My Questions in Bold
Ed's answers in regular font
-How many times have you competed as a body builder and are there any notable placements I should mention?
I have competed twice as a bodybuilder. The first time was May 8th 2010 in Bend, Oregon at the NPC Bill Pearl High Desert Classic. I took 1st Place as the Novice Middleweight Champion. Also, a picture of me ended up on bodybuilding.com's banner for the entire event. http://contest.bodybuilding.com/results/16091
The second time I competed was July 30, 2011 in Seattle, Washington at the NANBF Washington State Natural. I took 4th Place out of 6 in the Short Open Class.
-what class do you normally compete in? Or plan to compete in?
The first time I competed, I weighed 167. I was in the middleweight division, competing with guys anywhere from 165 to 175 lbs. The seconds show was divided by height. I was in the "short" class competing against everyone 5'10" and below. I weighed 170 lbs. for the second show. As I have competed in 2 shows, I am no longer interested in competing as a bodybuilder. I am interested in still building my body, but with a more functional athletic approach.
-How long have you been lifting weights and how much of that time was with the intention of competing?
I started lifting weights 17 years ago, when I was 15. I was just interested in strength and general fitness at the time. I started working in gyms in 2005, became certified as a trainer in 2006, and started thinking more about bodybuilding. I didn't take it seriously until after a conversation with Robert Cheeke at 24 Hour Fitness in Portland, OR. I said that I did not feel ready to compete. He simply said that I will never be ready because I have never done this before. What I need to do is commit to a show and go for it. The learning is in the experience. I decided to commit to it and see what I could do. I did a practice 12 week leaning out phase with a photo shoot at the end. I went from 185 to 159 in those 12 weeks. After seeing my results, I decided to commit to a real bodybuilding competition. I won 1st Place my first time out. Being the representative that I am for veganism, I couldn't have been happier!
- Please explain your basic dietary philosophy, for building mass and maintaining a low-moderate percentage of body fat... So normal, non-competition prep, diet.
I believe in eating a little extra while in a mass gaining phase. I believe it is quite challenging to build lean body mass while keeping body fat below a certain level. For me, I think bodyfat needs to be at least 8% to have that extra fuel to build more quality muscle. The first time I competed, I went from 195 to 167 at 3.9% bodyfat. The second time I competed, I went from 200 to 170 at about 3.2% body fat. I gave myself 12 weeks to drop body fat for both competitions.
-What does your normal daily fat/carb/protein ratio look like and can you give an example of an average days food intake? Do you follow a fixed rule regarding protein intake vs. body weight?
When cutting, I roughly go with 40% Protein, 40% Fat, and 20% Carbs. For me at a body weight of 185lbs, I will take in about 290 grams of protein, all plant based of course. I loosely follow 1.5 grams/lb of body weight when gaining mass and leaning out.
When simply in a maintenance phase. I go with around 1 gram per lb of body weight for protein intake. An average cutting phase meal plan (and workout plan) may look like this:
Pre Morning Cardio:
30-40 minutes varied intensity stair climbing
Gardein steak strips
1/4 cup blueberries
Late Morning Snack:
2 scoops rice/pea protein powder (mixed in water)
1/4 cup ground pumpkin seeds or dried coconut
hickory smoked Tofurky deli slices
low carb tortilla
1 scoop rice/pea protein (mixed in water)
5 grams glutamine
2 scoops rice/pea protein
banana and strawberries
Spirulina Powder (all blended in water)
5 grams glutamine
Pre Dinner Snack:
mixed raw almonds, brazil nuts, cashews
hummus and celery
1 cup broccoli florets
1/2 cup black beans
2 cups salad
2 tbsp salad dressing (oil/vinegar)
1 scoop rice/pea protein
1/4 cup ground flax seed
5 grams glutamine
This is a cutting phase meal plan. When maintaining, I eat more low glycemic carbohydrates like more fruits, beans, sweet potatoes, brown rice, and quinoa. I still limit all carbohydrate foods after 2 or 3pm though to keep body fat from increasing.
-Can you briefly describe your weekly workout schedule?
As of now in a maintenance phase, I weight train 4 to 5 days a week, and ride my bike everywhere, so some form of cardio most days of the week.
-Where do you hold your non-comp body fat percentage at and how low do you have to go for competition?
I am currently holding body fat around 7 to 8% and I feel great! I have plenty of muscle definition and energy is at peak levels. For competition, I aim for 2 to 4% body fat. This is for men only. Women compete at around 8-12. That level is really hard to maintain, and I would not recommend anyone try to do so.
- How long do you allow to drop to that level and how does your diet and exercise routine change to help you reach your goal?
I give myself 12 weeks to cut down, but that amount of time goes up or down depending on how high body fat levels have risen. A 1% drop weekly is ideal. In terms of exercise, weight training stays exactly the same as in a mass building phase. I gradually start adding 20-30 minute cardio sessions, to increase my total calorie burn. I start with 3 days a week and go all the way up to 6 or 7 days a week of cardio, sometimes 2 sessions a day, but never more than 40 minutes at a time.
-What inspired you to start lifting?
My father inspired me to start lifting weights, and also bodybuilders who made it on the big screen such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno. I later learned about steroids and as a Vegan Straight-Edge athlete, I would never go near that stuff.
- do you get strange reactions from other body builders when they find out you eat a vegan diet?
Other bodybuilders actually seem to respect me more because they see how passionate I am about this lifestyle. While they consider it more of a challenge, they admire me for taking the challenge head on. It is actually no more challenging, as you can see through our accomplishments in this industry.
- is there anything you wish you had known starting out or any advice you would give to help someone who is interested in competitive bodybuilding?
Yes, understand your genetic potential as a natural athlete. The difference between vegan and non vegan is minimal. The true difference in bodybuilding potential comes from the use or non use of anabolic steroids. I am involved in fitness to inspire others towards a healthy and compassionate life, not to risk my health for overly developed muscle mass.
- do you have a recommendation for a pre or post workout drink or meal?
Before workouts, I like Vega Sport. For a post workout drink, I like a big scoop of 50% rice and 50% Pea protein with 2 servings of fruit and 5 grams of the amino acid glutamine for muscle recovery.
Big thank you to Ed Bauer for taking the time to contribute to my blog! If you would like to know more about Ed you can visit his blog at Ed Bauer Fit