Friday, February 27, 2009

Plant-based Diet for Muscle Building - JB's Results

A while back I posted on Dr. John Berardi's experiment with a plant-based diet for muscle building. Well, the results are in and they look pretty good. Keep in mind he did eat eggs, but other than that, he was vegetarian.

He did a little more bodyfat that I would like to see in a month, but when putting on SEVEN POUNDS in a month, some bodyfat is to be expected.

Here are the results
(I deleted a few charts on skinfold measurements):

The Experiment, A Synopsis

For those of you who haven’t been following along, back on January 13th, I announced my crazy scheme. After what was essentially a dare, I decided to test the idea that with hard training and exceptional attention to dietary detail, I could pack on a bunch of body weight (most of it coming from lean body mass) and muscle strength eating a mostly vegan diet. In other words, no animals, only vegetables.

Yes, someone did mail me steak.

Here’s the original article for those of you interested:
http://www.precisionnutrition.com/jb-goes-vegetarian

Some thought the idea was really cool, while others got really mad. Some were very supportive while others sent free-range steak in the mail.

Regardless of the distractions, I pressed on. I spent the next month following a pretty strict animal-free diet, eating nothing but plant based foods like nuts, veggies, legumes, quinoa, sprouted grains, etc.

Now, for the record, I did include 3 eggs with almost every breakfast. And I occasionally included some honey in my granola. But despite those two “vegan transgressions” I was able to successfully complete a full month of meat-free, plant-based eating.

The Articles, The Attention

Throughout this process, my experiment got a lot of attention. I was interview by Chris Shugart of T-nation (here) and appeared on a host of TV and radio programs where pro-vegetarians and anti-vegetarians ran me through a veritable gauntlet of questions.

I also published two additional articles right here on the Precision Nutrition web site, sharing some important lessons I learned along the way.

Omnivore…Vegetarian…Flexitarian
http://www.precisionnutrition.com/flexitarian

Meat: Good For Us or Disease Waiting to Happen
http://www.precisionnutrition.com/meat-and-health

In the end, I must say that I’m really happy I did this experiment. I got the chance to be exposed to a new way of eating and a new group of people. I got a chance to help educate the public about what good nutrition means, whether or not it includes meat. And, as you’ll see below, I even built a little muscle for my trouble.

(Although, I must admit, the day after the experiment ended, my friends and neighbors discovered me giggling maniacally over a big Omaha steak).

The Results - My Stats

At this point, I’m sure most of you are wondering one thing: did I accomplish my goal and pack on the lean mass. Or did I fail miserably. Well, it’s time for the moment of truth.

Tracking a host of skinfold measures and girth measures - and recording them using the Precision Nutrition Results Tracker - I did end up gaining 7 total pounds, 4.9 lbs being lean body mass, and 2.1 lbs being fat mass.

To start with, here’s a complete comparison of my pre (Jan 12th) and post (Feb 8th) measures.

Comparison of Pre (Jan 12th) and Post (Feb 8th) Body Comp Data

Comparison of Pre (Jan 12th) and Post (Feb 8th) Body Comp, Skinfolds, and Girt Data - All Courtesy of the Precision Nutrition Results Tracker

Also, here’s some individual body comp data:

Body Weight, Lean, and Fat After My Plant-Based Diet - Along With A Comparison of The Changes Made

Body Weight, Lean Mass, Fat Mass, and Fat Percentage After My Plant-Based Diet -- On The Right You'll Notice The Total Changes Made Since My Last Measurements.

And here’s some girth data:

Girth Recordings After My Plant-Based Diet -- On The Right You'll Notice The Total Changes Made Since The Last Measurement Period.

All in all, I’d say a pretty successful month.

It appears that even without eating meat or many animal products, my training regime (which I didn’t change) and my diet regime (which was based on the principles shared in the Precision Nutrition Plant-Based Diet Guide and included a surplus of calories) allowed me to gain 7lbs with a 2.5:1 ratio of lean mass to fat mass.

The Results - My Pics

Now, I know you want to see the results with your own eyes. So, next up, the before and after pics. Here are some pics of the scale to confirm my body weight changes.

Body Weight Before

Body Weight After

xHere’s what I looked like at the start of this experiment:

xx xx xx

And here’s what I looked like at the end (minus the facial hair; trying to be sexier, ya know):

xx x xx xx

All in all, visually, the changes are small.

Although if you squint hard enough, I think you’ll see that I do look a little fuller and heavier in the second set of pictures. Also, if you’re still squinting, you might notice that I’ve lost a small amount of definition too. But that’s usually to be expected when trying to pack on body mass.


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