Monday, April 30, 2012

COMPETITION: 10 WEEKS! Posing lessons. Protein all day. NO GYNECOMASTIA

Training for my first bodybuilding competition is getting serious. I was told by a friend, fellow instructor at Santa Cruz Power Fitness, and long-time female bodybuilding competitor, Debbie Bailey, that I look "soft." I value her opinion, and am planning to get even more serious this next ten weeks to harden everything up so I can take home a trophy in this year's Santa Clara Men's Physique contest.

Bodybuilding is more about dieting. As you know, my diet is strictly plant-based, so the "cutting foods" that involve meat and eggs (most of them!) are out for me. I was recommended a lot of soy-based foods by an amazing bodybuilder and cross-fitter, Ed Bauer, in Portland, Oregon- and am taking his word as vegan bodybuilding gospel- since every picture you see of "vegan bodybuilding" or "vegan muscle" features his likeness (amazingly ripped and solid). I am not on a pro-soy crusade, but I will say that it is my main source of protein and has been for 12 years with absolutely no negative side effects. There will be haters and folks who swear against soy, but I affirm that I have far more experience with soy-uptake than them and will show my YouTube video about soy products PROUDLY here:

It is National Soyfoods Month and there are several organizations and businesses promoting soy foods and soy products (probably to increase their business- that's just how things work!) this month. I will say that I appreciate their literature and information because it does list delicious recipes, honest nutrition facts, and little-known information about soy and its effects on appetite, cholesterol, heart health and other body issues.

I would love to debate soy with you. Again, I am not a soy spokesperson by any stretch, but I can attest to being a healthy, performing athlete while ingesting 50+ (at a minimum) grams of soy protein everyday. This is not my choice protein- if I didn't restrict chickens, cows, pigs, turkeys, ostriches, etc from my diet, then I would probably be eating them because I've heard of their muscle-building properties. I don't deny these things, I just abhor them and don't think they animal bodies are mine to derive protein from.

If you are looking for a challenge of some kind, is a pretty cool website where you can search for a CHALLENGE or a COMPETITOR, check what's listed, and go from there on your quest to do a fitness competition. Maybe I'll see you at the next 10k or Half-Ironman and we can discuss how Konkura got us both there!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Hollywood Half Marathon 2012

My first non-obstacle race. Kelly Qian, Kelsey Leonard, Billy Prusinowski THE SANTA CRUZ THREE! Please watch (and think about joining us next year)!

I now have this medal along with 2011 Tough Mudder and 2011 Warrior Dash up on my wall, literally right above where I'm sitting this very second. It's a proud thing to have medals or other souvenirs that acknowledge competitions you've participated in. I would truly encourage anyone to try amateur races of some sort if you have good cardiovascular endurance. I haven't won any of these but that's not stopping me from acting like I'm the #1 race winner/movie star. Jeez I even made a whole YouTube video about it!

For more information about signing yourself up for the next Hollywood Half Marathon, visit their site.
For more information about racing and being an entirely plant-based athlete, follow Herbivore Athletics on Twitter. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Billy Prusinowski's VEGA supplements testimonial April 2012

Lori's Natural Foods  is a large health and wellness superstore in Rochester, New York that works closely with Vega wellness supplements. I wrote a testimonial about my experiences with Vega and was published in their April newsletter.

Vega is a good company that is all vegan and strictly gluten and soy-free. All of the Paleo-diet adherents can even use it! Oh my gosh! Though they probably won't since it doesn't have any beef jerky in it. Side note, I wasn't chosen this year for the position of Vega Ambassador to represent their company at my upcoming NPC Bodybuilding Competition in July, but maybe next year. 

I do want to thank my loving aunt, Marusia Marrapese, for being an expert in the areas of wholistic health and plant-based supplementation, because she got me the opportunity to give this Vega product testimonial in the first place. Visit Marusia at Lori's Natural Foods if you're ever in the area!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Ukrainian Dancing: Over 30 and back at it!

Reviving this 5 year old blog, because I'm reviving my career in Ukrainian Dancing!

A few years back, I decided to showcase some of my Ukrainian dancing friends as masters of athleticism and strength. Ukie dance is something I grew up with, dancing with the Odesa Ensemble in Syracuse, NY, then the Mamai and Dunai Ensembles of Rochester, NY. As I was developing my fitness career, I made this blog and decided that Ukrainian dancers were some of the best representatives of overall athletic performance. 

Today, I am so happy to say I am again a Ukrainian dancer, active in San Francisco Bay Area's Burevisnyky. Three dancers from back east, and one from Australia; we've have been together for two months, done two performances, and are recruiting other old school ukrayinsÊıki tantsyurysty for upcoming performances. Before you dig into the blog from 4/3/12, check out some of these new pictures of an all 30+ Ukrainian Dance Ensemble!

Billy and Andrew Practicing Before Our Show

Couples Dancing Pryvit At The World Arts Fair

Spreckles Auditorium In Golden Gate Park

Billy, Tatiana, Larysa, and Andrew Welcoming Tradition

Busting Out A Little Crowd-Pleaser

Burevisnyky Ukrainian Dance Ensemble

Ok, that's my October 2016 update to this blog. Enjoy the old post from 2012 if you've never seen it! The embedded video that Mike Lewycky, dancer extraordinaire, made of Syzokryli is my favorite part.

Ukrainian Dancing: Athleticism, Accuracy, Stamina, Strength- MY CHILDHOOD!

My Ukrainian heritage is something I will always hold near and dear to me. Since I moved to California in 2009, I have had very little interaction with Ukrainians, unlike how it was back east. Syracuse, Rochester, and especially New York City all had large and lively Ukrainian populations. The three of those cities each had youth dance ensembles too. Ukrainian Folk Dance has a lot of history, which I will go into at a later date. For now, I would like you to enjoy a YouTube video of a group I've had the privilege of dancing with on several occasions between 2007 and 2009, called Syzokryli.

I was not in this performance from July 2011, though I have shared the stage with each of the dancers you see, and give them all accolades for sticking with the lifestyle and performing so proudly and expertly over and over again.

The kind of strength and stamina dances like these take are beyond what any average person and even beyond what lots of sport-specific athletes can muster. If you want to see more, visit Syzokryli at their homepage or their YouTube channel. Those videos are of their outstanding performances in front of paying audiences. Every performance is an adventure of sight, sound, energy and emotion, unmatched by anything else, but the real work and athleticism takes place in the practice studio where foot-busting, ankle-popping, shin-splinting, quadriceps-tearing, gluteal-wrecking rehearsal takes place for hours on end until they get it perfect!

My personal training business differs in that I don't have tradition to dictate my course of action. A traditional Ukrainian Dance practice is run by an old-school Ukie Dance extraordinaire who wants that sh*t done right! Now, you'd never hear me suggesting that my clients "push through (injury) pain," but every single person I've ever known to do traditional Ukrainian Dancing has, indeed, time and again pushed through the pain for the glory of the performance. Those smiles you will see on those dancers exude sheer joy. The hormonal response of performing in front of friends, family, generations of fellow Ukrainians or even the virgin public having ever to see this kind of spectacle is just insurmountable. When you start at six years old, your instructor tells you to "SMILE!" but after your first performance, it ends up coming naturally, and you can't stop until the next day :)

This sport is not for everybody, but if performance is what you enjoy, then this may be something you should look further into! Santa Cruz, California's premier World Danz instructor, Gina Garcia, incorporates styles from many corners of the globe, and will hopefully soon incorporate a little bit of "tanchi" (Ukrainian Dance) into her routines after I show her some moves this month!

I wouldn't imagine anyone becoming as talented and synchronized as these fine ladies after only a few classes, but some of the adult and senior World Danz participants doing "tribuchka" (the one, two, three dance step; "basic" move in Ukrainian Dance) might be a terrific addition to their exercise arsenal! 

My aim with fitness and personal training is (NO, it's not to be able to do THIS ^^ ), 
 to help my clients and the general public understand what will benefit them, how to attain their goals, and why we are doing what we do when we exercise. Just thinking about Ukrainian Dancing so much lately is making me want to go further into studying the exact effects this has on people's bodies. I can tell you that the size of the quadriceps and calves on these dancers is extremely large in comparison to the rest of their otherwise very lean bodies. Also, this kind of jumping and jarring (read: high-impact) is fantastic for improving bone density and skeletal strength. 

Injuries are a frequent occurrence, as with any sport. I have heard many male dancers talk of their knee pain or knee surgeries they've had from the bouncing and squatting required in some of their more advanced moves. Female dancers are most often ballerinas, like Ksenya Hentisz, who danced with Syzokryli for years and has become renowned for her ballet skills in the dance program at NYU and the Roma Pryma Bohachevcky Ukrainian Dance Workshops, famous in the tri-state area and Ukrainian communities internationally. I know Ksenya pretty well, and look forward to the day she  and her dancer friends come out to Santa Cruz to take Billy Bad Ass Cardio Kickboxing.

Ksenya's not the only one I should give a loud and serious SHOUT OUT to. Everyone who has danced with Syrokryli, or ever performed with a Ukrainian Dance group anywhere deserves applause and appreciation in this blog. (Including me...yep. I'm in this picture above actually. And the one directly below too!)

That's a guy named Alex Kopcyk, from Connecticut and the fella behind him is Stefan Calka of Sacramento. Behind both of those soloists is a smiling, shirtless, Billy Prusinowski, just giving my boys some support by creating a pretty background! Stefan is a principal dancer in the Sacramento Ballet, that I've seen perform professionally four times now (in Cinderella, Capital Coreography, and The Nutcracker, twice)! Stefan also has his roots in Ukrainian Dancing back east in New York, and is now everyone's favorite ballerina in California's capital!

For more videos and photos, which almost capture the propensity of how amazing Ukrainian Dancing is, please go to and start clicking! I'm in 10 or so of those pictures from the 2007 and 2009 find me if you can!

One of Syzokryli's former dancers made a documentary about the lives we all (more fittingly,they all) live when "in season" (i.e. getting prepared for the large summer performances). This is a close look at some of the hard work that goes into learning, conditioning, practicing and perfecting these very athletic and acrobatic dances. This is what I appreciate to the fullest, and would expect anyone who appreciates athleticism in any form to fully understand how truly awesome dance can be and is. 

Lastly, if you just want to stare at some beautiful Ukrainians (ladies and gentlemen), the Syzokryli bios page is right here. Second row, middle, (Natalia Halatyn, dancer extraordinaire) has indeed been to Santa Cruz and taken Billy Bad Ass Cardio Kickboxing. These are my close friends who I miss lots, and would love to see all come out and visit in California. Maybe perform? And then go see Stefan perform in the Sac Ballet? Much love everyone.

Yours in fitness, 
Billy Bad Ass
(don't forget to watch my video too if you haven't yet!)
(and subscribe to my YouTube channel!)

Kozak Stampede 2007 Featuring Billy With His Kozaky Mustache

Monday, April 2, 2012


It is now April 2012. "Bulking season" is over. Almost. I am giving myself two more days to purge my cupboards of all carbohydrates and fats and consume only pure protein and water for the next 14 weeks until NPC Bodybuilding Competition on July 14th.

That is of course an exaggeration. Yes "bulking season" (when bodybuilders try to eat in excess of what they usually eat to gain size and muscle for a few months long before competition) is coming to a close for me, and "cutting season" is beginning this week. No I will not be cutting out EVERY carbohydrate nor EVERY fat from my diet. BUT, you would probably be surprised about how tight a vegetarian or vegan diet can be even while cutting carbs and fat. By tight I of course mean getting every ounce of recommended calories and nutrients (not just recommended amounts either- MUSCLE-GAINING AMOUNTS) and having lots of protein...yes even without meat!

Today's blog isn't really about cutting though. You will be seeing many more blogs about my cutting and dieting in days to come. I feel like a lot of the time I would have otherwise spent eating will instead be spent blogging! Yay for me and you :)

So, here was one of my final indulgences. My roommate, Ed Kim, was on spring break from UC Santa Cruz and visited his family in Albany. That is Albany, California, not New York (just to clarify for my homwtown friends)! His town is in close proximity to Berkeley, CA, home of Cinnaholic. Owned by a friend of a friend, this ALL VEGAN (shhhh don't tell anybody!) cinnamon roll shoppe is the best store on the face of this Earth. If I lived any closer than 85 miles away, I'd be there everyday. Since I am relatively far from realistically making this a daily, weekly, or even monthly thing, I try to get anyone coming through the East Bay Area to get me something from there. Today, Ed pulled through, and he done good!
Here's the first picture....the peanut butter and jelly roll. Check out Cinnaholic's menu to see how awesome their selections are. 

The link to the menu is right here, but do NOT click on it unless you are in bulking season. Wherever you are, this menu and Herbivore Athletics' word that these damn things are supremely delicious may just get you out of your seat, wherever you are, (I know I have readers in Australia!) and up into Berkeley, CA to get a dozen of these delicious vegan mouth-destroyers. 

I was trying to be funny about you only really clicking on that link if you are in bulking season. To tell you the truth though, I am starting to feel a little guilty for having a health and fitness blog and dedicate this entire entry to cinnamon rolls....

AHHHHH Who cares! This is about ME and MY BULKING SEASON
The roll covering my right breast (on your left) is their cookies and creme roll. Delicious. 

Ohh intense sunlight. I just wanted to make sure you saw the awesomeness of both rolls, but now looking at it the glare is just too much. Oh well. Drool while you imagine. 

So should I go back to plugging my classes? If you did, indeed, visit Cinnaholic just from reading this, then you most certainly need to get into Santa Cruz Power Fitness or Acadia Fitness  and catch up with Billy Bad Ass for some Cardio Kickboxing! Mondays and Wednesdays at 6pm!
Or Billy's Boot Camps on Fridays and Saturdays!

Zhu vant to be big strong like bull, da? 

Get into it. Cinnaholics rocks. LIKE them on facebook
If you are training with me currently and we are doing a weight-loss program, DON'T GO THERE! LOL. I'll take you there to celebrate once we reach our goals :)

Yours in plant-based fitness and vegan iced-goodness, 

PS- If you eat cinnamon rolls, vegan or not, get with this if you wanna turn those calories into longevity-promoting energy and not store it all as adipose fat ;)