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VeganEssentials

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  1. Thanks, CG - I actually started to feel better just a day afterward, but I was pretty run down from the travelling just a few days beforehand. Whenever I fly, I feel burnout for a while afterward and it all caught up to me at the beginning of the week. Much better now, provided I don't catch the cold that everyone around me has been suffering through!
  2. Didn't get to move the video game yet, missed meeting with Sensless to go lift, but I made a quick 40 minute session before closing time in the end. Went for a sorely-neglected back workout, had a solid session. Barbell bent over rows - 1x8 @ 135 1x5 @ 225 1x3 @ 275 1x3 @ 295 1x3 @ 315 1x3 @ 335 (last rep pretty iffy about whether or not to count it) 1-arm cable pulldowns - 1x6 @ 120 each arm 1x10 @ 90 " " Haven't done cable pulldowns in ages, didn't like this machine, quit early. DB rows - 2x12 @ 120 lbs. each arm Hammer Strength plate-loaded one-arm pulldowns 1x20 @ 90 lbs. each arm Back was quite fried after this since I've done around 2 half-assed back workouts in the past 6 weeks, so it was nice to get on track with this. Working from home tomorrow, should make a miscellaneous lift day to get some stuff in like shrugs, quarter squats and close-grip benching in. Also found out about another local strongman event in late April, so I've now got 3 comps lined up before the middle of June. Should be a fun summer!
  3. Easy leg day today since I've been feeling half-sick and just flat-out tired the past few days. PR attempt for a 525 raw squat is next week, so today was going to be lighter to be ready for it. Did paused bottom squats (2 seconds to deload weight on pins just below parallel, lean back and foce it up), and it went as follows: 1x8 @ empty bar 1x5 @ 135 1x5 @ 225 1x3 @ 315 1x1 @ 405 1x1 @ 455 All went pretty easily - the paused 455 went up easier than the 405, which was a PR for a paused bottom squat for me. Next, did 5x2 @ 315 for speed, powering up as fast as possible on each rep. Varied stance a bit with every set, going from narrow to wide back to narrow again. Went well, except I blew the ass out of my jeans when I went wide and lost one more pair of pants to make it the first pair down of the new year. Did a few bottoms-up Zercher squats to get re-acquainted with them since I haven't done much with them in the past year. Just a few quick sets of doubles with 225, 315 and 405 and that was it for them. I attempted to do a Zercher off the floor (I'd made 365 about a year or so ago and was aiming for 405), but my flexibility to get my arms under the bar at ground level is shot. Gonna need to do some serious stretching to get that one back again. Finally, I dared to try some heels-only leg presses on this goofy Hammer Strength unilateral leg press machine I've seen for months now. I can safely say, it was terribly uncomfortable and I've never heard my knees crackle so much even with relatively light weight for the 2 sets I did. I can rest easy knowing that it is a machine I will never touch again unless my life depends on it. Thursday I have to assist with moving a friend's stand-up arcade game, then it should be back and chest day afterward.
  4. Unless they have an old fat man's category for bodybuilding I'll have to duck out for this year However, I'm currently filling out my contest applications for both Chicago's Strongest Man and the Ford's Gym Strongman comp that I entered last year, and I plan to make at least 2 more comps between summer and fall as well. Then I'll probably make the Hudson Open powerlifting meet in October to round out the year! Ryan
  5. Last real workout before I head to San Diego for a wedding this week, so I hit up the old Ballys I used to go to so I could see if it changed for the better (it hasn't, unfortunately). Started with overhead push presses, which went quite well - 1x5 @ 135 (strict) 1x3 @ 185 (strict) 1x5 @ 225 (push from here on out) 1x5 @ 250 for a PR at that weight 1x2 @ 275 (missed 3rd rep by just an inch!) 1x3 @ 225 I was wondering if I'd hit too many sessions of overhead work lately (there was one from last Friday as well, but it sucked and only did 2 sets) but for the fact that I hit a PR on reps with 250 and almost finally hit a 3rd with 275 I think it went quite well. Maybe I haven't been working the overhead pressing enough. Squatted next. I was already pretty beat from the push presses (I've been exhausted since Christmas), but I forced out a fairly decent day just to get one more heavy workout in - 1x5 @ 135 1x5 @ 225 1x3 @ 315 1x3 @ 405 1x2 @ 430 1x2 @ 455 1x1 @ 475 1x1 @ 495 Had to work for the 495 which shouldn't be that hard now, so I know I still need some recovery time on the legs. Good Mornings were next - 1x5 @ 225 1x3 @ 315 1x2 @ 405 Knew I didn't have a third rep at 405, called it quits for these. Wrapped up with some single-arm DB presses. Did 2 sets standing first - 2x7 @ 100 lbs. each arm (no push, strict with a bit of slight side lean) Next, wrapped up with one quick set for speed doing a seated 1x10 each arm @ 60 lbs. and that was it. May get some grip work in tomorrow, otherwise, no gym work until this weekend. That is, unless I somehow get lucky and find a decent hotel gym, but we all know how likely that one is...
  6. But, what about the fact that America's poor are no less susceptible to obesity than those who have more money? Due to this, it is better to look at the connection between our eating of fast food and cheap processed crap than any single ingredient because I'm willing to bet that's the greatest cause. Why is it that the cheaper food products are, the less they contain for natural ingredients and the higer in saturated fat/sodium/etc they are? This is what people on lower incomes often rely on, and they're suffering from obesity just like the rest who have more money to spend. This is going to vary from country to country. Again, why do America's poor suffer from obesity to a great extent when they have less money for food while the poor in other countries don't have the same issue? I look at it as being quality of food just as much as quantity being an issue. For example, here in the USA people will look for a cheap snack and buy a bag of Doritos for $1.99 and eat the whole thing at about 1500 calories, while my friend from Laos who I grew up with would grab a chunk of plain sticky rice if he was hungry between meals because that's what he was brought up to choose when he wanted something to snack on. Different cultures will breed different decisions on what they want to eat. But, studies have shown that when Asians come to the USA their obesity levels skyrocket - they're exposed to more processed crap food and they start making it a part of their daily diets rather than the natural options they ate in their native territories. They're not necessarily wealthy enough to stuff themselves endlessly, but their decisions to eat the same crap we do is what is hurting them physically and shortening their lifespan. We don't push healthy food here in the USA - we push cheap processed junk that's as far from nutritious as we can get. What other country finds the need to use all-processed ingredients to base major meals on and then feels it is healthy because they have to fortify all the nutrients back in because they were lost during processing in the first place? MSG can be derived naturally from sea vegetables, and what nations tend to use sea veggies the most in their daily diets? I'll leave you to figure that one out as to what culture first began using MSG in their food
  7. Totally late to the gym tonight, so instead of shoulders/back it was shoulders only, but a good day nonetheless. Started with push presses in the rack - 1x8 @ 135 (strict) 1x3 @ 185 (strict) 1x2 @ 225 (started with push presses at this point) 1x1 @ 245 1x1 @ 265 1x2 @ 275 for a new PR hitting a double at that weight. Tried for a 3rd rep but only got past top-of-head height and lost it. 1x3 @ 225 Was pleased to hit the double with 275, then it was standing overhead lockouts in the power rack, done from about 3-4" above forehead height - 1x5 @ 185 1x5 @ 225 1x3 @ 245 1x3 @ 265 1x5 @ 225 1x8 @ 135 All sets were done quickly, only about 90 seconds rest between each one. With 7 minutes left I did a few sets on the Hammer Strength plate-loaded shoulder press, a rare visit to the machines - 1x5 @ 180 1x5 @ 230 1x5 @ 280 1x5 @ 230 1x5 @ 180 All sets done quickly with rest period only being the time to change the weight between each set. Headed home and began a bit early on my new year's resolution to start focusing on more grip work again. It was my passion last winter/spring, but I've slacked hard on it and need to get back on it again. Pulled out the York blobs for some pinch gripping. Started at the 42.5 lb. blob since my smaller one was slick from being left outside in the rain for an hour on accident, but I got a few good lifts right handed and one or two with the left. Tried the 45 lb. blob, budged it about 3" off the ground right handed, no movement left handed. Did some bending next, working my way through a handful of steel to wrap up at a 5.5" Grade 8 bolt. My skill with bending has taken the largest hit, so that'll need a lot more work this winter to get back up to speed. Finished with a few lifts pinching a pair of old York 35 lb. plates. 2 lifts right handed, 2 lefty and that was it. Should be getting some lifting in either Friday or Saturday for some deadlifting, I'll update when it is done.
  8. Bigbwii, The price for the home-made one is just an estimate - I'm sure that if you could find some scrap wood for the base supports (even a mass of 2x4s screwed together the right way could be enough) you might be able to do the whole thing for half that. Too bad that I didn't check pricing on pipe when I was at Hope Depot just a few hours ago or I could have known for sure. Option # 2 might be to get a pair of sawhorses, reinforce the bases a bit, widen the top with a 4x4 and put the pipe in there - that way you're buying less pipe and more with wood, which would probably be cheaper. That way you could also alter the angles as well if you want to vary between parallel and angled dips, too!
  9. If all else fails, you could probably build a pair of dip bars for under $50 with supplies from somewhere like Home Depot or Lowes. Make a 4x4 or wider base with supports to keep it from tipping, get some 1.25" pipe put through it with a few elbows to make the inverted U shape and you could make one that would hold 500 lbs. easy. That, or if anyone has a bit more to spend I could always find the price from a guy I know who makes them in his metal shop, which would probably be half to 2/3 the cost of what they normally run and just as strong! Ryan
  10. Best power clean - 280 lbs. Best clean and press - 270 lbs. Best push press (in the rack, not cleaned) - 285 lbs. Best strict press - 230 lbs. Hope to get all these numbers significantly higher over the coming year!
  11. Squat day today! Started off with good 'ol standard squats for the "make it or die trying" day that I've been meaning to do again for a bit. Goal was 25 reps minimum @ 430 lbs. done in as many sets as necessary. Got it as follows: 1x10 @ empty bar 1x8 @ 135 1x5 @ 225 1x3 @ 315 1x2 @ 405 8x3 @ 430 1x2 @ 430 Totaled 26 reps in about 38 minutes, but I knew my time for them was up once I hit that last set for 2. I'd wanted to get 30, but I figured I'll save that for next time when I go for 440 lbs. Did a few 1/3 squats with a ROM of about 14", starting from the bottom on each rep - 1x5 @ 500 1x3 @ 550 1x3 @ 600 Could have gone a bit higher, but I was getting beat to hell and nearing my end. Wrapped up with a bit of goofing around. Did 2x3 with 315 with the pins extremely low, sunk to where I couldn't go any lower, did 5 seconds paused at bottom and fast back up. Last thing was 2x3 light 10" box squats with 225 and I could barely move. I can barely walk now, but I find that I always start gaining quickly with my squats when I hit a heavy endurance day like this. Next week is light speed work, then the following week will be the 525 PR attempt. I have no doubts that I'll hit a new mark once the time comes. Should be some lifting again Wednesday, back with a report when it is done.
  12. It was great to see you featured in there as well, Robert - congratulations to you too! I was surprised to be picked for it (who in their right mind wants my ugly mug gracing their article? ) but I'm glad I was able to get featured as well. They had a nice balance of all types of vegan athletes, so hopefully this draws a bit more attention to our little sub-movement and spurs more vegans to get fit, as well as show non-vegans that we're not the sickly stereotypes that so many people picture us to be! Ryan
  13. Thanks for the kind words, both of you I feel there's a long way to go until I awe myself, but that just motivates me more to keep getting stronger. Then again, I'm never really satisfied with my progress, so let's see what 2006 brings! Met with Sensless today for some after-work lifting (a rare treat this December with the terribly long days!) and it turned out to be quite fun. Started with some olympic lift warmups, just doing some power snatches and other stuff working up to 185 lbs. Once that was out of the way, we did some military strict pressing for a few quick sets: 1x5 @ 135 1x3 @ 185 1x1 @ 225 1xfailure @ 235 - felt good on the 225, but it wiped me out and the PR attempt didn't go well. Just did a double with it for a push press and that was it for this. Next, did some 18" deadlifts in the power rack (18" from bar to ground height, just about mid-knee height for me). Did the following: 1x5 @ 225 1x3 @ 315 1x2 @ 405 1x2 @ 495 1x1 @ 585 2 attempts at 635, moved an inch but stopped there and lost it. It'll go up soon! Moved to Good Mornings next and set a PR with these - 1x8 @ 135 1x5 @ 225 1x3 @ 315 1x3 @ 365 1x2 @ 405 for an easy PR Attempted 455, went down and knew I wouldn't get back up so that was all for these. Finally, went back to the O-lift platform and played around with power snatches again. Did 185 easily, felt like going for a PR, made 3 singles @ 200 for a new highlight. First one was a bit of a pressout, the 2nd two were much better but not quite perfect. Still have to work form on these! Now it'll be a nice restful weekend, then back to business to hit the squats again Tuesday. Ryan
  14. Thanks much to all who have had kind words to either myself or our business - I'm just glad that we're serving a purpose to get people the vegan stuff that they need, and knowing we are appreciated is always good news To go down the list - Kathryn - We're going to be focusing a lot more on winter wear next fall - we got kind of sidetracked this season since we're in talks to have our website redone, which has pretty well been taking the lead of new developments. But, for products, let's just say that if all goes well you'll soon see a wide selection of frozen goods in our store coming up over the next few months. We're still working out the best way to ship such orders, and once we've got it down well enough we have about 60 new food products to add, so watch for this to be in the works shortly! CrispyQ - Do you know the name of the shoe style that you'd like in other colors? We can always make suggestions to manufacturers and keep our eyes open for new versions coming out, so if you have the name of the shoe I'll watch for anything new and keep you posted for sure. SeaSiren - Glad that you like the Vega Bars! I'm not sure who you spoke with if it was me, Courtney or Charlene (Sue and Colleen rarely answer the phones and prefer to do other stuff instead), but I'm glad that we were able to help out with your order and any questions. If you need anything else, just give us a call back and we'll be here! Richard - If you've had hard Stonewall's products, they definitely were getting a bit stale. I've had probably a dozen stale packs out of the 200+ I've eaten over the years, and you'll definitely know them once you bite into a chunk. They should last a LONG time on the shelf, but every so often one just seems to go bad before it is due. Just watch out for the BBQ flavor as that is the one that they added honey to a while back without notice to anyone (we had a customer call to give us a heads-up when they heard the news so that we could stop selling it once they had changed the formula). Robert - We're here to work for the vegan community, so we support back in every way that we can. I'm a decent guy, I guess (super nice and super awesome might be a bit more than I'm worthy of ) so thanks for the kind words! Without the support of the vegan community we wouldn't be here, and every purchase goes back to only buying more vegan goods - it's a win-win situation, for sure! veganmadre - I hope thay you enjoyed the products you received! I assume the book was the one by Erin Pavlina - definitely an excellent resource. She's got a new cookbook out that we'll be getting in soon, so if you're a fan of her works then you might want to look into this one someday! And finally, compassionategirl - We're working on a way to get that cookie dough so it will be good for shipping to Canada - right now customs is taking forever to clear packages so we are waiting for things to return to post-holiday normal to start working on this. The dough is frozen solid and packed with cold packs when we ship them, so it is good to stay cold for about 3 days in transit. However, most Canadian shipments are taking about 5-9 days on the average, making it a bit tough to work with. But, I'll tell you this - once things get back to normal for shipping times remind me of this conversation and we'll test Canadian shipping with you for the cookie dough - I'll send a tube or two on us as long as you let us know how it arrived to you. Sound good? For the jerky, I'm tough to get a "best" opinion out of because I eat ALL of the brands we carry pretty well equally. Though, I think I gravitate toward Primal Strips and the Vegan Dream stuff the most and everything else pretty equally. I love Stonewalls, but I've had so much of it over the years I can't eat it quite like I used to. I love Tasty Eats jerky, but it is very tough to chew so it is hard to eat a lot of it (but the flavor is excellent!) The Tofurky Jurky is great as well, but we never have as much in stock as the other brands so I avoid eating it too often for fear I'll put too much of a dent in our stock since we can only get it back in every 3-4 weeks when we run low. Personally, I've never had a vegan jerky I didn't like! WHEW! That took me a bit, and here we are back at my usual bedtime of nearly 5 AM, so I'm off until tomorrow! Ryan
  15. It is getting tougher with every year to buy from "trusted" companies that are what we believe to be independently owned because they keep being bought out by large corporations. It is far easier for someone like, say, Kraft Foods to buy out a small natural foods company that's well-established and trusted by those that consume natural foods than it is for them to try and break into the market with their own line. From what I've read it has been the growing trend these past few years for a lot of the mega-corporations to go this route, so expect that more companies will be following suit and will soon be owned by parent companies that we're not crazy about supporting. A tough issue, for sure. Ryan
  16. Okay, it's been hell month for work with no less than 12 hours/day for 12 of the last 14 days, but that's no excuse for taking a full 8 days off lifting! Headed to the gym today after a good restful Saturday and it went pretty well - despite the weird knee injury it didn't affect performance or hurt at all, which is quite good. Still feels odd at times, but nothing I can't handle. Started with squats: 1x5 @ 135 1x3 @ 225 1x3 @ 315 1x3 @ 405 1x1 @ 455 1x1 @ 475 Got pissed at the lack of lifting this past while, decided to toss out a new PR even if it was only a few lbs. over the old best. Loaded 505, but set the pins slightly high so I tapped them at the bottom, making me angrier. Still made the lift, but I felt compelled to do it again. Dropped the pins 2" more so they were below parallel instead of right at it, hit the squat again at 505 with minimal stall at top. So, despite being overworked and overtired I at least tacked a few lbs. to my PR and did it twice! Next, did some push presses in the rack - 1x3 @ 225 1x3 @ 235 1x3 @ 245 1x3 @ 255 This went better than expected - I'm hoping to hit a triple @ 275 in January and PR @ 300, so I'll keep working this hard. Tossed in a few Good Mornings, but these didn't fare as well: 1x5 @ 255 1x3 @ 315 1x1 @ 365 - was ugly, felt bad, didn't go for 390 as intended 1x3 @ 315 Back to overhead stuff again, I played around with behind the neck push jerks a bit to get more comfortable with them: 1x5 @ 135 1x5 @ 165 2x3 @ 185 Feeling better with these after only my 2nd try at them, and I'd like to start hitting them for triples @ 225 in the next month or so once they feel totally natural and my confidence is up. Finally, wrapped up with standing overhead press lockouts in the rack, about a 5" ROM to lockout: 1x5 @ 225 1x5 @ 275 2x1 @ 315 for a PR 1x8 @ 225 and followed with an immediate 1x8 @ 135 Could barely lift my arms at this point, that was it for the day. I feel redeemed, even though I changed my lifting schedule around a bit to get there. Next week I'll get back on course, but I should be deadlifting on Tuesday, back to report afterward! Ryan
  17. We get quite a few people in our shop that are musicians (vegan, of course!) If you want to post a flyer or anything feel free to leave one in the window since people check postings out all the time when they're up. We're at the following address: VeganEssentials 3707 N. 92nd St., Milwaukee I'd also suggest Riverwest Co-op as well!
  18. Ahhh....too late for me! I had to stock about 300 new pair of shoes that came in today, and when I got back the contest was already over!
  19. Hey, compassionategirl! Glad that you like the new stuff we added - there's a ton more on the way, too, so we might even have to send a second newsletter before January to showcase all the other goodies that are on the way. I haven't even had the chance to try the cookie dough, but we had a bunch of people write us who had tried it at a food tradeshow and said it was to die for. Once we heard this we couldn't wait to get it in, and we're expecting it before the end of the week. I'm sure a few of the tubes will be making the trek home with me I'm a cookie dough junkie and used to eat it straight years ago. Not that I should be induging that much, but once in a while I can try to find a reason to justify pigging out The newsletter is the way to go if you want to save a few dollars - we always have special discounts for 5-10% off your order total, and when you're stocking up it never hurts to save every little bit possible. I'm always partial to offering discounts to board members in between newsletters as well, so if anyone needs anything just be sure to let me know! Ryan
  20. I've wanted to buy "Mr. Hood" but I've never seen it for less than $40 on Ebay every time I'd tried to bid, which is more than I'd prefer to spend. I've got a bootleg of "Black [email protected]" that was sold to me under the pretense of it being an original - I wasn't too happy to get a copied CD after paying $15 for it on Ebay as well. Haven't listened to it all that much - I tend to put the Viktor Vaughn and Metal Fingers stuff on most of all, and it kind of edges out a lot of the other stuff I normally would put in these days!
  21. Another option is, if you're looking to get an actual power rack/squat rack at some point, www.fractionalplates.com can make custom dip handles that will fit into pretty well any setup. They're a bit pricey, but they make only top-notch equipment and would last a lifetime. I'll see if I can find them on their site (it's a bit confusing to navigate and locate specific products at times), and when I get the chance I'll post the info here.
  22. Credit cards are evil, but even though you say you don't want anything you'll need credit for you'll likely change your mind in time. When I was 18 I told my dad that I never planned on getting a credit card and it was cash all the way - he said that sooner or later I'd fold on that one, and about 4 years down the road I did I wish that I never needed one, but there are plenty of things out there that having crappy or not enough credit can damage your chances of owning, which sucks. Best thing you can do - get a low balance card, only use it 1-2x / month, only what you can pay off extremely easily and build up that way. Or, you could be like me now and owe American Express so much $$$ that I could sell all my organs on the black market and still have an outstanding balance. Scary stuff when I think about it.
  23. I'll put my name in, but I only want the shirt if it comes in XXL. Anything smaller it it's like I'm wearing cling-wrap around my upper half!
  24. All depends on where you are. The USA seems to be way behind the times when it comes to sugar and bone char, unfortunately...
  25. Thought you might like the one I was listening to the Madvillan disc and thought it would make a fine avatar. Seemed better than the Viktor Vaughn cover pics, so I threw it on up last night! I'd appreciated the MF Doom one you've had up as well. Very nice!
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