Sports has always been a major part of my life. I watched my dad and brother play soccer basically since I was born. I always looked up to them and wanted to be them on the field. Play soccer and be good at it. Get strong and get fast. The better you are at those things and the better you will be playing. Tons of games as a kid and then playing for and managing the Cambodian soccer team here in Washington DC area. Not only did I take interest in that sport but others as well. I loved to play basketball and football and even took on tennis at Annandale High School. Sports can help build leadership/communication skills, make you healthier, and just all out make you happy. Whats not to like about sports?
What do girls like. Strong guys, muscular guys. Abs, abs. abs. These things jolted in and out of my head growing up as a teenager and in college. Why did I start to lift. Girls, that’s about it. I hit the gym five times a week at Virginia Tech. (Oh yeah, big sports school you might have heard. Go Hokies!)Read crazy amount of articles online, magazines and join forums. Took me quite some time to learn and get the hang of things but I did. Slowly but surely. Learn to eat and get big. Spend the next 10 years of my life getting big. Doesn’t hurt to be strong. Did I really get any girls, HA! Not really, too weird. But I have my wife, so it all works out!
Whats the point of all this? It always revolved around meat and protein. After a big soccer game, lets get some steak for dinner. What do you need after, before, during and every other time of the day. PROTEIN! Chicken, fish, steak, pork, get your calories, get your protein. Every pound you weigh, you need 1 gram of protein. Keep eating, get big. More protein. Pre workout, post workout protein. Chow down. More protein. I might seem crazy while writing this but it just reminds me of the focus and over saturation of protein and you get the most from where? Animals. Always have to have your protein. Aka always have to have your meat. Don’t get any meat, won’t be stronger, won’t be faster, won’t get girls.
Well now, I have a great girl and now I’m pretty big and fast. So keep eating meat? Keep getting faster and stronger? Keep pushing? I will have to say, eating healthier and more well balanced meals in college didn’t make me feel just flat out awesome. There was no enlightening feeling from eating more fruits and vegetables. I felt the same. I noticed I got better skin and improved eyesight and that’s about as far as it went.
So last year, when I became vegetarian, it came about being strong and fast in a new way. How was it going to affect me. Will I be just as strong, what do I have to do. Ok so eat tons of broccoli and kale be just as strong and fast? I don’t think so.
Honestly, I just stopped thinking about when I transitioned. Just eat what you eat and just workout and do whatever. Don’t change more than what my diet is. I actually undertook a big kitchen renovation as a DIY with my wife. Lots of demolition, lots of hauling, lots of wood cutting, hammering, etc. Lots of things that need some muscle. Everybody in this world except myself saw I got noticeable bigger. And it wasn’t just all muscle. I put on some fat. I ate a lot of carbs, I was really hungry doing all that work. So three months later and a nice semi decent well done but great look kitchen was finished. I needed to cut the fat. I learned how to become a leaner vegetarian and have my routines.
Little did I realize after most the fat was gone..yo I’m pretty strong. I was able to work pretty long hours and lift quite a bit of weight. I decided to push myself pretty hard at the gym. Wow i’m pushing some pretty good weights here. But how? No meat, no protein right? I did eat lots of vegetables, soy, nuts to get the protein I needed but not nearly enough as I should to become “strong”. But it seems I still was. Probably the most real observation for me and feeling, was my body was extremely efficient and cut all the bullshit from the meat I was intaking. My body seem to work clean and fast. Processing anything necessary from my plant protein to build big hardy muscle.
I look back and think, why did I even care to eat so much meat. After switching to a plant based diet, I’m just as strong or stronger than before. I go out to play soccer and I’m still just as fast. I can still knock the ball around quickly, still just as smart as before, and make some hits as a defender. Did meat really even do anything for me? No. I can still have fun and play just as high a level as any one else.
So I say to athletes all over. Ditch the meat. Give it a try. You’ll be surprised.