In Need of Assistance!

Any queries about vegan diet, nutrition, dieting, bulking and healthy eating in general. Diets and food from vegan perspective.

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In Need of Assistance!

Postby Jonathan27 » Sat Feb 11, 2012 5:51 pm

Okay, so I'm a fairly new vegan, but I've been working out for about three years now and on a strict diet, and while I've definitely seen results, they aren't nearly to the extent that I've wanted. The more I read, the more I think my diet may be the issue, but it may be my workout routine that is also a problem. I just really, really need help because I'm sick of not getting the results I want despite excessive effort.

I'm an 18 year-old college student. 6' 2" and about 175 lbs. I work out six times a week. I do a full body workout that hits chest and smaller muscles Mondays and Fridays, lower body, shoulders and the rest Wednesdays and Saturdays. Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays I do an abs circuit out of the Abs Diet book, if that means anything to anyone. I do 25-35 minutes of cardio six days a week as well mostly through intervals, which adds up to a little over 15 miles a week.

Now, what I eat:

Breakfast: Two pieces whole wheat bread with quite a bit of natural peanut butter, a banana, and a glass of soy milk

Post-Workout: Scoop of soy protein in water

Lunch: Veggie burger with lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle from my dining hall. Whatever roasted veggies they're serving, plus a baked potato with salsa and an apple

Snack: A few handfuls of almonds

Dinner: A veggie, hummus, and guacamole (light on the guac) whole wheat wrap from my dining hall. I get veggie chili when they serve it (once a week or so). If so, I'll also have a cup of Kashi Crunch cereal with soy milk. If there's no veggie chili, I'll have two cups of cereal.

If I'm still hungry at night, I may have a Larabar.

I've added up the calories, and I'm hitting about 2370. I am very strict with my diet, but one time a week, I eat junk food (i.e. a pint of soy ice cream). My main goal is to get abs, which seems to have been a losing battle for several years now. I can feel the muscle beneath pretty well, but the fat is there still.

Feel free to pick me apart and tell me what I'm doing wrong; I am fed up with not seeing the results I want.
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Re: In Need of Assistance!

Postby Talyn » Sat Feb 11, 2012 6:34 pm

You seem a bit conflicted in what your goal is. Aim to lose fat first or build muscle first. At 175lb at your height, you probably don't have that much muscle mass, so 'cutting for abs' is largely pointless because you likely have very little to cut to.

If you want to get bigger, eat more. 2370 calories is less than my maintenance level, and I'm 5'7 143lb...... you should be aiming for 3000-3200 at an absolute minimum, and most others here are likely to suggest more than that.

If you decide instead to cut, then make sure your protein is something like 200g a day, stick with the same calories (you could probably get away with ~2500 with the cardio you do), and make up the rest with carbs & fats.

Routine wise, look into something like Starting Strength or a 5x5 program. Disregard the abs diet book. Disregard seperate days for smaller muscles. For now, anyway.
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Re: In Need of Assistance!

Postby Jonathan27 » Sat Feb 11, 2012 6:43 pm

Okay, so I need to aim at building muscle first? I can cut back on cardio if necessary; I've just always heard that cardio and ab workouts are the best ways to abs, but it hasn't seemed to have done me much good.

How much is too much fat? I live in the dorms and am a slave to the dining halls, so I don't have a whole lot of sources of vegan protein. Cereal, soy milk, hummus and especially peanut butter are the only things I can go crazy on for lunch and dinner (I eat breakfast in my room).
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Re: In Need of Assistance!

Postby Talyn » Sat Feb 11, 2012 6:53 pm

Jonathan27 wrote:Okay, so I need to aim at building muscle first? I can cut back on cardio if necessary; I've just always heard that cardio and ab workouts are the best ways to abs, but it hasn't seemed to have done me much good.

How much is too much fat? I live in the dorms and am a slave to the dining halls, so I don't have a whole lot of sources of vegan protein. Cereal, soy milk, hummus and especially peanut butter are the only things I can go crazy on for lunch and dinner (I eat breakfast in my room).


You can do what you like mate, I wasn't trying to decide for you. Just pointing out that at around 80kg for a young guy that is tall, you could easily bulk slowly up to around 200lb, then when you cut you'll look much better. Of course if you don't want to get that big you can choose to cut now, but you might end up either super skinny and look like you don't lift or skinny-fat and look like you don't lift.

Without knowing what you look like, or what your overall plan is, my inner jealously that I'm not 6'2 and 18 years old myself says to me that I would bulk, train hard and become a beast :) But again that's just me.

Re: best way to get abs. You can build them up with exercises, but the only way to see them is to shed bodyfat. Cardio isn't any better way of doing this than just eating less, you'd need to create a calorie deficit, it doesn't matter how you create one. But, refer to the point above.

Re: vegan protein, is it possible you can get protein powder online? I am assuming you are American, and if so websites like trueprotein have cheap vegan protein powders that you can add into what you get at the dining halls. Nail plenty of soy milk too if you can.
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Re: In Need of Assistance!

Postby Lordmuppet » Sat Feb 11, 2012 7:04 pm

edited because i am tired and didn't read the above posts closely enough
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Re: In Need of Assistance!

Postby Jonathan27 » Sat Feb 11, 2012 9:15 pm

Okay thank you! I lift and everything and I want to ripped, I am just nervous about getting a gut or packing on fat; it's my inner fat middle schooler coming out haha. I will try eating 3200 calories and I think I may cut back on cardio a bit. Is it better to lift longer or do cardio? If I cut back on cardio, I'll have some extra time to hit weights before class, since I usually follow weights with cardio.

I do have protein powder, but how much do you suggest I take? I'm just doing a scoop after I work out. I've heard that adding it as a snack after dinner could work, but I don't know how much truth there is to that.
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Re: In Need of Assistance!

Postby Promesas » Mon Feb 13, 2012 3:14 am

I find myself in a similar predicament as the OP. I do cardio 6 days a week(3 days 10km steady run, 3 days 30 mins of HIIT). I use my own bodyweight for resistance training(pullups, pushups, bodyweight squats, leg lifts etc). I also alternate these on the 6 days I do cardio.

I've shed a ton of weight in the last 9 months(120kg down to 78kg). I've got definition through my upper body and abdominals, however there is still a layer of bodyfat around the lower midsection and love handles. Which from what I've read on this forum and other health forums, is often the HARDEST to lose. I eat around 2500 calories per day with the majority of them coming from fresh fruits, salads and starches(potatoes,brown rice,quinoa, oats).

They say abs are made in the kitchen, so I'm going to try to reduce my caloric intake for 2 weeks to see if this makes any difference in shredding body fat. I'm not interested in the bulky muscular look, I prefer the cut and lean look. I want to be around 73-75kg(I'm 5'10).

Another poster accurately describes the "skinny fat" look whereas someone will shed weight rapidly and they don't tone and build the muscle underneath the fat so they just look floppy and plain. By June, I hope to achieve my look, by that stage, it will be 18 months of solid training.

Good luck to OP
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Re: In Need of Assistance!

Postby Jonathan27 » Mon Feb 13, 2012 3:55 am

Good luck to you as well! I definitely have the skinny fat look right now I think, and I want the same look as you: cut/toned rather than bulky. I'm currently trying to eat at least 3000 calories a day, but I'm having a really hard time. Peanut butter and almonds are becoming my best friends, but I don't want to eat too much fat. I'm gonna try to cut my cardio from 25 minutes to 15 on days when I lift. We'll see if it happens.
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Re: In Need of Assistance!

Postby thestoatyone » Wed Feb 22, 2012 6:58 pm

Take up a sport that lets you put in a lot of work without realising. Basketball, soccer insulting homophobes and running away etc. Your diet's fine, you just need to find a bit more intensity in your workout from what I see. Make everything a race and you'll be there in no time!
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