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The Bare Facts: Can You Build Muscle From Scratch on LFRV? No Supplements.

Please pardon me for posting this again. I was not sure whether it should be under "Blog" or "Discussion"... My apologies to Harley & Freelee.

I have gotten tons of emails on this subject. I want to post this for those of you not sure about this diet for acquiring lean tissue mass.

It is entirely possible to build muscle completely from scratch on lfrv. In fact any other method is not healthy. Of course you can build more muscle "size" but you are not really building it when your nitrogen retention from excess (they call it "extra" ) bloats the cells with excess waste. This is what that garbage is-- it is muscle size not actually freshly build muscle fibers. In fact all the cells that you gain weight with from any calories are "puffed" up to an extent just by "forced feeding" over and about what you really need to live a safe, healthy and productive life.

Those individuals who share their "lfrv" expertise on youtube who say that they need to supplement with spirulina or rice powder or other processed stuff "in order to get extra protein" which in turn seems to make them bigger, are not truly building muscle. That is just size, caused by puffing up the mitochondria of the muscle cells, as well as the intracellular fat that is added to as well. 

You can not gain just muscle anyway. You have to gain some fat with it. When you put on ten pounds, three of four pounds are fat. Even if you are training hard and heavy. You have to be extremely sure to consume slightly more and more calories as your training cycle becomes heavier and thus burns more calories. Most people don't realize the large calorie energy demands of true weight training. The process surpasses endurance training, everything else equal, as the acquisition of additional muscle mass increases your metabolism 24 hours per day, unlike demanding endurance activity that will increase it for two or three hours after you have stopped. Building muscle has been said by physiologists to be ten times harder than losing fat, and unless a person has a lot of well proportioned mass plus shorter, better bone leverages to begin with, then the process of acquiring lean tissue is a daunting one, fraught with many pitfalls. Only the truly dedicated can make progress more than those younger trainees in their teens and early twenties who easily build ten or fifteen pounds of "mixed muscle" their first six months of weight training "adventure".

Personally I am able to gain muscle from scratch on lfrv. I lost a lot of total weight when I went raw in 1999. For several years I got hoodwinked by the so-called "woo woo spiritual people" , including some close friends and loved ones. Looking back I could kick myself, for straying from my diet experience, which I had carried out successfully as a cooked vegan since the early eighties! I discovered, even before that, that Americans consume three times more protein than they need, and even though my goal was to "get bigger", being a total nerd and planet-lover as they say, not to mention that I did not enjoy literally stinking from eating animal products, and experiencing lethargy from them compared to plant-based calories, I learned soon enough a very very important thing: You do not need that much extra protein to build muscle! In fact this is nothing new! Physiologists and nutritionists and dietitians have known this fact for before I was born. What is needed is extra carbohydrate calories. When you consume extra carbs you automatically increase your protein sufficiently. It is a no brainer.

But then there is marketing. What a joke that is. I feel sorry for young men, and women who still in the year 2012- buy into these downright lies. Even 30 years ago when I would read "Muscle & Fiction" magazine, my training partners and I would scoff at the ads for "Dynamic Stamina Builder" that were placed next to "articles" that featured some steroid-protein-fed monster and his two hour long "bombing and blitzing" routine that would kill any normal athlete. The same trick is done when pushing protein powders. They call the results "cellular optimization". Fancy words for puffing up the cells!  Ironically, as I matured and met many of these people, some on steroids some not, I also discovered that they never even wrote those articles let alone train that way. I could go on and on about the history of publishing/ supplement conglomerates./. but you get the point.

Few people train with weights diligently let alone properly. Fewer still are totally vegan. So few are vegan and do not take supplements. The tiniest sample.. almost a handful in the entire world... like me.. are not only vegan... not only raw... not only fruitarian and greens... but do not take any supplements let alone eat salt, oil, spices, garlic or onion. I am doing this at age 53 and am right this moment getting into heavy training for my structurally poor lanky frame. But guess what? Even with my glass lower back, I have devised a simple weight training program designed around the tried and true fundamentals that is allowing me to build muscle from scratch better now than when I was 20. I am not kidding.

Calories are calories, people. Basics are basics. We just choose to eat the best way possible for health. Personally I do not have more than 90 minutes to two hours per week to devote to my weight training, yet in my personal experience, and also training with the best (in my estimation) athletes for over 30 years, the best muscle building routines share two major similarities: 1) They involve only the most basic large muscle group exercises, 2) The workouts are as brief as possible and as infrequent as possible to allow complete recuperation, and 3) Calories are calories. I just choose to eat the best, which is fruits and vegetables. Nothing added. Nothing taken away.

I will be posting more pics, and details shortly. This is my favorite project, as I come from a very "intellectual" background and life, and I take great pleasure in the simple pleasure of seeing what can be done with my body with almost the worst possible genetics (no this is not just my opinion, but what has been confirmed by professionals throughout my life as well, which actually makes me a good coach since I am one of the few dedicated individuals who gains because of what I do not in spite of it like so many others. Champions are born not made. This is an unfortunate fact of life. But… with proper diet… proper training…. and the proper mindset and patience… you can literally transform yourself.. and when you do, you will appreciate what you have achieved 1000 times more than those who have it handed to them on a silver platter!)

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Yes, yes.

The point is not to "just do 20 repetitions" nonstop but to build up to a weight progression routine which requires you to pause for a breath or two or more (as the set progresses) in order to complete your 20. Or 30. Or 15. 20 is a good number and it works. The only caveat is for those with long legs- that when the weight exceeds about 150% of your bodyweight it tends to exhaust the lower back before the legs are properly trained to momentary failure. There are several fixes for this, and some pretty great variations, but they are reserved for when you visit for a an educational training session when and if you visit NY. I will be producing videos as part of an entire detailed diet and training program. I can not release it until it is complete.

But work on getting at least 120% of your bodyweight in this "breathing squat" IN PERFECT FORM PLEASE!!!!!!!   You must perform your squats with heavy weights the exact same way that you can with a bare bar. Even better than!

Barbell squats - esp done this way get to be brutally hard work. Few people ever stick with them- even super ultra endurance athletes. To do these babies year after year with constantly increasing weights is truly a mark of a dedicated athlete. But the results are not bad...

Yeah thanx. Yeah i have to breath couple of times after 6-7 reps. Im not rushing anything, doing it the reps rock solid but dammit squat is hard :) im doing olympic squats so almost ass to grass wich is think is the best squat :)

Not everyone's structure allows going this low. Of course I have trained many who needed a few months of flexibility training first to fix their "problem". But there are those who, try as they may (real application of proper form over a long period, not imagined trying lol! as some people do!), simply have the wrong genetics to squat to anywhere except parallel or even s bit above. What matters more than depth is PROGRESSION over the long haul. Long legged people are best suited to shallower squats. The main concern by far in terms of squat depth is not to squat below parallel. This has caused much confusion. The key is to squat as low as possible WITHOUT ROUNDING YOUR LOWER BACK, as this puts undue strain on the spine and will cause injury with anything but the very lightest and useless weights. Long limbed people gain best from the dead lift. Not that one has to be tall to do it. Not at all. Just that squats, for the shorter and more mesomorphic person, are a godsend exercise. ESPECIALLY FOR WOMEN who want to shape up their glutes hips and thighs while getting the best core results of any possible use of their time. Men included. But the dead lift should be exploited equally and even more so by those with longer proportionate limbs. This is what is called their "money maker"- the dead lift, since they can usually exert themselves much more and much safer over time, thus reaping the benefits of proper weight training, which is using the "big" multi- joint lifts such as the squat and dead lift and their sane variations. 

So while depth is a nice thing when you can get it, it is more important for the majority of trainees to squat as low as they can without rounding their backs. AND exploiting the big exercise that allows them to constantly progress safely over a long time period to get results.

Thanks Chris.

All I know is that I couldn't do single push-up before raw. Now I'm up to thirty and counting. That's certainly something. :)

Always progressing. That is the key!

Hi Chris

A while ago, Doug Graham talked about the importance of establishing a "fitness base" before proceeding with the 'bigger stuff'. Can you describe what a fitness base looks like? Is there some objective criteria? Or is it more individual? For example, in this thread you mentioned being able to dead lift the equivalent of one's body weight as a being a beginning task for strength training. I took this to mean that there is an objective criteria that one should work toward as a fitness base. Can go delve into this a bit further and what a fitness base might look like? Thanks!  ......ana xoxo

Ana would you kindly point me to where DG mentions (or desribes what you refer to as a "fitness base"? I am pretty sure I know what you are talking about but I want to see exactly before I reply. Thanks.

Hi Chris

Try as I may I cannot find the original discussion about this. Let me try to put it into context, though. If I remember correctly, it was a discussion about exercise and injuries, someone was having difficulty maintaining a consistent workout program because of frequent injuries. And part of Doug's response was that the person needed to work on establishing a fitness base before engaging in the types of workouts the person was being injured from.

Another person chimed in a asked Doug to describe what a fitness base looks like. Doug replied that he would be addressing it in an upcoming lecture. But, I have not ever seen this lecture. 

In one of Doug's interviews there was mention of Doug's fitness base. Doug said, 

"We went out rock scrambling today and it was just tremendous fun, and that to me has 

continued to work well in terms of building an ongoing fitness base where I can always do 

things that are good play." 


Gosh, this doesn't say much, but is this sufficient to answer my question?


(Also, I've read online various fitness standards which are deemed adequate for general fitness, such as being able to run a certain distance within a certain time, being able to stand up from sitting without using hands as aids, being able to climb stairs in a certain time, lift and carry heavy grocery bags, etc., which also might be indicative of a fitness base.) 


So, I was just wondering what a solid fitness base would look like for the average person entering into a long term workout routine, involving cardio, strength, and flexibility development.

I hope this is enough for you to go by. Frankly, I'd appreciate whatever thoughts you'd care to share on creating fitness from scratch.


Thanks for you time, Chris!  .....ana xoxo


Now I understand your question.

Ana, fitness is simply a level of degrees. Strength, endurance and flexibility can all be improved. By degrees. To actually get significant change one must train through a number of increasingly more difficult levels. It is as simple as that. Everyone including professional athlete (which means little these days since money is the motivation of most, and the true champions are those who constantly improve, and stay increasingly more and more disciplined simply because they respect the process of striving). 

One must always start somewhere. This initial training period, lasting from six weeks to two years, depending on the current level of fitness or lack thereof, may be called base line fitness level. 

The only time one gets injured is if one tries to increase their level of fitness too rapidly for their body to recuperate. Or they do not eat enough, or properly (much less likely than not getting enough calories to support the fitness process or activity) or sleep enough. That is a cause for the body to break down as well, obviously. 

Anyone can dramatically increase their fitness level(s) by systematically using common sense in the progressive application of forces to their body's strength, cardiovascular or flexibility systems. There are many variations of fitness but only one rule: progression. So it is common sense that one should always begin a fitness program by first rehabilitating any injuries. Next, they can begin their fitness process by getting into condition. Some may call this six week to two year period "creating a fitness base". Like a suntan, this must be maintained in order to get to a higher level of fitness. 

You mentioned that I suggested that one lift the equivalent of their own bodyweight in the dead lift exercise for twenty reps. While I consider this to be a little more than just "baseline fitness", this is a good starting point for when the body begins to take shape. If lighter weights are used, then very little noticeable change will be seen or felt. In other words, just going through the motions of lifting light weights do very little unless one is specifically using them to rehabilitate an injury. 

There are clearly defined poundage goals (based on one's body weight of course) for the perceived levels of strength training (the most effective… and considered the most important and number one activity listed under the ACSM's definition of physical fitness (not to be mistaken with the broad definition of fitness which is "the ability to carry out one's daily tasks with VIGOR and alertness and have energy left over for leisure time pursuits". These numbers can be easily found on the internet. 

The ability to carry out one's daily tasks with vigor and alertness and then have extra energy left at the end of the day can be called "pre-baseline fitness" This is a very basic and necessary level to have before one even thinks about adopting any fitness process program. Many people add fitness to their lives like most children adopt pets: they forget about food and rest. Just doing the activity is only one third of the plan!

Jon thank you. I commend you on your odyssey as well. I can see that you are conscientious and are getting results.

Yes Jon, I understand completely. For the last 25 years I myself have been devoting that many hours per day to work and projects. In fact for the last ten, my vocation required me to open another location which had me work some days 14 hours on my feet. That is why my business is named "The Best Weigh" Longevity Center. Not only b/c I was always interested in the best body composition, but in the best, most efficient way to get into the best possible shape. I am really all about balance. Strength. Endurance. Flexibility. Body Composition. But it has taken me over 35 years to learn that you do need much time to workout- that is a big myth. What matters is progression and years and years and years of dogged determination. But the workouts themselves can be added into anyone's life regardless of how many hours they work or are involved in projects. 



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