If you are a struggling vegan bodybuilder, that can’t seem to make the progress you want so bad, then read on…
Tweaking Your Diet
First of all, you have to make sure you are getting what you need. You definitely need enough calories. Your protein should be a little higher. You don’t need 500 grams a day however, or nowhere near that amount.
One way to do this is to find out your calorie input per day. This is what has been maintaining your weight.
Then start by consuming a little more calories per day, until you gradually start gaining weight. But the fine line is you don’t want to do this too fast or it will be mostly fat.
By increasing your calories slightly, you are also increasing protein. Because protein is in all plant food in varying degrees. Don’t believe the myths that plant food doesn’t have complete protein. It most certainly does.
An easy way to add a little extra calories, only after you know your maintenance calorie input is to add a little natural nut butter.
This way you are not stuffing yourself, something you do not want to do.
Now we have to look at your training. Training is not as complicated as some make it out to be. You have to determine how many days you have available to train.
You also must determine your energy level too. Some get away with working a lot of volume, I never did. I work out pretty hard when I worked out though. I usually only did 2 main sets for each exercise. I also only did about 2-3 exercises per body part. When I would try to do more, I would usually come down with a cold, a sign of over training.
When I was in my early twenties I built a decent physique training 3 days a week.
I did a push-pull routine. I did chest, shoulders, and triceps on Monday, some cardio on Tuesday, and Legs, Back, and Biceps on Wednesday.
On Thursday was another cardio, and then come back on Friday repeating Monday’s routine. When the following Monday would come around, I would just continue. Monday would be Legs back and biceps. It would come out to working your body one and a half times a week. The only problem was the workouts were a little long.
I did this routine for quite a while though.
So much for the word of the day, protein synthesis crowd, saying you need to work each muscle 2-3 times a week to build.
How I Train Today As A 57-Year Old
These days I seem to currently prefer shorter workouts, and the only way to do this is to work out more often doing less body parts per workout.
I currently work out 5 days in a row. The workouts are short, probably about 45 minutes, but intense.
I do one or two body parts a day. I also due some mild cardio and stretching before each workout.
When I come back to train the same body part the following week, I will do the exercises in a different order.
Depending on how I feel, I do go back periodically to a three-day routine.
Routines are not magical by a long shot.
You could make them all work. So stop looking for a magical routine, there is none. Just find one that works with your schedule.
I have always been a big advocate of perfect form. You need to not worry about the amount of weight, but concern yourself with your form. If you are a bodybuilder, and not a weightlifter, make sure your form is perfect. This is what will build muscle.
I don’t usually count and it may vary with each exercise, but probably my rep cadence is 3 seconds up, and 3 seconds down. Form will make a huge difference. The slower the better . I am not talking about “super slow technique” but you do need perfect form. This will activate the most fibers.
You should train intensely enough. However, I am not talking about till you throw up. This is insane and should never be anyone’s goal.
Your training should be tough but never to make you sick, 2-3 sets per exercise is plenty.
Example for chest would be 2-3 sets of flat bench, 2-3 sets of incline bench, and maybe 2-3 sets of flyes, for a whopping total of 6-9 total sets for chest. This is not counting warm-up sets.
What Rep Range
This depends on what you like. I use variety. I honestly think they’ll all work. I seem to favor the 6-8 rep range the most though. Not because I think it builds more muscle, but I seem to have better concentration on each set.
I do sometimes mix them up, because they can hit different fibers, and you will benefit from the mix.
Putting It All Together
- Start using the best free macro and micro nutrient tracking tool
- Determine your maintenance calories, and start adding a little extra calories every day.
- I would add about a hundred calories extra. This is done easily by adding a tablespoon of nut butter.
- How many days a week are you going to work out?
- Do no more than 3 main sets per exercise.
- Do no more than 3 exercises per muscle group.
- Use perfect form. 3 seconds up and 3 seconds down, or slower.
- Use a rep range you like. They all work.
- Work intensely but not till you are sick.
- You don’t need forced reps. Continue a set, only till you can not do another rep in perfect form.
- Always have a spotter or lift in a cage or power rack if using free weights.
- Do mild cardio and stretching daily.
This will give your body all it needs to build muscle; stimulation, recovery, and good fuel from the whole food plant based meals you are consuming.
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