strong vegan powerlifter
Bradie has quickly established himself as a notable powerlifter in the USA. At a young age he has already hit international standards.
By 2021 he had raw benched 155 kg (342 lb) in the 100 kg (220 lb) category. He’s deadlifted 280 kg (617 lb) in the 100 kg (242 lb) category. His squat of 270 kg (595 lb) was achieved with wraps and is a state record for Pennsylvania.
- Two state powerlifting records
- Deadlift – 280 kg
- Squat – 270 kg
Bradie also broke the state record for South Carolina with a massive 280 kg (617 lb) lift.
There are several career highlights already. Bradie notes “my Pennsylvania state squat record (595 lbs.), and qualifying for the USPA Drug-Tested World Championships. Also my South Carolina deadlift state record that I set at my first meet in 2019.”
All these lifts have been achieved as a vegan, as Bradie made the change in late 2017. It’s something that he commits to 100% with no exceptions.
Bradie discovered some of the issues that caused him to consider veganism while studying. His subject was Chemical Engineering, which he continued to PhD level.
The research he was involved with at his university was to address climate change.
“Gaining a deeper understanding of the causes of climate change led to the discovery that animal products have a huge impact on the environment. Also that a diet based on animal products is no longer sustainable as population rapidly grows. Although it is clear to me that individual action alone will never address climate change, I couldn’t sleep at night knowing that I was supporting an industry with such a detrimental impact on the earth’s climate. Animal product consumption was at fundamental odds with my work to address the climate crisis.”
A gradual and well-organised transition followed, involving pescatarian, vegetatian and then vegan diets.
“My entire transition to veganism took place over multiple months” Bradie explains. “This allowed me time to ensure that my athletic performance wouldn’t suffer. (Spoiler: it actually improved) and this also gave me time to adapt and identify new types of food and recipes to incorporate into my diet.”
Bradie is clearly someone who takes his research seriously, and has applied this to his nutrition.
“I get most of my protein from tofu, impossible beef, seitan, beans, lentils, soy milk, pumpkin seeds, nuts, edamame, protein pasta, and other high protein grain products. I also make my own optimized blend of a 60/40 rice/pea protein powder. This has a better amino acid profile than whey in terms of the essential amino acids.”
He also ensures he eats carbs, primarily from rice, potatoes, oats, pasta, fruits and veggies.
“I get most of my healthy fats from avocados, olive oil, peanut butter, almond butter, nuts, and seeds.”
“A typical day of eating for me currently looks like this:
Breakfast: Oatmeal with protein powder and peanut butter with a banana.
Snack 1: Protein shake in soymilk.
Lunch: Tofu veggie stir fry with an apple.
Snack 2: My homemade protein trail mix (protein granola, nuts, dried edamame).
Dinner: Impossible burger, sweet potato, salad with pumpkin seeds, mixed berry smoothie with protein powder, and rice cakes with almond butter.“
The demands on this diet are large, as Bradie trains a demanding programme in pursuit of success.
“I make a point to constantly be exploring and developing new training techniques” he says. “Coming out of my most recent powerlifting meet I am planning on doing a conditioning heavy training block (farmer’s carries, yoke walks, hill sprints, sled pulls, etc.). I’ll follow this with a hypertrophy training block. I’ll train like a bodybuilder with a lot of high volume workouts at higher rep ranges and try to put on mass. Then after that training block I’ll switch back to more powerlifting style training where I’ll follow something like the Conjugate Method or the 5/3/1 program.
“I’ll spend most of my time in the lower rep ranges (1-5 reps) focusing on different variations of the squat, bench, and deadlift. This will be followed by some auxiliary work to target any weaknesses.”
“As a chemical engineering PhD student, I take a very scientific approach to my diet and training. That’s one big advantage I feel that I have over most powerlifters that tend to heavily rely on bro science.”
With lifts like Bradie’s, he doesn’t tend to have people question his diet.
“People rarely give me a hard time about being vegan because I’m typically stronger than them, so it’s never been much of an issue for me. My best advice for a new vegan lifter that may face a lot of criticism is to simply get stronger than the critics and let your results speak for themselves.”
Real science beats bro science
One of the more interesting aspects of Bradie’s success is the way he’s incorporated his academic learning into his transition and ongoing plans.
“As a chemical engineering PhD student, I take a very scientific approach to my diet and training. That’s one big advantage I feel that I have over most powerlifters that tend to heavily rely on bro science. This philosophy was the basis of my book ‘The Living Machine: Engineering Strength with a Plant-Based Diet’. In the book I view the human body as a mechanical object. This lens allows me to use my technical training as an engineer to take a calculated approach to optimizing athletic performance.”
The book has attracted interest from various quarters and the scientific approach has been well received.
In 2021 as Bradie set his PA State record and qualified for the World Championships, he was aged just 24. He has time on his side and plans to take his training further.
“I hope to continue setting records and becoming the strongest powerlifter that I can. At 24, I feel that I have yet to even scratch the surface of my potential in the sport. I strive to one day make my name synonymous with vegan strength and provide the blueprint for future vegan strength athletes to excel.”
His application of mind and body suggests he may well achieve these goals.
YouTube Interview with BarBend
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