Two variables changed in my diet for a week – No meat, and eating at 0.7g protein per lb instead of 1g/lb. I was on a caloric deficit of 30% for both weeks (which is rather aggressive). The results were interesting. I calculated my progress by seeing the percent increase in my theoretical 1RM from week to week. I tracked my Bench, Squat, Deadlift, and Shoulder Press.
- Squat: 330 > 340 (⇑3%)
- Bench: 197 > 200 (⇑1.5%)
- Deadlift: 396 > 400 (⇑1%)
- Shoulder Press: 122 > 120 (⇓1.6%)
- Squat: 340 > 342 (⇑0.5%)
- Bench: 200 > 197 (⇓1.5%)
- Deadlift: 400 > 405 (⇑1.28%)
- Shoulder Press: 120 > 130 (⇑8.33%)
Both sets look about just as random as the other. Occasional large spikes in a particular lift due to a solid day, otherwise all within a ±1.6% shift. Shoulder Press can most likely be attributed to feeling good as well as improved form (kept an eye on my elbow paths this time).
So, in the end, I didn’t really notice any difference when not eating meat as far as lifting is concerned. I do spend less time cooking due to not making chicken every night. I feel less bogged down by food in my stomach. I eat much more peanut butter.
This should be good news to meat eaters and vegetarians alike – if you’re choosing between the two, it pretty much makes absolutely no difference. Go with what you like, make sure you get nutrients, call it a day.