Plants and hard work (part 3)
It has been six months
I just completed another three months of training with Korin Sutton and I definetly enjoyed this last phase of training. Korin switched up my programming slightly, and I was able to complete all of my training in my home gym, unlike the last phase where I was deployed aboard ship. The workouts took a lot of time, usually almost three hours to complete and I would leave the gym completely exhausted after every workout. At the beginning of this phase, I consciously dropped the weight slightly and changed my rep tempo. On my eccentric phase, I would lower the weight as slow as possible, pause briefly at the bottom and explode on the concentric phase. I focused on feeling the muscle and making sure I maximized every muscle contraction. This phase focused on heavy compound lifts and every single week I was able to increase the weights slightly and complete more reps than the week before. I have also added a lot of mobility work and stretching to the program to increase my flexibility. Right now, I can say with confidence that I am mentally and physically the strongest I have ever been.
Lots of help from my swolemate
One of the biggest contributors to my success has been my wife and swolemate Natalie. She has always supported me, believed in me, and tolerated hours spent away from her on the weekends while I trained alone in the gym. This last phase was different though because Natalie connected with the Vegan Fitness Model Crissi Carvalho and completed Crissi’s two-month body transformation program. I was extremely impressed with Crissi’s training program, she is a true inspiration and an amazing role model. Natalie was training as if she was preparing for a contest and was so dedicated to her training and diet that it inspired me to push even harder. It was also nice because we would meal prep and plan our workouts together. I felt like I was unstoppable with her beside me as we worked harder than ever towards a common goal of creating our best possible physiques. It’s hard to explain how much she motivated me to improve. I would see how hard she was training, and her amazing results, and I wanted to do everything I could to keep up. My wife’s results have been absolutely amazing, and she looks so great that I am trying to convince her to compete as well.
The most rewarding part
I started lifting weights when I was 13 and have always dreamed of having an impressive physique. I never knew what I was doing, lacked consistency, and thought I knew what it meant to train hard. The past five years I have been very consistent with my training, but I have never worked as hard as I am now.
As I look back, all of the years of pain, limping, blood and sweat was all worth it after one short conversation in the gym. An older man approached me as I was wearing my Vegan Bodybuilding and Fitness tank top and said,
Are you really vegan, because you have a lot of muscle, and I am curious about how you get your protein?
He then went on to tell me that he is trying to reduce his meat consumption but is worried about getting all the nutrients he needs. I gladly spent several minutes explaining to him that I get over 200 grams of protein a day from various plant-based sources and that I am far more muscular now than I was when I consumed animal products. He seemed very interested, so I gave him my card and told him to visit my website. I would like to think that after that conversation he probably will reduce his meat consumption and the thought of that made me tremendously happy. That is exactly why I spend countless hours in the gym, to prove that you can build muscle without harming animals.
I have quite a collection of vegan workout shirts, and I try to wear one of them every time I go to the gym. Over the past three months, at least five different people have approached me and started a conversation about veganism, most of them were fellow vegans that were happy to meet someone of the same mindset, but a couple people were just curious. People are noticing how hard I train day after day in my vegan shirts and seeing the progress that I am making. Whenever I go to the gym now, I know I represent something bigger than myself, and I train as if everyone is watching and expecting me to be weak. I will prove them wrong and show them how strong vegans can be!
My strength has continued to increase every week and several people, including random people at the gym, have told me that I look bigger. I have also noticed that all of my clothes are fitting tighter. It is hard for me to notice progress and I have to admit I get discouraged frequently, especially after the most recent measurements. Whenever that happens, I look at the numbers and talk to Korin, and I usually feel better. I think that is the value of having a trainer that you can trust who will motivate you! He has always encouraged me and stressed the importance of being patient. Bodybuilding takes years of hard work and consistency, and I have learned that you need to fall in love with the process and enjoy the small victories.
I continued to do measurements after every month. My wife used a tape measure and calipers to do a seven site skin fold test for body fat. I also added a row for lean body mass and charted lean body mass and bodyweight. To calculate lean body mass, I subtracted fat mass from my bodyweight. This is interesting because if you look at the chart you can see a steady gain in lean body mass, but the lines are more or less parallel meaning my body fat only increased slightly. That being said, I am very disappointed with the last measurement where my body fat increased, and my lean body mass decreased. I had been sick with the flu for a couple of weeks before the measurement, and I am thinking that might have thrown things off a little bit, but I hate to make excuses for myself. If anything, it has just motivated me to train even harder. I am trying to focus more on the fact that I have added 2.5 inches around my shoulders and 1.5 inches on my chest and worry less about my increase in body fat.
NGA Abraham fitness championships in Miami, FL on May 30th, 2016!
On August 12th, 2015 I published Plants and Hard work (part 1) and proclaimed,
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.
Not only am I going to step on stage, but I am also doing it three months early. Honestly, I would have liked to use those three months to continue to add some muscle, but this show is at the perfect time, and it is in Miami where Korin Sutton has his home gym.
After talking to Korin, it looks like I will try and bulk for two more months and then begin dieting down to get as lean as I can for the show. I am honestly looking forward to dieting down because I love how fast you start to see results.
With every day that passes, I am closer to achieving my goal of having a physique I can be proud of. A physique that shows the world the power of a vegan diet!