Category Archives: sport

The Problem with XX#-Day Diets, Exercise Programs

Combat-ready fruitarianism.

Always hungry for carbs and iron.

I think 30-day vegan diets, 28-day raw cleanses, 90-day workout routines, and other time-compartmentalized agendas for radical lifestyle change are atrocious. If you want to stay lean and green, plan to be vegan for the rest of your life; if you aim for fitness, plan to work out, well, forever. Raw veganism, power-lifting, calisthenics and kung-fu are among the manifestations of my commitment to health and discipline – and each one of them requires proper eating and vigorous exercise every day until I’m dead. Flat out. That’s my take on the matter. I’ve been vegan for over 12 years, almost half my life. I was a young teenager when I started and I think there were times when my moms thought it would be a passing phase, and folks casually asked when I would resume eating garbage and trashing the planet (not in such colorful language though). So if I came into any of this with the mentality or within the conveniently escapable constraint of it being a 30 or 60 or 90-day “program” or “cleanse,” I doubt I would have been so motivated and committed to remain in the game all these years later. I question why there are folks out there even promoting these sorts of programs, but I have a strong inkling as to the reasons – money and marketing.

When some fitness “expert” or health “guru” out there thinks they’ve arrived upon some new holy grail of fitness or diet, and they want to sell it to others and monetize their system, it is highly convenient to package it as a special, esoteric but fast-gratifying XX-day program of some sort. If they were to be honest and straightforward about it, they fear, people might not be interested in paying for their idea or consultancy. But this is underestimating the people. Why not be real? Tell cats that health is a life-long commitment from which there is no vacation or retreat. I’m into just freely sharing what works, what is practical, and what is sensible to the instincts of most people. I trust that people will get it, even if it somehow makes the enormity of the task that much bigger. But that’s the beauty of it – it’s a lifelong mission, an endless adventure, and it only rewards you day by day, with unparalleled health, resilience, lightness, compassion, wisdom, and so on. If you want health, do healthy things, from right now this day until your very last. Fitness and health are for life – there’s no 30-day shortcut into it, nor any vacation out of it.

It’s very basic. And if this sort of honesty is too brutal, then so be it. But if you’re gonna do P90X, as beautiful as its workouts are, ditch the “90” part and do it forever, until well past your 90th birthday. If you want some sort of “cleansing” by becoming a raw vegan, don’t fool yourself thinking like it’s a 30-day vacation from meat, junk and drugs. Raw veganism is for long-haul truckers only. Good health is only for long-haul flight captains. Massive vitality is only for life-long and storied generals. There are no shortcuts or breaks; you just do it and don’t stop, period.

I also don’t think you can get much out of doing something new, something you want to get really into, for just a few days. It takes years to master something, and then decades to master that mastery. So start now, today, this instant. And never, ever stop. Don’t even think about it.

Veganism is forever. Physical fitness is forever. There’s no way around it. Discipline is the only way. And any vacation from healthy eating and healthy living you think you want because you crave garbage and a lazy day, just ain’t worth it. I’m not talking about periodized exercise programs – of course, there are times to slow down, particularly during the off-season when you might take a short break from the rep-max power-lifting and stick to the basics, lighten the weights, do shorter runs instead of half-marathoning every time, etc., preventing physical burn-out. But the off-season is no excuse to revisit poisonous, cruel foods, drugs, or shameless sloth – veganism continues; ample sleep and stress-minimized living are not interrupted. The off-season, a month or a few weeks’ duration in a year-long periodization program for all athletes of the sport of life, corresponds with the life-cycle of hard work followed by moderate work and taking off a load; it does not correspond with partying hard and forgetting ones principles. Even in general, you don’t lift heavy every day – alternating days you lift moderate or light, or don’t lift at all; the light or off days are not to be days of backsliding, irresponsibility and excuses. So, even the “off-season” excuse doesn’t count. Matter of fact, forget I even mentioned the “off-season.” I’ll be in-season until I stop breathing. All of life is the in-season.

When you figure on going vegan, incorporating vigorous consistent exercise into your life, and all around assuming the healthiest lifestyles there are, look at it like you’re entering the point of no return, all doors behind you locked shut for good, and don’t look back. Then you can only move forward into success after success, mastery after mastery, in the endless, joyful, glorious pursuit of unrealized human potential.

We live but once. Live victoriously.

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African Raw Vegan in the Wild

This rare video features a most uncommon creature, an African raw vegan fruitarian man, the Precision Afrikan himself, working the bars at Columbus Park in Chinatown, Manhattan, as spotted by our observant cameraman on December 28, 2011. Notice the multiple-joint muscular contractions this being is able to execute, without the assistance of meat, drugs or supplements. When asked where he acquired the protein and other nutrients necessary to crawl and walk, let alone do pull-ups, the African simply replied “fruits and greens.” Many were perplexed by that sparse declaration but he offered no other. It is ample exercise, ample sleep, ample carbs, ample discipline, ample determination, and ample willpower that permit and amplify fitness for all, including vegans, the black man suggested.

We will continue to observe this frugivorous mammal in his travels and exploits. His example may provide more ballast to the growing and increasingly irrefutable body of evidence suggesting that the plant-based, cruelty-free, abundant, vegan lifestyle is an ideal one for humans in all environments, including the urban jungle.

Fruitarian Musculation and Philosophy

I’m moving towards adding a fruitarian fitness and body-building page to this blog. Until I launch such a page, I thought I’d again weigh in on my dietary philosophy with regard to basic well-being. For me, all I eat is fresh raw whole fruits (including non-sweet fruits) and vegetables (leafy greens). It is my conviction that fresh fruits and vegetables are the ideal foods for humans, and that they also make the most ethical sense to eat. That’s all I eat. What I eat is that which I see in front of me at farmer’s markets and produce stands and which suits my palate and hunger. No dried fruits or nuts – they don’t interest me. Nothing exploited or ripped from animals – they are cruel to animals and human physiology alike.

Fresh fruits and vegetables, and by far mostly fruits in proportion to the greens (why I claim “fruitarian” now) – that’s my whole game and song. Historically, I grew up on rice and occasional fish and chicken and milk and cereal and such in a Nigerian household in North Jersey. I went vegan in 1999 (at age 15) and started with soy-based milk and meat replacers, moving in time towards more and more fresh fruits and veggies and whole grains and less stuff that was reminiscent in any way of the old animal-based regime. I went raw-vegan in 2007 in a regime both fresh fruit/vegetable heavy and nut heavy, including exotic stuff like hemp-seed, cacao, trips to pricey raw restaurants for nori-rolls and nut patties, and so on. Since the start of 2009, I’ve been all about just fresh fruits and veggies that are in season and accessible from farmers markets and produce stands where I live.

I don’t eat organic much, both because of the expense and because where I can get produce – family-owned produce joints in my corner of North Jersey – there are few “organic”-labeled varieties. At the chain supermarkets, everything is 30-50% more expensive. Organic varieties (which I can only find at the big franchises) are way past even those aggressive markups. I’m not gonna bother for now.

But all in all, it’s a simple food regime. I eat fresh – stuff that’s not in boxes and packaging, stuff you have to pick and bag yourself – including bananas, watermelon, oranges, mangos, apples, tomatoes, spinach, okra, cucumbers, bell peppers, pomegranate, guava, zucchini, etc. It’s simple, yet quite satisfying.

I don’t count calories. I don’t supplement for micronutrients I’m supposed to fear deficiencies of (i.e. pressed oils or protein powders or B12 – haven’t knowingly had any vitamin or fortified source of that in my body for years and have never been anemic in my life, and haven’t been ill in any way in years). I eat when I’m hungry. I drink water (the only drink) when I’m thirsty. I sleep when I’m tired. I wash with black soap and moisturize with unprocessed raw shea butter. I floss and brush with a soft toothbrush and non-fluoridated toothpaste, I squat when I shit, and for now I don’t shave or comb my hair – just wash and go proudly. Fresh fruits, leafy greens, sunshine, fresh air, exercise, good humans, good rest, good work and a simple, straightforward, natural swagger sustain me.

So, having laid down my general philosophy, I simply hope to share the idea and experience of good fitness and physical culture through simplicity, abundance, hard work and sincerest interest in the growth of others. I don’t have anything to sell – no books, powders, recipes. I would just hope that the plant-based diet becomes more normalized in this world and less denigrated by the ignorant and those with whole industries and cultures of violence to defend.

Getting strong is about weight-bearing, cardiovascular and stretching exercises, with actual muscular hypertrophy and strengthening most dependent on the first item. Getting strong is not about killing and eating animals, ingesting soy powders, etc. Weight-bearing exercise includes simple body-weight exercises like push-ups, squats, burpees, etc. It can be as straightforward or elaborate as one likes or can afford.

I am personally interested in strength and power (as opposed to hypertrophy/bulk alone). Hence my current workout regime alternates full-body speed/power days with full-body strength/muscular endurance days. I.e. in a five day campaign, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are about speed and power. Tuesdays and Thursdays are about strength and endurance. My cardiovascular workouts [aside from ballistic kettlebell work] are based on bicycling and walking and occur throughout the week (partly included in practicing active transportation/ body-reliant commuting) and especially weekends (I run less only because I don’t have the best right knee in the world). In the past my regime included regular martial arts practice, though of late I could no longer afford/ find time to do this, and I expect to resume some time in 2011.

My tools include kettlebells, a pull-up bar, chairs (for dips), a mat, a chin-up bar, my bicycle, my body, and the world. Speed and power exercises, which are among my favorite, come courtesy of the kettlebells and the wide variety of power-lifting one can do with them Рcleans, [time-interval] jerks, snatches, high pulls, Turkish get-ups, swings, and so on. One can invent exercises with kettlebells and of course use them for all the general weight-training techniques known to humanity Р[pistol] squats, lunges, shoulder and chest presses, curls, [renegade] rows, etc. Calisthenic and body-weight workouts combine with non-ballistic weight-training on strength days.

It’s all pretty simple. It’s all pretty cheap. And most of it’s in the attitude. It’s about embracing intuition, cherishing simplicity, shunning cruelty, not fearing, and being oneself. The plant-based diet is in my experience the nicest, having done me over eleven years (some 40% of my life as of my 27th year at present) of good. The physical culture of an active lifestyle and exercise produces endless soldier-soul juice. Especially in the mornings before work, when one deploys military discipline to practice physical and mental strength before the work day and commute, so that body and essence remain in tact and strong in this debasing world.

Fresh fruits and veggies and physical culture give one the strength to withstand Babylon and fight for truth and justice for time to come. Activists and freedom-fighters need to mind and sustain their personal wellness. Stay tuned for a fitness page to be added above soon.

And please comment generously on this missive.

To Make Vegan=Fitness

Part of the curriculum of things I’m studying these days is exercise physiology. So how is physical fitness defined in my notes? It is

“the ability to carry out daily tasks with vigor and alertness, without undue fatigue, and with ample energy to enjoy leisure-time pursuits and meet unforeseen emergencies. It is the ability to withstand stress and persevere under difficult circumstances in which an unfit person would quit. Implied in this is more than a lack of illness; it is a positive quality that everyone has to some degree. Physical fitness is minimal in the severely ill and maximal in the highly trained athlete. Persons who maintain high levels of fitness may have increased longevity as compared to those who are sedentary. In addition, the quality of life is enhanced in those who are fit.

Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary, 19th Edition

The above definition of physical fitness suggests the centrality it should have as an achievement and practice for those who wish to live life to the fullest, which should include all Afrikans. The World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, or social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmary.” Again, this means optimal function as human beings, not merely the adequate or the tolerable. In health, we have no serious, scientific, honest, or honorable reason to strive for other than our most optimal condition, because due to the brevity of a human life, it only makes sense to do those things that both lengthen lifespan and improve life’s quality.

Vegans, in my opinion, should never stop in their quest for health at the composition of their diet only. Vegan should also come to mean athlete, or physically fit person who does not exploit animals. Check out how widespread sedentary life is: did you know that here in America there is now a pathology for it, called “Sedentary Death Syndrome (SeDS)“? Because the biggest killer in this country, coronary heart disease, is largely attributable to sitting on our ass too much, it is argued that SeDS is actually the number two cause of premature death here, after tobacco. Now dig these statistics:

  • Only about 15% of adults in America engage in vigorous physical activity during leisure time, 3 times a week for at least 30 minutes
  • More than 60% do not engage in physical activity regularly
  • 25% lead sedentary lives
  • Physical inactivity occurs more among women than men, Afrikans and Latin@s than whites, older than younger adults, and less-affluent than wealthier persons
  • SeDS will cause 2.5 million Americans to die prematurely in the next decade.
  • “Racial differences in food and exercise habits and cultural attitudes towards body weight help to explain the greater prevalence of obesity among black women (nearly 50%) than white women (33%).”

-Katch, Katch and McArdle: Exercise Physiology, Sixth Edition (2007)

In regards to SeDS, Afrikans suffer the most. As stated above, half of Afrikan women in the United Snakes are now obese. This means so many sisters, mothers, aunts, daughters, and so on are at grave risk for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancers, and the like. Brothers, fathers, uncles, sons, and so on, suffer from various cancers and diseases at exponential rates, also related to, among other things, sedentary life.

All this said, the benefits of exercise are numerous! I’m talking about serious exercise – and there is little excuse for humans to live in any other way but that they give themselves at least an hour or two a day to exercise vigorously, in manners touching upon all the main arenas of fitness – cardiovascular, muscular strength, and flexibility. I won’t rattle the benefits off here as they are quite obvious, but should not only be enjoyed by the world’s elite athletes. All Afrikans, especially those that combine a highly active life with a seriously vegan one, should be able to enjoy increased muscle strength, bone density, cardiovascular endurance and heart strength, reduced heart rate during work and rest, improved stress tolerance and psychological well-being, low body fat content especially of non-essential, useless and dangerous fat, proven substantially increased longevity, and proven increased quality of life.

What’s stopping Afrikans from reaching and exceeding high, wise ages, such as now enjoyed by people in Japan or Sweden? Underdevelopment is indeed severely and brutally holding back access to health care in many of our communities around the world. But those of us without further excuses, especially those who are overeating for no good reason and not getting off their asses, including vegans, very much need to step up their game.

The rhetoric of the vegan word needs desperately to be infused with simultaneous pronouncements of the need to exercise well. The vegan and raw vegan athletes – and many of them are black! – are out there all over, so there is no lack of inspiration, nor any grounds for excuse. Again, I reiterate my appeal to discipline, the highest and hardest brand of it, which Afrikans will need to overcome oppression including self-destructive tendencies, of which, yes, sedentary living is very much one of them.

Sedentary living is a sad, indeed a cowardly resignation to fate, to the seemingly overwhelming circumstances, to oppression without taking initiative to change the picture. How can oppressed people afford to sit their ass down? They are the most in need to stand and run and get strong!

Imagine lots of strong, hardy, fit, lean, healthy, fierce, beautiful, athletic Afrikan vegans and raw vegans outliving and outfighting and outshining their enemies, including the enemies within – the typical African dictator, with his usual fat ass. Look at the average corrupt corpulent African head of state – he or she is a miserable ugly fatass! Do you all want to be like them, look like them, big overfed piles of feces not worth the food and expensive banquets lavished on them on the international neocolonial circuit? Do you want to be fat like the fascists, or fit like the fighters and the fire starters?

Revolutionaries have to be beyond physically fit. Fitness needs to be taken very seriously by Afrikans who say they are also vegan or raw vegan/ fruitarian. Fitness is a science and can and should be applied to any and all of us. We need to be doing something that makes us sweat at least thirty minutes a day. If not then at least thirty minutes every other day. We should try to push ourselves – when a given level of exertion no longer stresses us significantly, we must raise the level of the challenge – add more weight, add more miles, push further in the stretches, add more variety. Exercise is for getting stronger.

There shouldn’t be no flabby vegans, shouldn’t be no fruitarian dough-boys or girls. We should cease to separate in our minds vegan and physical fitness. Afrikan forces that practice veganity and athleticism can potentially be among the most revolutionary and sophisticated cats walking the Earth.

As for me, I know I want to do more work in the cardio department. My resting heart rate is only slightly below the average, and I’d like to bring it far below the average and get into marathon-running territory, for real. I’m putting this out there so I am forced to challenge myself. I’ve always relied on my own body for transportation – walking, biking. When I was in college I did much much more jogging than I now do, and was on the track team for a minute way back in high school. And I’ve been doing Kung Fu twice per week for over a year and a half now. I also do plenty of calisthenics. But all that hasn’t translated into an extremely high level of cardiovascular endurance – territory I’d like to march into in order to near the level of the great Afrikan dieties of marathon running. Why not? Cardiovascular health is perhaps the most important in the realm of increased longevity, oxygen utilization, disease prevention, and so on. The elite athlete should be joined by the masses in enjoying the pinnacle of heart health. I’m going for it. Why don’t y’all consider similar moves?

Exercise has to be targeted and specific. Want to work the cardiovascular system and strengthen the heart? Do extremely vigorous, sweaty, hard, rhythmic, sustained activities that involve a lot of running, cycling, rowing, or other such movements. Want to increase muscle strength? Do plenty of weight-bearing activities wherein you periodically, incrementally increase the amount of weight you lift and move. Want to get more limber and flexible? Go for the yoga or yoga-like exercises, and make sure that during each session, you push yourself further than you did last time. And make exercise comprehensive – so your sessions and sports make you stronger, more flexible, and increase endurance.

Physical fitness, including at the highest levels we should attain, is only a good thing. ONLY A GOOD THING. AND AN ESPECIALLY EXCELLENT THING FOR AFRIKAN VEGANS. We need to be as strong and healthy as possible in order to struggle long and successfully for our people.

I am increasingly convinced that the discourse of veganism is empty without the language of physical fitness.

Let athleticism, sport, and regular hardcore SWEATY exercise grace our black vegan lives, so we reap the benefits and roll through the world beautiful, strong, healthy, and ready to pull down the walls of oppression and disease with our bare hands!

Towards a veganism of physical fitness and sport!

Towards the Afrikan vegan fitness revolution!

It’s never too soon or too late to start making the right moves.

UHURU!