Dominick Thompson is a real New Yorker. He works a demanding day job, started his own business on the side, and still finds the time to stay healthy and vegan while training hard for triathlons. LÄRABAR, famous for their simple, real ingredients that you can actually recognize, asked The Discerning Brute to spend a day with Dominick and get to know the insights, secrets and strengths of this healthy hero. We chased him around on foot, on wheels, under weights and in the kitchen and even caught him sharing his favorite Cashew Cookie bar with a squirrel friend.
Joshua Katcher: People who live in NYC are notorious for having the busiest schedules. What does your typical day look like and how do you make time to work out and eat well? Dominick Thompson: I work 10-12 hours a day Monday-Friday. That doesn’t include any special projects I’m managing that may involve late night hours or weekends as well. However, I do create time for training and even competing in races as they are important to me and my health. There is simply no excuses to not be healthy and train efficiently in this day and age. My typical work day includes me rolling out of bed to train from 5am to 7am. That gives me plenty time to shower and head into the office. I spend my lunch hours training as well whether its at the gym or going outside for a run through the busy streets of Manhattan. By the time I leave my office in the evenings, I have one thing on my mind, and that is to go hard in my third training session for the day which usually lasts 2 hours after work.
JK: You’re in amazing shape. What’s your motivation for staying fit? DT: The physical and mental feeling one experiences when they are at their peak level of fitness is something that is just as addicting as life itself, and life itself is truly my motivation.
JK: What’s your workout regimen like, and are you currently training for any competitions? DT: I’m currently training to compete in my next Ironman, with hopes of qualifying for the Ironman Championship held in Hawaii. I currently log over 120 hours of training per month.
JK: Who are some of your heroes? How have you inspired others to get healthy? DT: With respect to physical health and athletic achievements, I didn’t have any real life heroes growing up. The only hero in my life in terms of athletic achievements was the person I used to stare at in the mirror everyday before and after football practice. To understand this, you would have to understand my past. To be brief, all I saw growing up were individuals just trying to survive the day to day struggles of life and poverty. The last thing on their minds was being healthy. Not having any male role models drove me to teach myself how to play football and to get involved in other team sports on my own. It also taught me how to think very critically and grow up fast. Without going too deep, let’s just say that I used the negative things and experiences I saw growing up as inspiration to do my best and to be the opposite of what I was used to, both on and off the field. Now in my adult life, I have inspired others by showing them they can thrive and still perform in athletics at a high level all on a vegan diet.
JK: Do you make time for fun? DT: I do make time for fun, but I also consider competing in endurance sports such as triathlons and marathons as fun. I love them!
JK: Let’s talk food. What’s a great pre-workout meal, post workout meal, and snacks for in-between? DT: I like things simple and healthy. I juice and consume a variety of berries for pre-workout fuel. If I’m out on a long bike ride, I re-hydrate with juiced watermelon and eat bars like LÄRABAR throughout my ride. The Cashew Cookie bar is one of my favorites. The best thing about LÄRABAR is that it’s only a few, simple ingredients like cashews and dates. Post meal is always bananas and juiced fruits.
JK: What are some common myths you dispel simply by being you? DT: That you can’t be strong on a vegan diet. I’m actually stronger now that I am on a vegan diet than I was when I consumed animal products. In fact, my strength training has only improved.
JK: What music gets you pumped? What ideas inspire you? DT: It varies. Depending on the day or the mood. Sometimes I rock out to Tiesto and other times I crank up some Young Jeezy. I love all types of music. Kings of Leon is one of my favorite bands. As for what inspires me, people that work 9-5 jobs while competing as weekend warriors in marathons and other athletics inspire me! It is the very reason I formed IRON BRUKAL, which represents The Working Athlete.
JK: What’s something every guy should know? DT: That compassion defines one’s intelligence with respect to all life itself.
JK: What is something every guy can do right now to start getting healthier? DT: Honestly, cutting out all meat from your diet is the first step in my opinion. Your children and grandchildren will thank you in the future when you are still living and able to play catch with them.
I’ve been doing crossfit for just over two years now. It’s a fantastic workout, but the crossfit industry consistently pushes a Paleo (also known as caveman) diet. As a vegan of over 15 years who performs very well in both strength and endurance, I’ve been suspicious of the hype around the idea that I need to eat muscle to become muscular. After all, I’ve gained about 20 lbs in muscle since starting crossfit without eating any animal protein.
“Our results demonstrate that an ad libitum unrestricted Paleo diet intervention is associated with deleterious changes to blood lipids in healthy subjects, despite concurrent improvements in body composition and cardiorespiratory fitness.”
Similar to Atkins (but with better marketing) the Paleo diet definitely appeals to a machismo that we associate with the caricature of a caveman, but even the American Dietetic Association considers it a fad diet, and as more studies documenting the long-term health consequences of diets like these are published in scientific journals, we have the option of rationalizing the aesthetic appeal of a diet like this, or the option of making changes in response to concrete findings.
This is what the Plantbuilt team of 100% vegan athletes looks like, photographed in Austin, Texas this year. Derek Tresize (right of center, back row) just went pro after taking 1st place in Men’s Physique at the Naturally Fit Super Show this past July 2014. Ed Bauer (front right) is a crossfit athlete and coach as well.
According to Forbes, former Vice President and environmentalist filmmaker Al Gore (An Inconvenient Truth) has done, for at least a few months now, what a lot of leaders who are concerned with any combination of the environment, animals and their health have done – he’s embraced a vegan diet. The article that revealed his new diet was about Hampton Creek Foods, creators of Just Mayo, Eat The Dough, and other products that utilize an exciting futuristic egg successor that is being invested in by the like of Bill Gates. In the article, Forbes says: “Newly turned vegan Al Gore is also circling,”.
This was the first mention of Gore’s switch to veganism, and since then it’s caused a flurry of press and speculation from the LA Times and NPR, to HuffPo and The Washington Post. While none of the articles themselves are scathing, one quick look at the comments section reveals a lot of people who think Gore is bananas, if not evil. “Don’t read the comments,” they say. But whenever a powerful male goes vegan and it makes the news, the haters seem to crawl out and launch into a flurry of what can be sorted out as: defense of mainstream masculinity, climate-change denial, pseudo-expert study citations, anger at the Clinton administration (Bill aspires toward a plant-based diet), proclamations for their love of meat, and general resistance to change. So in this case, if you want to LOL, do read the comments. Here are some of my favorite Gore-Hater comments from the last few days:
• Bruno26:What about eyelash mites, Demodex folliculorum, vegans kill these poor little animals indiscriminately with the simple rub of their eyelid, who sticks up for these animals? or are you saying some animals are more worthy than others?
• Ron_Hi: We already know how this twatwaffle has ripped off the “Green” movement selling Energy Credits to allow companies to pollute. Since he is going vegan, I have an suggestion of where he can stick his next carrot.
• CliveBixby: How do you know if someone’s a vegan? Don’t worry….they’ll tell you.
• libertysanders: So while Gore flies around burning more fossil fuel then I’ll use in my lifetime giving speeches about imaginary “global warming” he’s eating bean sprouts? Wow, that is SO green! Be still, my beating heart!!
• ohiomark:With his hoax falling apart, NOW he stops eating meat?
• jgtch: Bill Clinton and Al Gore going vegan to extend their time on this planet. Think I will eat steak twice a day and take up smoking.
• newwtrick:If Al Gore goes vegan the way he went green, there are many cows who better watch out.
• gayle5: Let’s do a survey of how many vegans have had abortions.
• newg8tr: It would be an even bigger contribution to the universe if he just went ahead and died.
• bgh308:‘Bout time ole AL lost some weight. He invented the internet and man made global warming–now he’s gone and invented veggie diets!
• FaunaAndFlora:Al Gore flies back and forth from his 10,000 square foot mansion in Belle Meade, Tennessee to his luxury apartment in San Francisco, or to New York, New York where he has a standing reservation at the Regency. For holidays and special occasions, his family flies in from the east and west coasts to gather at the Gore farm in Carthage, Tennessee, yet the best Mr. Gore can do to reduce his own carbon footprint is to go vegan? Really? How about cutting back on all those frequent flyer miles? Or turning that Belle Meade mansion into a multi-family? After all, Mr. Gore could reduce his carbon footprint by living in the guest house. Even better, he could live on the Gore family farm. I’ve been to Carthage, Tennessee. It’s good grazing land. Since Mr. Gore already leases his pastures to local beef farmers, there’s no reason why he couldn’t use that land to raise a steer for his own consumption. The beef from that animal would have a much smaller carbon footprint than buying quinoa from Peru.