Colts’ Plant-Powered Griff Whalen

photo: NFL.com
photo: NFL.com

Griff Whalen has to be exceptionally fast, strong, and calculating. That’s the job of the wide receiver, one of the most demanding positions on the football field. It’s also said he has one of the most enviable physiques in the NFL, so it’s no surprise that Whalen’s choice to be a self-described “plant powered athlete” is drawing controversy from teammates and fans. In the past few weeks Whalen has been tweeting images of Vega products, tweeting shout-outs to ultramarathoner and vegan Rich Roll, and generally being incredibly positive and motivated by his new vegan routine.

 

PlayerBio_Whalen
photo: colts.com

In a recent interview for the Indy Star, Whalen is grilled about being what they call “a leaf eater”. It seems the choice to forgo masculine, animal-based foods never ceases to amaze or invoke the stereotypical responses, despite a wealth of easily found scientific and nutritional research and a roster of vegan athletes that should speak for itself. But in the article, they show how his positive example is even rubbing off on other players:

Whalen’s dietary choice piqued the interest of punter Pat McAfee. During the off-season, he gave it a try.

“I decided I wanted to change my body a bit,” said McAfee. “I had no idea what exactly I wanted, but I knew if it looked anything like Griff Whalen’s, I’d be good to go. The dude might have a 14-pack.”

So, McAfee had Colts executive chef DeWitt Jackson start whipping up the same exact meals that Whalen was eating. He calls it “some of the most interesting stuff I’ve ever consumed.” – The Indy Star

 

Muscle, Vegan Heavyweights & Strong Hearts

cam-f-awesome03_400derekuserpic

Screen Shot 2014-11-04 at 12.04.56 PMhttp://vhmnt.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/wolfclaw_x2_front-600x600.jpghttps://www.atayne.com/shop/media/catalog/product/CJ0025CUSTOM/bowdoin_front.jpghttps://www.atayne.com/shop/media/catalog/product/MT2010-CUSTOM/oph_ls_side.jpg
http://static.wixstatic.com/media/35cd2c_f2bdbcf9b4ca410dad4d3a0ff63e10fe.jpg_srz_p_616_828_85_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srz

Paleo Pitfalls

I’ve been doing crossfit for just over two years now. It’s a fantastic workout, but the crossfit industry consistently pushes a Paleo (also known as caveman) diet. As a vegan of over 15 years who performs very well in both strength and endurance, I’ve been suspicious of the hype around the idea that I need to eat muscle to become muscular. After all, I’ve gained about 20 lbs in muscle since starting crossfit without eating any animal protein.

http://photos-b.ak.instagram.com/hphotos-ak-xpa1/928022_760185947377817_1974203707_n.jpghttp://scontent-a-lga.cdninstagram.com/hphotos-xap1/t51.2885-15/10507791_741012082612386_1620514595_n.jpg

A new 2014 study from the International Journal of Exercise Science should cause some alarm for the heart health of those following a Paleo diet:

“Our results demonstrate that an ad libitum unrestricted Paleo diet intervention is associated with deleterious changes to blood lipids in healthy subjects, despite concurrent improvements in body composition and cardiorespiratory fitness.” 

Similar to Atkins (but with better marketing) the Paleo diet definitely appeals to a machismo that we associate with the caricature of a caveman, but even the American Dietetic Association considers it a fad diet, and as more studies documenting the long-term health consequences of diets like these are published in scientific journals, we have the option of rationalizing the aesthetic appeal of a diet like this, or the option of making changes in response to concrete findings.

This is what the Plantbuilt team of 100% vegan athletes looks like, photographed in Austin, Texas this year. Derek Tresize (right of center, back row) just went pro after taking 1st place in Men’s Physique at the Naturally Fit Super Show this past July 2014. Ed Bauer (front right) is a crossfit athlete and coach as well.

plantbuiltteam
Chad Byers
, Austin Barbisch, Korin Sutton, Christian Garcia, Ifpa Pro William Tucker, Billy Prusinowski, Derek Tresize Wnbf Pro, Allison Dunham, Robert Cheeke, Giacomo Marchese and Tha Vegan Dread “.

 

BRUNO CARVALHO: Vegan Warrior Royalty

bruno_background

Bruno Carvalho is 32 year-old welterweight MMA champ who is a Brazillian transplant living in Sweden, training with Team Carvalho at Allstar Training Center. His warrior lineage is no surprise, with a grandfather who was a seventh Dan in Judo and founded the Itapagipano de Judô Club in Brazil in 1966,  a great-uncle who was a Vale Tudo legend, and an five black belt uncles, one of whom gave Bruno his black belt in Jiu-Jitsu in 2003. Bruno went on to win more than fifty trophies in Judo, Jiu-Jitsu and Submission Wrestling, among them four BJJ State Championships and a Silver Medal at the European Championships in Jiu-Jitsu in 2007.

24690_382563981335_5272128_n

Bruno had an eight-fight unbeaten run from 2009 to 2011 which culminated in capturing the Middleweight Championship of World Freefight Challenge, the biggest and most professional Mixed Martial Arts organization in Southern Europe – but Bruno’s last fight in October of 2013 ended with Carvalo knocked out. For the last several months, Bruno has been training hard, preparing for his next fight against Norwegian Moshen Bahari on March 22, 2014. Part of Carvalho’s edge is that he has been vegan for over two years, and credits his veganism for the seemingly limitless endurance that he displays while training seven-day weeks.

24690_382563941335_4576440_n

Bruno took a break from training to have a quick chat with me:

Joshua Katcher:  Bruno, when was your last fight and how did it go? When is your next, and what are you doing to prepare?
Bruno Carvalho: My last fight was in October of last year [2013], it didn’t go so well. I’ve been dealing with lots of injures and personal stuff. I’m fighting Moshen Bahari on March 22, 2014 in Denmark, and I’m preparing very well, all the shit has passed, and now it’s full focus!

JK: You grew up surrounded by martial arts. Your family is a sort of ‘martial arts royals’. What was that like, and did you ever consider doing anything else?
BC: That was and is the best thing I can think of and wouldn’t ask God for something else! Never considered doing another thing, that’s how my family lives and that’s what I love to do!

JK: Outside of fighting and training, what are you up to?373796_10150394156766336_322591490_n
BC: I read a looooot about everything, love to read on nutrition, health… All vegan related book and athletes, also successful people’s biographies. From them we can always learn!

JK: You moved from Brazil to Sweden. Was that a bit of culture shock? Did it have anything to do with your veganism? How long have you been vegan and why have you chosen to be vegan?
BC: It was a big shock in all areas! I came here to teach and train, I wasn’t vegan at the time (unfortunately).  I started as a vegetarian and feeling the progress in my life and training, the vegan tradition came along and now it’s been 2 years.

JK: MMA is a hyper-masculine world. Caring about animals and being vegan isn’t necessarily seen as “masculine” by the mainstream. How do your family, friends, teammates and competitors respond to your veganism? Have you experienced any misunderstanding, bullying or ridicule because of it?
BC: Well, there’s always lots of jokes and questions, but the results and my performance show them the reality! I really don’t care when they joke, I just love to prove them wrong.

 

JK: You captured the Middleweight Championship of World Freefight Challenge. What does your training regimen look like as far as food and exercise in order to be a champion?
BC: I love to train very hard, and as much as I possibly can every single day. That’s one reason I became vegan, because it gives me the advantage to recover faster and train harder! I train every day of the week, even on Sundays I do a complementary sesh! Diet wise, I eat lots of fruits, salads, veggies, shakes…. You love to eat too!

JK: I do love to eat too, but I don’t work out as much as you do! What issues do you care about the most, and how do you address them?
BC: I care the most about health and performance… But of course I’m an animal lover and having watched many vegan videos and movies, I just can’t be contributing to violence against animals. We must respect all kinds of life!

mmaswedennet

JK: Do you know any other vegan athletes? Do you guys ever talk and trade advice?
BC: Yes! My good friend Akira Corassanii in NY is a vegan fighter, and I always talk to other vegan and vegetarian athletes and check their FB pages for news.

JK: What is your signature move?
BC: I have good throws because of my judo background, and on the floor I always get omoplatas and triangles!

181878_10151164320416336_1178724714_n

JK: You’ve traveled a lot for work. What are you favorite places you’ve been, and where is the best vegan food int he world?
BC: I loved Thailand, and Middle Eastern countries are very attractive too! Best vegan food? Hmmm, always at home!

Game of Arms Trailer Released, features Vegan Rob Bigwood

Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 2.22.13 PMScreen Shot 2014-01-29 at 2.23.13 PM
Vegan arm wrestler, Rob Bigwood  during training.

I was majorly pumped back in November to report that AMC’s new series, Game of Arms, will feature vegan giant and pro arm wrestler Rob Bigwood. The official series trailer was released today and features Mr. Bigwood, who is apparently about to go embarrass someone in front of his son. Ouch. Can’t wait to catch the premiere of Game of Arms on Tuesday February 25th at 10/9c!