Plants and hard work (part 2)
This blog will be my first update about my goal of stepping on stage as a physique competitor. If you haven’t already, be sure to read Plants and hard work (part 1). If you are curious about how I ate during these first months, read What do I eat in a day (part 2) deployed.
The first three months
I have just completed my first three months of training with Korin Sutton, and they were incredibly challenging because I was only home for about two weeks during that time. I spent the rest of my time deployed or attending training. I was fortunate enough to workout in three different countries, but most of my workouts were completed in 100 degree heat, in a prison style gym, inside the hangar of a boat pitching and rolling through rough seas. The gym had no fancy equipment, only adjustable dumbbells, a smith machine, two benches, a dip/pullup tower, two ellipticals and a spinning bike that didn’t work half the time because the seat broke off. Despite the lack of equipment Korin was able to adapt and create amazing, brutal workouts that I could complete underway.
Given the challenging training environment, it would have been easy to come up with excuses and give up, but I refused. Instead, I worked out and trained harder than I ever have. I would grind every day out on the flight deck under the blazing sun, drenched in sweat, and exhausted. I had bruises and cuts all over from working out with the boat violently pitching and rolling, but I kept pushing through each and every workout until I was finished. I never skipped a single rep in my training program, and it was easy because I have found a tremendous amount of inspiration.
Whenever I thought I was too tired to go on or that I wouldn’t be able to get that last rep, I would go through the same few thoughts in my head.
I would think about all of you who are reading this blog. I don’t want to let you down. I work hard because I know you are watching.
I would imagine all those people in the crowd the moment I step on stage. I want to show them the potential of a vegan diet. I work hard because I know they will be watching.
I would think about my wife and imagine her standing there in the gym with me. I want her to be proud of me. I work hard because I know she is watching.
I would think of all the times people have doubted me and told me I would never build muscle on a vegan diet. I will prove them wrong. I work hard because I know they are watching.
I would think of all the good I can do, and the animals I can save by promoting the vegan lifestyle. I will be a role model. I work hard to give the animals a voice.
I learned that my mind wanted to quit long before my body and every single day, every single set, I would fight with everything I had for that last rep. I began to love the grind and eventually crave it.
My strength has increased significantly. Every week I was able to increase my weight on the compound lifts, usually by five pounds.
I was measured after every month, and I had one additional measurement for fun. I am not sure how accurate the measurements were. My wife measured me for the initial data. She used a tape measure and calipers to do a seven site skin fold test for body fat. The next two measurements were done awkwardly on the ship by the other pilot I deployed with. The fourth measurement I did when I pulled into port and found a gym that had a trainer. You will notice the bodyfat is much higher, he used a three site skinfold test, so the data didn’t quite match. Since I wanted more accurate data, I had the other pilot measure me again for my final measurement.
Even the weight on the scale wasn’t entirely accurate. For two of the months, I had to weigh myself ten times and take the average as the weight was constantly changing due to the pitching and rolling of the boat.
I was happy with the results. I gained three pounds while reducing my body fat and I added some mass on my chest and shoulders. Most of my progress was at the end of the three months because Korin was able to fine tune my diet and training plan for maximum growth.
In Plants and hard work (part 1), I mentioned that I consistently over trained and felt exhausted. During these past three months, I have had more energy than ever to workout. My joints and the rest of my body felt strong and well rested. I have never felt better.
My rest days became the hardest days of the training program because working out was the highlight of my day, a break from the monotony of shipboard life. I felt so healthy that all I could think about was getting back in the hangar and conquering my next workout.
A 500-calorie surplus per day, in theory, should result in a 1 pound of weight gain per week. Gaining more than this (unless you are starting from a very thin or even underweight place), generally means that you are gaining fat as well as muscle.¹
My goal is to pack on as much muscle as I can while minimizing fat gain. Gaining a pound a week sounds like a lot, but I want to get as close to that as I can. To facilitate those kind of vegains, I signed up to train with Korin Sutton for another three months and I expect to see huge improvements. For this phase of training, I will be home and will have a much more conducive training environment.
Will it make the boat go faster?
A few months ago, I came across the story of Ben Hunt-Davis and his Great Britain men’s 8 rowing team.
In 1998, Ben Hunt-Davis’ team was suffering and continued to place 7th and 8th in all of the regattas, narrowly losing by seconds. His team finally realized that unless they made some changes they would continue to lose.
They decided to approach things differently, critically, asking the same simple question with every single action they took: ‘Will it make the boat go faster?’²
If it didn’t make the boat go faster, they didn’t do it. It was simple.
One year later in 1999, the crew took second place in four races.
In 2000, they placed second in their first race, followed by three first place finishes.
In September 2000, just two years after asking the simple question “Will it make the boat go faster?”, Ben’s team wins the gold medal in the Sydney Olympics.
Learn more about Ben Hunt-Davis at willitmaketheboatgofaster.com
This story inspired me, and I now have my own simple question. “Will it help me win on stage?”
When I want to watch a movie, or stay up late, or cheat a little bit on my diet I ask myself “Will it help me win on stage?” That simple question keeps me focused and helps me make the right choice.
Even though it may be hard to notice, I know that every day I am bigger and stronger than the day before. I pride myself on those small gains day in and day out because I am confident that eventually those small gains over time will lead me to victory!
Please leave me a comment below about what inspires you to workout!
¹Taylor, Dani. Flexible Dieting for Vegans. PDF File. Retrieved from: http://www.veganproteins.com/proteins-more-shop/flexibledieting/
² Will It Make The Boat Go Faster? Ltd. 2015. Retrieved from: www.willitmaketheboatgofaster.com