Hi Vegan Athletes,
My name is Heath and I'm a vegan strength trainer living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where I train at Iron Sport Gym. I was born in Butte, Montana, and I've been weight training (sometimes rather sporadically) for about thirty years (I'm 44 years old). I competed in one teen bodybuilding contest in 1987, where I placed 4th out of four competitors. I enjoyed the contest and bodybuilding is fun, but I didn't want to take steroids (natural contests were rare in the late 1980s and early 1990s), so I decided that I wanted to focus on getting stronger. I was able to work up to some okay full squat weights by the time I was 19 years old (315 lb/30 reps, 365 lb/21 reps, 405 lb/ 15 reps, and 500 lb for 5 reps). The full squat is my favorite exercise. I stopped training regularly for a long time while I was getting my B.S. in chemistry and while working as a mycologist for several years. I became a vegetarian in 1997 for ethical reasons, but soon found that animal products are everywhere, so I became a vegan in 2001 and have been a vegan since then. I've been lifting fairly regularly for the past couple years, and my goals are now to squat and deadlift ≥ 600 lb, bench press ≥ 400 lb, power clean ≥ 300, and to overhead press ≥ 300 lb. My shoulders are not what they used to be and I have a bulging L5 disc, but I'm able to full squat 450 lb for a single again. I'm working hard to reach or exceed my goals before I am 50 years old.
I'm very passionate about vegan issues, which I think include animal welfare, the environment, human rights issues, and health issues.
I have a PhD in the Geosciences, and I'm doing my second postdoc while looking for a faculty position. Currently, I use quantum mechanics calculations to study how potentially poisonous metals such as lead and cadmium can be removed from drinking water and natural waters using natural and/or synthetic clay minerals. For my PhD, I studied plant cell wall structures using quantum mechanics; that work could eventually be applicable to cellulosic (e.g., hemp, straw, corn stover, etc.) biofuel production. I would like to use my science background (B.S. chemistry (minor with an almost B.S. in biology, M.S. in geochemistry, and PhD in geochemistry) to educate people about science and health issues, and to further veganism.
I'm also a free jazz/free improvisation musician. I play the soprano saxophone and have one album on the U.K. label Leo Records with drummer virtuoso Dan Pell called Breathe If You Can.
I've probably told you more than you care to know about me. I'm happy that this forum exists and I plan to learn much about vegan health and strength training from you. In addition, I hope that I can contribute to the forum.
Last edited by heathdwatts on Wed Oct 02, 2013 8:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.