A longterm vegetarian has revealed how he transformed his body composition and became stronger than ever - by going vegan.
YouTuber Max Hertan had followed a vegetarian diet since he was 12 in an effort to reduce animal suffering but knew he could do more.
'Scared to go vegan'
He told Plant Based News: "I always scared to go vegan and drop my final source of animal protein (eggs).
"I challenged myself to go vegan to see if I can improve my body composition losing fat and gaining muscle in 12 weeks.
"My results were amazing - [I got] in the best shape I've been in my life, getting the strongest I've ever been and feeling amazing."
Hertan documented his journey into fitness in a video. Speaking in the video he says he had been vegetarian for a while, but hadn't made the full switch to veganism yet.
"But there still was that piece missing. I was still afraid to be a vegan, and so I still had eggs in my diet, because I thought I needed some form of animal protein, and thought maybe I couldn't thrive on just vegan forms of protein," he says.
He reveals that he watched documentary The Game Changers - which shows a host of top athletes thriving on a plant-based diet - and that made him realize he had 'no more excuses not to try a vegan diet', and see what it felt like for himself. He wanted to see if he could change his body composition and improve his performance in the gym, which had stagnated.
Hertan says he wanted his new plan to be strict enough to yield results, but not so strict that he couldn't enjoy events like Christmas, that fell within his 12-week challenge period.
Throughout the challenge, he ate five meals a day, each contained a source of protein, fat, and carbohydrate. Examples of his protein source would be a protein shake or lupin flakes. Carbs include rice, rice cakes, or sweet potato, and he likes olive oil or peanut butter for fat.
For snacks, he would throw asparagus or brocollini in the air fryer for a few minutes, or eat fresh veggies like cucumbers. For a treat, he would have an energy drink or zero sugar soft drink.
After completing the challenge, which he documented with weekly progress photos as well as his video, Hertan says he was 'blown away' with how significantly he changed his physique in the 12 weeks.
He lost 13lb (6kg), reduced his body fat percentage by seven percent, and added 1kg of lean mass.
According to Hertan, the challenge 'wasn't super difficult', and he didn't struggle with hunger, or inconvenience, and in fact 'really enjoyed' the food he was eating, and even had a few off-plan meals.
'Give this a go'
While he admits people can have good results in the gym while eating animal products, Hertan says: "For me, the real big question was 'can I thrive on a diet that really aligns with my ethical viewpoint', and the answer is yes.
"If you feel ethically inclined to be against the unnecessary suffering of animals, if you think it's positive for the environment, and if you think it's going to be great for your health, then I really encourage you to give this a go."
PLEASE NOTE: This video - including gym workouts and meals out - was recorded before social distancing measures were put in place to tackle COVID-19.