Carnivore turns Vegan
Craig Champ, Personal Trainer at JD Gyms Coventry, explains why he recently made the decision to turn from a meat-eater to a strict vegan, and how he did it.
I had the pros of veganism introduced to me by a vegan client and I felt it was my duty as a personal trainer to explore different dietary lifestyles in order to best provide for that client. I also wanted to increase my first-hand knowledge in regards to nutrition.
Even after the toughest of sessions, my vegan client never experienced any form of DOMs (delayed onset muscle soreness) and I was curious regarding my own body’s reaction to a plant-based diet.
With regards to losing weight/body fat, I knew I would be eating a far healthier diet and an increase in fruit and vegetables. However, I also had reservations regarding whether I would actually lose any weight because it is common knowledge among the fitness industry that cutting weight/body fat requires lowering your intake of carbs.
So my 30 days veganism was intended to be research. Would I lose weight? Would I maintain my strength?
Originally, I was only going to eat a vegan diet for 3-4 days a week. However, upon being advised that I would not feel the benefits, I opted to completely change my diet for 30 days. Until this point, I lived on a diet of chicken, steak and fish with few carbs, so turning vegan was a big change!
How did I do it?
Research and lots of preparation! Every Sunday, I would spend approximately 2 hours preparing my food for the next week. I prepared every meal for the week ahead and kept them in tupperwares in the fridge.
Additionally, I joined a number of vegan social media sites. Without doubt, the support offered on these pages has been fantastic.
I was also fortunate to have a group of friends and family members who wholeheartedly accepted my vegan lifestyle. I was never once teased, or ridiculed. One close friend even prepared a three course vegan meal one evening. I am very aware that this played a huge role in the success of the diet. My friends/family are not vegan, but they respected my choice.
Did it work?
The results over 30 days were:
Weight loss: 1 stone 10 pounds
Body fat: 5% reduction
Muscular endurance and cardiovascular endurance: Improved. I had absolutely no negative effect on strength – I am still achieving my PB max lifts. DOMs has hugely reduced and, in most cases, is non-existent
Form and performance: For certain exercises such as pull-ups my form improved
Energy: I had a huge increase in energy levels (prior to this diet change, I would take regular naps between shifts during the day!)
Mental state: I have had a positive shift in mental clarity, an increase in confidence and self-belief/worth which stems predominantly from spending time and energy upon focusing on what goes into my body, and that my body is worthy of such time and consideration.
Sleep: The duration and depth of my sleep each night has considerably improved
In summary… Is being vegan right for me?
What began as an experiment that I entered with optimism but a lot of hidden doubt has completely changed my life. I have hugely increased the variety of food eaten, the number of carbs and nutrients consumed and ironically I have a greater freedom with regards to what I eat now – nothing is restricted, which also goes for cakes and deserts, so long as they’re vegan!
I have become a lot more aware of the negatives of my previous diet and still daily see the benefits of the lifestyle change that I made. From a completely selfish point of view, the physical improvements that I have seen to my body, both performance and appearance related, are reason alone to never consume another animal-based product.
Being vegan won’t suit everyone, but for me it is the new, brighter, happier way of life.