How a plant-based diet inspired one man's 90-day weight loss transformation
Reducing his impact on the environment helped one 45-year-old man get ripped
Ben Raue says he was inspired to transform his own physique in order to highlight the positive effects of a plant-based diet.
He turned to a vegan lifestyle to reduce his environmental footprint and in support of animal welfare. Coupled with an intense training regime, he slashed significant amounts of body fat in under three months on a plant-based diet.
Raue said: "I decided to become the change I wanted to see in the world and dedicate my time and career to promoting a vegan diet, for the people, the planet, and the animals. My first step in the journey? My 90-day health and fitness transformation."
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He was also inspired by what he says is widespread ignorance surrounding veganism and the impact it has on your body.
Many believe a plant-based diet will not be sufficient enough in protein to build muscle or boost performance in the gym, but Raue says it isn't true.
Plant-based protein sources
In order to hit his macronutrient targets for protein, Ben used Vivo Life vegan protein powder alongside plant-based BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids). Other key sources of protein present in his meals included lentils, beans, brown rice and lentil pasta.
Ditching junk food was one of the initial changes Ben made to kickstart his weight cut.
He said: "Although I had been vegan for two years prior to my transformation, I was a bit of a junk-food vegan including pizzas, ice cream, and eating out almost daily.
"In addition, I was going to the gym once or twice a week, but I had little direction or motivation to change. The first thing I did was write down my purpose, my goals, and what I wanted to accomplish."
SMART goals are the key to success - which makes writing down tangible, achievable goals a wise move.
Over the three months, Raue's training plan evolved too. This had the dual function of keeping him interested and his body challenged.
"For the first month, I worked out with weights for about an hour a day, five-six days", he says.
"I worked on each muscle group two days per week: chest, shoulders, triceps one day. The next day: back and biceps. Then a leg day. I incorporated abs 3-4 times per week. I repeated this pattern each week with a day off (or just cardio) in-between."
Ben's training progression
In terms of cardio, Ben kept the intensity high.
"I started at 20 minutes of HIIT (high-intensity interval training) three to five days per week and moved closer to 30-40 minutes towards the end of the month.
"Although I didn't notice significant improvement the first month, I definitely felt strong and more alive. Cardio was starting to get easier and I was primed for month two."
For the second and third months of his programme, Ben upped the intensity by adding 15 minutes on to the duration of each weight training workout. Cardio, on the other hand, was stripped back. But it didn't push back his progress.
"I started to shift my cardio to more steady-state, as opposed to the HIIT," Ben says.
"I started noticing more fat burning from the steady state cardio, which was mostly a slow jog. By the end of the second month, I felt like I was becoming unstoppable."
By the end of the period, Ben was even adding extra training days on top.
"The third month I turned up the heat even more. I found myself working about 60-90 minutes per day in the gym on weights, and six days a week of 45 minutes of steady-state cardio.
"During the final two weeks, I did an hour of cardio with about one and a half hours in the gym on weights. I realise this is beyond what most trainers would recommend, but honestly, I felt amazing."
Ditching a dodgy diet
In the same way that those eating meat often have to cut back considerably on junk food, Raue did too.
"I went from eating processed vegan foods (pizza, chocolate bars, a lot of Thai food, Indian food, chips & guac) to more of a whole foods plant-based diet.
"In addition, I became a bit of a smoothie junkie and I still am today. This allowed me to get in a ton of fruit, veggies, and my protein powder. I only ate out in restaurants maybe two or three times the entire 90 days. I counted my calories very closely for the first time in my life and that made a huge difference!"
Raue has shared a recipe for a vegan protein smoothie:
- Two cups of soy milk
- Full scoop of Maca Caramel protein powder
- Two brown-spotted bananas
- Four large dates
- Two cups of frozen mixed berries
- Three shakes of cinnamon
- Cacao nibs
Ben has launched a YouTube channel to help others looking to live a similar plant-based lifestyle. He also has clear advice for anyone looking to take control of their health and fitness.
"First, set a lofty goal. Second, find very compelling reasons to accomplish your goal. Find a reason that will keep you going through difficult times.
"Third, during your transformation phase make your transformation your priority. Avoid circumstances and situations that don't support your goals. Replace unhealthy habits with healthy ones. Become obsessed about learning about veganism, fitness, and self-improvement."