Name: Austin Barbisch
Year of Birth: Nov. 18, 1968
Weight: 184 (off season) 174 (contest ready)
Birthplace: Dallas TX.
Current Residence: Austin TX.
Sports: Ultra marathons/Bodybuilding/Physique
Tell us a little about yourself, what you do for a living, what hobbies / interests / passions you have.
I am a full time personal trainer and massage therapist. I am interested in pretty much anything involving the human body (nutrition, postural correction and how the body adapts to different training techniques). I also love running, sculpture, photography, physorg.net, coffee shops and bookstores. My main passion right now, is to show how a vegan lifestyle can support our personal health, the health of our fellow animals and the world we all live in.
Why did you become vegan?
I switched to a plant based diet for ethical reasons. I had seen factory farming atrocities in the media long ago, but somehow managed to displace that reality from my everyday life. I met a few vegan friends, and started to realize that in order to live in ethical truth, just being kind to my neighbor was not going to cut it. Being vegan makes me feel like I am doing something kind for the world and the beautiful life forms running, flying and swimming on it. If my instincts don’t lead me to kill an animal, then I have no place eating one.
When and why did you become interested in fitness?
I was pretty over weight as a child and developed a bit of a confidence issue. I was not happy with the way I felt physically either. One summer between my sophomore and junior years of high school I decided to put myself on a diet. Having two Lean cuisine glazed chicken dinners, one half a Hershey bar and a two liter diet coke daily. A terrible diet, but it worked. A few months later, I started to lift some weights in the spare bedroom of my parent’s house. Just pull ups, push ups, upright rows and curls, but almost immediately saw the effect it had on my body. I became seriously involved in weight lifting in my early 30’s. The running became a more serious interest in 2007 after I ran the Austin Marathon. I dove right into ultra marathons a couple of months later, and much prefer the camaraderie the longer distances produce. People tend to support your efforts at making the distance as opposed to beating you to the finish line. It’s like a huge family on a 16-20 mile loop. Super cool!!
What are your recent physical accomplishments?
April 13, 2013 MRI Texas shredder
2nd place in masters bodybuilding
3rd place in masters physique
April 27, 2013 INBF DROP ZONE
2nd place open bodybuilding
2nd place masters bodybuilding
2nd place open physique
The rocky raccoon 100 mile
Time:22 hs 35 min
1st place 115.32 miles
Run like the wind 24 hour race
1st place 60.76 miles
Run like the wind 12 hour race
Hells hills 50 mile race
Nueces 50 mile race
Time: 12hr 4min
The Rocky raccoon 100 mile race
Time: 23hr 10min
2nd place 59.32 miles
Run like the wind 12 hour race
San Antonio Rock and roll marathon
Time 3hr 19min
2007 Prickly pear 50K
Time; 5hr 14 min
2007 Austin marathon
Time: 3 hr 32 min
How would you describe your nutrition program?
I usually start my day with a Proto-mocha-latte. This is a breakfast concoction that I have been relying on for the last 10+ years to start my day. It is comprised of 2-4 cups of coffee, a cup of almond milk and Plantfusion protein powder. Sometimes I add a ½ cup of oatmeal for additional carbs. I snack thoughout the day on various nuts and fruits. I also try to get one or two nice big salads into the day (mixed greens, chopped apples, pears, steamed cauliflower, broccoli, nuts and a good dressing tossed with lots of nutritional yeast). I usually make a smoothie with protein powder, frozen bananas, strawberries, blueberries, and some type of green like Kale, spinach or frozen broccoli after my workouts.
How would you describe your training program?
I train on a five day split with chest, back, shoulders, arms and legs having their own day. I train pretty intensely, trying to break prior weight or rep records every time if possible. Starting with a few warm up sets, I get up to my heavy lifting with low rep sets, finishing up with lots of drop sets or high rep burnouts.
What are some common misconceptions about veganism?
When I first started this journey into a plant based diet, I was fairly sure that my running would probably get better, but my bodybuilding would suffer. I feel that most people currently feel that vegans are not very athletically competitive, and will go back to eating meat after they get tired of being weak and lethargic. I have been breaking all of my previous running and lifting records since turning vegan.
What advice do you have for people who are just starting out with veganism or training?
I would tell them to buy a good vegan cookbook and learn to ask the right questions at restaurants. I would also recommend a healthy dose of nutritional yeast to supplement the vitamin B12 that is lacking in most vegan diets. Herbivores can thrive if they keep a variety of plant based foods in their diet and stay active in their chosen sport. Recovery from strenuous exercise seems to improve with this diet, so they can probably work out harder and longer as their body becomes more alkaline.
Do you have any other thoughts you’d like to share?
I’m just really happy that this website and others have helped keep a community of healthy vegan athletes together. It is awesome to see the shift that our culture is making toward a plant based lifestyle as the medical evidence of its benefits continues to be realized.