We know it can be scary to move away from protein supplements to whole foods, and to eat more carbohydrates when one’s goal is to gain muscle…well, that’s practically against they gym rat religion! A recent graduate of our group online training transitioned from 12 protein shakes per day to whole plant foods. His results just might convince you to reduce your own supplement intake.
I started my fitness journey not knowing anything about food or nutrition and very little about exercise or training; hired a [non-vegan] trainer to give me guidance with food and nutrition.
For 18 months I ate the exact same food every day, weighed each meal, day in and day out. Protein shakes were my main source of protein. I was drinking 12 of them per day, consuming over 300 grams of protein per day from protein shakes and tofu. Yet I was still skinny, toned, but I struggled to add muscle and couldn’t get any weight increases at the gym. I was training every day, but couldn’t increase weight or gain muscle. I was frustrated, I was doing everything I was told, yet wasn’t reaching my goals. My trainer’s solution? “Want more muscle, eat more protein/protein shakes.” That’s when I decided to seek other advice.
I found the VM&F online training group. Their advice was to eat more whole foods and have no more than one protein shake per day. Which meant decreasing my protein intake by over half of what I had been consuming and to eat more carbs, the opposite of what I had been told to do. My first thought: I’m going to lose the little muscle I have and get fat…However, the opposite happened.
I gained 6 lbs of muscle, still stayed lean, no fat gain, all in twelve weeks. Plus for the first time in my life I enjoyed food and eating. I looked forward to my next meal, thinking of what I was going to eat instead of having to force myself to eat the same meal. I could eat a variety of foods, veggies, berries and carbs.
My energy levels increased and I was no longer feeling hungry and deprived of food and I was eating way more food which in turn made me stronger. I saw my weight going up at the gym. I was setting new PR’s at Crossfit and was now part of the “strong guys” group. People were asking me what I was eating and how I was gaining muscle. My response was, eating more whole foods. I’ve now learned that nutrition is crucial in reaching goals. It’s simple: eat healthy whole foods and work out and the success will happen on its own, naturally.