Week 1 – VeGAINuary (4th – 10th January 2021)
Week 1 is complete! A week in which the challenge got 10 x harder due to the gyms closing and lots of experimenting with some new recipes. Watch and read below to find out how it went!
Nutrition & Macros from the week:
- Only 75% of protein target hit – all whilst taking 2 shakes a day
- Calories = almost perfect (pizza on Saturday helped…)
- Vitamin % = through the roof
- Iron % = slightly inaccurate as protein shakes incorrect on MyFitnesspal
- Fibre = on target (probably for the first time ever)
So, Week 1 of VeGAINuary is done!
Was it hard to steer clear of meat, fish, dairy & eggs? No actually, surprisingly not. But it’s only 1 week.
Personally, it was harder hitting the 2,600 a day calorie target. Feels slightly embarrassing saying that. “You struggled to hit 2,600… call yourself a man?” No one actually said that to me, apart from my army-general alter-ego who seems to be stuck in the 1930’s. But that’s another story. Note to self – deal better with inner psyche and improve self-belief.
But enough about me!
The main reason for struggling with the overall food volume was that I opted for higher protein carbohydrates & fats (e.g. lentil pasta & nut butters) which made me fuller than your typical white rice accompaniment.
I also began the week struggling with the higher fibre content of the protein sources (meat-free burgers etc) plus the increase in food volume which left me feeling bloated. And again, full.
But the body is a funny thing. A WONDERFUL thing.
As the days went on I felt less bloated.
I was able to cope with the foods I was eating.
Plant-based status quo was being resumed.
I said this in the vlog but the main reason for taking part in this “challenge” wasn’t to prove whether one diet is better than the other. It was to help me expand my food options to help my training. Too often people say “you can’t eat plant-based and hit your protein target” – well I wanted to prove or disprove this.
I can easily say, even after a week, it CAN be done. And it can be enjoyable.
So, a week in and I now have a load of new meals, recipes, snacks & shakes to add to my meal plan going forward.
Hold on old boy! You’ve still got 3 weeks to go!
I pulled in the help of the most jacked person I know, my WHEYD athlete Micky Smith, to give me a 4-week plan to help me put on muscle.
I asked if I would look like him in 4 weeks. He went quiet.
Let’s move on.
We sat down and set a 5-day split plan for the gym in early Jan. I tried a few bits between 1st-3rd Jan and was buzzing.
For the first time ever, I had professional help with a plan that WOULD work.
For the first time ever, I was going to see what I could achieve in the gym.
The “before” pic was taken.
Day 1 went to plan – a brilliant lower body session. Front squats, Reverse Lunges, Single Leg Hip Thrusts – plus more.
As I exited stage left of the gym, I could barely walk. PERFECT!
Motivation to succeed was at an all-time high.
This lasted until 8.01pm.
A new national lockdown was announced. All gyms to close.
This was a double-edged sword for me. Not only was I now trying to put on muscle with 0kg of home-weights, my business was again under pressure.
People only tend to take protein powder when they go to the gym (which shouldn’t be the case, but that’s another conversation), so with 100% of gyms shut across the UK & Ireland I feared the worst.
Motivation went to -100 that night and throughout the next day.
After less than 24 hours I felt like giving up.
What was the point?
Luckily for me I have a brilliant support network around me, most notably my fiancé Genevieve. All you really need is for someone to listen to you and let you be in a grump for a bit.
But the sun sets and the sun rises again.
Luckily for me, I awoke on Day 3 with a positive attitude.
VeGAINuary wise, my challenge was now 3 x as hard. And I liked that.
I tweaked the plan with Micky, desperately tried to find some half-affordable 2nd hand weights & got to work.
Business wise, as with lockdown 2020, it was going to be 10 x as hard. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and WHEYD Ltd has definitely grown stronger over the last 12 months.
Training for the rest of the week needed higher reps to help the progressive overload. It was long but enjoyable. Air Squats, Burpees, Push Ups – all on repeat.
I sourced a 2nd hand 20kg Olympic bar. YES PLEASE!
60kg of further weights arriving next week. HERE WE GO!
GAME BACK ON!
“Vegans are always tired and weak.” Something the meat heads always trope to justify their carnivorous diet. Heck, I’ve almost definitely said that once upon a time as a naïve young boy. But is it true?
I consciously didn’t feel different for the first few days.
But as the week went on and I started coping better with higher calories and with the greater fibre content, I noticed a huge change.
Typically, I’ve always said I’m a morning person as post 3pm I’m useless. It’s embarrassing how unproductive I am. So, I counterbalanced that by starting my days at 6am.
The huge change was that now, after less than a week of my Diplodocus diet, I wasn’t tired at 3pm. Or 4pm. Or even 7pm. I was alert and awake. All still after waking at my usual 6am.
I was more present – listening and engaging with Genevieve after work. Wanting to learn and read at 6pm. Not being a mindless mong and blaming it on “being a morning person”.
Now I’m not YET saying this is to do with removing just meat from my diet. It’s no doubt a combination of higher calories and the enhanced vitamin content from eating my greens. But it’s something I’m definitely going to continue to monitor.
Watch/read this space.
Things to change for Week 2
It’s not been a perfect Week 1. I averaged 125g of protein a day so need to increase this by 25% and experiment with different protein sources. Main goals for Week 2 are:
- Create more snacks in advance
- Add in more nuts & seeds
- Add in lentils
I don’t want to change too much too soon. Overall Week 1 was a success – more from a diet point-of-view than training.
The weights arrive on Day 9 & 11. Let’s see if the diet can support the enhanced training.
OVER & OUT.
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