When I started the Shred It! challenge, I thought it was supposed to go 13 weeks. However, I discovered that the journal I've been using for the challenge will last a few weeks after the 13 weeks. I think the reason for this is that the author planned for the users to write in it 7 days a week and I only kept track of the 5 days a week that I worked out. In any case, I'll keep going as I can't wait to see the results of the challenge.
I have been doing strength training, really focusing on my muscle, for the past 3 years or so in an effort to tighten my loose skin after weight loss. However, the Shred It! challenge marks the first time I've seen this kind of progress. It really amazes me that the results I'm getting are without animal products. I had turkey and eggs a few times a week before going completely vegan at the start of the challenge. I used to think those animal products were necessary for muscle building but it did not yield the kind of results that I'm getting now with plants only.
Also, I can't believe how much money I wasted on protein powders (vegan powders) over the years. Robert Cheeke, the author of "Shred It!" explains that you can get all the protein you need from whole plant foods. Bodybuilders tend to overload their bodies with too much protein.
My weight is currently about 202 pounds... which means I gained about 10-12 pounds of (what I hope is) muscle since I started. I eat very clean, but increased my calories significantly to build muscle. I have two smoothies a day (up from one a day before the challenge) with huge salads, lots of beans, nut butter, broccoli, etc. I focus on plant based foods that will promote muscle growth and aid in recovery.
I will take some better shots of my muscle when the challenge winds down. Here's a photo i took today of my arms. I'm hoping you can see the progress. My belly has also tightened some, but I doubt it will ever be flat no matter how healthy I eat. But I'll take any improvement!