Name: Cory McCarthy
Year of Birth: 1981
Weight: 197 lbs.
Birthplace: Camphill, PA
Current Residence: New York, NY
Sports: Bodybuilding and martial arts
Tell us a little about yourself, what you do for a living, what hobbies / interests / passions you have.
I currently work for a financial institution in NYC, and I am a budding fitness model on the side. Beyond this, I practice martial arts (24-years of involvement in Japanese forms), and I am an artist (illustration, writing, music).
Why did you become vegan?
I was a Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian for the longest time, when I realized I had intolerances (however slight) to dairy and/or eggs. So, I eliminated both from my diet, as I had done with gluten. Made ALL the difference in my performance and physique.
When and why did you become interested in fitness?
Always have had some level of interest. Began with martial arts (Okinawan Karate) at the age of eight. I caught the “Bodybuilding Bug” in autumn 2009; when I became more interested in adding size… not just strength and fitness.
How would you describe your nutrition program?
I eat a keto-style diet. High-fat, high-protein, low-carb. I eat this way 6 days out of 7, with a carb re-feed day once a week (every 5-7 days) for 6-8 hours straight (keeping insulin spiked for that time frame is key). The re-feed is for stimulating leptin. This is mostly for shedding body fat and maintaining those lower-levels. When I want to bulk, I load-up on carbs in the evenings, but continue to eat keto-style *until* post-workout.
This method / timing of eating trains my body to rely on fat stores for energy. Sort of a re-programming, if you will.
One of my favorite low-carb, high-protein, high-fat snacks looks like this:
3 ¼ scoops of Raw Protein by Garden of Life (the Vanilla-Chai flavor)
1 tbsp. of coconut oil
2 ¼ to 5 ¼ tbsp. of finely ground flaxseeds
Mix in filtered water to taste (until desired texture is reached)
…I call this “carb-free oatmeal”, due to the consistency. It is quite bland, but quick and efficient.
I also eat a lot of green salads w/ mushrooms, nut butters, nuts and seeds.
My low-carb days are pretty regimented and consistent. Not too interesting, but I eat for results most days… not pleasure. I get some enjoyment on my weekly carb-feeding – enough to satisfy any cravings I may have accumulated during the low-carb week.
On my carb-feedings, I load up on white rice covered in maple syrup and/or jams like blueberry and tart cherry. I also eat a lot of white or yellow sweet corn. I tend to finish off a carb-feeding (last meal) with some fresh-baked Vegan cookies, which I use coconut oil in place of margarine. In fact, I rely heavily on coconut oil. It is a medium-chain triglyceride. The body uses it efficiently for energy, and it cannot be easily stored as fat. Coconut oil is ~60% MCT.
How would you describe your training program?
Standard bodybuilding split. 3-5 days of lifting, per week. 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps, per exercise, occasionally going as low as 6 reps. I cycle in intensifiers every 4-8 weeks: drops, rest-pauses, eccentrics, burns, etc. I try to keep overall volume to 24 working sets (not counting warm-up sets) or less, in total, per workout.
For cardio, I rely on martial arts, and sometimes will add 3 days of HIIT per week.
What are some common misconceptions about veganism?
The big one: not getting enough protein. I’d say my body proves that AIN’T a problem. HAHA!
What advice do you have for people who are just starting out with veganism or training?
As with anything… have belief in yourself and what you do, have conviction and KEEP AT IT! Results and good habits aren’t formed overnight – they take time and practice.
Do you have any other thoughts you’d like to share?
EDUCATE YOURSELF! If you enjoy bodybuilding and fitness, learn all there is to know about exercise, nutrition and supplementation. There is no knowledge that is NOT power. The more you know the more confident and successful you will become.