I would first like to apologize for the long layoff between articles. I have been busy in the past few months working on getting my modeling career started, dieting down for a couple of photo shoots with the most notable for the January issue of Muscle & Fitness Magazine and signing with an agency.
Vegetarianism, more specifically a Vegan lifestyle has gotten more mainstream attention in recent years and I am writing this article in an effort to show how it is possible to adhere to a Vegan lifestyle and still make great gains as a bodybuilder.
It is my goal to show how a Vegan lifestyle can still help bodybuilders make great gains but in no way am I attempting to push my beliefs and lifestyle on anyone. This article is for anyone who is interested in a Vegan bodybuilding lifestyle and those who would like to know more about being a Vegan bodybuilding.
This article is the first of many installments that I will be writing over the course of the year. In this first part I will highlight workouts that will help Vegan bodybuilders build muscle.
It is tempting to try the workouts that are listed in many of the muscle magazines. However, it is important for Vegans to realize that their lifestyle and nutrition programs do not support the recovery necessary to train with high volume and frequency. I can vouch to this from experience.
It does not take much to stimulate muscle growth, heavy weight and low reps will get the job done. It is important to keep workouts under 45 minutes. Most of my workouts last only 30 to 35 minutes. Later on in the year towards "beach season" I will highlight workouts and routines to help shed body fat and cut up but the main point of this article is to build muscle.
How much, if any cardio to be done is based on the individual. When I bulk up I do not do any cardio at all, but I would say that those who would like to do cardio, do 2 to 3 sessions of 15 to 20 minutes at a low intensity per week. The bike, elliptical or walking or jogging on the treadmill are great choices.
Keep the intensity, frequency and duration low. Also, make sure to have a Vegan-friendly protein shake (soy, rice, hemp) 20 minutes before doing cardio to prevent any muscle loss during the cardio workout.
Weight Lifting Guidelines:
All of my workouts are based around these following guidelines:
- Work each body part once per week.
- Keep workouts under 45 minutes.
- Lift heavy weight and low reps.
- Perform 3 to 4 exercises for large muscle groups and 2 to 3 exercises for smaller muscle groups.
- I keep my repetitions between 4 and 6 for core lifts (Bench Press, Deadlift and Squats) and 6 to 10 for all other lifts.
The Workout Split:
- Sunday - Off
- Monday - Chest & Triceps
- Tuesday - Back & Biceps
- Wednesday - Off
- Thursday - Legs & Abs
- Friday - Shoulders & Traps
- Saturday - Off
The following is the way that I split my workouts up. If I have time and my schedule allows for it, I do two separate workouts with a workout for the first body part of the day in the morning and the workout for the other muscle group to be worked that I perform later in the evening.
I used to have workouts set in stone and I never varied from them, but after having 7 years of training under my belt, I have become more aware of my body and in-tune to how I feel. Now I go into the gym with a plan and goal of what I want to achieve but I listen to my body and adjust the sets, reps and exercises that I perform based on how I feel on that given day.
For example with Chest I may have planned to do the Barbell Bench Press, Incline Dumbbell Presses and Dumbbell Flyes, but for some reason my body tells me that the Flyes are not going to happen today, I switch to the Cable Crossover, or Pec-Deck Flye instead.
With all of that said, here are my typical workouts with each body part with the substitutions that I use for certain exercises.
Monday - Chest & Triceps
- Barbell Bench Press (Dumbbell Bench Press) 4x4-6 after 2 warm-up sets of 5 to 10 reps
- Incline Bench Press (Incline Dumbbell Bench Press) 3x6
- Weighted Dips 3xfailure
- *Cable Crossover 2x10* If I feel recovered and strong, I do this exercise if not, I am done with Chest for the day.
- Lying Triceps Extensions "skull crushers" (Triceps Pressdown or lying dumbbell triceps extension) 3x8-10
- Overhead Triceps Extensions (Overhead dumbbell triceps extension) 3x8-10
Tuesday - Back & Biceps
- Deadlift 4x4 after 2 warm-up sets of 5. I do deadlifts every other week.
- Chin-ups (Wide-grip pull-up) 50 reps- I do as many sets as it takes to get in 50 reps which usually amounts to 4 sets of 12 to 15.
- Lat. Pulldown (close-grip pulldown) 3x8-10
- Dumbbell row (seated row) 4x8
- Barbell curl (preacher curl) 3x6-10-occasionally I will do 21's as an "shock" technique but no more than twice per month. Also, the other thing I do with barbell curls, is to do 2 sets of 6 to 10 reps and then do 21's for my third and final set.
- Alternating dumbbell curl (alternating incline dumbbell curl or hammer curl) 3x10
Thursday - Legs & Abs
- Squat (leg press) 4x4-6 after 2 warm-up sets of 5
- Barbell lunge (step-ups, leg press or one-leg squat) 3x6
- Romanian deadlift 3x5
- Single leg curl 3x6-8
- Weighted crunches with rope 3x10
- Hanging leg raises 3x10
Friday - Shoulders & Traps
- Machine shoulder press warm-up 1x10 with a very light weight
- Push Press (Dumbbell shoulder press) 4x6-8
- Front raises with weight plate 3x10
- Side raises with dumbbells 3x10
- Rear lateral raises with dumbbells or cables 1-2x10
- Barbell shrugs (dumbbell shrugs) 2x8
There you have it. This is how I work out and this workout will definitely help you to maximize your gains, minimize your time in the gym and maximize your recovery potential which leads to the growth of new muscle tissue. I thank you for taking the time to read my articles and I hope you look forward to reading my future articles.
Next Up: Vegan nutrition to maximize muscle gains.