The danger of vegan lifting

Storytime: Soooo I was at the gym last night. On normal days I’m finished by 3 or 4pm at the very latest, because that’s when the gymbros and gymsisters descend upon an otherwise peaceful utopia of regular people trying to resist the indelible marks of time under Standard Western Diet tension. By 5pm a person has to wait for equipment and watch jacked dudes holding uncomfortably long internal dialogues with the mirror.

Last night I went at 8:30. And it was chaos.

The best thing about working out midday is this: nobody cares and nobody pays attention to your bad form or silly human suit. At 8:30 they do.

Now, I’ve been a vegan since the new year — and challenged myself to go to the gym every single day. I’ve begun to lift big. Without getting into the details of my plan, I occasionally lift very heavy with lower amounts of repetitions (4 sets of 8 reps).

turningshadow | 2014

After waiting patiently (and attempting non-judgement) for a group of selfie takers to finish their affair with the leg press, I loaded 900 pounds for my four sets. I’m not going to lie, it is super fun to press that much weight, even though it’s potentially embarrassing. As an isolation move with a mechanical advantage, pressing isn’t that great of a lift (squatting is more difficult and far superior in terms of benefit). There’s nothing worse than some huge dude getting on the leg press burdened with 20 plates and doing an ungodly 1/4 rep. It’s silly and doesn’t do anything for your body, other than potentially sacrifice your knees and femurs at the altar of ego.

I’ve worked for many years to get to the point where I can do eight slow, controlled, full repetitions with nine hundred pounds for four sets. It isn’t easy.

Here’s where the vegan thing comes in. I farted at the bottom of my first repetition. It wasn’t super loud and didn’t smell, but hordes of small gymbros-in-the-making, let’s call them gymbryos, were already swarming every inch of the gym, some of them probably noticing the audacious fat guy at the leg press.

Anyone who knows me well knows I hate poop jokes. I don’t think potty humor is particularly funny or intelligent or becoming… that’s just my personal feeling and honestly, I’m probably not going to post this story for that one fact alone (I’m also an over-sharer, so who knows).

But something amazing happened. When pressing that much weight, the world falls away and stuff other than survival ceases to matter. I finished my set, stood up, and realized something had changed; what once would have mortified me no longer did. I anticipated the sting of self-conscious rebuke, but nothing came. I went down to the press a young man and emerged an elder, unfazed by the passing of my own gas. That’s the test, right? My whole life had led to that point.

When interviewed, dying people overwhelmingly report that their biggest regret in life was caring too much about what other people thought.

I no longer did. I was one with the universe. I finished my sets with a little smile and then nothing, because I stopped caring for real.

Poop jokes still bother me though.


[since I promised to post the results of my Well Planted Year each month, as of March 1st: another 10 pounds down, making a total of 20 for 2018 so far]

*also, side-note, I hear that if you wash your beans super well, flatulence is less of an issue. Cheers.

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Goddamned Vegan Pizza

And one month goes by in a flash.

February 2, 2018. I’ve been 100% vegan and 100% gym rat for the first month of my “well-planted year.” I lost 10 pounds.

That sounds like a lot, but for a man my size, that can be dropped in a moment’s notice. Believe it or not, vegans can be unhealthy too. Oreos and Twizzlers. Pasta. Mountains of pasta.

For me it was the pizza. Apparently there is a random two-store chain in my city that decided to make the most glorious vegan pizzas: vegan sausage, vegan cheese, vegan ranch on the side. A block away from my house. Continue reading “Goddamned Vegan Pizza”

Nobody cares, work harder.

Of course some people care. My mom cares. There was that time at the beginning of my grief when she squeezed the muscles around my neck and said, “You won’t always be alone or feel this lonely… but you’re gonna have to be alone for a little bit.” I was drinking wine. It had been a hard summer.

Even so, divorce is a painfully solo adventure. All the best authorities recommend surrounding yourself with support, precisely because they know (being the best) that isolation is too easy. Continue reading “Nobody cares, work harder.”

A Well-Planted 2018

I have now kept several New Year’s resolutions. In 2015 I read fifty-two books, one per week. I spent 2016 as a vegetarian and in 2017 I didn’t jump off a bridge.

*pats self on back*

I feel myself waisting away. That isn’t a typo, my waist has steadily grown every year after ninth grade – except for that one time I lost 80 pounds in four months. I had illegally purchased meal replacement shakes on the black market (you’re supposed to have a doctor’s approval) and went on to shed significant portions of my muscle and hair along with all that fat. Continue reading “A Well-Planted 2018”