).

 

Pre/post workout I've been taking 1tbs EAA's. 2 months ago I started on creatine monohydrate (think it's 6g i take...just whatever 2tsp works out at) I just take it whenever I have my smoothie. And post workout after my EAA's I have the Thrive lemon lime recovery drink (4 dates, agave syrup, dulse, maca, juice from half a lemon/lime, large scoop of protein powder - 60% pea, 25% rice, 15% hemp, omega oil mix, water). Then an hour later I try to have a big meal, can sometimes take me longer like 1.5-2 hours.

 

I want to get my calories sorted out before I try beta alanine or anything else. I've got all type of different rep maxes coming up towards the end of the next 6 weeks which will test whether I'm getting stronger again or not. So I'm upping the food, minimum 4200kcal/day starting today.

 

 

Medman, keep it short and sweet!

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Nice post Chewy! Probably the best advice you could give, and the advice I've been following!

 

The past three months I've been working out I've been consuming 4000 calories daily, sometimes it drops to 3500. however, I don't always think that such a huge amount of food will be necessary for everyone. It's definitely possible to pull a slow bulk just by eating a bit more than maintenance. I know it takes longer, but it does work. I had a question for you also.

 

did you try and figure out your maintenance calorie amount, or did you just eat, eat eat, regardless of how much you may actually need? I'm 155lbs, 6'1, and any time I calculate my maintence cals it's around 5000. That seems like so much. i know I can put that down in a day, I've been close. I work construction which is pretty hard work, then I also lift 4 times a week, so it could make sense. But would you think that adding in the job would make me NEED to eat that many calories to gain?

 

Thanks for your opinion, you're a great inspiration. It's so awesome that you've kept a log and keep helping others, really.

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I will definitely try to keep it short and sweet! I'm thinking of maybe doing something like 2-3 weeks of hardcore cardio coupled with a maintenance level of calories. I know that when I actually put effort in, I burn fat like a mofo, and I'm sure the added muscle will only increase my metabolic rate. I've been meaning to rehab my cardio fitness, so it will be nice to focus on that for a couple of weeks. I'll still be doing my lifting, and it will be interesting to see if the heavy cardio will impact that. After the experiment is done, it will be back to lifting and eating BIG.

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Thanks

 

@LoganKost yeah the number will be different for everyone! When I started I just ate ate ate, I think there's a lot of advantages to eating way more than you need (there's obviously disadvantages too, but in terms of adding muscle). But just a couple of months ago when I gradually upped the calories, it was when I hit 4000kcal/day I started putting on a small amount of weight per week (about half a pound average). However I still plan to go over this for more of a bulk now just to be on the safe side.

 

@medman sounds like a good plan!

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This is awesome man! Thanks for the inspiration!

I kinda have the opposite "problem", i think i have a pretty easy time gaining muscle and maintaining it, but i feel i have a super hard time loosing my fat. I think i have kinda been "half assing" on checking exactly how much i eat everyday, but now im gonna try to really set a calorielimit and stick to it!

 

Did you do any cardio when you cut down ur BF?

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Did you do any cardio when you cut down ur BF?

I didn't do any cardio back then. I was on and off squatting for a long time because of a groin and then a knee injury. Everytime I tried running it made it worse. But to be honest I didn't put any real effort into finding an alternative. Just now I do stationary bike for just over 20 mins maybe only once or twice a week. I find it hard to gain fat or muscle so I have to be real consistent with my calories.

 

I'm planning on bulking up a bit now, when I eventually get to cutting it'll be real short and I'll hammer the cardio. It'll be nothing like last time.

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Good post Gary! Your gains are an inspiration.

I'm trying to keep an eye out for a UK body building exhibition to pop along and see. I'll keep you posted if you're interested? I see there is a final in Scotland in September.

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Good post Gary! Your gains are an inspiration.

I'm trying to keep an eye out for a UK body building exhibition to pop along and see. I'll keep you posted if you're interested? I see there is a final in Scotland in September.

Sounds cool, where's the final in scotland?
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