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Tuesday, 24 November 2009

My new wrist wraps

I don't use many training aids as a rule. I don't normally wear a belt when I train (although I will be testing one out in the very near future, so look out for that), nor do I wear elbow or knee wraps, super suits or even lifting straps that often. I prefer to lift without specialist lifting gear...but...Recently I've been suffering a touch of tendinitis, in the right wrist, so my options were rest it with no training at all for that arm, or get some sort of support for the wrist. I went with the wrist support option!
Anyway I looked about for a bit & finally found a pair online at the vegan sports shop, this shop actually does some serious bits of kit. It's run by some lads in Scotland who provide gear for powerlifters, strongmen & weightlifters & unlike many specialist vegan shops it hasn't inflated it's prices just because it deals with a niche market.
After a bit of looking about I went for the 'blood stripe' design (you've got to go with a name like that!) & delivery was super-fast, so I could get back to some upper body training without a break. The wraps are great for my needs. I only use one on my right wrist, but the difference is like night & day in terms of pain when training (especially pushing). Obviously once it recovers I'll be doing some serious rehab & eventually I aim to drop the wraps, but to me they were well worth the few pounds they cost me to keep me in the game while the wrist has time to heal up.

As a rule I keep aids to a minimum, but for contest where they are allowed & for recovery are 2 areas I think training aids like these can come into their own. If you have a nagging issue or 2, or an annoying injury, that can be bypassed with a training aid (while you work towards a recovery), then they can mean the difference between a forced training break & continuing towards your goals, so I'm all for them...when used correctly. I must point out that yes wearing a super suit, knee wraps, wrist wraps & a belt will add to your total, but I don't believe they add the benefits of spending the majority of your time training in the raw. Obviously a powerlifter who competes equips has different needs, but even these should take some time training in a t-shirt & shorts, just to build up that base strength level & not be forced to rely on the support of a suit 365 days a year. Yep, the weight will go down quite a bit without the gear, but you'll build a better base if you spend at least a portion of your off-season training lifting without support (obviously taking into account any injuries & issues - don't be stupid).
So do I recommend wrist wraps...well if you need them yes, for most people probably no, unless you're entering a contest that allows wraps, you don't need wraps (as I said I only wear 1 wrap when training), if you have wrist issues benching or curling then they could help (when the pain subsides consider some wrist rehab with some progressive lever bar work, grippers, wrist curls etc). You're goal shouldn't be to hide a weakness with wraps or any support gear, it should be to work around an injury, so it can heal, then CORRECT that problem & get the area strong enough you don't need the aid anymore. At least that's my take on the whole training aids debate.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Test driving some hemp protein

Recently we at vegan bodybuilding hooked up with Caroline from Good Oils who asked us to try out their new Hemp protein powder. Having tried several varieties of hemp protein we agreed, with the proviso that we could say whatever we wanted about it. This wasn't a sponsorship or anything, just us giving you our honest take on the product.
OK first off the nutritional profile- well to be honest it is pretty good, in fact better than the comparable stuff from Canada (the main supplier of hemp protein concentrate in the world at the moment), it has a slightly higher fat content, & hemp is a great supplier of healthy fats & slightly lower in carbs (the overall calories being similar for both products). Plus as it's grown & processed in Devon in the UK then for anyone in Europe it makes more environmental sense to get it shipped from here than first dragged across the pond from Canada, so straight off the bat this new hemp protein scores a couple of points.
Obviously taste is a factor. We tried out the unflavoured. Hemp actually has about the best taste of any protein on the market that I've tried, so I wasn't sure how this product with the extra fat & less carbs would match up? Thankfully it tasted as good as any hemp protein I've tried. It will certainly become part of my regular dietary intake.
I must say I certainly can recommend this product & think that everyone in the UK & Europe should at least consider giving it a go as with the extra healthy fat (used in cell manufacture & numerous other hormonal, immune & other systems) & less carbs would suit those trying to gain or maintain lean muscle mass while keeping fat to a minimum.
Pricing is also a factor & again this is pretty competitively priced, with it's 2.5Kg tubs being lower priced than the bulk suppliers I compared them with.
To find out more about this new hemp protein click here. It certainly gets a big thumbs up from us!

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Vegan strong arm tactics

You've heard the stories about those vegans strong arming their way into getting what they want? Well here's one guy who can really 'strong arm' you!
Rob Bigwood one of the strongest arm wrestlers on the planet just got back from competing in 2009 South Jersey Fitness Expo in Atlantic City, NJ.
Rob came 1st using his left hand & 3rd using his right (he got 3rd with the right because his elbow slipped, he wasn't pinned).
We're looking forward to Rob crushing the opposition as he works his way up to number 1 in the world!

Rob Bigwood - Vegan Pro Armwrestler from Rob Bigwood on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

New Vegan Bodybuilding messageboard

Yep, at last we've decided it's time to get a messageboard of our own up & running. It's still being tidied up over the next few days, but it's open for members right now, so if you're interested go & check it out here

Friday, 19 June 2009

A few new foods I bought yesterday

Yesterday I bought a few new things I'd not bought before, so I thought I might share them with you. OK so some of them are not the least processed things I've ever bought, but I do like trying out stuff that's new to me every now & again, so yesterday I went on a bit of a new things 'frenzy', so here they are (I'll put up the basic macronutrient breakdown for you as well)

Clear spot

I've not seen this brand before, but they had a few things, so I bought a couple just to try them out. Both are tofu based products & organic. I bought:

Sesame burgers
energy 121.8 cal per 100g
Pro 16.1g per 100g
carb 3.1g per 100g
fat 5.0g per 100g
one box is 190g & contains 2 burgers

Sea cakes
energy 110.1 cal per 100g
Pro 12.7g per 100g
carb 6.5g per 100g
fat 3.7g per 100g
one box is 190g & contains 2 cakes

Vegideli Gourmet meat-free quarter pounders

I've had vegideli stuff before, but not this particular product which is also gluten-free for those of you who have to avoid gluten.

You get 2 burgers per packet so as it's easier I'll do the amounts below as per burger (each of which are 114g in weight)

per burger (114g)
energy 208 cal per burger
Pro 21.9g per burger
carb 7.8g per burger
fat 9.4g per burger
one box is 228g & contains 2 burgers

I tried one of these last night & they were pretty good just grilled. But it does depend if you're a fan of fake meats.

Provamel Tofu mince

I suspect most of you have tried TVP mince at some point. well for a change I decided to try out some of this tofu mince which looks kind of similar, but comes out of the fridge section & is made of tofu, not TVP. A mate of mine raves about it, so I thought I'd give it a go this week...oh yea & it's organic.

energy 173 cal per 100g
Pro 17.5g per 100g
carb 1g per 100g
fat 11g per 100g
one box is 180g

Fry's vegetarian 4 chicken-style burgers

(guest starring Onnie the cat!)
Fry's is a big name in the fake meat producers & I do enjoy their products, so I'm looking forward to eating these later this week:

energy 174 cal per 100g
Pro 11.5g per 100g
carb 18.1g per 100g
fat 5.4g per 100g
one box is 320g

So those are the next things I bought this week, as i don't often go on new things buying frenzy I thought you might be interested in the kind of stuff I buy when the mood takes me to buy something new.

New vegan cookbook, not vegan!

One book I do NOT recommend is the new book by Pat Crocker. It is a prime example of what a vegan cookbook shouldn't be.
I first read about it online in the Canadian press, then hunted out a copy at a local book store as I couldn't believe that anyone would actually try & sell such a misleading book, but unfortunately the stories are true, the book is as bad as the article claims.
Why you'd call this book a "Vegan cook's BIBLE" when it's not even a vegan cook book remains a mystery to me? Apparently Pat did a full 8 months of research into a vegan know what that means..well's like a surgeon doing a full year of studying anatomy in a text book, are they then an expert at they need to get actual experience DOING surgery to gain the experience. No one on the outside can understand the issues & the food issues we have to overcome by standing on the outside, Pat proves this by studying the problems for 8 months & yet still not understanding what it is to BE a vegan & what a vegan actual is. The inclusion of honey & the promotion of fish just doesn't sit well with the average vegan looking to purchase a cook book.
From what I could see this book offers nothing to the vegan (whether you are strength athletes like us or the general population), & to be honest I've seen much better recipes in the countless other books out there from people who understand the issues & dilemmas we face & I'd suggest you spend your money on one of those & avoid this book.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Turin veg festival 2009

I've done a page here If you want to go & check it out. We had a ball!

(the picture was done by Andrea Malgeri - - at the festival & is of all the british gang who turned up on the day from Vegan Bodybuilding & Peter S from vegan runners

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Bristol vegan fayre 2009

I've added a new update to the VBB website about our weekend at the vegan fayre. Hope you enjoy it?

click here

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Sorry I've been busy & updates

I've been a bit lax with the blog of late as I've been editing the new seminar DVD & getting the new T-shirt design printed . I'm off to the Bristol vegan fayre this weekend , then a few days later to the Turin vegfest
At both we are running a stall, doing a talk & running a contest (at Bristol it will be Shoulder press for reps & at Turin push-ups for reps). Both events should be good & if you can come along it would be great to meet any of you!

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Core Stabilisation

I had a query from a girl who wanted to strengthen her core muscularity. She had back issues so sit-ups & crunches were out as any movement like that aggravated the neck, so I quickly snapped a few pics of a few static holds you can do that will strengthen the area & work to 'resist motion' which is a major function of the abs & core region that is overlooked.
If you are just starting I would simply move into the position then lower until you get a feel for the movements, but once you are confident you have them correctly mastered begin to hold each position for time. I would work up to 90 seconds or so, then begin to either add weight, lift a limb or use some other method to make the stance more difficult.
I've included 4 (5 if you include both sides of the side plank), which will work your static holding strength & anti-rotational strength. Do these exercises once or twice a week will aid you in increasing your deadlift, squat or any other exercise that needs a strong core.

Front plank

In the front plank the body should be straight & the spine should follow its natural curvature. The top of the arms should be at right angles when viewed from the front & sides. Do not lift your head, but let it follow the natural flow of the rest of the spine. Do not let you belly sink down (so you look like a seal). The idea is to use your stomach muscles to keep your belly in place (pink socks are optional)

Side plank

With the side plank you are using your obliques to stop your hips sagging into the ground. Your upper arm should be at 90°. An important point to note is the spine & neck should remain straight so the head shouldn’t droop or be pulled upwards, but the whole spine should be straight.

Bird dog

With the bird dog you are resisting rotation, so the idea is to keep the back flat & the curve of the spine natural. The head should not droop or be raised, but the neck should follow the natural curve of the rest of the spine. Your back & buttocks should be level, not twisted. You lift the opposite arm & leg, so in this example you’ve got the right arm & the left leg raised.

Shoulder Bridge

The shoulder bridge works the back muscles directly. In the pictures I should have the feet just a little closer so the bottom of the legs are at 90° to the floor. The idea is not to extend the back, but to hold the body in its normal position with the spine holding its normal shape, so don’t lift the hips too high, just enough to keep the back in its natural shape.

Final points

If you need any further explanation then feel free to leave a comment & I'll get back to you. If you are doing stretches for the back, do them after you have done these, not before.
Work up slowly & start off easy. Learn to do the moves right first, then go up in time. Stop as soon as you feel the form is slipping, do not hold a pose using the wrong form or you’ll do more harm than good.
Don’t start these while you have a bad back, be patient, let any back injuries heal, then start adding them into your day.
Twice a week is plenty.
Use a mirror to begin with to see if you’re doing them right, or get someone to check out that you are getting into the right position.
Get hold of a book & write down how long you hold each position for, the date you did it, etc. It is probably best to set a day or 2 aside each week (like say Monday & Thursday for example) & those are the days you do them, that way you’ll form a habit of doing them those days. Aim at doing a little bit more every week.

Monday, 9 March 2009

The weakness you hide

Above you see what I call a perfect squat. It's the style I prefer, high bar, close stance. That's not to say wider stance lower squats are any less, but for me, my 'minds eye' squat is the one above. If you could copy the above & even get to moderate weight, you'd be at, or very near what people would call strong.
I'll confess to you that squatting is not my best move, I'm not a strong squatter, but I do love to squat. Well, let's be honest actual squatting isn't what I love, I look forward to squats, I love finishing squats, but doing squats isn't the nicest thing in the world, but I know squats are an absolute must for me. My deadlifts are better than my squats, I could play to that relative strength & get up to a reasonable deadlift level, but I know that building my weak squat will fix a weak area & I'll come out a stronger man by doing an exercise I'm actually not good at. Work your weaknesses, work the exercises you least enjoy, learn to love the exercise you're worst at, as that is probably where your weak link is. I'm sure I heard that somewhere, but I can't think who (but thank you whoever you are!). One day I will do a decent squat, using a decent weight, my weakness will morph into a strength (or if not a strength, then a damn good try at one!).
Now look at your own training. What exercises are you avoiding, what lift are you worst at & enjoy least. Don't you think it's time to get that lift into your routine & hammer it into submission, learn to love it, learn to enjoy even a 1Kg increase, then watch all those little 1Kg increases add up until, before you know it the lift skyrockets into a good weight, then maybe even a great weight!

(The pic above I pulled from the book "Purposeful Primitive" by Marty Gallagher. Get the book, it's well worth a read!)

Monday, 23 February 2009

Stallone at 62

I'm not sure whether this is how he looks or some added CGI, but here's the leaked picture of Stallone in his latest film 'The Expendables'.

Not a vegan thing, but assuming the pictures aren't doctored, then he's looking better than most over 60's (barring our own over 60's hunk 'Super Roland' of course :-)

'Super Roland' older than Stallone but still kicking butt in the gym :-)

Heart attack grill!

Ideas for some of you bulkers? how about an 8,000 calorie burger! You don't even need to ask if these people are crazy.
How long before we get the vegan alternative - an 8,000 cal burger with a bun deep fried in coconut fat ;-)
There's a few seconds of adverts at the beginning of this clip, but worth it to see the craziness that follows...

Watch CBS Videos Online

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

New Slide show

Just updated the slideshow of a few Vegan Bodybuilding members & one loss. Prenna has given up being a vegan & stopped training :-(

Monday, 16 February 2009

Off the Hoof Issue 2

The second issue of "Off the Hoof" magazine is out right now. This issue includes how to eat vegan when in training (or start eating vegan if that's new to you), an interview with Savate superstar James Southwood & Amazing World Record holding Powerlifter Pat Reeves.
You can get your issue of "Off the hoof"here

PS My server appears to be playing up - there is a picture of the cover of issue 2 above, but until the server sorts itself out you'll have to trust me on that :-)

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Pat Reeve's competes 2009

In Pat's first outing in 2009, we see her qualify for the Nationals with a bit to spare. read the full details here

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

paleo-diet : A different view

[OK Bill Pearl is veggie, not a so-called paleo-diet advocate, but at least the shorts are kind of cave man :-) - the pic is from Bill's book "Keys to the inner universe", a huge book with more exercises than you can shake a stick at & well worth buying]

For once, not my own thoughts, but another blog I stumbled across.
This site here does a good job of covering both the arguments for & the reasons against advocating the paleo-diet as an idea

Friday, 9 January 2009

Confidence to grip hard

How confident you can really grip when it's necessary? If you fell off a cliff, could you really grip that branch & stop yourself falling to your death? If you think you can have a great grip check this guy out & see if you trust your grip as much as he does...I know I don't trust mine quite that much!

Many ways to get fit

Here's one of the more unusual ways to get fit

Come over to the darkside young gym jedi :-)

Friday, 2 January 2009

Brighton Vegan Fayre 2009

Just a quick heads up on the upcoming Brighton Vegan fayre on 21 march. We'll be running a Hammer curl contest on the day (males curl 12Kg, females 8Kg) it will be for the most continuous reps, so get training.
They'll also be a few talks on the day by the VBB team with me & Robbie Hazeley (2008 over 50's Mr UK, over 50's Mr Great Britain & 7th in the over 50's Mr World) giving a talk, also world record holding powerlifter Pat Reeves & a talk by Anthony Aurelius, so we're pretty prominent in the fayre. So, get training as we'll expect you there at the fayre!
For more details check out