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I just recently celebrated my 1 year anniversary of going vegan on May 1st. Before switching my diet I weighed 120 lbs (for about 8 years), walked,and worked out moderately. I ate alot of high protein and not much meat, but I did eat dairy almost daily and consumed almost no fruits or vegetables.
Since I have turned vegan, I walk appoximately 40 miles a week, weight train 4 times a week and only eat hemp protein shakes, fruit, vegetables, beans, nuts (sparingly) and grains (mostly buckwheat, multigrain, and gluten free oats). I eat no sugar, caffeine, or gluten. I now weigh 135 and have for a year (with no fluxuation). I do have more muslce tone for sure, but am not excited :) about the weight gain.
Have any of you faced something similiar or do you have any suggestions?
Thanks so much for your time :)
When did the weight gain start and how hard were you training?
Were you getting enough sleep, are you getting DOMS and not letting it heal, what was your % fat / muscle ratio before and after the gain? Do you get essential fats, do get get enough B12, iron, etc.
I had something similar happen to me once. I have weighed 132lb for 12 years now. The only time I have ever gone UP in weight was when I was training with a divers weight belt on (10lbs) for months. I went up to 145lb, a huge increase in muscle definition and no increase in body fat.
Also vegan a year might not be long enough for your body to fully adjust, I remember my first year going vegan and it was not the easiest, and I was coming off of being several layers of vegetarian.
You should never judge yourself by the scale, specially when your talking about 10-15 lbs. That programming has to be rewriten. You can fluctuate 5 lbs every 2-3 days just with water and 5-10lbs monthly. This is even more evident for menstrating women. You seem pretty active and have put some muscle on which is 7 times denser than fat. You should be honestly critical of yourself in the mirror. Use measurements like body part circumfrences and how your clothes are fitting. [Eg: If you were 5'6" a 1" muscle increase in your thighs would translate into about 10 lbs.] You see more muscle definition, well how about the thickness of the skin on that muscle...do you feel there is a little fat being added aswell?
This requires a little more face to face assessment. Maybe go to a certified personal trainer for a body fat calibration test to find out if/how you should be adjusting your trainning. [ a lot of schools that teach CPT programs will offer assesments free at the end of program semesters as part of their students lessons] Healthy body fat for a woman is about 15%, but if you want to be a pro bodybuilder or a fitness model you may want to 'cut' that down, but even then that would only be seasonally. If you are just aiming for a dress size that you feel is ideal for you then maybe reduce the weights and turn to exrecise like Yoga or Pilates, things that won't add size but excell at keeping muscles strong and defined. If you aren't a runner and don't plan to be, maybe consider biking. A road bike, mountain bike or just a cruiser, either way you can amp up the level of exercise over walking without the impact of running and this may help you lean up a little bit more.
On the diet side, being vegan is defiinately advantagious. Maybe start a food journal and track the amount of protein, fat and carbs your eatting. It is also beneficial to track what kind of carbs; Starch, fibre and sugar (even if they are naturally occuring). Then you can get an overall picture and may be able to make adjustments based on trainning requirements. Food timing is very crucial. Getting the metabolism rolling in the morning while letting yourself 'cooldown' at night. Eatting a little more for workout days and cutting back the bigger calories for 'off' days. Changing up a few food items to up the fibre % and lower the starch. You have to treat your self as a little science experiment and 'tweak' a few numbers. The smallest changes in these areas can make huge differences over weeks and months.
And really remember your mind plays a critical role in all of this, feed your body mind and soul for complete health. Decide what you would like to look like and for what reasons, if both are honestly healthy then next is examine the details of diet and exercise to 'fine tune' the little factors 'til you find that magic combo. If you want, post more detailed info of what one of your days may look like to paint a better picture for us. There are quite a few top level competitors that are members of this site with TONS of experience, that often like to share tips. You may not be interested in bodybuilding or pro modeling, but it doesn't mean you cant sculpt your body like a pro, using their advice and their methods.
I hope I was some help. Please share a bit more info or ask more detailed questions.
The hips eh? thats seems to be the first place in alot of women. I'm not gonna ask your age...it's not polite:) but it is a factor. Definately post a response that gives an example of a workout day and an off day...if you can list times and even activities so we can examine your timming.
Did you say you had 8 kids? well that is a workout unto itself...nowonder you want to keep your stamina tiptop!
Thats a real nice routine you've set up. I want to next ask how long have you been at this program? A body can become used to or well adapted to routines quickly. The body, by design, wants to find the most efficient way to perform the tasks given to it and will eventually become so used to a program that the benefits you sought in the first place may be harder to attain. It seems about 6-8 weeks a person should change up or shake up the routine to 'reactivate' the bodies learning and make changes. I would like to propose and idea:
Mon. Wed. Fri. and Sat. Walk ten miles pre-workout (It's a great warmup)
Mon. chest, shoulders (except rear delts) and triceps plus abs.
Wed. Back, rear delts and biceps plus abs again.
Fri. Legs. This will be the hard day but if you got some left in you, you can add a few abs sets again
Sat. Add another intense cardio session instead of lifting on this day.
Tue. Thur. Keep the intense cardio going on these days.
Sun. Is your leisure day, any activity you en-JOY with your kids is awesome.
I am glad to hear that you listen to your body. Forcing a workout when your tired or had too few hours sleep will work against you... burn out will actually make you put on fat.
I am actually excited for you to recieve and read the Thrive books. Brendans aproach will make so much sense to you. It's a whole diet and trainning 'science' that will make your body even more efficient, increasing energy and stamina. 'Til the books get there and you read them take one week to just do your walks every morning, like a week off then apply a new routine. The example I gave was just an Idea how to hit all body parts in one week and up your cardio time a bit, but you may want to do it a little different. The point is give your body a change to 'shock' it into pefroming again. Run through this while you read the books, maybe read Thrive Fitness first, it's about trainning efficiently...the beauty is no expensive equiptment needed and very versatile with a couple good trainning guides. You might want to abandon your style of trainning for a while and set up a Thrive Fitness program. This will certainly send your body 'back to school' and you will likely see amazing results in weeks.
Next post me a couple of your food days so we can examine your diet. In Thrive Fitness there is a chapter about the diet/trainning connection that will be like Thrive in Thirty, a brief overview of Thrive Nutrition. By the time you get through Thrive in Thirty, recieve your books and read Thirve Fitness you will be working over new trainning Ideas and you can start Thrive Nutrition which will make you seriously evaluate your diet. Thrive has changed my life...I'm working out basically three times daily mon-fri. I have a core routine with a mat, exercise ball and foam roll I do in the morning. I get 60-90 min of hiking/biking/walking at the park at a moderate intensity. Then in the eve I hit the weightroom for a high intensity 45 min session with the weights. Thanks to Thrive diet, I experience zero next day soreness, my recovery is AMAZING! I'm 38 also but I've been feeling the energy I had when I was 20!
No worries Laura,
I think your diet is excelent, I'ld venture to say maybe your on the lower end of the calorie spectrum. I don't think you could reduce calories any without sacrificing your energies. Which was my next question...how is your energies? Hows your blood work..as in is your iron and B12 fine? My first thought was you may have too few calories?
Once again I think it's time to change up the exercise routine to give your body a new challenge. You don't necessarily need to increase weights, that may increase your muscle mass. If sculpting is what you're after try increasing reps, decreasing rest between sets or doing super sets. I'm gonna leave an example to show how you may up the intensity without increasing weight:
Chest Day: Flat bench dumbell press 10 reps straight into dumbell flyes 10 reps then tricep extensions (lying prone on the bench as you were for the other) 10 reps. Rest 2 min and start super set over now do 12reps each. 2min rest now do 14 reps each. Rest a few minutes while you set up for the next group. Set your bench upright to seated postion and do dumbell press up overhead (military) then straight into side delt raises (you may need to grab a lighter set of dumbells) then forward delt raises. Do this like the last super set 10, 12, 14. When thats complete after 2-3 min rest take your exercise ball up against a wall with arms extended and roll it around on the wall making a small figure 8, try for around 15-20 reps arms should be straight but not locked out. If that burns try to do the next set for more but do the figure 8 sideways. Do two or three of these each and your chest-delt area should be screaming at you! Think carefully about how your muscles move your body parts and make sure you're hitting all the angles to activate as many fibres as you can like doing the first part of chest day at a slight incline next week, then a slight decline the next.
You see how the complimentary muscle groups can be worked together to really challenge them! If you did this workout right you may not get your post workout shake up to your mouth for 30 min or so :)
And that brings me back to diet. Are you hitting the exercise empty and having your shake after workout time is done? Maybe go for your walk then eat an orange, hit the weights then you need some simple carbs quick for your glycogen stores. A couple dates are perfect, high% glucose goes straight to muscle cells, then 30 min later have your protein shake or WFHO if thats what your gonna try (it's excellent). I think you may want a few more grams of protein in the eve. Maybe add a 1/2 cup chick peas to your salad.
This is just some food for thought, simply putting some thought into some changes is the knudge your body needs. I think amp up the intensity, switch the sat weights for another cardio and increase the cardio to 60 min. I'm guessing your in pretty good shape and just looking for that next step. Shakin up the routine every 6-8 weeks will keep your body challenged. Muscles are a lot like your tummy, they enjoy a variety or get bored of the same old same old.
When you get into reading Thrive, Brendan will add so much more to this that you'll be able to be so much more creative with both diet and exercise that you'll keep your body challenged for a long time and love it :) Feel free to ask more questions if you need to or put up a new discusion as your going through the books. There are alot of amazing and very accomplished people here at vega Community with tons to offer. It's a support system that has made Thrive the most rewarding lifestyle choice I've ever made.