To see me bench 225 pounds for seven reps like I'm 29, check out my instagram page @ogvegandoctor

As a physician who has found a deep passion about both medicine and fitness, I firmly believe in the importance of maintaining a healthy and strong body as it decreases risk of chronic disease, decreases stress, and improves longevity. Gaining muscle mass can not only give you those washboard abs everyone wants, but also helps you live longer and happier. In this blog post, I will share valuable insights on how to effectively build muscle mass with a plant based diet. To prove to you all I’m no quack, I have a live example of my knowledge in the video above. I'm excited to share a clip of myself bench pressing 225 pounds for seven reps like I’m 29 years old, showcasing the potential of cutting meat out of your daily life. Not to mention my 4:37 mile I ran recently, landing me in the 89.9% age graded, nearly an all world performance while vegan for 25 years. While I may be a skinny runner weighing 165 pounds at the moment, I plan on getting back into the weightlifting game very soon.                              

Before diving into the specifics, it's crucial to understand what allows muscle growth to happen in humans. The human body adapts to stress by increasing muscle size and strength. This adaptation occurs when muscle fibers are subjected to progressive overload, typically achieved through resistance training. Your body is reacting to regular pressure, and becoming better equipped to handle it as a response. To build muscle, you need to provide your body with the necessary stimulus, fuel, and recovery. Not to mention a mindset that will get you in the gym every day. 

Here are a few key steps to increasing your muscle mass.

Resistance Training: Engage in a structured resistance training program that focuses on compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts, bench presses, and overhead presses. These exercises target multiple muscle groups simultaneously, stimulating maximum muscle growth. Start with lighter weights and gradually increase the resistance over time to ensure progressive overload. If you stay too light, your body will not adapt, if you go too heavy, your body may get injured, or not have completed the proficient range of motion to stimulate growth. Anywhere from 6-12 reps have been proven to be effective. 

Proper Nutrition: Fueling your body with the right nutrients is essential for muscle growth. Consume a balanced diet rich in high-quality protein sources. Your average athlete may say these sources are chicken, fish, etc. However, as a runner in the 89.9% percentile worldwide, and a family physician, what I recommend to stay lean and clean is a vegan diet. Great vegan protein sources are legumes, (black beans, chickpeas and soybeans.) and quinoa. As well as tofu as it’s made from soybeans, nuts, seeds, and far more. Maintaining a vegan diet has so many benefits it deserves its own blog, and a few benefits of it adhering to athleticism include; a plethora of natural carbs and glucose, increasing endurance and energy throughout your day. A positive impact on the endothelium, increasing blood flow throughout your body and increasing your strength. An abundance of healthy microbes and antioxidants that cultivate a healthy microbiome and greatly reduce inflammation. To make a long story short, the belief that protein only comes from or should only come from animals is simply a product of marketing and outdated information. Reported by Dr. Christina Warinner, an archeological geneticist at Max Planck institute, states that new research investigating microscopic plant fossils proves that early humans were nearly all vegetarians. Going further, she states that we have no adaptations to consume meat, and many adaptations to consume plants. Additionally, Dr. Fabian Kanz of the Medical University of Vienna did research on the gladiator graveyard of Ephesus. This is a mass graveyard of some of Rome's deadliest warriors. On top of finding that their bone density was abnormally high and durable, he also found that they were called “Hordearii,” they received this name due to their vegetarian diet of beans and barley. For more information, check out the documentary “The Game Changers” on Netflix. 

Avoiding meats can assist in preventing many chronic diseases and also helps the environment. Adequate protein intake provides the building blocks necessary for muscle repair and growth. Additionally, prioritizing complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and a variety of fruits and vegetables supports overall health, recovery and longevity. A good goal for daily protein intake is taking your weight in pounds, and going for a 1/0.7 ratio. This means taking your weight in pounds, and multiplying it by 0.7 to see your recommended amount of grams of protein. However, the ratio can also be larger, like 1/0.8, or even 1/0.9. 

Sufficient Rest and Recovery: Muscle growth occurs during periods of rest, so it is crucial to allow your body enough time to recover between workouts. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night to promote optimal muscle repair and hormone balance. Incorporate rest days into your training schedule and consider active recovery activities like light cardio or yoga to enhance blood circulation and alleviate muscle soreness. Taking too few rest days or sleeping too little can significantly harm progress as it inhibits your body's ability to build back the destroyed muscle.

Consistency and Progression: Consistency is key when it comes to building muscle mass. Stick to your training program and maintain regularity in your workouts. Irregular and inconsistent training can cause your body to regress and lose strength and endurance as it will believe that you no longer deal with stress and don't need to adapt. Track your progress by monitoring the weights lifted, repetitions performed, and overall strength gains. Progress is made by improving upon what has been already done. If you want to improve strength, gradually increase the weight. If you are seeking endurance improvement, increase your repetitions to continually challenge your muscles and stimulate growth. Patience is key in this process as progress doesn’t happen overnight, or even in a matter of weeks. It’s a journey of months and years.

Gaining muscle mass requires dedication, effort, and a strategic approach. By incorporating resistance training, consuming a balanced diet, prioritizing rest and recovery, and maintaining consistency, you can achieve remarkable results in muscle growth and overall strength. Remember, each individual's journey is unique, and results may vary strongly. It is not beneficial at all to make comparisons between yourself and others. What works for others may not work for you and vice versa. It's essential to consult with a healthcare professional like yours truly, or a certified fitness trainer to develop a personalized plan that suits your specific needs and goals, and listen to what your body asks of you.

Lastly, I hope that my video of bench pressing 225 serves as inspiration and motivation on your own fitness journey. Remember, building strength and muscle mass is a continuous process that requires perseverance and patience. Stay committed, stay focused, and embrace the transformative power of strength training for a healthier and stronger body. For professional guidance on this journey, come down to 1717 centennial boulevard on July 5th to learn to eat clean and get lean!