Stan Efferding’s Vertical Diet and Peak Performance 2.0 Review

TLDR: Eating inefficient foods, especially for high level athletes, is a waste of time. Simplify everything, and eat the same thing over and over again

Elite lifters may need to consume large amounts of calories to fuel their workouts, and the traditional ‘see-food-eat-food’ diet just won’t cut it as it can wreck the gut. In Vertical Diet and Peak Performance, Stan Efferding sets out to provide guidelines to efficient dieting.

Before anything, in Vertical Diet, Stan Efferding believes that sleep is the most important aspect of training. Waking up early after inadequate sleep to do cardio is like stepping over $100 bills to pick nickels. He recommends a lifter to get 7-10 hours of sleep, with a 20-minute nap.

He also believes in salt, as athletes tend to sweat excessively during workouts. To him, salt is a performance enhancer, and athletes should aim for 8g a day. He also recommends taking in more iodine, as it stimulates the thyroid. 4 to 8oz of cranberry just should be consumed daily as this will be more than the RDA. Interestingly, he likes caffeine post workout as it speeds up absorption of the post workout carbs and sodium.

As for the main part of the diet, he prefers 20g to 40g of protein per meal. 1g per pound of bodyweight is more than sufficient for the diet and protein is eaten every 3-4 hours. For fats, Stan Efferding recommends that most of the intake come from cholesterol based animal fats. He particularly avoids processed vegetable oils as it gives him gut problems.

Lastly, carbs are manipulated for weight gain or weight loss. On the contrary to many bro-lifters, he loves white rice and potatoes. He cautions people who reheat their rice, as it apparently yields fewer calories shown from a study. He hates wheat flour and wheat products as they can impede digestion. On food choices, he resolutely refuses to eat things that cause gas as it is a sign of impaired digestion. He particularly avoids garlic, onions, beans and certain high gas vegetables like broccoli.

As for cardio, he does not recommend steady state cardio for non-distance runners. What he likes is 10 minutes of HIIT under load that stimulates muscles, like 20 rep squats, farmer walks and sprints. He does 10-minute walks after meals as well to improve insulin sensitivity and digestion.

To set up the diet, one builds a ‘horizontal’, non-gassy food list that supply the bulk of micronutrient requirements. For him, he eats raw carrots, bone broth, cranberry juice, sweet potato, spinach and peppers daily. Once done, he builds the rest as a vertical diet, increasing a small group of foods that is digested well. His ‘vertical’ food list includes lean red meats, white rice and salt.

He has simple recommendations for training too. In the hypertrophy phase, he applies a ‘pounds-per-hour’ approach. Each body part is hit at least twice a week, with reps of 12 for upper and 20 for lower body. He splits his workouts into push/pull. Push session will contain quads, chest, shoulders and triceps, while pull will contain back and hamstrings. He generally does 1 exercise per body part except for quads, back, chest and hamstrings. A simple 12-week strength peaking block is also included.

  • Simplifies dieting like progressive overload
  • Covers many key ideas and focuses on athletic performance
  • 50 page, USD100 wtf?

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