I caught up with Tighe Damron to talk tattoos and how to play a perfect game of Tetris.
What was the first tattoo that you got?
The large piece on the back of my left leg.
I’d been wanting one for a couple of years, and then I finally worked up the courage to go for it — now I can’t stop!
What is it about tattoos that you like?
Tattoos are literally artwork for your body. I love being able to express my inner-self in this outward way.
Is there a specific inspiration or story behind each of your tattoos?
Yes, except the first one. For the first tattoo, I discussed what I was looking for with my tattoo artist and he designed it for me. For the rest, I’ve plotted and ‘designed’ them, and had my artist implement my design.
All my tattoos have been created by Adrian at Sacred Art LA. He’s amazing.
For the wrap around my right arm up to my shoulder, I woke up from a dream and saw it in my head, both the double lines and the five-line design on my forearm. It’s a play on the rainbow and a music staff — I sing and play the oboe, so had to work my musicality in somewhere.
For the Tetris tattoo, I wanted something that represents my crazy mind — I always organise and over-plan things. So I played a ‘perfect game’ of Tetris — that’s where you save the long four-piece until the end so it wipes out the entire four rows at once, giving you the most points possible — took a screen-shot, and photo-shopped the image to where the pieces are all falling together perfectly. Just like my life.
I also have a few ‘random eights’ on my body — Random Eight is an anagram for Tighe Damron — but they’re actual numbers and symbolic eights. Plus I have the octopus holding onto the bottom of my right foot, the two four-pointed stars on my left side, and the arm bands on my left arm.
Did it hurt getting your tattoos done?
It definitely hurts. I find that Hush helps a bit, but not entirely. The most painful was the thick band around the top of my arm, specifically underneath close to my arm pit. But it was worth it.
Are you planning to get more tattoos?
Most definitely. I have plans for more around my leg, to make a sort of crown — starting with the two eights that are there now as the front and back.
I also want to finish my right arm sleeve, which will be another five different designs that will appear to be at different depths.
What sort of reaction from guys do you get to your tattoos?
They love the tats. I get a lot of attention from the Tetris tat — which is one of my favourites — and the leg piece.
Do you regret any of your tattoos?
Not at all. I actually regret not starting sooner.
What advice would you give to someone who was thinking about getting a tattoo?
Choose something that you’ll love decades from now, and go for it!
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Meet the vegan body-builder
Alexander Kosztowny is building mass without harm.
I caught up with aspiring bodybuilder Alexander Kosztowny to talk fitness, food, and life as a vegan body-builder.
Were you into sports at school?
No. Growing up, I was a heavy-set kid, and not very active at all. In school, I was very academic, and focused mainly on my studies rather than athletics. I didn’t dread gym class, and always worked hard and enjoyed certain sports like tennis and volleyball, but the lack of variety of activities in gym class limited my view on the variety of types of activities out there. If I’d tried a weight lifting class, or yoga, or karate, my attitude may have changed earlier in life. My sister was always active, but I come from a family who are not very big on physical activity or sports. Of course, like most, I wish I’d started earlier, but better late than never.
Can you remember what your first experience of a gym was?
I lost a lot of weight in high school with the onset of puberty, and with the gaining knowledge of nutrition, portion control, and cardiovascular activity. When I went to college, I found myself putting a lot of the weight back on, and knew I had to prevent that. I joined a gym, and hired a personal trainer for the first time to help me get back on track.
I absolutely fell in love with pumping iron. I was able to coordinate working out into being a part of my schedule, as opposed to limiting it only to ‘when I have time’ and having a trainer not only motivated me and taught me technique, but also kept me accountable for my actions. He helped me with adding strength while paying attention to form, and meal planning, The excess weight fell off, and I became addicted.
Now I’m in the gym every day, pushing my body and transforming both my health, my appearance, and my outlook.
When did you decide to get serious about your fitness and bodybuilding?
About four years ago. But I’ve only been super-serious for about a year, and I’ve only been extremely strict in terms of diet for about six months. I’m still a beginner.
What’s your aspiration as a bodybuilder?
To get huge. That’s it.
As someone who’s plant-based, I’d also like to show others what’s possible on a non-traditional diet. That there are other forms of nutrition and protein, and you can build muscle, look great, and have tons of energy without harm.
What’s the difference between your body as it is now and the way that you want your body to look?
I’d still call my self thick or chubby-muscular. The interesting thing about bodybuilding is that there never really is an end goal. You just lift and grow bigger and you’re never quite big or strong enough. I’m just trying to push myself as far as I possibly can. It’s exciting to see the changes you can make that way.
What’s your work-out regime like?
I’m in the gym six or seven times a week. This seems excessive to some people, and I know others who only go three or four times a week, and that works for them. For me, the gym is therapeutic and a stress reliever, as well as a hobby.
I usually spend about one hour doing weight lifting — machines and free weights — and then I wrap up with about 35 minutes of cardio. I focus on one body part per day. It’s a traditional bodybuilding split, so muscles have a chance to rest. This routine works for me — I know some people have luck doing high-intensity, full body workouts, but I like the focus of working each muscle group in isolation.
Do you have a work-out buddy?
Not currently, but I’ve always enjoyed it when I do. It really is vital for really heavy spotting, and the dependability is nice if they’re as motivated as you. If anyone is in Los Angeles and wants to train with me, hit me up!
How important is controlling your diet?
Controlling diet is extremely important. It makes or breaks your progress in the gym. if you lift but don’t eat right, you won’t get anywhere. I’ve seen this happen both for myself and others. When I finally got on the right meal plan, the results happened in no time at all — abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym.
I eat about five times a day, and I’m plant-based, just like Tom Brady. My diet consists of lots of legumes, lentils, tofu, peas, broccoli, peanut butter, protein shakes, and other natural, nutrient-rich foods that contain protein without resorting to animal products.
Besides the ethical and environmental sides of going vegan, I find I have more energy, need less time to recover, and am less sore, as well as having clearer skin. I count my macros — calories, carbs, proteins, and fats — and eat the same foods every day to stay on track. I’ve pretty much eliminated bread, gluten, alcohol, refined sugars, and beverages besides water from my diet, except for special occasions. I’m super-strict, but do let myself enjoy food.
Are your friends and family supportive of your bodybuilding aspirations?
For the most part. They’re always impressed at my progress and dedication, but I need a lot of willpower when I have a family who loves to cook, bake, and tempt me with treats. That’s why having a partner or workout buddy who is on a similar plan is helpful, if you’re lucky enough to find one. It keeps you on track.
Are you competing?
Nope, and no plans to either. But that may change as I grow bigger.
What are some of your priorities for the months ahead?
I’m currently in the best shape I’ve ever been in, so I want to just keep on progressing. It’s a slow process, and takes a lot of time, so you have to be patient.
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