Strong man lifting weight at gym

Day 5 of the Vegetarian Experiment: The Health Claims

Every diet or workout makes extraordinary health claims about what it can do for you. It’s all about the money – they either want your views, or they want you to buy a product (be it supplements or books, or maybe just a subscription to their channel.) That means I’m skeptical as hell of everyone’s claims. Hell, even if they say there’s a study backing it up, I gotta go look and see more about the study (since many are paid for by interests in a specific conclusion.)

The Game Changers made a lot of claims, and some of them made sense, or were backed by either science or information I had already gotten from health care professionals. For example: eating a vegetarian diet can improve your blood sugar as long as your not using no meat as an excuse to go nuts on carbohydrates.

But I was more doubtful about it the statements on endurance and recovery times. Let’s start with endurance.

Has it affected anything? Yes. My fat, 50 year old body has no problems with 30 minutes of cardio – I’m not in the least tired by it. Not 45 minutes at 120 BPM. Or an hour. In fact, 15 minutes of weights, an hour of cardio in my target range, then another 15 of weights had little affect – I could have kept going. In fact, on cardio alone, I have no idea what the upper limit is at this point.

This resonates with a couple of the athletes they interviewed for the show had to say – they were taking about how they could put last most of the people around them. At some point I may do an extreme test of this, and see how long I can just keep going on the elliptical. Meanwhile, there was an increase in my endurance – sort of. Already this seems to be a more consistent thing, rather that an “I could just keep going” sort of thing I feel off and on prior to this. Maybe. We’re talking day 5 here. (Update: so, more time has passed, and this has remained pretty consistent: I can just keep going and going.)

The other claim is faster recovery times. Oh, see, this one gets a bit more interesting.

I’ve been working out off and on over the years to know almost exactly what my recovery time is for strength training. There’s some minor variables in there, but if I’m doing 3 day cycles (day 1: arms, day 2: legs, day 3: ‘core’) then on the morning of day 2 I’ll start experiencing DOMS – Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. Just a fancy way of saying it hurts when I move my arms or legs, ’cause I’ve broken down the muscles and it’s reabuilding. (There’s some debate if DOMS is a good or bad sign. If you’re not working out, and have DOMS issues frequently, it can be a bad sign of something else wrong. If you work out and keep pushing past your current bests, it’s pretty common.)

Now, I’m cheating here a bit; since there’s almost a two week delay between when I started writing all this and when I started, I was able to test this a bit more. In particularly, each time I’ve worked out, I’ve pushed even harder. The closest I’ve had to DOMS was waking up one morning when I had slept with my arms curled up to my chest: I had to stretch out the muscles before I even got out of bed. But, beyond that? Almost nada. This really is a game changer for workouts. Unless you’ve had to deal with it from pushing workouts pretty damned hard, it’s difficult to explain how much this matters. Wow.

And, of course, there’s always talk of weight loss. I’ve seen none of that – I gained weight. But, I also wasn’t being careful: I was more concerned about letting myself adjust to a dietary change, and eating a bit too much (plus, with a workout setup like above, there’s a certain amount of water weigh gain towards the beginning as your body starts playing games with glycogen and water to help with the process of powering muscle.) I’ll be adjusting how much I eat here shortly – the short term was mainly “can I go without meat without it messing me up?”


Morning weigh in: 228

Workout: One hour of cardio, arm day – double the number of reps, one double set done before the cardio, one double set done after the cardio.

Food: shit, I forgot to record it :-). I know it was celery and peanut butter for breakfast, cottage cheese and beats for lunch, but no idea what the heck I had for supper 🙂

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