As far as the plants-don’t-provide-enough-protein myth is concerned, the results of last month’s NGA Night of Champions (a natural bodybuilding competition) should silence critics once and for all.
The Vegan Beef Team took home a team trophy at the event, which took place in Miami Beach, Florida — a victory that proved plants can power some serious muscle.
In addition to the team honor, two members also won their “pro-cards,”meaning they’ve reached professional-level status. The group also won numerous 1st and 2nd place trophies, says Austin Barbisch, team founder.
“One of our professional members (Erika Reesa) also won 2nd place in her first professional competition,” says Barbisch of the night’s honors.
Barbisch and his girlfriend Brenda are the folks behind Vegan Health & Fitness Magazine, with Brenda serving as Editor-in-Chief. In January, they moved the magazine from Barbisch’s hometown of Austin, Texas, to Miami, Florida.
Barbisch was a member of a bodybuilding team in Austin, and decided to create a new team made up of bodybuilder, physique, figure and bikini competitors, as well as some first-time athletes with “a strong drive to compete,” says Barbisch.
There are 18 athletes in total on the Vegan Beef team, and 10 participated in the winning event, including Barbisch along with Andrea Kladar, Greg Moormann, Ariel La Fleur, Ivan Blazquez, Mark Hershkowitz, Cheryl Pannone, Charles Parker, Will Tucker, Erika Reesa, and Korin Sutton.
“I started lifting weights around age 18, starting at home with pull ups, push ups and some dumbbell curls. I joined a gym a few years later, competing in my first bodybuilding show in 1994,” says Barbisch. “I became vegan for ethical reasons in September 2012 after watching the movie Earthlings and realizing the disconnect I was experiencing between the beautiful life on earth and what was on my dinner plate.”
Clearly, Barbisch and his fellow bodybuilders are all about showing the world what a vegan diet can do.
“The entire reason I continue to gain more muscle and physical endurance is to prove the point that a vegan diet not only helps, but out performs an omnivorous diet,” he explains. “Since turning vegan, I have taken 35 minutes off of my Rocky Raccoon 100-mile run time, won the Run Like the Wind 24 hour race two times (missing the course record by 1 mile) and won my bodybuilding class for the first time in 15 years!”
At age 46, Barbisch is also currently placed 2nd in the 500 meter, 1st in the 100 meter, 1st in the one minute, and 1st in the four minute Concept 2 (a world rowing database) indoor rowing categories in the world at any age.
“A new 500 meter world record is extremely close, having already broken it in a slightly heavier weight class,” he says.
All hail the power of plants.