Alison Crowdus, vegan powerlifter
Alison Crowdus is a powerlifter based in Northern Kentucky, USA who has qualified for the XPC Finals at the Arnold Sports Festival. In March 2017 she made her debut there, read more about it here.
This follows many years of sport including 13 years of cheerleading, throwing shot put and discus in high school, lifting recreationally and then powerlifting. “I love competing and am always trying to beat myself” Ali told us.
Competing in the superheavyweight category of 198+lbs/90+ kgs or 220+lbs/100+kg, as of March 2017 weighed in at 245lbs (111kg) and has shown an impressive level of strength. She has competed in raw lifts but has had much more success with equipped lifting.
In May 2017 she was listed in the all-time bench press rankings with the twelfth biggest benchpress of all time worldwide, ranked at number one in the country (read more here).
Achieving a total of 1405lb (639kg) equipped she has qualified for the Arnold and established her as a nationally recognised athlete. This includes lifts of:
- 505lb (229 kg) squat
- 450lb (204 kg) bench
- 450lb (204 kg) deadlift
Ali plans to improve on them.
In September 2012, Ali changed to a vegan diet.
“I was in the process of losing weight and had lost around 70 pounds so far, but still didn't feel well. I began reading the book 'The Kind Diet' and within the first chapter, the author talked about how after two weeks of eating a plant-based diet, her body felt lighter, skin looked brighter and head was more clear - so I decided to give it a shot. Over the course of a month, I filtered all of the animal products out of my diet and quickly noticed positive changes in my body and mind, improved recovery time with my training, a better awareness of food and flavors (which has helped in my career as a chef) and a greater appreciation and connection with my body - so I never went back. I have a 7 year old daughter that follows a mostly vegetarian diet. I pass my knowledge on to her and allow her to make decisions for herself.”
Ali is now committed to veganism and if faced with a less predictable environment such as when travelling, she either packs her own food or researches options in the area she’s travelling to.
Normal diet is uncomplicated, natural and nutritious, which seems to be working.
“I prefer the 'bro diet' approach and I eat very simply, and often the same thing daily. I also believe in embracing the benefits of a whole food plant-based diet so I try to stay away from processed 'vegan substitute' foods as much as possible. Rather, I use tofu as my main protein source, brown rice, sweet potatoes and quinoa as my main carb sources, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, asparagus etc. for veggies and olive oil, avocados and nut butters for fats. Plus tons of herbs, spices, hot sauces, mustards and so on.”
This fuels her intense training schedule which covers five days per week. On Monday she focusses on heavy back accessories before working on heavy lower accessories on Tuesday. On Thursdays she targets maximum effort on Bench Press. Saturday sees her training maximum effort on heavy squats and deadlift on alternate weeks. Then on Sunday she trains dynamic effort on bench.
“After main movements, I always use a heavy second movement to work on a main weak point and follow that with 4-6 accessory movements. I try to incorporate cardio a few times per week, depending on where I am in regards to meet preparation.”
Ali has plans to increase her totals but she also has another target – strongman.
“I would like to get a bit more into Strongman training after competing in (and winning) my first strongman competition in January of this year ”.
Ali did well in most events, although as someone who had most done static lifting, events like yoke carry and farmer’s walk left competitors who had concentrated on conditioning more with the edge.
“As I grow as a lifter, I also love passing on the knowledge that I have gained to other lifters through coaching and am currently one of the coaches at RiverCity Barbell. Although I don't broadcast the fact that I eat a plant-based diet, I also don't hide it. I enjoy answering questions and continuing to prove that you can be strong and healthy and competitive without eating animal products.”