Olympic swimmer Adam Peaty says going vegan made him lose muscle
He has gained over 10kg of muscle during lockdown
Speaking to JOE ahead of the Olympic Games in Tokyo, swimmer Adam Peaty said experimenting with a vegan diet cost him muscle mass and strength.
With gyms across the country forced to close due to the coronavirus pandemic, many have found it difficult to make meaningful progress towards their fitness goals.
Interestingly, however, Peaty said he has actually managed to put muscle size on during lockdown.
"Obviously there was no equipment available at first so it was hard to adjust.
"I had a gym in my garage but it was bare. I managed to get some equipment down from Nottingham.
"The problem is, when I lift I can gain muscle really quickly. I ended up being around 102-103kg, whereas normally I'm around 103-104kg."
His lockdown training plan was basic but effective.
"Lifts I'd be doing were ones I just had room for, so squats, bench press (but no spotter so I had to go light), pull-ups... Anything that Rocky did, I did!"
Peaty also made use of some unconventional exercises, such as press-ups on parallettes while wearing a weighted vest.
"I went high rep on these and they were also great for my core," he said.
Adam Peaty's workout routine
When Peaty does have access to a full gym, his workout plan revolves around the following primary lifts:
- Dumbbell Bent-Over Row
- Barbell Squats
- Weighted Pull-Ups
- Barbell Hip Thrust
- Hanging Leg Raises
In terms of diet, Peaty doesn't subscribe to the Michael Phelps style of eating.
The most decorated Olympian of all time, Phelps was renowned for putting away almost 12,000 calories a day during his run of eight golds in eight races at Beijing 2008.
For breakfast alone, Phelps would wolf down three fried egg sandwiches, three slices of French toast and two chocolate chip pancakes.
Such a feast doesn't feature in Peaty's plan, however.
"I think sport has evolved in the almost 14 years since then," he said.
"Sport science has come on a lot since then too, it's more about fuelling for performance now rather than putting away X amount of calories. It's also important that we focus on cleaner foods so we're not carrying excess body fat."
Peaty said he is unlikely to go beyond 6,000 calories a day on his current diet plan.
"If you look at what The Rock does, he'll eat around 3,000 calories a day and then have a cheat day where he eats 12,000 calories."
Peaty thinks this is a more realistic and attainable method of managing your nutrition.
The 26-year-old experimented with a vegan diet back in 2018, but said it cost him muscle mass.
"It's hard to understand how much protein you need. For me, I need meat to get enough protein.
"It's a hard diet to adjust to. It's just too hard with the amount of muscle I have to sustain."
Peaty said he would likely adopt a more plant-based diet were he not an Olympic-level athlete.
"It could just come down to education, or not knowing what I was consuming [when I was a vegan].
"I'm a big guy so I do need a lot of protein. Sometimes I will swap meat for a vegetarian option - I think it's important to branch out and explore different options."
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