So, at the end of January I decided that I wanted to start taking my work-out routine seriously and add 15-20 lbs of body weight, with as much muscle growth as possible.
I have gained a lot of strength in the process and learned A LOT about proper nutrition thanks primarily to Conscious Muscle and a YouTube channel called B.U.F.F. Dudes (they’re not vegan, but they have great videos about weight lifting). Along the way, many people have asked me why I decided to do this now. I’m 32 years old, studying for my PhD comprehensive oral exams, and my wife and I just had our first child! (Will post about that soon) These situations are not really the recipe for someone that is spending most of their day eating/thinking about eating. But I decided to make this short post about why I did decide to do this, and the first thing starts with my major life event.
Knowing that I was about to become a dad had been the #1 inspiration for me to get into the best shape of my life. First and foremost, I want to be in my daughter’s life as long as possible, and that starts with good health. Second, I want to be a good example of a healthy lifestyle involving exercise and proper diet. Lastly, I am sure you guessed that my wife and I are going to raise our daughter to be vegan. While, we will do our best to help her understand all the reasons we are vegan, I also want her to see that her father is not only vegan, but physically strong, as well.
As a vegan, the most common question you get asked is usually, “where do you get your protein from?” This question drives vegans crazy! For years, I used to just point out the (vegan) actor Chris Hemsworth and ask if he looks like he has a protein deficiency. Of course he doesn’t, he’s F*ckin Thor! But then one day I realized, if I gained some serious muscle, I could be that example. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I will even be close to as good looking as Chris Hemsworth, but at least I could gain muscle like him. I’m at a point now where people have noticed that I have put on a noticeable amount of muscle and those people all know I’m vegan. What I hope to get out of this, is that when they are talking to their friends about vegans, some of them might say that they know/work with a vegan who gained a fair amount of muscle. Thus, planting the seed that vegans get plenty of protein and can be just as strong as a meat-eater. As recently as a week ago, I had a nonvegan come up to me in a coffee house and ask me for nutrition advice, because he could see that I clearly take good care of myself and I get plenty of protein. I gotta admit, that felt pretty good. These will also be things that my daughter will see in me. She will know that her daddy is physically strong AND compassionate to animals.
The final reason I decided to do this muscle bulk was to help with my stress. My stress relief for most of my life has been videogames. While, I do still enjoy playing videogames, they became too much of a time-suck for me and badly affected my sleep schedule. What ended up happening over the last five months was that working-out replaced my video game time. It was not intentional, it just happened that way. So now, instead of sitting on my couch and barely moving my hands, I am lifting weights and strengthening my body and cardiovascular system. But the real reason this has become my new #1 stress relief is because working-out releases endorphins and dopamine. It’s like your brain is rewarding you for taking care of your body, by making you feel good. It might be the healthiest stress relief (as long as your are being safe while lifting weights) a person can perform.
So those are my reasons for getting into a steady and intense work-out routine and another example of why veganism can work for you!