Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Operation "Feed Me" : Gaining Muscle on a Gluten-Free, Vegan Diet - Part 2


This is Part 2 of a 3 part series on how a super-busy, skinny guy like me was able to gain weight and lean muscle mass on a gluten-free, vegan diet.  I'm sharing it in response to several requests.  The title is an homage to one of my favorite musicals, "Little Shop of Horrors," and the mantra of the alien plant in its quest to grow bigger.
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Hey!  Sincere thanks for coming back to read more.  So as promised, today I'm going to discuss 'how' I was able to gain 10 pounds of additional muscle mass in 7 weeks.  Breaking it down to its bare bones, the formula was quite simple.  Increase my workload in the gym with an emphasis on weight training and boost my calories to match and exceed my caloric expenditure.  But of course, when it came to the execution of that formula, particularly upping my food intake and creating time for the gym beyond the times I was there to teach, it was much easier said than done.  But when motivation combines with having the tools to carry out a vision, anything is possible.

So allow me to explain my 'tools.'

I met with my trainer once a week, on Monday morning at 9am, for approximately one hour.  And then 4 more days out of the week, depending on which ones my schedule would allow, I would work out 60-90 minutes, with each session including 5-10 minutes of moderate cardio to warm up, and then a rotating focus on upper body push or pull (e.g., pushing weights or my body away, or pulling weights or body towards), squats, leg curls, and one-legged hip dominant exercises (e.g., rising from a seated position using only one leg), and both abdominal and core stabilizing exercises.  I made time to stretch and roll-out every workout and took at least two days each week to rest and recover.

Arms gaining inches and definition after 2 weeks.

Now, while many would consider this to be the hard part, I relished this part of the challenge.  While I am quite peaceful and compassionate by nature, I am also quite competitive.  I love to succeed.  I enjoy the opportunity to erase doubt.  And seeing how the added time in the gym was paying off in my body, not only in terms of appearance but also in terms of feeling, just added more fuel to my fire.  I wanted to not only meet and exceed the standards set for me by myself and my trainer, I wanted to forge new ones.

So you may think it ironic when I say that the hard part was the eating.  Me, Mr. Foodie.  But my dietary habits until this point were sporadic, opportunistic eating, squeezing it in when time would allow.  But both my increased time in the gym as well as my goal to compensate for those calories spent would not accommodate that lack of structure.  I needed to hold myself accountable for altering my way of living to create new possibilities for myself.

So, perhaps the greatest 'tool' I discovered was an app recommended to my by my trainer, MyFitnessPal.com.  It not only helped me to keep track of the calories I consumed, but it also helped me to estimate how many calories I would need to reach my goal of 1 pound per week, taking into account my already very active lifestyle.  And it also established parameters for me regarding how my diet should "look," in terms of carbohydrates, fat, and protein.  And finally, to top it off, it also gave me access to a shared database of food products' nutrition facts - the piece de resistance, for me.  If anyone, anywhere, had ever input the nutrition facts for a specific item, I would be able to search for it and then add those nutrition facts per serving to my daily tally.  And if it had never been input, I could add it myself, for my benefit as well as  anyone else using the app.

While I was never one to pay attention to numbers
when it came to food, seeing how my calories
broke down was really helpful. 

Balanced diet takes on a whole new meaning.

The total caloric goal set for me was 2740, with a goal of 91g of fat, up to 30g of saturated fat, 377g of carbohydrates, and at least 103g of protein.  At first, I was intimidated, thinking that was sky-high, especially thinking about it in terms of the 2000 calorie/day 'average' diet.  But when I began to track what an everyday caloric consumption was for me, I found that it hovered around 2500 calories.  Interesting.  I also learned that when given the opportunity to eat at least 3 full meals a day, each one would average about 600 calories.  So reaching my goal simply became a matter of eating the equivalent of one more full meal with around 400 additional calories in snacks and beverages over the course of the day.

Ready, set, Go!


And that's Part 2.  Please stay tuned for Part 3 on Friday where I will finally discuss the adjustments I made to my diet in order to satisfy my caloric needs as well as the tips and tricks that helped me reach my goal.  Also included will be photos/foodporn of what I ate and further photos of my body's transformation.

See you Friday!

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As a disclaimer, this is what worked for me.  I have a unique perspective, coming from both a background of nutrition as well as fitness, which undoubtedly played into my quick success.  And while I may have that background, I am not speaking as a professional nor as an authority recommending any type of diet in particular for managing weight.  I learned that a high-fat and high-protein diet worked best for me in this situation - it may be different for someone else.  Additionally, I was never at any time asked to promote MyFitnessPal.com for weight management purposes.  All opinions expressed in this post are my own and volunteered by me.  This was simply my experience.


If you have any questions or would like further information on the specifics of my workout routines or my diet, please feel free to email me.  I would love to hear from you!

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Thank you so much for visiting The Canary Files. I hope you have enjoyed what you have read and seen. Your feedback is valuable to me and I read and reply to every single comment. So sincere thanks in advance for sharing not only your thoughts, but your time as well.

All the Best,
Jonathan

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