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Posts posted by VeganEssentials

  1. Hey, it may not have been first place, but congratulations anyway! Fantastic work, and now that you've identified what can make you take top honors next time you'll take care of it. As the saying goes, "Ain't nothing to it but to do it!" So, drop that water and let's hear about a first place finish next weekend!



  2. I *was* an ISSA certified trainer, but unfortunately my certification lapsed when I didn't take any CEU's to keep current.


    I think it was a pretty good course - covered all the basics, but as with anything else, you always have to learn a lot on your own that a course will never really teach you no matter how good it is. Without your own experience for at least a few years' training beforehand a certification is only worth as much as the paper it's written on.


    In retrospect, if I was looking to actually get into the training business instead of taking the route I did, I'd have made a lot of changes (rant begins here) -


    1. I'd get myself into better shape (eg. leaner) as nothing is a better advertisement for your services than your appearance. Yes, there are a LOT of knowledgeable people who are fantastic trainers that don't necessarily have herculean physiques, but these typically are people who LIVE to gain knowledge about training and did so for years to get where they have been. For a new trainer, the appearance you show your clientele will speak to potential trainees about the results that they may get if they follow your advice. Now, this will not necessarily ring true in a commercial gym where they throw clients at anyone with a certification who is employed, but for someone starting their own business or who works at a gym where they have to earn their clients, this will definitely help you to get more interest. People tend to WANT to train with someone who possesses an ideal physique (even if the person is not the greatest trainer...) so it doesn't hurt to have both sides covered for appearance and knowledge together.


    2. I'd offer to train a few people for free or a very nominal amount just to generate some buzz and have references while getting used to working with clients. It can be pretty intimidating to get out there and just start training after you get certified, so if I were to do it over again I'd have trained a few people for references that I could have used. That way you can enter slowly and learn as you go in how to train people rather than be thrust into it for your livelihood right off with no experience. People's results will speak for themselves, and the references will be extremely valuable when getting into the business.


    3. I'd learn much more than the courses teach about how best to specifically train for various sport activities. Checking with coaches and other trainers who specialize would be a great way to get more than just the initial info that a course will typically supply. For example, I'd have had no idea how to specifically train someone for strongman, powerlifting, football, baseball or anything else from the ISSA course. Sure, you get the basic components for how to train someone, but if you want to be marketable and well-rounded you'll want to do a LOT of independent study on individual sports training (unless you want to only train the "general fitness" types). The last thing you want to do is have someone coming in to build up their squat poundage and put them on a leg press - do something like that and you'll lose your new client before the first session is over with. There's a place here that Sensless from the board has spent time training at that specifically caters to those looking to enhance sports performance, and their business is booming because they know what they're doing. Rather than train all clients the same, the individual's sport's need is broken down, analyzed, and weak spots are strengthened to improve what they need to excel in their field. You won't learn this kind of stuff from a manual, so I highly recommend that anyone looking to get into training puts a LOT of effort into specialization so that they have the base knowledge when they get out there to train.


    I'm sure I could think of more if I sat here long enough, but those are some points that warrant mentioning for those looking to get started in training. I know that I could never survive the terrible mass-market gym for being my home-base to train people at, so I would definitely have to do the things mentioned above if I were to try and get back into it again in order to be happy!



  3. I've been using the Pure Advantage Pea Protein almost exclusively for the past year now. I've heard the same thing about it being around as effective as whey - not sure if it's completely true or not, but I have managed to add about 13 lbs. in the past year with little change to my diet. I definitely like the stuff a lot (it doesn't hurt that I get it at cost, either )



  4. Haven't felt too healthy all of the holiday weekend (digestive issues, slight headaches), so I took a semi-light day in the gym tonight just to maintain for back and chest work:


    Barbell rows -

    1x8 @ 135

    3x12 @ 225 (had to rest between a few reps, but wouldn't stop for more than a few seconds until all 12 were done in a set)


    Close-grip (14" space between hands) bench press -

    1x8 @ 135

    3x5 @ 245

    1x10 @ 185

    1x10 @ 135


    Hise Shrugs in power rack

    1x10 @ 315

    3x10 @ 405


    Overhead shrugs

    1x15 @ 195

    1x12 @ 265

    1x15 @ 195

    1x15 @ 105


    That was it - all done in about 45 minutes for a quick stop. I feel better after getting done with this, hopefully I'm getting past feeling crappy!



  5. Steer clear of PureFit bars for sure! A customer forwarded me an email correspondence about a year ago that they'd had with the founder of PureFit - let's just say his opinion of vegans is not really all that high He repeatedly insisted that honey WAS vegan and despite the claims of pretty well everyone else that it is not, he claimed that he MET some vegans who ate honey so therefore it was perfectly acceptable to all of us. When confronted with the evidence against his theory, he got downright nasty, pretty well said that vegans were crazy, irrational folk and that he had no intention to ever take the honey out just because it would make it so we could actually eat it. I wrote him a few months ago to test things and see if he was still being vicious toward vegans, this time he was calmer but still insisted that the bars would always have honey and that the labels would eventually be changed to remove the word "vegan" from them. No idea why people get all bent over simply admitting that they didn't know what vegan really meant, but in any case, if PureFit every puts anything out that's actually vegan, steer clear!



  6. Tomorrow will be big day for gorging. I've been invited to a private vegan holiday feast prepared by vegan cookbook author Priscilla Feral. Her new cookbook, Dining With Friends, co-written with Lee Hall, has a "Holidays with Friends" section that features recipes for the seasons. I'm sure most dishes will be those listed under "Autumn: A Time of Thanksgiving," but I find the dishes, like the Grilled Tofu listed for summer, are good year-round.


    We just got an email about the new cookbook and look forward to carrying it in our store!



  7. Squat day today!


    Sensless and I went to meet up with Pete, the guy who has the excellent strongman equipment and other stuff, to train at his place. Unfortunately, he wasn't there as we'd expected, so we hit my usual gym up about an hour later after waiting around a bit.


    Started with squats -

    1x5 @ 135

    1x5 @ 225

    1x3 @ 315

    1x2 @ 405

    1x3 @ 455

    1x2 @ 475 - attempted 3 reps, nearly died on the 2nd one

    Crapped out a bit early here, so we moved next to 1/2 squats


    1x5 @ 405

    1x3 @ 495

    1xfailure at 585 - too burned out from the full squats still


    Sensless asked if I could power snatch the 185 that was set on the lifting platform, so I did a few pulls first and snatched it with relative ease.


    Finally, wrapped up with a really quick round for overhead presses -

    1x5 @ 135

    1x1 @ 225

    1x1 @ 245

    1xfailure @ 285 - was greedy for a new PR, but too dead from squatting


    Probably will take it easy this week due to the holiday, maybe some deadlifts or something on Sunday.

  8. Not to hijack too much here, but I had a similar problem with my squat to DL ratio, pretty well all form-related. My DL was about to hit 500 at the time and I was still only squatting around 350 - this was primarly because I did high-bar squats and pushed off the fronts of my feet too much, causing me to lean forward. Widening stance a bit, resting the bar lower and learning to push off my heels was instrumental to closing the gap on the two lifts so that now they're much closer (enough to add 100 lbs. to my squat in less than a year!) When I hear about problems leaning forward too much it strikes me that it might be a similar situation. The best thing that can be done if this is a problem is to get a camera for a few video clips and post them here for analysis. Trust me, I could spot the same things I was doing a mile away and help to correct them quickly and easily if that were the case!


    Anyway, if you're having problems leaning forward, Daniel, definitely try widening your stance and lowering the bar positioning on your back first as this is what made all the difference in the world to me. There's nothing wrong with close-stance high-bar squats by any means, but if you want to jump quickly and start handling a LOT more weight there are things that can be done to make it easier!



  9. Without a strong mind, you'll never get a strong body!


    I put it to the test with sled dragging this weekend - my legs seized up rock solid on my last 2 sets, and only by cursing myself out and forcing my body to go on did I complete the distance I needed. Yeah, I could have stopped when it hurt and my body said it had enough and was fighting me, but I know I benefit a lot more by fighting past that point. Squats are the same thing for me - my eyes turn bright red and I feel like I'm going to die, but I know that every hard workout where I go past my previous limits will pay off so I can't let my body's response to lifting stop me when it wants to. Of course, you have to know the good pain from the bad stuff, otherwise you'll be like Sensless and broken in 20 different areas before you hit 30!


    Attitude and mental preparedness definitely play a large part in how well your lifting can go. There's a fantastic book by Randall Strossen (owner of IronMind) called "Winning Ways" that's excellent for breaking through mentall barriers and gaining more confidence in your lifts (which only helps you to be able to lift more in the end). I highly recommend it to anyone who's had problems with motivation or mental blocks that keep them from progressing because it certainly got me through some rough times.



  10. It's a tough question to answer....


    It isn't usually "natural" to do more work than is required, so in that sense, bodybuilding is unnatural as it is not an activity needed to sustain yourself (unlike hauling hay bales or carrying stone slabs for a living). However, long before our time most people had physically strenuous jobs and would build muscle more naturally through hard work of daily lifting through job activities or chores, and any building was done mostly inadvertantly. This would be the most "natural" way, but for the appearance or specific strengths that people typically desire you won't be able to round it out very well with relying on such things.


    Diet alone cannot "build" in any way, only repair and work to build upon microtrauma inflicted upon muscles by lifting things. If you don't force your body to grow through hard work, that extra food is likely going to go everywhere but the places that you want it! Same goes for maintenance - if you're not lifting to keep up the muscle and force it to continue existing, you'll see those extra calories add weight in undesirable ways, hence the silly notion of "muscle turning into fat" that people always state. If only they understood that it was because you can't eat as if you have 200 lbs. of lean mass when you are only maintaining enough in your workouts to need far less!



  11. Event training today!


    Got to train at a new place today - the guy's family owns a metal fabricating facility and the boiler room has been turned into a strongman's paradise! Just about anything someone could need for event training was there, so we did as much as our bodies would allow.


    Started out warming up with some power snatches and clean & presses with 135 to loosen up. 3 quick sets to get started, then it was on!


    Opened the heavy stuff up with yoke walks outdoors - apparently the one we used swings REALLY badly, making it a lot harder to manage easier weights, so hopefully when I can use a good yoke again I'll be much better for it. 3 walks of about 80-100 feet with 420 lbs. to start, then I went heavier but didn't fare so well, only making around 10-20 feet total with 620 lbs. Once I get to where I can keep it more stable I should be able to make the full distance with the weight easily enough.


    Did 2 quick sets of farmer's walks with 210 lbs. per hand for 80 feet - just felt like going light on these.


    Went back inside and played with the stones a bit. Just going lighter on them for a higher platform, made 2 loads with the 250 lb. stone to 63", much higher than I've had to load one before. First time was pretty ugly and struggled, second load was fast and smooth. Did 3 or 4 loads for speed to the 53" platform as well, but nothing much more than that. No heavy stones today, maybe next week.


    Next, did 18" deadlifts off a special device attached to the largest power rack I've ever seen, working up to 540 lbs. for a good single. Did a seriously ugly 585 lbs. that took forever to lock out on my 3rd try, so this again is proof I need to start deadlifting a lot more. Come next summer I have to be hitting 750 or more to be remotely competitive with it, so I definitely need to train this regularly.


    Finally, took the dragging sled outside in the parking lot again and did backward walking pulls until I almost threw up. The weight wasn't super-heavy, but pulling 330 lbs. around for sets of 50-100 feet will make you feel like you're going to die. If you ever want to make your legs feel solid like tree trunks, get a sled and drag that thing around because my thighs were so pumped I couldn't squat down to sit when resting.


    A few days off ar in order, squats again on Tuesday!



  12. 31, currently residing in Waukesha, Wisconsin (just outside of Milwaukee by about 20 minutes drive), probably will be here for some time to come unless we opt to uproot our entire business and relocate, which isn't likely to happen any time too soon.


    I'm out of town a lot, but if you're looking for a musclebuddy...


    This made me laugh - Sensless and I refer to ourselves as "musclebuddies" since my wife's father once called us that name in a mocking manner. Apparently he didn't want to help us move our office furniture a few years back so he said "Why don't you get your muscle buddy to help out?" It's been an endearing term ever since, despite the origin!



  13. Kind of a goof-off day today, but a PR for overhead pressing came out of it.


    Started with some DL lockouts from an inche above the knee. Bar had next to no knurling and my hands were sweating from the get-go, so it wasn't a great time. Just a few quick sets:

    1x10 @ 315

    1x5 @ 405

    1x5 @ 495

    1x5 @ 585

    1x3 @ 675, bar was starting to slip so I ended up there.


    Decided to try for a push press PR since I haven't done one in a long time. Got in the rack and had a go at it:

    1x5 @ 135

    1x1 @ 225

    1x1 @ 245

    1x1 @ 265

    1x1 @ 280 for a 5 lb. PR. Seemed to be easier than expected

    1xfailure at 290, crapped out at top of head height. Another few weeks and I'll give the 290 a go again, hoping for 300 by year's end.


    Did one single with a strict press at 225 that went up pretty well, failed at 230.


    5 minutes to go, hit up some weird cable overhead press machine since I could keep my hands inward to simulate log positioning. 3 quick sets of 8 with 100, 120 and 140, all of which felt much more like 30-40 lbs. lighter than the listed poundages compared to DB work.


    Went home, still felt refreshed, did some grip work that I've been sorely neglecting. Worked some plate pinches up to a few 3-5 second holds with 35 lb. plates, pulled the 42.5 lb. blob a few times, got pissed off at missing 170 lbs. on the Rolling Thunder handle and that was about it. Gotta get back to tossing in grip stuff 1-2x per week to get on track again.


    Hopefully some event training this weekend, otherwise it'll be deadlifts and whatever else sounds good at the time.

  14. I used to drink at least a gallon per day, but I've sadly gone down to probably 30-40 oz./day since getting hooked on cheap diet cola again (something that I'd like to eliminate from my diet in 2006). I felt much better when I drank a lot more water - yes, I had to run to the bathroom every 45 minutes, but I think it was worth it. Basically, I kept a 16 oz. glass at my desk at all times, making sure I had at least 5 glasses at work and 3-4 more while at home to round things out. Add in a bit more at the gym and it probably came to a bit more than a gallon per day. Just space it out, sip conservatively every few minutes, and it makes it easiest to get all that water in!




    I was surprised a bit to see that Robert Cohen was against B-12 supplementation, but then again, he's always on the side that seems most controversial so I guess it doesn't really surprise me.


    Jack Norris and Dr. Michael Greger are two people who REALLY know vegan nutrition, and these are guys who have nothing to gain monetarily from telling vegans what is recommended for optimal health. Both are very objective people (I've met them on a few occasions) and honestly, when they have vegan-specific nutrition advice, I listen because I have confidence in their opinions.


    A good quick read, but definitely informative!



  16. I definitely don't want to come off as lecturing because I neither have a well-balanced diet nor do I have a great supplementation routine, that's for sure.


    However, I do think that for the very few things we as vegans should worry about dietary-wise, B-12 shouldn't be neglected for how easy it is to obtain. Getting more than you need isn't going to damage your health, but having a deficiency will be something that you obviously do NOT want to experience (see the B-12 thread for a story regarding that!) We often assume that because we eat "healthy" foods that we could never have a problem, and I'd hate to see people have to suffer because they thought that supplementing something essential for proper function isn't a valid thing to do. As you can see in the other thread, there can be issues with our bodies' absorption potential, and the miniscule amount of some vitamins that we sometimes get might not be enough through everyday eating, particularly if it is like B-12 and not an easy thing to find in your daily vegan meals. I may carry some spare weight on me which isn't necessarily the greatest thing, but I sure don't plan on simple supplementation to prevent potential illness that could steal months of my life!


    I know that money is really tight for some people, but we have to ask ourselves, when an item costs something in the range of 5 cents per day for a dose, can we REALLY say that we don't spend far more than that on something we could easily eliminate from our daily habit once or twice to pay for it? Coffee, soft drinks, a Clif bar....we all have our indulgences that we don't consider to be frivolous, but all it takes is denying them once in a while to afford things that really matter. I think proper insurance for our health should come at the top of this, even if it isn't "fun" to think about.


    Sorry, getting a bit carried away here. I just think that being vegan and being healthy go hand-in-hand and I'd hate to see anyone pay the price with their health for something really simple and preventable. The choice is ultimately everyone's to decide, but if the time comes that something does in fact happen, you can't undo the damage.



  17. I suffered a serious B12 deficiency in 1985. I spent 6 months off work, 4 months of it in a wheel chair. My original doctor diagnosed me with MS. He said a few other things that made me suspect, so I got a second opinion. The new doctor immediately did a full blood panel & within weeks of beginning 3 times weekly B12 injections I started to get better, although the entire road to recovery was easily a year.


    It would be valuable to cross-post this over to the thread regarding not taking supplements. I think that people often overestimate how "balanced" their diet is, and nobody wants to have to pay the price in the end because they simply didn't want to acknowledge their eating habits weren't perfect. Your experience could definitely teach people quite a bit who otherwise think that we can go decades without B-12 and never have to worry. This applies particularly if someone has poor absorption and gets no or next to no B-12 in their diet - sounds like setup for potential disaster!



  18. Even a B-12 supplement is really inexpensive, particularly if you use it sparingly and make it last. I'll use the B-12 spray we sell, for example - there's 175 servings per bottle on the average, and if you were to take it once per week....welll....you get the picture as to how long you can make a $9.95 item last if you wanted to. Over 3 years' supply for less than $10 is pretty reasonable to ensure against potential problems from deficiencies.


    I myself don't plan on gambling that my diet encompasses every nutrient combination perfectly. I know that it doesn't because I know how I eat, so why take a chance?



  19. Since I can't seem to post the long-winded reply I have regarding isolation work, I'm simply going to link to a Word document that has what I've written. Nothing like writing for 30 minutes and not being able to post it!




    If it asks for a username and password, click cancel and you should still be able to view the document (hopefully!)



  20. kollision - I do agree that machines will definitely have different value depending on your goals. I'm never going to be aesthetically pleasing in a bodybuilding sense, but if I were to go that route, I'd likely incorporate more machines into what I'd do. Years ago when I did train for appearance over strength machines did their job, so by no means do I think that they're necessarily bad - just bad for what I myself am training to accomplish


    And you're quite correct about the machine itself being a widely varying factor - for example, with leg press machines I'd gone from one where 900x8 was difficult one week to a different gym where I did 1350x5 with the same level of difficulty - every machine's specific angles, cable/pulley system, weight stack, condition and such will make the difference from how one feels to the next. That's why I love good old freeweights so much - the change from one set of equipment to the next is slight at most, and what you put into it with intensity and form will ultimately determine your progress with an exercise.


    I do have to admit, I hope one day to max the 1-arm pulldowns on the plate-loaded Hammer Strength machine with 225 lbs. per arm for a few reps (maxed out at 205 for 2 last time I tried). That's the last machine-based frontier I hope to conquer in the next year!



  21. Squat and bench day!


    Speed work for both, so it was a quick session of back-to-back sets between squats and close-grip benches with no rest except to get a drink after each round:


    8x2 @ 335 for the squat

    8x2 @ 235 for the close grip bench


    All sets done in quick doubles aiming for top speed coming up on each rep. Do squats, do benches, drink, come back without a break.


    Next, did some 1/3 squats, about a 11-12" ROM from the pins to lockout:

    1x5 @ 500

    1x5 @ 590

    1x5 @ 680

    1x1 @ 730, 10 second hold at lockout


    Did some good mornings next to hit a new PR:

    1x5 @ 225

    1x3 @ 315

    1x2 @ 365

    1x2 @ 385

    1x1 @ 405 - kind of sloppy, needed work

    2x2 @ 225


    That was plenty, back and shoulders on Thursday!



  22. I haven't used machines regularly in a long time since they never gave me anywhere near the gains that a bar and some plates did. When I used to use machines at my old gym it was pretty well only the Hammer Strength plate loaded ones, and I maxed or near-maxed all of them, making it kind of pointless to go on. That, and nothing felt worse than a Hammer Strength decline machine - if anything will rip your shoulder out the socket on a short 8" ROM that'll be the one!


    There's something I found pretty silly about being able to knock out 360 for 6-8 reps on a Hammer Strength incline and 450+ on the decline and yet could only manage 4-5 reps with 220 on a real incline bench and 275 for a triple on a decline at the same time. Sure, the added weight was an ego booster, but the carryover to other lifts really sucked when I dumped the machines. Once I gave them up I've progressed ten times faster. Some people really do well with machines, but I don't count myself in that group.


    Honestly, the only Hammer Strength macines I would still touch are the incline for a secondary exercise after freeweight stuff and the Hammer bilateral pulldown. The pulldown one is still kind of fun to use as a finisher on back day, but all their other stuff I could live without!



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