High-Performance Vegan Letters

Get Lean and Strong Using 3 Timeless Principles

letters Jun 04, 2024

What’s worse than not seeing results?

Working out and tracking your food and not seeing results.

Yet, for 95% of people who workout and track their food, they don’t see the results they want.

Or look like they workout or eat well.

This used to be me.

For years.

I would work my tail off in the gym.

Put in the workouts. Track the meals. Repeat.

Over and over again.

Yet, I stayed stuck for years on end.

I reached a point where I was fed up with the results that I was seeing.

Being a fitness expert and working in the industry, yet NOT looking the part, was frustrating.

Here’s what I looked like BEFORE I started receiving mentorship and guidance in my health:

Here are the 3 principles I used to reclaim my confidence and fitness.

Timeless Principle #1: Eat More Protein

When I first walked into Planet Fitness 14 years ago, my goal was to pack on 10 pounds of lean muscle.

So I started going to the gym each morning, training for two hours each day.

Afterward, I would head to my job at a local pizzeria restaurant and work for 12 hours.

Guess what? I ate a lot.

Yet somehow I thought this was good because…protein.

Pizza had protein, right?

I ended up putting on 25 pounds.

Eating pizza and cannolis all day does not mean you’re eating more protein.

Pretty obvious, right?

Lifting weights and tracking your nutrition need to go hand in hand.

If they don’t?

You can spend years training in the gym but not looking the part.

If you’re lifting weights, aim for 1.6-1.8 g/kg of protein per body mass each day (or about 1 gram per pound).

The amino acids in dietary protein sources are the building blocks of muscle tissue.

That’s what makes protein so important.

Amino acids are required for anabolic (muscle-building) signaling pathways to carry out protein synthesis (muscle growth.)

Your body can’t make these amino acids by itself.

That’s why obtaining them from your food is crucial.

If you’re experiencing a dietary shortage in even one of these amino acids, it’s enough to impair your muscle development.

You build muscle by being in a positive nitrogen balance.

When you’re in a positive nitrogen balance, your body is creating new proteins faster than it’s breaking them down.

When your body is in a negative balance, that means that it’s breaking down proteins at a greater rate than it’s synthesizing them.

That’s why using strategic plant-based proteins can up level your results.

Most vegans or plant-based folk make this fatal mistake in their health.

They eat plants.

They workout.

But they’re not seeing results.

If your protein intake cannot make up for what you’re spending, your cellular function and muscle development will suffer.

In other words?

You won’t build muscle and tone up.

Only by consuming enough protein will you be able to promote anabolism (muscle growth) and start building lean muscle.

Note to my younger self: pizza and pasta don’t cut it.

Your Action Steps:

1. Track your protein intake

2. Aim for a gram of protein per bodyweight.

For example, if you weigh 150 lbs, have 150 grams of protein each day. When you’re dropping body fat, protein intake is EVEN more important because of the body dropping muscle mass and fat (without enough protein).

3. Create a habit to track your protein intake each day.

Use Cronometer or MyFitnessPal to see how you’re improving with your protein intake each week.

Timeless Principle #2: Refuel Properly

One of the biggest mistakes that a client of mine made was not drinking his post-workout shake repeatedly.

Jonathan would train hard for 60 minutes, lift heavy weights, but forget to take his recovery seriously.

He kept missing his post-workout shake.

After weeks of training, he wasn’t gaining the lean hard muscle he desperately craved.

For him, this shake was even more important since he was always under-eating and not getting enough nutrients.

He needed the extra boost in carbs and protein but kept missing the mark until we created an alarm system for him to use plus preparing his shake each morning and leaving it ready in the fridge.

Like Clear says - systems are what we fall back upon.

Ideally, aim for high glycemic carbs and protein 30-45 minutes after each session.


Because this is the key window when your body is in an anabolic state (buildup) and needs the amino acids and glucose to repair itself (with protein and carbs).

Since your body has used much of its stored fuels (glycogen and amino acids) while sustaining damage to its muscle fibers, this is prime time for anabolism (for rebuilding new muscle).

By consuming the proper ratio of nutrients during this timeframe, you’ll kick-start the rebuilding process of damaged tissues and energy reserves.

The add on is that you gain improvements in both your body composition and exercise performance.

The main goal after you train is to refuel your glycogen stores.

Since you use glucose as your main form of energy, your muscles and liver are starving for carbohydrates.

Two important things happen:

1. Glycogen transporters (GLUT-4) which bring glucose into your muscle cells become much more active.

Because of this, your body stimulates the activity of glycogen synthase, which is the principal enzyme responsible for glycogen storage.

2. As a result, you can absorb glucose rapidly, filling up your glycogen energy stores quickly.

Having a high-quality protein shake paired with some fruits can be a game-changer to see better physique results.

When you consume amino acids (protein) after you train, your body increases protein synthesis by 3x.

Your body is ready to blast off fat and start rebuilding lean muscle and getting stronger than last time.

Since your muscles are primed for anabolism, they will use virtually all the protein you consume for rebuilding.

Remember, if you don't have sufficient protein intake, it will shortchange your recovery and compromise your results.

Create the systems to fall back onto success.

Your Action Steps:

1. After you train, drink a high-quality protein shake mixed with some blueberries and bananas. Keep things simple.

2. Make this into a habit. You can create a simple reminder on your phone using Google Calendar or iPhone Calendar.

Set it as a recurring reminder after each time you train.

For example, if you train Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays at 6:00 am, create a reminder at 7:30 am to drink your post-workout shake.

Timeless Principle #3: Use Compound Movements

One of the biggest mistakes I see in the gym nearly every week?

Doing bodybuilder style workouts.

You know…

Monday: Chest day

Tuesday: Legs

Wednesday: Arm

Thursday: Abs

Friday: Cardio

But training your muscles in isolation like bodybuilders is an inefficient way to build up a powerful physique.

If you want to look like an athlete, then you have to train like an athlete.

Here’s why compound movements are more effective than bodybuilder workouts.

1. You burn more calories compared to isolated exercises.

The more muscle mass that you engage in your workouts, the more calories you’ll burn.

So if you’re doing a barbell squat, the number of calories that you’ll burn will always be greater than the amount that you burn from sitting down and doing isolated hammer curls.

2. The coordination between your muscle groups improves.

If you sit behind a desk for 8-12 hours a day, 5 days a week, many of your muscle groups deactivate.

They naturally atrophy (you lose them).

So when you hit the gym the last thing you need is more sitting on a machine.

You need to improve your intramuscular coordination (the function and timing of muscle groups around a joint by using total-body compound movements).

Good examples would be squats, lunges, and step-ups.

Challenge yourself in the three different planes of motion.

If you’re going to the gym or home gym to sit for more hours, shake things up.

Your Action Steps:

  1. Pick full body compound movements like squats, rows, deadlifts, and bench press and make these the foundation of your workouts.
  2. Aim for sets of 3-4 and 8-12 repetitions while increasing your workout intensity and lifts each week.

Use these principles to your advantage each week.

Focus on progress over perfection.

And keep up your momentum.

To your best health. 🙂

- Gabriel

Whenever you're ready, there are three ways I can help you:

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