What is the Vertical Diet for Peak Performance?

Wanna know how Hafþór Björnsson, aka “The Mountain” became the World's Strongest Man and a freak of nature. For those of you who have no idea who that is...the massive dude in GoT or the image below. Two words “Vertical Diet.” This is an up and coming diet being used by bodybuilders, athletes, cross fitters...and maybe you.

Vertical Diet - Thor the Mountain GoT

What is it?

The diet's founder is actually a bodybuilder named Stan Efferding and he explains the diet as, “a performance-based nutritional framework that starts with a solid foundation of highly bioavailable micronutrients which supports a structure of easily digestible macronutrients that can be adjusted specifically to meet your body’s demands.”  Ummm, did anyone understand that? Basically, the diet is about eating a limited number of nutrient-dense and easily-digestible foods in order to get stronger and maximize your workouts. If you eat food your body can absorb and use, you will see better results. Most people focus on the macro’s like Protein, Fat, and Carbs but this diet is all about those micros aka the smaller nutrients.

The Vertical Diet
The Vertical Diet for Peak Performance

Vertical Diet vs. Horizontal

Pretty simple, the traditional "horizontal" diet is the one we are all accustomed to. The one we eat every day and the one that is not currently working. Another diet that is horizontal is IIFYM.  The Vertical Diet bases your daily diet on a limited number of foods that are micronutrient dense that your body can digest and absorb the best.

“Going vertical” refers to slowly increasing the total number of calories you consume from these foods each day. The greater your training demands, the more vertical (higher calorie) you go. According to the legend who made this diet, you can only get so much from protein and fat, and carbohydrates. The key to his diet is uping the carbs so be prepared to fill out that stomach. 

Who is it for?

The Vertical Diet is a nutritional philosophy designed for high-performance athletes looking to get bigger, stronger and faster. We can’t stress enough that this is a performance-based diet. You know how The Rock eats 10 million calories and is still jacked, this is functional dieting at its finest.

The Vertical Diet - Is it Healthy like The Rocks Diet

It's not for the overweight, sedentary couch potato. The aim of “going vertical” is to improve digestive efficiency so the body maximizes its utilization of those nutrients, and it’s going to involve carbs... A LOT of carbs.

Best Supplements

This diet is all about the athlete...I cannot stress enough how important it is that the diet is for intense athletes working out multiple times a day and burning hella calories. When you choose to go "vertical," you are deciding to use nutrition to better performance. Stan is a huge fan of carbs and we all know the benefits of protein so we love the nutrient dense MAJOR MASS from VMi Sports when thinking of a protein shake post workout. 

Best Protein for the Vertical Diet


Is it healthy?

The diet is based on whole, nutrient-rich foods and doesn’t eliminate any major food groups. Efferding also claims that it is not “a restriction or starvation diet,” which is always a good thing in our book. He keeps your gut and digestive system in mind making it very healthy and the results of better performance prove it. The only issue you may argue is the increased consumption of red meat in this diet, due it being linked to some adverse health effects. 


The Good

This gives the body what it NEEDs both in a macro and micro sense. It is based on science and improving gut health. 


The Bad

You have to purchase the $100 program to find out the exact menu and whole plan but I'm sure you can find a rogue account somewhere on the internet to divulge all the info. 

The Verdict

Diets that are restrictive, are diets and thus temporary. This Vertical Diet is not restrictive and therefore has sustainability. It is also based off of gut health and science...and we all love science. When you try this diet, you are providing the body with the right macronutrients but the best part is all the micronutrients you get. Overall, we like this diet and think you should give it a try. 


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