My skill level in “on-the-water” rowing continues to improve, but my true talent is in the sport of “indoor rowing,” where my performances are really becoming competitive. I’m currently ranked third in the 500-meter, fifth in the 1000-meter, second in the 2000-meter, and eighth in the 5000-meter distances in my class in the United States and climbing the ranks. I am currently dieting for the PlantBuilt show, where I will share the stage with 31 other vegan athletes, but will likely continue to diet down after this show to an even more competitive weight class of 165 pounds for indoor rowing competition. I am currently 181 pounds and have been competing against larger athletes well above the 165-pound Lightweight cut-off (usually 200-230 pounds) and taller than my 5’11” height by three to eight inches. Just being in the 92-96 percent bracket with these guys is very rewarding, but in the lightweight class, I would be in first in the 500, first in the 1000, and second in the 2000-meter in the world in my age class. I would also be only 1.9 seconds shy of a world record in the 500-meter distance currently held by an Olympic silver medalist! ( My best time as of 6/23/2014 is 1 minute 25.4 seconds. Current world record is 1 minute 23.5 seconds).
I have about ten pounds of body fat to lose and can dehydrate three pounds without sacrificing my performance, so might be looking at a three-pound loss in muscle to reach this body weight goal. Being a die-hard natural bodybuilder for the past eighteen years makes the idea of muscle loss difficult, but this goal has been haunting me. There is also an indoor rowing event held every February called the C.R.A.S.H.-B. Sprints World Indoor Rowing Championship. This competition brings some of the best rowers in the world to Chicago’s Boston University Agganis Arena to duke it out on the same Concept 2 machines that I have been training on, and will continue to train on for this event. Everyday brings a stronger motivation to push my body to a higher level. I’m living in the moment much of the time, but find myself slipping into the future, wondering what cool things will unfold before me.
Go, Austin, go! Please contact me and Charlie about this; we’re happy to help row to the medals stand on plants