Name: Richard Blackman
Birthplace: London, England
Current Residence: Dallas, Texas
Why did you become Vegan?
I came from a poor family from south east London, England so cheap junk food and cheap meat was a way of life, I was brought up a meat/junk food eater up until my mid twenties. Up until then I had lived to eat, infact food was a great comfort to me and I used it to deal with the stresses in my life! I ate anything and everything I could, no matter what the ingredients. The only thing I didn't like was seafood! Absolutely no thought what so ever of health or nutrition went into my eating habits. It simply felt so good to eat cooked food that I just assumed that if it wasn't safe It wouldn't be sold in the stores. As the years went by, I got the regular colds and flu's that everyone else was getting but one day for some reason it stopped being normal to me and I began asking myself why I felt it was normal to get sick. I also started to get more sensitive, I felt bloated, blocked up, full of mucus and constipated! then I realised I'd always felt like this but for some reason I was only just starting to notice it.
Eventually it reached the point where I couldn't eat anymore cooked food. The more I ate the more bloated I felt and I could hardly breathe because of the mucus build up. So that summer I stopped eating altogether and for some reason I started eating fruit. I had never touched fruit before that. I started with mangos, melons and grapes, I was in HEAVEN! it felt so good that I wished I could eat 100% fruits all the time. I did some research and found out about the Fruitarian Lifestyle and as they say "the rest is history". My main goals are to prove to the world that a Fruitarian living on just fruits can build quality muscle and to also change the face of Fruitarianism as we know it.
How did you get interested in fitness?
It's in the blood. My Mother was a champion sprinter and her brother was British middle wieght boxing champion. My first real experience with fitness was being taught olympic wieght lifting at a after school program when I was 11 years old. I showed much promise and beat the current school boys champions winning lifts during training within a week of starting. There was much talk of entering me into the following years contest but I chose to join the school Rugby League team instead.
What is your sports background?
I started as an sprinter at primary school then went on to playing Rugby League in secondary school where the highlight of that was playing for London Schools in the curtain raiser for the Great Britain vsx Australia game. I went on to play open age amature rugby while I was still 14 years of age, which is where I was spotted by Yorkshire League scouts. From there I made it onto the Yorkshire County team and played in the famous "War of the Roses" games, then went on to play for the Great Britain Young Lions under 19 squad against France. All of this ended up with me turning pro with Oldham Rugby League Club and the London Bronco's.
How would you describe your current training program?
Intense compound exercises!!! I do Calisthenics/bodywieght exercises and I strive for progression so every workout should be harder than the last one. My workout mantra is "ain't nuttun to it...but to do it!" My goal is to get as big as I can get, the healthiest way possible and be happy doing it.
How would you describe your current nutrition program?
I spent many years living the Fruitarian lifestyle. I make an effort to stay away from cooked/junk foods; eating raw fruits that my body craves for is what I thrive on. I don't use any supplements, drink water, eat greens, eat nuts or seeds simply because I don't crave them.
Tell us a bit about a fruitarian diet.
A Fruitarian is simply a Raw Vegan who loves fruits. In my opinion the Fruitarianism Lifestyle is a very personal journey for each individual living it! I truly believe that to understand Fruitarianism you must first try to understand the concept of Breatharianisn. I personaly think that breatharianism holds all the answers to how we can survive on a fruitarian lifestyle. The more I look into it, the more I'm convinced that fruits were designed to attract us and attract other animals for the sole purpose of spreading it's seeds. We would be better off if we lived off of fresh air and the energy of the sun and fruits in small amounts, and not the vast quantities of cooked/junk foods we eat today!
I also believe that back in the days we were foragers and we ate whatever we could find such as raw nuts in their fresh natural state,etc. Fruitarianism is a natural progression from Raw Veganism which is a progression from Veganism/vegetarianism. When you embark on a Fruitarian lifestyle you must also get past the mystery, myths and sensationalism that surround it. Yes, becoming a Fruitarian is sheer bliss. It re-educates you and your body, brings it back to nature, teaches you that we are the students and nature is the teacher. It's beauty is in it's simplicity and honesty but the journey to this point demands commitment.
There are many things to keep in mind. One of them is that nothing in this world is pure anymore. There are many things that are done to fruit before it even gets to us. For instance, some oranges are boiled so they last longer in the stores some are even dyed orange so they look.....orange! Some bananas are gased to last longer in the stores, in these modern times the reality is that Fruitarianism falls way short of what it should be due to modern day harvesting, pesticides, gases and storage. The treatment of fruit these days is nothing short of disgusting, but get used to it! Ideally to be successful on a Fruitarian diet you need to have gone through a cleansing process for a number of years, but every now and again somebody that has not been through years of cleansing comes along that is completely drawn to to being a Fruitarian.
I was one of those people. All I wanted to do was eat fruits and nothing else. In my opinion, at the end of the day, if you have made the decision to take the Fruitarian path you need to be aware that you're doing it without the experience of years of cleansing and that it's going to be extremely challenging at times. There's going to be times where nothing makes sense! Eating fruits is a very liberating experience and I don't think that people really understand how much davastation cooked food/junk food has caused to their bodies. They read a book written by a self proclaimed rawfood guru that's speaking from a over romantisized/idealistic prospective, but as people read and enjoy these books they don't take their own bodies or instincts into account.
Fruitarianism is part of an ancient way of living which probably goes back to the dawn of time! Back then we didn't need to go through a detoxification process to go raw because we were already raw. I for one, count myself lucky to have a body that is still able to function considering the amount of cooked food abuse I've put it through over the years! A lot of people are not so lucky and when it comes to them making the choice to go raw their bodies struggle to make the conversion. Then they quit and cave in to their addictions and blame their failure on fruits! I think this is where a lot of our doubts about Fruitarianism stems from. From that and the fact that there are very few 100% fruit eating Fruitarians willing to stand up and lead the way.
What are your favorite foods and why?
My absolute favorite foods are fruits of all kinds because as the saying goes, "You are what you eat." I would have to say that my favourite fruit is the one that my body craves for and that craving will change depending on the weather and what my body is needing at the time.
What are your favorite exercises and why?
My goal is simple; to get as big as I can living a Fruitarian Lifestyle, so it's got to be the compound exercises hands down!!! I particularly love Dips, pull-ups, shoulder press and bench press.
What are some of your sports highlights or best lifts?
My whole Rugby career. As for wieghts it goes as follows:
Press ups:1900 reps in an hour
Dips:800 reps in an hour
Chins:420 reps in an hour
Calf Raises 4000
305lb bench press
What advice would you give to people just starting out as a vegan athlete?
Don't let any body tell you you can't achieve your goals as a Vegan!!!
I think it also depends on your mentality and your approach towards exercise. For me, I'm an all or nothing kinda guy so I tend to give it all I got and push myself to my limits and beyond. I would say to give it all you got but make sure you put your body/health first. It's more important to feel good than to look good, and last but not least....stay natural!
Is there anything else you’d like to add about your vegan fitness lifestyle?
Yes. I would like to thank my wife for being my tower of strength and for being an inspiration to me on my Fruitarian journey.
Thank you very much for your time!
You're welcome Robert, and thank you so much for being such an active pioneer in the Vegan world.