Becoming a Vegan Beast

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I grew up on a cattle farm, I ate meat for every meal, and I hunted every animal that was unlucky enough to come running past the sights of my gun… and now I am vegan. Do you want to know why?

“NO! Shut up TREEfool! I don’t care what you say, I NEED meat to survive.”

Well, that is exactly how I used to think. But considering my son has been vegan since his conception I would argue that anyone who feels this way is wrong (and my wife, who has a bachelors degree in nutrition, would agree with me). I don’t care how you eat. Do what you want! I am sharing this story with you because a good friend of mine did the same for me and my life has never been the same.

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The more I learn about nutrition the crazier I sound to people who have no desire to read books on the subject. But here is a favorite quote of mine from Dr. Micheal Gregor’s book “How Not To Die”:

“To see what effect an increase in meat consumption might have on disease rates, researchers studied lapsed vegetarians. People who once ate vegetarian diets but then started to eat meat at least once a week experienced a 146 percent increase in odds of heart disease, a 152 percent increase in stroke, a 166 percent increase in diabetes, and a 231 percent increase in odds for weight gain. During the twelve years after the transition from vegetarian to omnivore, meat-eating was associated with a 3.6 year decrease in life expectancy.”

This study is not surprising considering the high amounts of trans fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol that are found in meat. Plus the International Agency for Research and Cancer which is a part of the World Health Organization has categorized processed meats as a Group 1 carcinogen (haha, yup, processed meat is in the same category as smoking cigarettes and sniffing asbestos). There is no mystery why America is so full of disease and obesity.

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And while we are on the subject of obesity:

“The largest study ever to compare the obesity rates of those eating plant based diets was published in North America. Meat eaters topped the charts with an average BMI of 28.8 — close to being obese. Flexitarians (people who ate meat more on a weekly basis rather than daily) did better at a BMI of 27.3, but were still overweight. With a BMI of 26.3, pesco-vegetarians (people who avoid all meat except fish) did better still. Even U.S. vegetarians tend to be marginally overweight, coming in at 25.7. The only dietary group found to be of ideal weight were the vegans, whose BMI averaged 23.6.” (“How Not To Die”)\

Any person who states humans evolved to eat meat for every meal of every day has no idea what they are talking about. There was a study done on two of the remaining primitive tribes that looked closely at what these villagers ate on a daily basis. It was found that eating animals is a RARE luxury (once a week) due to the relatively inefficient hunting techniques that they use (sharpened sticks). Now although this is not a direct look at the history of the human diet it gives us a glimpse of our historical diets. So to say that eating meat is healthy because “we evolved to eat meat” is utterly wrong. The majority of human evolution consisted of a diet filled with fruits, nuts, greens, and insects. Eating meat was a survival tactic that humans theoretically learned based on watching other carnivores and omnivorous animals. I believe this is the reason why the only diet ever proven to stop and REVERSE heart disease is a vegan diet. I could go on and on quoting research papers but I will instead leave you with this, “There are two types of cardiologists: Vegans and those who haven’t read the data” (Dr. Kim Allan Williams, MD, FACC, FASNC, FAHA President, American College of Cardiology 2015, Chief of Cardiology Rush University in Chicago)

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I hope the information above has helped you understand why going vegan is one of the best decisions I have ever made. But the information above is not why I went vegan.

The feelings of love, pain, and suffering are essentially electrical and chemical reactions to external stimuli (read Steven Pinker’s book called “How the Mind Works” to attain an in depth understanding of this subject). Most sentient beings have evolved these reactions because they gave us a higher chance of passing on our genes (simplified example: if getting eaten by a lion is painful we would try to avoid this pain which would allow us to live long enough to create offspring). Every animal and every human will eventually feel pain, suffering, and the loss of a loved one (there is no getting around it) but that doesn’t mean humans should unnecessarily cause these things to happen to animals just because we are currently winning the evolutionary arms race. In other words, I am not going to pay for someone to torture, forcibly inseminate, and murder an animal for me to eat when I can instead live my life eating delicious plant based foods.

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My Calisthenics Plan

Workout Goals:

Start calisthenics – COMPLETED 4/18/2017
Pistol squat – COMPLETED 7/12/2017
One arm pushup – COMPLETED 7/15/2017
Muscle up – 8/29/17
Handstand – not complete
Flag – not complete
Front Lever – not complete
Handstand pushup – not complete
One arm pull up – not complete

APRIL-JUNE 2017

My program consists of two rest days between each workout. I chose this length of recovery time due to the fact that I am only getting 5-6 hours of sleep each night. Humans are supposed to be getting between 9.5 and 10 hours of sleep every night according to Dr Stanley Coren author of “Sleep Thieves” so you can see why I have concerns about my current recovery periods!

WARM UP
Climbing Rope Ladder x5
Pushups 3×10
Jumping Jacks 30

WORK OUT
Weighted Pull ups – 3 sets to failure (around 5)
Weighted Pushups – 3 x 20
Offset towel pull ups – 3 x 8 (switch hands at 4)
Dips (if bar is available) – 3 x 12
Climbing ladder without my legs – 3 x 4
Pushups (one arm extended to side) – 3×10
Pull ups to failure
Pushups to 40
Leg workout on bike

JUNE-JULY 2017

My workouts were very unique (AND FUN!) over these past two months. My son and I have visited many parks in the area which allowed me to try new crazy ideas. At my wife’s volleyball tournament I completed 120 pull ups over a ~5 hour period just to see if I could!

WARM UP
Pull ups 2×5
Pushups 3×15
Jumping Jacks 30

WORK OUT
Pull ups to chest – 3 sets to failure (around 6-7)
Wide grip / Diamond grip pushups – 3 x 24
Offset towel pull ups – 3 x 8 (switch hands at 4)
Straight Bar Dips – 3 x 10
Climbing ladder without my legs – 3 x 4
One arm pushups – 3×3 each arm
Pull ups to failure
Pushups to 40
Leg workout on bike
Pistol squats 2×5 each leg

JULY-AUGUST 2017

I am focusing on building muscle/technique for a muscle up. I am staying pretty strict to the following workout which I got from MadBarz.com called the “Muscleup Hunt”.

WARM UP
Pull ups 2×5
Pushups 3×10
Jumping Jacks 30

WORK OUT (REPEAT 3 TIMES)
High Strict Pull ups – 10
Straight Bar Dips – 12
Clapping Pushups – 10
Head Bangers – 10
Typewriter Pull-ups – 10 (happy if I get 8!)
Jump Muscle Ups – 12
Clapping Pull Ups – 10
Leg workout on bike

MID AUGUST 2017

I found a very detailed program which explains some important aspects of the muscle-up such as training your hand position and what defines a “real” pull up (hint: going to the chin isn’t good enough). I will be switching to this routine once I finish building my in-home pullup bar: https://urbanevo.com/training-blog/12-weeks-to-a-muscle-up/

I tested my pull up max in preparation for this new training regimen. Requirements: no kipping, the bar must pass my clavicle, and I must return to dead hang between each pull or the pull-up doesn’t count. After recruiting my wife as the judge (so that I couldn’t lie to myself!) I maxed out at 11 “perfect” pull-ups.

AUGUST 29th 2017

WOW! I was more focused on my goal of attaining a muscleup than a hawk on a rabbit. I imagined myself doing it every day. I hit my workout no matter how tired I was, where I was, or how much time I had. I practiced my kip repeatedly. I watched multiple YouTube tutorials and read tons of blogs on how to complete one. Focus! Unfortunately I can’t even attempt the muscle up in my house or at most of the parks that I take Maxwell to so when Michelle said we were going to the outdoor pullup bars for a picnic I fucking psyched myself up. I didn’t even care that I had literally just finished a workout and my arms were dead. Today was the day. After a quick warmup with some kips I false-gripped the shit out of the bar, lifted my feet off the ground, looked forward and went for it. Suddenly I found myself on top of the bar. DAMN THAT SHIT FELT AMAZING! WOOT!

TREEfool

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NOVEMBER 7th 2017

If you didn’t notice in the video above, my muscle up doesn’t look very pretty. That is why I am going to start focusing on perfect movements this month. The most important goal is to build my shoulder strength so that I stop getting shoulder injuries. The trainer at this website is hilarious and appears to know a lot about shoulder injuries so I will be incorporating these into the new workout I am building:

http://deansomerset.com/favourite-5-shoulder-health-exercises/

The bulk of my workout will come from Bar Brothers. I attempted to use one of their infograph workouts in the past but after reading the details of the following article I realized I was doing it very wrong!

http://www.barbrothersgroningen.com/calisthenics-workout-plan/

So I will be starting at the Bar Brothers Month 4 routine with a few modifications for shoulder strength. Again, my focus will be perfect movements because I am tired of sloppy pullups! Here is my proposed routine:

—-MONDAY—-
“MUSCLEUP HUNT”
3 cycles, 2 min rest between cycles
minimum rest between sets
Chest High Pullups 5
Straight Bar Dips 5
Clapping Pushups 5
Head Bangers 5
Type Writers 5
Jump Muscle Ups 5
Clapping Pullups 5

“SHOULDER ROUTINE”
5 cycles, 2 min rest between cycles
30 seconds between each set
Dips 6
Decline Pushups (high) 4
Pushups 6
Assisted 45* Pullup 10
Hindu Pushups 8
Pike Pushups 8
Side Plank 15 sec

—-THURSDAY—-
“MUSCLEUP HUNT”
3 cycles, 2 min rest between cycles
minimum rest between sets
Chest High Pullups 5
Straight Bar Dips 5
Clapping Pushups 5
Head Bangers 5
Type Writers 5
Jump Muscle Ups 5
Clapping Pullups 5

“FULL BODY”
3 cycles, 4 min rest between cycles
minimal rest between sets
Chinups x 3
Wallsit x 30 sec
Dips on chair 12
Squats 8
Pushups 8
Pullups 2
Leg raises 3
Decline pushups 7

—-SATURDAY—-
“TRAPEZIUS ROUTINE”
5 cycles, 2 min rest between cycles
45 seconds between each set
Pullups 6
Hindu Pushups 8
Contralateral Limb Raises 13
High Decline Pushups 6
Hand Stand Pushups (wall assist) 5
Pike Pushups 8

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