I began to notice, after shedding over 90 pounds on raw eats, that a lot of what I thought was muscle was actually flab! Not only this, but I was starting to get that “Scrawny Vegan” look (no offense intended). I said to myself “heck no!” and did some research on how to bulk up on a raw diet. After sifting and searching through my library and online I found a lot of good ideas and put ‘em into action!
I found that this is a common issue among peeps in the raw community. As our bodies get to work cleaning out the years of debris we used to fill up on, it can leave us looking a little slimmer than we were shooting for. One of the most common answers I found to this situation was adding in some cooked eats, but I was feeling so awesome with my raw diet that I didn’t want to go that route. So I picked up a copy of Stephen Arlin’s Raw Power and found a couple key ingredients to building yourself up with raw eats: larger meals less often, combining raw fats with greens and resistance exercise.
I started skipping snacks and eating larger raw dinners. This slows down the fire of your metabolism, as if you’re dropping a big log on it, rather than stoking it with kindling. By combining good raw fats with greens, you can increase the absorb-ability and usability of the amino acids in the greens. This especially works well with blended foods such as green soups and my fave post workout drink, my Green Vanilla Bean Shake . This bad boy tastes like a creamy vanilla shake and carries the proteins, chlorophyll and alkalizing minerals of a green smoothie.
About this time we headed to my home state of Connecticut to be near my family and my sister picked up a copy of P90X. She wanted me to do the routine along with her. I had seen the P90X commercials and it looked intense, but I figured if my sister was going to do it, I could give it a shot. I already owned a chin up bar and a couple pairs of free weights so I was good to go.
I gotta tell you that this workout program is brutal (in a good way)! I was panting like a dog after the initial evaluation portion of the program, which sets a starting point to look back on during your progress and assesses if you are even physically fit enough to begin the program. After a couple weeks of doing it I could already feel the differences. Muscles I didn’t even know existed on me began appearing, and at the same time I felt more energetic and limber from the cardio and yoga portions of the program. Another plus of the program is that Tony Horton (the instructor) is a trip. This guy had me crackin’ up during the workouts, and even though I ended up hearing the same jokes a bunch of times as I replayed the workouts, it still made me laugh and forget about some of the crazy things I was doing.
One of the coolest things I noticed was the difference between working out on my raw diet compared to when I gave it a go in my mostly cooked food days was that I didn’t feel sore! This was such a bonus that it’s worth gettin’ into the raw lifestyle for this benefit alone. I used to get sore for 2-3 days after working out, which discouraged me back then because I didn’t want to be sore when I headed off to work. Working out during my P90X experience, I would find myself feeling a little exhausted afterward, but the next day I had a ton of energy!
Because the program incorporates a lot of cardio and yoga, it really get’s the lymph flowing. This is such a bonus to those cleaning up their diet, as the lymphatic system is responsible for cleaning up the bloodstream and directing toxins towards the “exit”. Because lymph has no mechanism to force its movement, it relies on us to move! When we work out, squeeze and contract our tissue by stretching and jumping about doing cardio, we get this stuff flowing and keep our system running clean. I really felt the difference between the times I was doing a regular workout routine and when I would just randomly workout… I actually gained energy! Having lots of energy is one of my favorite raw benefits so this further boost was really motivating me to stick with it.
One thing I didn’t follow with the P90X was the diet guideline (which is pretty good, but neither vegetarian nor raw). I opted for a lot of greens, in the form of large dinner salads with a nice raw fat rich dressing, smoothies and juices. The greens not only pack a bunch of readily absorbable protein, but a host of alkalizing minerals. Which I feel counteracted a lot of the lactic acid formation that comes with rigorous exercise. This acid can lead to that post workout burn and soreness. Greens also bring on the oxygen (in the form of chlorophyll) that is needed for muscle recovery and energy when doing cardio. For a lil’ theobromine kick, I would have cacao smoothies pre-workout. I would drink water with a little lemon juice and a pinch of sea salt during my workouts to stay hydrated, and I’d use green smoothies or juices as my recovery drinks.
The experience was awesome and took my raw transformation to another level! So for those of you who think you can’t get ripped on raw eats… I say give it a try! After the 90 days, I went from only being able to do a few chin-ups at a time to doing over thirty in a row and up to 160+ in an hour and half long workout routine! When you feel the difference (especially post workout) you might get hooked. I can’t wait to go through the 90 days again after the Trek, and I’ve been doing the occasional sets of push-ups whenever possible to maintain on the road.
Keep rockin’ my friends!
Rawdawg Rory is a Raw and Living Foods Chef and Health Advocate. You can find quick and tasty raw recipes, healthy living tips and more on his website. He’s lost 90 pounds, found relief from chronic sinusitis and gained a ton of energy since gettin’ raw. He has made it his mission to share information on how to easily and enjoyably add more and more raw foods to your life! His book Gettin’ Raw with Rawdawg Rory is loaded with tips, information and over 100 tasty and doable recipes to get you going in the raw direction! Currently, Rory and his family are travelling the United States for his wife, Amanda’s “ Life My Life NOW Trek ”!