It's not easy to workout five days a week, but I've been doing this for a while now. You might wonder what motivates me to keep going...
It's my belly. Yes, that ugly loose skin around my abs that still hasn't tightened. I know it's a losing battle but looking at my abs (the lack of a 6 pack after four years of sustained weight loss), it gets me to work hard.
It's nearly 7 months for me as a completely plant based athlete. During this time, I've been working out hard, 5 days a week and have been seeing results. It may not be as fast as I like, but I do see progress each week.
I never would have believed years ago that muscle building could be possible without meat. After all, nearly everyone I encounter eats animal products, and some use whey protein powder. But I discovered there are many athletes out there proving that "No Meat is No Problem"... people like Robert Cheeke, the first vegan bodybuilder that I read about.
Six months ago, I started on a plant based journey. I had done week long vegan challenges, even two week challenges, but have never gone so long without any kind of animal products before now. What started out a 13 week challenge based on Robert Cheeke's "Shred It!" book has become an important part of my daily routine.
Here are some things that many people need to be aware of... plant based people are not depriving themselves in any way. I eat more variety now than when I ate meat. What do typical meat eaters have? Most likely chicken, turkey, beef or pork. What do plant strong people eat? Kale, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, black beans, chick peas, flax seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, berries, sweet potato, almond butter, peanut butter, quinoa, oatmeal... you get the idea. There are a lot of choices.
I have made a lot of improvements this past week in my muscle building initiative. I decided to wear this new shirt I got in support of Rip Esselstyn, a former fire fighter turned author. Rip is the author of the Engine 2 Diet. He was also responsible for turning his fellow firefighters into healthy "plant strong" eaters to help save a colleague, who had very high cholesterol. His term "Plant Strong" really says it all, describes my goal perfectly.
So this week, I increased weight for both my chest and arms. I only go up small increments but to me, it's a big improvement. I'm no where near my goal yet, but eventually I would like to bench press my body weight... got a long way toward that goal!
I began the "Shred It!" challenge with a lot of confusion. I did vegan challenges before where I would give up animal products for weeks at a time. I never imagined I would go this long without any turkey or eggs and feel good in the process. All I have to say is that the challenge works!
I may not have perfect muscle definition yet, but I'm closer than I ever was. Yes, 13 weeks might be enough for some people, but for me it will take a while longer. However, I can feel the muscle growth, especially in my arms and chest. A lot of the loose skin I had there is now covered with muscle. There is still some loose skin left on the arms, but I know I'm on the right track.