30 Bananas a Day!

The Bare Facts About Building Muscle on LFRV by Chris Califano

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

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" ) protein 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. For example when you train correctly and put on ten pounds, three or four pounds will be fat. Even if you are training hard and heavy. If you do not eat enough you will gain nothing but injured tendons or worse, and begin to de-build your body. You have to be extremely dedicated 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 even the most demanding endurance activity that will only 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, more favorable 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.  Younger trainees in their teens and early twenties can, however relatively easily build ten or so pounds of "mixed muscle" their first six months of weight training "adventure". This is common, but to transform your physique takes a lot more time and dedication to eating as well as adding still more weight to the bar (not easy to do with "bodyweight" exercises, which is why weights are much more efficient and safer, not to mention quantifiable. Besides, it is very impractical to change body position to increase resistance over time as this constantly stresses your joints in a different way. Not necessarily a good idea!) for years and years and years.

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 made me a unique coach all these years since I am one of the few "challenged and solved" dedicated individuals who gains because of what I do not in spite of it like so many genetically gifted 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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Comment by Jeff on May 16, 2012 at 7:01pm

Thanks for the great post Chris! I've been questioning if the 80/10/10 diet would prevent optimal muscle gains and you just gave me a lot of clarity and assurance. I've been doing my best to stick with the lfrv diet and have been doing some bodyweight workouts for the past several weeks to regenerate my stiff joints and weak tendons. I lost a lot of muscle so I got back to hitting the weights again this week. Can you give an example of a workout routine you'd recommend for an ectomorph living lfrv? Since you recommend large muscle group exercises, do you exclude all isometric exercises from your workout routine? I know your routines would differ from mine since I'm still in the beginner stage. I'm interested in gaining long term health while having an aesthetic, muscular build. Thanks a lot!

Comment by mathyou on May 4, 2012 at 11:46am

Thanks for the "juicy" details! I never really thought that muscle building boosts metabolism so much and that it burns more cals than endurance sports. I am getting back into lifting, so this post was helpful. I just ordered my cellular optimization whey protein powder! Just playin haha. Thanks again, Chris.

Comment by PK on May 4, 2012 at 9:54am

Thanks Chris.  It is great to have input from an expert on the subject.  I have tried to explain that to some newbies as well. 

It is true.  What people think might be big muscles, are actually muscles streaked with fat just like a T Bone steak might be.  Another problem is toxins stored both in the tissues and in the lymph. 


Another pet peeve of mine that may be you can go into is body image.  I do not mean self esteem issues here.  Rather, we have had newbies make personal goals for themselves, but they go about it the wrong way.  For example, we had one person wanting to look slim, and they were doing weight lifting and jumping and then putting on muscle and pounds, (Yes, it works;) then complaining they were not getting slim.  Then we have people who want to body build in bulk and go marathon running. 

I think when people are choosing extreme looks and goals, they have to choose the proper techniques.  Marathon runners tend to be slim, and body builders have to focus on other things besides running. 

Anyways, thanks for contributing and looking forward to reading more from you.

Peace, PK

Comment by Luis Medrano on May 4, 2012 at 3:20am

Cool blog post Chris

Comment by Mike Rawsome Grant on May 4, 2012 at 3:12am

Yet another great inspirational post. I do enjoy them thoroughly! Thank you Chris.


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