Plants and hard work (part 1)
I believe an important aspect of commanding respect as a vegan man is to build a physique that you are proud of. This will allow you to take advantage of the halo effect, reflect how you treat your body on the inside, and break the stereotype that vegans are weak.
The halo effect is a specific type of confirmation bias, wherein positive feelings in one area cause ambiguous or neutral traits to be viewed positively.
In “A Constant Error in Psychological Ratings”, Thorndike asked two commanding officers to evaluate their soldiers in terms of physical qualities (neatness, voice, physique, bearing, and energy), intellect, leadership skills, and personal qualities (including dependability, loyalty, responsibility, selflessness, and cooperation). His goal was to see how the ratings of one characteristic affected other characteristics.
Thorndike’s experiment showed how there was too great a correlation in the commanding officers’ responses. In his review he stated: “The correlations are too high and too even. For example, for the three raters next studied[,] the average correlation for physique with intelligence is .31; for physique with leadership, .39; and for physique with character, .28”.¹ The ratings of one of the special qualities of an officer often started a trend in the rating results. If an officer had a particular “negative” attribute given off to the commanding officer, it would correlate in the rest of that soldier’s results.
If we have an impressive physique, people will assume we are more intelligent, possess good character, and lead effectively. Imagine all of the doors that will open in our lives if people automatically looked at us more favorably. If we are proud of our physiques, our confidence will also soar and this will positively impact every aspect of our lives.
Additionally, our outward appearance is a measure of our health. Taking care of ourselves inside will be reflected on the outside. As vegan men, we are ambassadors to the vegan lifestyle, and I believe we should treat ourselves as walking advertisements. An excellent way to prove the merits of the vegan lifestyle is to look healthy and vibrant while living it.
Many people wrongly assume vegans are weak, and a strong physique immediately demonstrates otherwise. There are several amazing athletes that prove that it is possible to thrive on a vegan diet, shattering this stereotype (see the role models page for examples).
I want to do my part. I want to be one of those athletes and break this stereotype! I am tired of people asking me about how I get my protein, and telling me that I will never be able to build muscle on a vegan diet. Instead of arguing with them and trying to explain facts, I will show them that it is possible.
I have promised everyone that I am committed to constant improvement, so I have decided to step on stage as a physique competitor within the next year.
Honestly, this is terrifying for me as I have always had an extremely difficult time building muscle, but I have said we must embrace our fears because that is where the growth happens. It is time for me to prove it.
Where am I now?
I am currently 5’6 and 144 lbs. My body fat percentage is somewhere around 5%. I am fairly lean and usually stay that way. Maintaining a low body fat has never been a problem for me on a vegan diet.
Where do I need to be?
I would like to step on stage within a year at 155 lbs with less than 5% body fat. I need to develop my upper body including my chest and shoulders.
What is my plan?
Get help! I have been training on my own, blindly finding programs on the internet, and experimenting with my diet for about five years now. I have made just about every mistake you can make. I have always had a habit of eating too little and training too much. For several years, I worked out at least six days a week often twice a day. Unfortunately, despite how much effort I have put in, I have not had the desired results.
Motivation has never been my problem, but I lack the knowledge I need to get my muscles to grow. I decided that It was time to hire a professional, and I reached out to Korin Sutton. He has been training me online for two months, and I am starting to see some results.
I will continue to write about my progress, and I hope that you all hold me accountable! I have made a promise to myself and all of you, and I know it will be extremely difficult, but I do not quit. I have a new found motivation for my training because of this blog and my goal of stepping on stage. Whenever I am tired, and I do not think I can do another rep, I imagine myself on stage proving to everyone how strong vegans are.
Recently, I started wearing shirts with prominent vegan messages on them whenever I go to the gym. When I wear those shirts, I think of myself as an advocate for the vegan lifestyle, representing all of us, and it makes me work out with more determination than ever before.
I want people to recognize my dedication, be inspired by my hard work, and change their minds about vegans. I am dreaming day and night about the day I will get to step on stage and proudly show off the physique that I forged with nothing but plants and hard work.
Please join me and tell me below what physique goals you are going to achieve.
¹ Thorndike, EL (1920), “A constant error in psychological ratings”, Journal of Applied Psychology 4 (1): 25–29, doi:10.1037/h0071663.