Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
Hi! My name is Rishi Kunal Joshi. I’m 29 years old from Detroit, Michigan.
I work as a supercomputing engineer, specializing in data storage. It’s a fun time in the area, as high performance data needs are spreading to so many other areas – technologies like the AI powering autonomous vehicles and the machines powering Netflix and other streaming services all come from these systems born for supercomputing originally.
I started lifting at 12 years old. My mom would go to the gym daily to do her master’s degree, reading on the cardio machines, while I would sneak into the free weight area. I was always obsessed with being strong like my dad and the guys I saw on ESPN in the World’s Strongest Man competition.
I’ve also always been terrible with strength sports! These sports are not meant for tall people typically, but mainly I was an idiot who followed some ridiculous advice for the first decade. I used to eat a dozen eggs, a cup of olive oil, a gallon of milk, and six peanut butter sandwiches at a minimum.
My training was intense but always unsustainably dangerous and with poor technique. I’m grateful now seeing how greatly the information in the fitness industry has improved.
Over the years, I sought out great coaches by hiring them personally and traveling to seminars. This went a long way not necessarily in teaching me new information, but in applying Occam’s Razor to my strength training.
We all have limited time and resources so understanding what counts and what doesn’t is imperative to making this a sustainable lifestyle. My lack of talent along with my stubbornness to try everything myself really helped me develop as a coach. Mentorship is less intuitive in my day job where the subject comes naturally to me hahah.
Eventually, I started coaching people under Everyday Athlete, which now is 100% a charitable cause. I’m really proud of my athletes and the impact we have.
The focus of Everyday Athlete is to fit fitness and health goals into our lifestyle in a sustainable way. The science of strength and physique development changes very little, but the implementation is where the real artistry comes in.
This is why building a close, long term relationship with a coach can be so valuable.
Describe a typical day of training
My training is pretty simple. For every body part, I choose one to three effective exercises. Depending on the size of the body part, phase of training, and cycle focus, I may train a body part anywhere from one to six times a week.
As I draw closer and closer to a powerlifting competition, exercise specificity increases to focus on peaking for competition day.
For bodybuilding competitions, I take somewhat of an opposite approach and may take certain movements out as my body fat drops. This isn’t to “bring out the cuts” or some other bro reason, it’s a leverage issue – it gets hard to squat properly when the belt breaks your lower ribs!
I track cardio simply by hitting a minimum daily step/mileage goal on my phone’s pedometer.
How do you keep going and push harder?
I stay internally motivated sometimes. It comes and goes naturally. The main key is to create behavioral patterns, so even during sluggish phases I’m still somewhat productive.
My other motivation is by competition. I’m not so worried about beating others, but as giving my best self to the competition. This is actually extremely difficult if truly done and not to be taken lightly – look at relentless athletes like Kobe Bryant who aren’t limited by their competition.
I’ve delayed my current bodybuilding prep until recently when I felt my passion for it return. You can’t fake passion! If you do, I promise you’ll be disappointed in yourself when you come across someone that truly wants it.
It is strange to live in the moment when we have such long term goals, but being process-oriented is the only way I’ve been able to function at a high level, and enjoy doing so for long periods.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
My training and diet is ramping up now in prep for a bodybuilding competition in a couple months. I compete in the open class for Men’s Classic Bodybuilding in the NPC. It’s a lot to manage on top of other, objectively more important life priorities.
Truly competitive bodybuilding is extreme on a level other sports can’t compare to. Getting under 6% body fat and retaining as much muscle as possible is truly an unsustainable set of stressors for the body.
If the last month feels like death, you’re doing it right! I also take it as a meditative period of life. Late in bodybuilding prep I have very little time or energy for anything that isn’t needed.
After those phases, it’s good to reflect on what you eventually came to see as necessary and the toxic habits and people that were easy to drop. Sometimes we need a push to move out of stagnation and into positive directions.
I’d like to use this contest to show people how far you can push the body with a vegan diet, as well as some of the practical considerations and pitfalls of it.
After this next show, I’m planning on a long offseason from bodybuilding and will switch my focus back to powerlifting for at least a competition.
I think it’s possible to balance multiple sports for fun, but I’d like to focus on one each and compete at higher levels each time.
How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
I prepped for six months while traveling constantly! I didn’t sleep in the same bed for more than three days a time during that period.
It’s definitely possible, but just takes some adaptability and a good understanding of the fundamentals. A good attitude helps too! Remember that you’re doing this because you want to and for no other reason.
I would highly recommend Dr. Hoffman’s book “Recovering from Training” for more recovery techniques.
But in general, eating lots of food, snuggling, stressing less, and sleeping more are my best bets for recovery between training sessions. Sound training plans and constant technique practice are the most I can do to prevent injury.
I only started winning powerlifting competitions when I incorporated less egotistical training practices! There’s no sustainable way to tough guy your way through decades of abuse as a strength athlete.
How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
Right now, my diet is lower/moderate fat and carbs and high protein. Getting these requirements in from a completely vegan whole food diet has been much easier than I thought so far.
The last six months I was on the road constantly, so much of my diet was made of soy based meat replacements, vegetables, and simple to prep fat and carb sources like avocados and microwavable rice. With some creativity any diet is doable.
It actually saves me time to have a somewhat strict diet as there’s less time spent thinking about and prepping individual meals. I eat two to six times a day depending on how I feel and my schedule that day.
Right now, the only supplements I take are vitamin D, a B complex, and zinc/magnesium. I forgot to take them unless I pre-pack them in little containers. Any way I can minimize time spent helps.
I make sure to salt my foods extremely heavily and take in extra electrolytes to support the training. A varied diet with plenty of plants helps greatly with electrolyte intake too. I try and titrate caffeine – keeping it lower when not desperately needed and increasing only for periods of time.
I log my workouts roughly and plan out training in bimonthly cycles like I do for most clients. Training comes in waves and can be adjusted around life stressors this way. All stress is stress! Make sure training stress is prioritized healthily.
I see beginners try and be perfect with every little detail and then flounder to maintain consistency. Ironically, even at the highest levels, the focus is on mastering the basics – diet, training, sleep.
What has inspired and motivated you?
Talking with others at competitions really inspires me. They’re all getting it done and come from such diverse backgrounds. If you think “now is not the time” to follow your passions, you should hear their stories.
Working with clients and seeing them progress fast and learn lifelong skills also inspires me to lead by example. Positive people are the best to interact with. Even in the face of hardships, they’ll recycle whatever energy you put in and give it back tenfold.
I’m very lucky and have made conscious efforts to be around people who both support and challenge me. I love the journey I’ve had in strength training and applying it to other areas of life.
We are truly nothing without our physical and mental health – nonexistent without the former and incapable of perceiving and understanding that existence without the later.
Nothing compares to living, learning, and passing on to others. It makes the difficult times just as beautiful and rewarding as the smooth ones.
Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
My best advice is to understand that scientists are humanists. Rather than attach yourself to a diet or training system and defend it zealously – try to tear it apart, try to find better solutions, try completely different solutions. You are the goal worth defending, nothing else is.
The moment you are content in your level of knowledge and think you have it all figured out is the moment you start regressing. I have never been beat and will never be beat by a close minded competitor who approaches their keto or vegan diet like a religion hahah.
I want to spend knowledge objectively. Dumbing things down or lying to market an idea is doing the consumer a disservice. It’s not always sexy to say eat more vegetables and stress less, but if there were dramatic secrets, they wouldn’t stay secret for long.
In the end, I hope any coach focuses on his or her lasting impact above all other factors. We need to give our trainees credit and empower them to commit to a life of positive behaviors and continued learning. To make that possible, you have to go beyond spoon feeding information.
Even now with my vegan diet, I’m careful to separate the moral from the practical implications in my life. I chose the diet clearly for moral reasons, but I also want to be my best! I want to show people that it’s a moral choice and not a sacrifice.
It sounds sad but the vegan diet has needed to be more sustainable and fun for people to follow it en masse. We can’t expect every moral choice to lead to martyrdom – kindness should be mainstream!
And if you ever feel your obstacles are insurmountable, think back to your why for doing it all. If your “why” is strong enough, the “how” becomes a series of fun challenges that fade into minutiae.
Are you taking on clients right now?
Yes! Email me at [email protected], 100% of all revenue goes towards Children’s SOS Village to support orphans to get to safe environments with education, water, and food. Every client plan is highly customized and modified as we go, but based upon the same principles.
Where can we learn more about you?
Apart from email, creep on my posts or slide into my DM’s. My Instagram is @everydayathlete_coaching. I love helping people always, or at least pointing them in the right direction if I don’t have time.
Ready to get really fit and inspired?
I’m Mads Phikamphon, founder of Bulk Hackers.
Here on Bulk Hackers we interview bodybuilders, personal trainers and fitness heroes. We ask them to share their stories and all their greatest hacks!
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