Strongest Hearts 16; Plant Built Bodybuilders

Strongest Hearts 16; Plant Built Bodybuilders from Strongest Hearts on Vimeo. It’s the end of the year, and we’ve saved our best episode for last. We’ve come to the final installation of our trip to Austin, Texas to the Naturally Fit Games this summer. We covered the crossfit competition, the weightlifters, and now the biggest group on the Plant Built team, the bodybuilders. Between our pre-competition video and our week in Austin with the Plant Built team we learned a lot about the fitness community and everything that goes in to these kinds of competitions. I’d first like to say thank you endlessly to Giacomo Marchese and Dani Taylor, the founders and leaders of Plant Built for having us, and for putting together such an amazing group of people to speak on behalf of animals and showcase the strength of vegans. And, of course, thank you to the athletes for speaking with us throughout their competitions. The Plant Built team had competitors in the physique, bikini, and figure categories. The competitors are judged by a panel on criteria regarding symmetry both up and down and side to side, muscle size, and leanness. Each category has different criteria of muscle development and leanness. It takes months of extreme dieting and intense exercise to develop the muscles and lose the body fat to get the bodies that these athletes have for competition. Going in to shooting this episode we were wary on highlighting an athletic endeavor that promoted such strict dieting that can sometimes lead to development of eating disorders, as well as further the noise regarding what a perfect body...

Heater the Mascot!

A little while ago we visited with our friend Ryan in, of all places, Bakersfield, CA.  Previous to this visit I didn’t know this place even had sports! In fact, there are a couple minor league franchise teams with ties to majors elsewhere in the country.  We went to Sam Lynn Park, home of the Bakersfield Blaze, an affiliate with the Seattle Mariners team for the 2015 season. Being a small park in a small town, one might expect it to be difficult to get folks out to baseball games, especially in the heat of the summer.  One way is to have really exciting things happening besides the sport. And to the Bako Blaze, this means mascots! And lots of them! There are three at the ballpark, Heater, Panda D. Bear, and Torch (which I believe is a dragon, though he sort of looks like an alligator/sea horse). Our friend Ryan has been the Bakersfield Blaze mascot for two years, traveling by bus from San Francisco to Bakersfield for home games to wear the coveted Heater costume.  He’s perfect for it, too. Outgoing, fun, and super into sports, even if he’s embarrassed by it. We caught up with him during the playoffs this year to talk about being vegan in a tiny town (he eats burritos on the road, shocking I know) and the divide between vegan activists and sports.  What we learned was, what we all knew already.  Its ok to be less than 100% serious all the time, and that includes enjoying things like local sports teams. Thank you to Assistant General Manager Fillup Guiry for hosting our little film...

Web Extra! Matt struts on the Catwalk

We like to keep things lighthearted around here. So when we hit Austin and were surrounded by highly intense athletes on the verge of their biggest competition of the year, we had a time of fitting in.  Luckily our new friend and professional bodybuilder, Derek Treesize, was there to lend a hand.  He gave Matt a quick crash-course in the art of the cat walk, a very important part of a bodybuilder’s night show where its time to to showcase not only your muscles, but your swagger.  Watch the video to find out if Matt has either! Don’t forget, in case you missed it, we have already posted videos from Austin with the powerlifting team, and the crossfit team! Its a vegan muscle overload! Very soon we will have our last installment of the Austin Naturally Fit Games episodes dedicated to the bodybuilders!  Also on deck, a professional baseball mascot, a vegan cardiologist and triathlete, a juggler, and Sticman from Dead Prez.  We know, we spoil you.  Thanks for watching, stay...

Strongest Hearts 14; Naturally Fit Games Part One – Powerlifters

While at the Naturally Fit Games in Austin, we managed to follow a lot of athletes around for a few days.  We were lucky enough to get to spend some time with the 6-member powerlifting team as they competed against athletes from around the country. While the bodybuilders were meta-focused on diets and spray tans before their competitions, these powerlifters were the life of the party, which our host, Matt, was appreciative of.  We will soon post a video of some of the fun antics these powerlifters dragged him into in the Powerlifter v Bodybuilder Pizzagate 2014.  Despite the fun atmosphere they brought, they also brought the competition.  We’re very thrilled to show you our latest video and help show how strong vegan athletes can be! You’ll notice in this video a first for us. We were asked to blur out the face of one of the competitors.  A former undercover investigator, he is currently still involved in many aspects of the animal rights community, and just before we aired, he was given the opportunity to pursue a new path in protecting animals that required a bit of anonymity.  We apologize that we weren’t able to do much more than a blurry dot, but his story is so important we didm’t want to take him out of it completely.  It’s not often that within the span of a few months one goes from a carnivore to working undercover at an animal facility, secretly documenting the horrendous acts done towards animals to educate the public and help the animals.  Thomas was an inspirational person to meet, and we are thankful...

Strongest Hearts 13; Team Plant Built preps for competition

We have a new episode up, and boy is it a good one! A bunch of vegans are flexing muscle at a competition in Austin this weekend, and we want you to meet them before they go. We will be filming with them as they compete so you can see how they do!  Go watch the video and get stoked on that much muscle on one screen. I become pretty obsessed with some of our footage for these videos. After taking the efforts to capture as much as we can in our limited time and budget, I always end up with favorite shots. Shots I know we have to use, like the one where the light is just right and the coldness of the air causes steam to rise from the athlete in the early morning hours of a snow-covered bike ride. The one I had to wake up at 4am and hang out the back of a moving car with my camera dangling dangerously close to the ground in order to get. If we don’t use this shot.. I’m going to be pissed. But sometimes.. we don’t. It’s been 6 months since Whale Wars was aired, and I’m still dreaming of all the shots I took, hanging off the side of a ship, staring at death-inducing waters, bitter that they ended up on someone’s harddrive in a storage room. And then there are the interviews. I’ve been conducting interviews since my freshman year in high school when I started reporting for our school’s TV news program. You could bake two-dozen cakes in the time it takes me to...