30 Bananas a Day!

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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word, Justin :)

Justin- you took the words right out of my mouth. Thank you. It is amazing the proliferation of misinterpreted training information from 1) drug users, and 2) genetic powerhouses, not to mention those wide-eyes teenagers who consume muscle magazines & internet dogma like it was their next whey shake.

Okay here is the short version of the "why" that seems to have eluded a few on here. Not that they can help it, with the way information about building muscle being connected solely to protein pills, powders and gimmicks. (I think a particular website was mentioned. Check it out and follow the "advice"  ... all the way to the "neutra-ceutical, and steroid-ceutical bank).

Speed is a direct of building muscle. The stronger and more developed (true lean muscle not just bigger legs and not just "skinned rabbit skinny legs) your muscles are, the faster you will be able to sprint. 

How you build that muscle does not matter. What confuses some is that they "read" that you can train your muscles to "fire" faster by doing explosive movements. This only allows one to train faster at that particular movement. (duhhhh... your body can "learn" anything to a point, but it is specific only to that exact movement).

That there is any magic in five reps vs one or two, or 50 reps vs 20 is another fallacy. Results come from OVERLOAD AND PROGRESSION first and foremost. Common sense would dictate that if your goal is to get stronger as fast as you can, as safely as you can, for the long term, building strength and muscle & sinew depends on being able to maintain your training cycles with constant progression for a long period of time. 

Low reps by their very nature ESPECIALLY FOR SQUAT AND DEAD LIFTS, since they use the most powerful muscles of your body, are extremely short lived when it comes to progression. Anyone who actually tries this will find out very fast.

Do not risk injury. 

You can only do two things with your muscle. Either get stronger. Or get weaker. But you can injure your much more vulnerable joints and soft tissues, as most do when they train with low reps, unless they are unusually robust with thick joints and shorter bones. But even then it is just a mater of time.

Sure there is place for "low" reps. Once you get in tune with your body, your rest patterns and your goals, and get at least a few years under your belt (that is why I originally "suggested" that getting your bodyweight for 20 reps in the squat and dead lift is your first "small" goal. Getting one's feet wet in real weight training with great strength and speed results to boot, one would benefit best this way. THEN and only then will they be ready for the next step.

But as usual as it is for most of us, we seem to want to go from making ten dollars an hour to becoming ceo of the company in one giant leap. Ummmmmmmm..., all I can say is... good luck unless your name is Zuck.

Thanx Chris


The reason i asked why low reps can be better then high for building power in terms of running faster is because i am an advanced lifter and professional athlete so i want to do whats best :)


So leaving out that one is newby, have robust form and all those variables and not are overtraining etc etc i was wondering what would be the best training method for building power to run faster with no other variables available even tho there are tons but we exlude this for this discussion :D


So perfect form, perfect frequency, train for years etc etc so when it comes down to lifting low reps or higher reps for running faster what does one choose? 

I said it before and I will say it again. There is no magic number. Your focus on the number of reps is not the best use of your energy. When the time is right for you, you may become a client and then I will ask you to provide me with a detailed diary of all of your personal variables. But even then, if you are looking for a simple prescription of sets and reps, you will be dissappointed. 

What matters, for the hundredth time, is that you progress in strength over the long term. You may use a mixture of reps within each cycle that you do, as long as you are adding weight to the bar amost every workout. That is your main concern. Above all else.

Trust me, you will eventually find your own groove. But for now you seem to be in a "Keplarian Spiral"... 

Over and out... 

Thanx a ton :D


I dont look for a magic number i just look for what works :D


Its just whenever i look around i see that the ones that use higher reps is the ones that wants to get bigger just for the eye look, not in terms of doing something with the muscle in terms of sprinting :D

And the ones doing high weight low reps are the ones that are super fast :D 


For sure, the most important thing is to add weight every session or manage to do more reps then last session :D 

this is awesome!! i am gonna imbibe ur training philosophy for next two months (no, lifetime!), makes so much sense .....i am starting from the scratch, and find 20 reps most effective in long term progressive training...as far as speed is concerned , the only workout better than sprints is sprinting uphill lol, i am gonna stick with that..

thanks a ton chris

What you think of programs like Strong Lifts 5x5/Starting Strength?


i have read alot this last week and i have changed my mind :) read alot of the old guys. Arthur Jones etc and i now agree with you. strength equals size you cant have one without the other you have to train for both even tho same training principle goes for both. Also in regards to reps. thanx a ton :D

Thanks , great post . I have just order Robert Cheeks book veganbodybuilding fitness. He advice to eat some whole food protein from rice or hemp. So i realy don't need this to. Thats great becouse thats safe's me money .

I'm looking forward to your post . I do the 30 bananas thing, and i like the energy , instead of the tast of food like salt or spices .

In terms of low rep injury then when I do 5 reps or lower I just do it slower (ultra slow) and therefore use lighter weight. That probably helps with avoiding injury with low rep. As well never train to failure. Common sense really. 

In terms of real strength versus size. Then it seems that there are guys that walk into the gym who lift heavier then the more bulky guys. This former USSR special forces trainer has studied the subjects widely http://youtu.be/boNVh-YhwUs He learned from his father as a kid, then the Soviet army and the Soviets are advanced in their training protocols. Not so obsessed with bigger is better as some nations seems to be *cough Ameri....*. But love the simple and the efficient.

Strength is not only muscle fibers. It is also neurological response or adaption. Then it makes sense that speed might be related to less rep since it seems that less rep, no failure and slow lifting builds strength through neurological response. Speed is a neurological adaption I assume. So it might go together. 

This is just speculation. But read Pavels books. He has lots to say from his own and others accumulated experience, including science.


Moving weights at a safe speed is what you want. As long as you decrease the momentum. 

Soviet and Eastern Block country athletes rely on pharmaceuticals- never forget that. All the slew of "programs" that come to this country are nothing special.

I have read Pavel's works- all very good books for those who have limited equipment (the programs were created based on prison time training in the cell), but there are much safer and more effective ways to train! But still, his works do contain tips and explanation of certain aspects of neuromuscular applications that are good for anyone interested to know. I do like his books and have them in my library.

Forget Soviet or Bulgarian strength methods. Building strength is simple. Incredibly so. All it takes is dogged dedication (well building natural size takes more of that. Getting stronger is not that big of a deal). But power is speed applied to strength. That requires a different type of lifting altogether. Olympic lifts in particular. But unless you are seriously going to make a lifetime pursuit of such then I strongly suggest that one avoids the high injury of this type of training. Plyometrics for example are very dangerous. Everyone but the most robust get injured eventually

Genetics are the kings no matter what athletic endeavor. There are five main factors : 


Muscle Insertion Points

Neuromuscular Efficiency*

Muscle Belly Length

Muscle Fiber Type and Number

* Many "soviet-style" trainers may lead you to believe that you can change this, but that is not true. The speed at which nerves CAN fire is genetic. But you can train yourself to learn how to harness momentum so that you can lift heavy objects as well as the lighter object of your own body (heavy enough to put your knees or back out of commission for years or even permanently if you abuse speed training with weights! Or dabble in "plyometrics".) But this harnessing of momentum that appears to have made your neurons fire faster is false security that will eventually end up in injury. Just stick to the basics and train using the fundamentals!

Since it is imperative that we ALL , men and women exercise regularly for the rest of our lives (anyone who does not adopt a lifelong fitness program is simply missing out on efficiency and pleasure not to mention the most wonderful and even mandatory health!). then why not do it right? And why not have something to show for it instead of just running around a track aimlessly or lifting weights of pushing and pulling on machines in the gyms without any grounded progressive plan?

If one is to apply the three components of what the ACSM DEFINES as fitness; namely 1) Strength, 2) Cardiovascular, 3) Flexibility, and 4 Body Composition (a result of proper application of the first two plus eating right), then one has the opportunity to also have something to show for it. Most people who "exercise" do not look it. If we as a 30BAD group are going to attract others to eat healthy and live better, vegan and with the earth, then we should look the part. Looking a little bit better is always the best way to begin to set a better example!

But do not get caught up in the "fringes" of "woo woo fitness"! It is best to stick to the basics. If one wants to be faster, then do not use weights to do this! Use running or cycling or whatever.

By the way, it was found many many decades ago that training "explosively" is not only unsafe but unproductive. For the same reason: neurological speed is genetic. Not only that, training for speed is like a short person trying to be as good a basketball player as a tall player. Great idea but really.. why not do something with more light at the end of the tunnel? It is hard enough (very hard) to build muscle in the first place! Why put such stress on the joints with dangerous speed training with weights or extra-wide and deep steps, for example? Then when injured one will have to give up their fitness routine perhaps for years or even for life, at the intensity required to build simple strength and muscle, which serves us better all our lives anyway.

Thanx a ton again :) yeah like Arthur Jones said, if you are not compeeting in maximum 1 rep lifts never do them. If one can do 20 reps of squats without momentum and solid form one can get so strong that its not safe to do 1 rep max :) so you dont have to do it.

I will be following a type of program that he suggests. Will keep you posted on how it goes :)



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