Where to Start?

I had a couple of messages this week about how to get results on a vegan diet. Seeing the pictures I post of cakes etc yet staying lean, what’s that about.

Spoiler alert, I don’t eat cake all day, every day, in fact most days I don’t have any cake at all, you see cake is a treat… sure it’s tasty AF but it’s crap, does nothing good for you apart from make your taste buds feel good and brain light up like a Christmas tree.. saying it does nothing good for you might be a bit extreme, a balanced diet is about the long term sustainability, if a bit of cake now and again keeps you on track then it’s totally good for you!

..anyway, the thing is, I don’t count calories anymore, am I as lean as I use to be…not really, here is a current pic of me today, this is pretty much my maintenance body weight/fat

..but I now have zero stress with anxiety of food and timings. I can actually go out for date night with my wife and enjoy it, I am strong AF in the gym, my workouts are awesome and if I want a piece of cake now and again, guess what? i’m going to have it?!

So how did I get to this point? of not counting calories? What if I told you that 99% of all diets fail, think about it, how many people do you know that are on a diet? how many of those people have been fat..then thin..then fat..thin…fat..thin, in this endless cycle of dieting. What about you? are you where you want to be now… if the answer is NO yet you have done a diet before, guess what..it didn’t work. A diet is a short term fix to a life long problem. Instead of treating your physique and health goals as 12 week plan where you cut out lots of food you love, do loads of cardio/exercise (that you begin to resent), drop your calories to a point where nothing you seem to do now works and ultimately end up miserable….only to put all the weight back on over the next few months/years. Why not focus on eating a whole foods, plant based diet 90% of the time and give yourself a treat now and again to keep you from going insane?

Thats part 1 of the battle, learning to develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime, than quick fixes and/or gimmicks that get you in a yoyo diet scenario.

Part 2 of not having to track your food is to be active. Aim for at least 90min of low intensity exercise a day or 40min of high intensity.

If you are looking for a “toned” physique… meaning you want to reduce body fat and add muscle, then please for the love of god, don’t spend hours doing air kick backs, body weight squats or running on a teadmill, If you are someone that does this, let me ask you… Has your physique changed in the last year? are you where you want to be?… then why are you still doing it?!

For a toned physique, and this applies to women as well as men, you MUST strength train, i’m not talking about tank tops and nipples hanging out, grunting in the gym as you push up 8-12 shitty reps and try to alpha everyone at the gym. I mean, you must get strong on the big movements. For 99% of people reading this, you will obtain the physique you imagine by strength training with either a full body workout 3 times a week or upper/lower split 3-4 times a week.

I’m talking about movements like Squat, Bench Press, Overhead press, Dips, Weighted chin ups, Deadlift, Leg press, Barbell row. Working in a low rep range to build strength for 3 sets. NOT a 30 set pump and flex bodybuilding workout… if you want to be a bodybuilder then you MIGHT need that, but for 99% of people who just want to feel good about the way they look, I promise if you train to get strong with these movements focusing on multiple muscle groups, your body will look VERY different and you will get to where you want to be.

Think about this if you want good glutes, if you can squat 10kg now, but in a year you can squat 80kg, do you think your legs and bum would look different?

High intensity training, working the full body with heavy lifts goes hand in hand with a whole foods diet. If you eat a whole foods plant based diet AND train your ass off, it is very unlikely you will get fat.

Here are some basic habbits “rules” I try must best to stick to each day;

  1. Eat a whole foods diet 90% of the time
  2. Eat/drink plant protein every 3-4 hours
  3. Consume at least 50g fiber a day
  4. Consume at least 20g of healthy fats per day
  5. Eat less than 10g sat fat a day
  6. Track ALL exercises in your workout, you MUST get stronger
  7. Do at least 40min intense exercise or 90min low intensity each day

That’s pretty much it. If I had to guess, I would say my macronutrients are around 150g Protein a day, 500g Carbs, 35g Fat

A Typical Day Eating

Pre Workout

  • Pea protein
  • Organic beetroot juice
  • Greens powder
  • 10ml UDO’s Oil
  • Banana

Intra Workout

  • 10g BCAA

Post Workout

  • Huge bowl of oats with whole punnet of berries & agave
  • Pea protein
  • Dates
  • Banana

Mid Afternoon

  • Cous cous
  • Veg
  • Gosh butternut squash bites
  • Brazil nuts
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Pea protein

Dinner

  • Butternut squash
  • Lentils
  • Veg
  • Strawberries

Bed

  • Banana nice cream
  • 3 Bananas
  • Pea protein

Workout Example 3 Days a Week

Workout 1

  • Deadlift
  • Dumbbell incline bench press
  • Leg Press
  • Overhead press

Workout 2

  • Seated hamstring curl
  • Front squat
  • Unerarm weighted chin up
  • Close grip bench press

Workout 3

  • Hack squat
  • Single leg leg press
  • Barbell row
  • Weighted dips

The whole workout should take you 1 hour, For each exercise do as many warm up sets as you need, then start with your max weight for 4-6 reps, rest 2-3 minutes, reduce the weight by 10-15% and do a 2nd set for 7-9 reps, repeat this 1 last time… 2-3 minutes rest, reduce weight and do a set for 10-12 reps. ALL sets to failure.

Each time you do the workout aim to beat the previous week, if week 1 you deadlift 100kg for 4 reps, stick with the weight, when you get to 6 reps increase by 2.5kg, keep going week on week, increasing the weight and the reps.

Every 8-10 weeks (or as you feel you need), take a 1 week deload where you still train for 3 days but not to failure, stop each set a few reps short of failure.

That’s it in a nutshell, no magic tricks, no gimmicks, no 6 week booty blaster or superfood/supplement to change your body, it’s actually very simple.

  1. Eat a whole foods plant based diet
  2. Get strong AF week in week out

I know we have all been lead to believe that there is more to it than that, but really…that’s it.

Get yourself a log book for the gym and start this today! Within a few weeks you will start to notice in how you look and how you feel.

Just Because it’s Vegan..

Spoiler Alert: Just because it’s vegan does not mean it’s good (or even better) for you!

One of the big misconceptions I find across social media and in general conversation is the idea that just because something is Vegan people assume that it is good for you.

Posting pics of cheeseburgers with Vegan meat replacements and Vegan cheese or dairy free ice cream on a hot day declaring that it is “healthy” and “good for you”

I am by no means condoning eating animals or their byproducts, however I just want to make you aware and give you a couple of comparisons for consideration if you are someone that has decided to go Vegan for the health benefits.

Vegan Ice Cream

Ben & Jerry’s Non Dairy Chunky Monkey (per 100ml)

  • Calories: 261kcal
  • Protein: 2.4g
  • Fat: 14g
  • Saturated Fat: 8.2g
  • Carbs: 31g
  • of which sugar 26g

Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food (per 100ml)

  • Calories: 270kcal
  • Protein: 4.2g
  • Fat: 12g
  • Saturated Fat: 8g
  • Carbs: 36g
  • of which sugar 28g

These 2 products have practically the same amount of sugar and saturated fat. Unless you have been living under a rock for the last few years you will hopefully know by now that refined sugar and/or saturated fat are the leading causes for heart disease.

Just because one of the products is vegan does not make it better for you! When you body breaks down the individual macro nutrients each of these products is equally as harmful to your body. Of course the danger is in the dose, 1/2 a tub now and again will unlikely do any long term damage, but consuming a high saturated fat diet with processed/refined carbs on a daily basis is the main reason we give meat eaters so much shit about the health effects of eating meat.

Instead of this, why not create your own “Nice Cream”?

  • Chop up 2-3 bananas and place in a freezer bag overnight
  • Blend bananas with a splash of soy milk and a tsp of peanut butter
  • Top with fruit or nuts, you can even add a protein powder to flavour your ice cream!

Vegan Cheese

Next up is Cheese, there are actually real cheese products much healthier for you that the Vegan cheese you get at the supermarket.

Violife Vegan Cheese (per 100g)

  • Calories: 270kcal
  • Protein: 0g
  • Fat: 21g
  • Saturated Fat: 19g
  • Carbs: 21g

EatLean Protein Cheese (per 100g)

  • Calories: 169kcal
  • Protein: 37g
  • Fat: 3g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.3g
  • Carbs: 0g

It’s easy to see from a health perspective the winner in this round, the fat in Vegan cheese is almost entirely saturated!

…yes I looked for a specific dairy cheese to prove a point, but even easily accessible lighter versions of your supermarket cheese are still “healthier” than the vegan option.

Asda 50% Less Fat Cheese (per 100g)

  • Calories: 287kcal
  • Protein: 33g
  • Fat: 17g
  • Saturated Fat: 11g
  • Carbs: 0g

If you are someone that has moved to a Vegan diet for the health benefits then I recommend you avoid the supermarket and popular Vegan cheese at all costs.

As an alternative look for nut based Vegan cheese, you can either make your own at home, or purchase from somewhere like https://www.nutcrafter.co.uk

A nut based cheese will be packed full of healthy fats and micronutrients.

I will update this list with more as and when I find them 🙂

Again, I stress that I am not condoning eating animals or dairy, I just want to make you aware that Vegan products can be as bad for you as their animal based counterparts.