Monday, February 2nd, 2009

Weight Lifting & The Raw Vegan Lifestyle – How I Maintain My Muscle Mass

by Kristen Suzanne in Hemp, weight loss

A follower of my blog inquired recently about eating a Raw diet and maintaining/building muscle…

Hey Kristen… I was wondering would it be possible for you to do a blog post on eating raw and weightlifting….I have lost 50 pounds since beginning to eat all RAW..now I’m doing ChaLean Extreme (it’s a program where you lift heavy weights to failure)… should I be concerned that my body will use my muscles for fuel instead of burning fat… I’m concerned with the whole calorie thing,because eating RAW I haven’t been counting calories. I want to reap the best results from all this hard work, because I have seen people who eat raw and have lost a lot of weight and some don’t look fit just smaller and soft… so that leads me to think they have lost some muscle, what do u think?…any advice would be greatly appreciated.


First of all… CONGRATULATIONS on your weight loss and for taking control of your health. I’m so happy for you. I’m actually a tiny bit familiar with the ChaLean program because I know someone who is doing it, and I’ve read about so many others bragging about it and loving it.
If I had a set up in my house where I could do dvds for some of my exercise, I’d be all over this program.

Regarding your overall question… I switch between all-Raw and HRAV (High Raw, All Vegan) and my husband follows suit since I’m in charge of food – haha. I’m not soft and skinny; my body is toned and I have no problem maintaining that. :) And, let me tell you… my husband is buff and his bod is mega hot – ripped abs, chiseled chest… TMI? Maybe – haha.

Things I do to maintain my muscle mass, and things my husband does to maintain and grow his:

1) Strength train (we get our butts in the gym at least five days per week!). Period.

2) A healthy, alkaline diet complete with nutrient dense foods. Consume enough calories in general, including foods rich in amino acids and simple carbs. As people who work out a lot, we also add more protein to our diet. To do this, we drink shakes and smoothies with hemp protein powder, and lately we’ve been doing a mixture of both hemp protein powder along with Sun Warrior’s Raw Rice Protein Powder, and typically include bananas or some other fruit in it. We also like green smoothies (fresh amino acid-rich greens and fruit). Here is a link to a great workout smoothie recipe – GGGRRRR! Beowulf Protein Smoothie. We also love our fresh Plant Blood (green juice) which fills our bodies with phytonutrients. Sometimes we drink Plant Blood daily and sometimes we drink it every few days – just depends on our fridge contents.

We also make sure we’re consuming certain foods before and after our workouts (our exercise tends to last 45 – 75 minutes). For example, before a training session, we typically consume something with simple carbs (examples: fresh dates, a ripe banana, or other fruit is excellent workout fuel). After a workout (
within 60 minutes of completing it), we have a small smoothie with simple carbs and a little protein (see the recipe for the GGGRRRR! Beowulf Protein Smoothie – we usually split this or something like it). Then, after an hour has passed we have another shake that is heavier with protein (typically Sun Warrior Rice Protein, Manitoba Harvest Hemp Protein, Vitamineral Green Powder, Fruits of the Earth Powder,water, and usually a banana blended in).

3) Recovery – This is an important topic that is frequently left out. You need to let your body recover and build, and this includes getting plenty of rest and sleep. Diet is also an important aspect of recovery, but rest and sleep are vital.

Basically, we listen to our bodies, monitor our progress, and make changes as needed. Ensuring success with this might mean some calorie counting, at least in the beginning, until you get an idea of what you should be consuming on a daily basis and how your body responds to it. Everyone is different so you need to find what works for you personally. But, it can be done!

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