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Call it a comeback! RC is Back!


robert
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Hello everyone!

 

Many of you know my story from following my ups and downs and adventures on Twitter @RobertCheeke, but for those who don't, I'll bring you up to speed.

 

I became vegan in 1995 as a 120 pound skinny farm kid. Years later I was a 195-pound champion vegan bodybuilder. I created this website 10 years ago, wrote a book titled Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness, and toured the past 6 years for Vega and past 2 years for my book.

 

Why a comeback? In March of 2011, a short 10 months ago, as I was poised to get back on the competition stage for the first time since 2009 (when I wrote my book and toured ever since), I suffered a couple of injuries. Ten months later, neither injury (chest and abdominals) has fully recovered, but I am still able to train most muscle groups.

 

While on tour recently my weight dropped to the 160s. I hadn't weighed that small of an amount since my pre-bodybuilding running days. Two months ago I made a return to training. I'm limited in some ways due to lingering soreness/injuries, but not in areas of drive, passion and dedication. I'm back over 170lbs and should be back in the 190s in a matter of months and plan to get on stage in the summer of 2012 to take on people including the rising star in Vegan Bodybuilding Derek Tresize.

 

I'm back!

 

Thank you to all of you who are members of this website forum. Your presence here really means a lot!

 

-Robert

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I'll be keeping a journal here for sure! I've had many in the past, one that is over 75 or 80 pages long, listed a few pages back in the archives.

 

This is my 2012 journal. I worked on this online fitness program until 4AM, didn't sleep much or well at all, but I've been up for 2 hours now working away on the site, had my Vega drink, eating some bananas, will do a few chores out on the farm where I'm staying currently and head to the gym for some compound movements!

 

Happy New Year everyone!

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12/31/11

 

I've been working non-stop, so though I trained 5 hours ago, I'm just now getting to my journal update. I just realized that today's workout was the last of the year! I don't really care about such things, dates, birthdays, holidays, etc. I just kinda work all the time and enjoy doing so immensely.

 

But on this day, it's hard to ignore it's the last day of the year. I was up until 4AM and only slept about 3.5-4 hours total last night. It was my 7th consecutive day working until 3AM or later, putting the final touches on this online training program.

 

When I got to the gym I was pumped up and motivated to begin Derek Tresize's Mass Program, which is in today's featured article for 12 Days, and which I said I would begin in 2012. As I arrived at the gym I realized my legs and back were still a little sore from my recent back and leg workouts days ago.

 

I still thought about doing the workout as I warmed up, but decided to allow intelligence, not toughness, to take over. On only a few hours of sleep and with sore muscles, I opted to train arms instead of walk over to the deadlift station and begin tossing heavy weights around. It isn't even 7PM yet on New Year's Eve and I'm in bed, hopefully sleeping soon. As I catch up on sleep, I'll begin compound mass-building workouts tomorrow.

 

Today's workout looked like this:

 

Warm-up

8 minutes on the stair stepper

5 sets of rope triceps extensions x 10-20 reps each set with 60, 70 and 80 pounds

5 sets of cable biceps curls x 10-20 reps each set with 60, 70 and 80 pounds

 

Workout

 

Biceps

EZ Curl bar biceps curls

55lbs x 10 reps

55lbs x 10 reps

55lbs x 10 reps

55lbs x 10 reps

 

Dumbbell Hammer curls x 4 sets

32.5s x 10 reps

35's x 8 reps

35's x 8 reps

40's x 8 reps

 

 

Triceps

Dumbbell triceps kickbacks

22.5s x 12

27.5s x 13

32.5s x 6

30's x 8

 

Overhead dumbbell triceps extensions

65lbs x 12

65lbs x 10

70lbs x 8

70lbs x 8

 

That's it for today. I never looked at the clock, but I imagine the workout was about 52 minutes.

 

10 warm-up sets, 16 working sets and out the door, back home, back to work.

 

Post workout meals included a huge Vega Sport protein drink, a burrito and green salad. Later I had some organic whole wheat pasta and a bunch of broccoli.

 

I've had 3 Vega drinks today, a bunch of fruit, and I plan to get a bit more fruit before bed.

 

Exhausted but very pleased with how this online program is coming together.

 

Catch up tomorrow after some deadlifts

 

Happy New Year!

 

-Robert

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I forgot to post reps.

 

Did sets of 10 on most and sets of 12 on others.

 

Yeah, I'll try to post weights. For today, curls were with 32.5s, 35s and 40s, kickbacks around 22.5, 27.5, 32.5. Overhead 65 and 70. I can go back and update it later on and moving forward I'll include weights.

 

Don't be surprised when you see me squatting 85lbs

 

Returning from injuries so not using a whole lot of weight. Deadlifting around 140 pounds, no benching, and managing what I can

 

Coming back safely with my past injury history.

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I forgot to post reps.

 

Did sets of 10 on most and sets of 12 on others.

 

Yeah, I'll try to post weights. For today, curls were with 32.5s, 35s and 40s, kickbacks around 22.5, 27.5, 32.5. Overhead 65 and 70. I can go back and update it later on and moving forward I'll include weights.

 

Don't be surprised when you see me squatting 85lbs

 

Returning from injuries so not using a whole lot of weight. Deadlifting around 140 pounds, no benching, and managing what I can

 

Coming back safely with my past injury history.

 

 

Good to see you back on logging your workouts Rob!

I couldn't imagine having to come back from an injury, it must be dreadful. All in all, I wish you all the best and a speedy recovery!

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1/1/12

 

Bodyweight = 170.5lbs - Which is less than I thought I weighed right now. Lots of work ahead of me!

 

I'm starting the New Year out by focusing on compound lifts, primarily inspired by Derek Tresize and his Mass-Building article, and my own desire to bulk up, add mass and strength and ultimately get the most out of my workouts.

 

I returned to training about 2 months ago, after many months off due to injuries and extensive travel, and now that I've been through all the cable, machine, bodyweight and free weight exercises over the past couple of months and have added 6-8 pounds while reclaiming some strength, I'm ready for the total-body blasts of compound free weight lifts.

 

I was following this compound lift schedule last year at this exact time in January, weighing in the 190's and benching 300 pounds on free weight decline bench, while doing cleans and deadlifts, squats, etc. before I hurt myself and was sidelined for many months. Now I'm back.

 

My enthusiasm has already gone up due to this program! How about you? For example, knowing I was going to have to post my workout publicly, I did more than an 8-minute warm-up (compared to yesterday) and I pushed myself and lifted a lot more than I expected I would have, coming back from these injuries and not having done this power movements in some time. I even carried a piece of paper with me to record my workout, something I rarely have ever done in my life, and surely not in the past 10 years.

 

Here is what today's workout looked like.

 

As usual, I prepared my Vega energy drink and had bananas just before my workout and drink the Vega sport drink throughout.

 

Workout:

 

Climbed on the Stair Master for 20 minutes

 

3 sets of bodyweight squats and lots of stretching and loosening up many muscle groups and joints.

 

(I am taking a more serious and intelligent approach as an athlete these days, and I spent 30 minutes preparing before I even began using weights).

 

Deadlifts - *Note, I have a history of low back issues and I am starting out light, so the weight is sure to underwhelm you, but I anticipate it going up as I comfortably ease into it at my desired pace*

 

I used weights listed as Kilos so the "pounds" will seem like strange numbers, though for Kilos they are even numbers.

 

89lbx x 20 reps

89lbs x 20 reps

133lbs x 10 reps

133lbs x 10 reps

143lbs x 8 reps

153lbs x 6 reps

153lbs x 10 reps

173lbs x 3 reps (didn't feel too heavy, but my back had had enough)

 

Since I just trained shoulders 2 days ago and wasn't prepared to do squats, I opted for another compound movement as I was unracking the bar from doing deadlifts. I left 89lbs on and began a series of barbell bent-over rows:

 

Bent-over rows

 

Pronated grip

89lbs x 10 reps

89lbs x 10 reps

89lbs x 10 reps

 

Supinated grip

89lbs x 10 reps

109lbs x 10 reps

129lbs x 10 reps

149lbs x 10 reps

159lbs x 5 reps (didn't feel too heavy, but my back had had enough)

 

That concluded my workout.

 

16 sets of power movements. I know I stick with one exercise for many more sets than most people, but I prefer to pick the exercises for certain muscle groups I feel like I can get the most benefit from and do many sets. I do the same with squats. Why do 4 sets of squats and 4 sets of a leg extension, when you can do 8 sets of squats varrying foot position, pace or dept and get better ROI from the workout?

 

After the workout I took a very hot shower to get a lot of heat on my back.

 

I had a Vega Sport protein drink and a banana and drove home. At home I immediately had a green salad with 1/2 of a large avocado and some tofu thing I got from Trader Joes which I did not like at all and will give to the dog. I also had some Ezekial bread and will likely go eat again soon.

 

I'll see how my back feels tomorrow and choose to do squats and overhead press, or some other multi-joint compound lift combination.

 

Back to work.

 

Happy New Year everyone!

 

-RC 2.0

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Paige,

 

As the community grows I'm sure we'll see more and more of this. We had 4 of us on stage together in 2009 and more and more I'm hearing about multiple vegans hitting the stage together, including Derek and Ed last year. Will be fun to watch the community grow.

 

John,

 

Thanks!

 

Isn't it fun to watch the community grow? I know you've been here for 5 years now. So cool to see about 100 training journals updated a day! It will only continue to grow. We have some great programs in place designed to help people achieve success. I am personally, already benefiting from paying more attention to my training and eating, knowing I'll be sharing it here, daily.

 

All the best!

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Nice!

 

My journal was updated less than 24 hour ago and was already bumped to page 2, meaning 100 other journals were updated in between. Awesome work, everyone! Great stuff! Love the effort so far!

 

1/2/12

 

I didn't sleep well last night and it took me hours to fall asleep, making it after 3AM when I finally got to sleep. Also woke up pretty sore from deadlifts and questioned whether I'd be able to do squats today.

 

When I got to the gym, I asked one of the big guys who works there and who has become a friend of mine, how I should structure my program, now that I want to do compound lifts exclusively. We chatted while I put 20 minutes on the stair stepper and I opted for a day of overhead pressing and pull-ups, with some hanging leg raises to strengthen the core as an added bonus.

 

Though I only did 2 weight bearing exercises, they wore me out.

 

I'm still pretty bummed that I'm only 170lbs after being 190+lbs before my injuries and actually looking and feeling like a bodybuilder. I have a long road back but with the right attitude, training, eating and resting, I should get back to where I feel I'm headed.

 

Here is how today's workout looked:

 

20 minutes on the Stair Stepper.

 

Standing overhead barbell press

Bar (45lbs) x 12

Bar (45lbs) x 12

Bar (45lbs) x 15

 

65lbs x 10

65lbs x 10

65lbs x 10

89lbx x 8

89lbs x 6

89lbs x 4

 

Pull-ups (wide grip)

12

12

10

8

 

Narrow/Neutral Grip

12

12

10

10

 

Worn out by this point but I did 6 sets of hanging leg raises which helped me stretch out my back, strengthen grip-strength and train my abs.

 

Hanging Leg Raises

10

10

10

10

20

20

 

I had my Vega pre-workout energy drink before and during the workout, Vega Sport Protein drink after, along with 2 bananas and a potato I brought to the gym

 

I sat on the bike for 30 minutes at the end pedaling very slowly watching the end of the Rose Bowl (Ducks win).

 

I'm just leaving the gym now for dinner. Figured I'd update it before I head out. Free Wi-Fi here and I already had 3 different post-workout foods.

 

Working on structuring a compound lift schedule that will allow me to recover before hammering out the next one.

 

For the 2nd week in a row I was reminded that I cannot do squats the day after doing deadlifts I'll have to mix it up between upper body pulls and presses and rows and lower body lifts.

 

This will be fun!

 

I really want to add more mass like the glory days. It starts right here, right now.

 

R Crushing it!

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Thanks guys!

 

To be honest, it feels strange to be "starting over" after a long career in bodybuilding. It is 2012 and I haven't competed since 2009 and I haven't been in really good shape since January or February of 2011.

 

Many people get fat when they stop training and eat whatever they want. I get skinny. I go back to my college running physique and it's quite frustrating when my mentality is still that of a (former) bodybuilder.

 

Stepping on the scale was a real wake-up call. I can see in the mirror I'm pretty thin, the result of multiple injuries and more than half of the past year off from consistent training coupled with less than desirable amounts of sleep and high stress. But seeing it on the scale was a clear wake-up call, especially if I plan to return to competitive bodybuilding, which is a current desire, but one which changes constantly. I somewhat regularly think about making a return to running, something I once enjoyed immensely and was quite good at. I won or placed near the front of many races, beat to (female) Olympic medalists in the same race, ran at the Division I NCAA level, etc.

 

That being said, or is it "been said?" I currently plan to return to competitive bodybuilding and hopefully this program we created and this time period is crucial the mental, physical and psychological development of forward progress.

 

After my workout and the Vega, bananas and potato, I made another Vega protein drink and then made my way to the store and did some shopping.

 

I came home and made an epic dinner to help put on more size.

 

Dinner consisted of:

 

A baked potato

2/3 of a bag of Gardein Veggie protein

A bunch of broccoli

1/2 large avocado

A little bit of that soy chorizo stuff

 

And I'll pile on more calories before bed as I continue to work on website project with constant emails back and forth with kofox as we bring this project to life.

 

I have at least a dozen prizes to prepare, package and ship asap, so I'll try to get a jump on some of that work tonight before I pass out from being pretty worn out.

 

Thanks for reading and for your support!

 

PS, I'm moving in less than 3 weeks and will be offering a sale on my clothing line and books to clear out inventory and have less to transport and to make some cash for the road. Driving from Oregon to Texas, which is where I'm relocating to in order to gain focus and enthusiasm being down in warmer weather, near the gulf of Mexico and I plan to eat, train, write (my new book is due out in 2012 if I get it done) and run the website.

 

Ideally I'll do those things each day with good rest and good food and achieve goals being in an environment conducive to creating success based on my own interests.

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