The Vertical Diet: How I Gained 6lbs Eating Steak and Rice


Over the last decade, I’ve seen my fair share of fad diets. From the Atkins diet to Paleo, and now the Keto rage, there isn’t anything I haven’t seen gain traction.

I’ll be honest with you, I’ve tried a lot of these diets and even recommended them to others. Some of them really do have some great benefits for athletes.

However, a lot of them fall short of actually producing meaningful results. Some even take it a step further and can actually do damage to your body (I’m looking at you, 80/10/10 followers).

One diet that caught my eye is The Vertical Diet from Stan Efferding. You may have heard of Stan from being the world’s strongest pro bodybuilder. He has a huge YouTube following and is well respected in the fitness world.

Today I am going to give you my full perspective on the vertical diet. I will explain how the diet works, what foods to eat, and I’ll tell you my experience with using these techniques over 90 days.

What is The Vertical Diet

Quite simply, the vertical diet helps you create maximum efficiency with your body. It relies on easy to digest foods that produce very low gas build up. In this type of nutrition plan, you are limiting yourself to only a select few foods.

Essentially, your two main foods that will be consumed in the vertical diet are:

  • Steak – High in protein and healthy fats. Also loaded with iron and B vitamins.
  • White Rice – Very easy to digest, low gas, overall great source of carbs.

Unfortunately, if you limit yourself to only steak and rice, you are bound to miss some micronutrients and vitamins. Luckily, Stan has already figured that out for you and has recommendations to fill those gaps. Along with your normal steak and rice meals, the vertical diet calls for the following:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Cranberry juice
  • Oranges/orange juice
  • Carrots
  • Chicken stock
  • Greek yogurt
  • Lettuce
  • Bell peppers
  • Pink himilayan salt

These foods are there to give your body the micronutrients that it needs to be successful.

vertical diet meal prep

Who Can Benefit From The Vertical Diet

To be honest, the vertical diet is not going to be the best choice for someone who is not consistently in the gym. If you are a standard american couch potato, this meal plan will do very little for your physique.

However, if you are an athlete looking to increase your performance in the gym, then the vertical diet can do wonders for your life.

People who will especially benefit from this plan are strength athletes and lifters. Muscle mass is filled with glycogen, which comes from carbs. The vertical diet is usually very high carb, so that will be beneficial to them.

Drawbacks of The Vertical Diet

Because of how calorically dense the foods in this diet are, the vertical diet is terrible for cutting. It’s extremely hard to eat red meat and rice (both being very high calorie) if you are trying to limit your caloric intake.

If you’re trying to lose weight, I’ve found that a low carb approach helps save calories and makes it easy to stay somewhat full throughout the day.

Another big downside of eating such a limited diet is that it’s easy to get tired of your meals. For some people, eating the same thing constantly is a sure fire way to fall off the wagon and cheat in your routine. Some people won’t have any issue (I can eat steak and rice like clockwork when I’m bulking) but still take this into consideration.

My Experience With Vertical Dieting over 90 Days

I decided to give the vertical diet a shot with my latest lean bulk. My goal was to gain as much muscle as I could while feeling my best inside the gym.

The first thing I noticed with prepping my meals was that it was incredibly easy. Stan recommends a meal called “monster mash” which is essentially bison burger, rice, and chicken stock. It’s pretty tasty and it’s a breeze to prepare. Costco has bison burgers for cheap and rice is of course very inexpensive as well.

With nothing but a rice cooker and a skillet, I was able to make a few days worth of food in less than an hour. Not bad at all! The other foods that Stan recommends are easy to incorporate throughout the day. For example, having a glass of cranberry juice in the morning is an easy way to hit my iodine goals for the day.

As far as how I felt in the gym, I was actually pretty surprised. My strength definitely went up a good amount, and I noticed my muscles felt fuller than normal. I gained a good amount of size (most noticeably around 60 days in), and never felt bloated.

But it was how I feel outside of the gym that matters most. On the vertical diet, I had a ton of energy and I felt like I was doing my body a great service by eating this way. I felt sharper and overall healthy.

At the end of 90 days, I gained a total of 6lbs while keeping my bodyfat the same. Pretty good results!

The Vertical Diet Grocery List

If you’re ready to give vertical dieting a go, you’ll need a shopping list. Here is a quick breakdown of what you will need to buy:

  • White rice
  • Steak
  • Eggs
  • Chicken stock
  • Pink Himalayan salt
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Baby carrots
  • Cranberry juice
  • Greek yogurt
  • Red peppers
  • Orange juice

vertical diet shopping list

Final Verdict

In conclusion, I really like what Stan has put together here. The vertical diet is a sensible approach to nutrition and has a lot of benefits for athletes. While there are a few drawbacks, mainly for people on a caloric deficit, it’s a well balanced program that needs little tweaking.

I’d recommend you give it a shot if you are healthy, active, and looking to gain some muscle mass. You might be surprised with how well vertical dieting works!


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