Name: Fawn Porter
Weight: 57kgs / 126lbs
Birthplace: Brisbane, Australia
Current Residence: Sydney, Australia
Sports: Rock Climbing, Touch Football, Snowboarding.. trying to get into yoga, a bit of tennis and learning to dance (properly..)
Why did you become vegan?
I’d always thought of myself as an ‘animal person’. Having grown up on a farm, I always had my trusty four legged best friend Bear by my side. I loved all the horses, birds and cows that roamed around the place. As a child I recall asking my Dad what happens to the cows, having a gut sense telling me something wasn’t quite right, but never getting a straight answer. After finishing high school I went on to work at the local animal shelter whilst studying animal sciences, law and behavior at university. While working at the shelter I got to know many of the farm animal residents on a personal level, quickly learning that they each had their own unique personalities. It was then that I also became informed about factory farming and the various standard practices on the meat, dairy and egg industries. I finally made the connection. This was all capped off by seeing the documentary Earthlings in early 2008 – it blew me out of the water! I went to work the next day feeling as though I was in a state of bereavement. How could all of these awful atrocities to animals be going on behind closed doors that I never knew about?? I’d gone from being the girl the McDonalds drive through staff knew on a first name basis, eating meat breakfast, lunch and dinner to a vegetarian and within a matter of a few short months a vegan. How could I justify eating such innocent animals, equally as capable of feeling fear, pain and a range of emotions just like my best friend Bear? It just didn’t add up.
When and why did you become interested in fitness?
I’ve always been relatively active and always enjoyed sports from soccer, netball, tennis, touch football and athletics in high school although mainly for the social and competitive aspect. I’d never really thought of it in terms of my health and fitness so much. In fact I went through a bit of a chubby phase during high school, given the foods I was eating it was no wonder. I was know as the ‘beach ball on stilts’ ie I packed on the pounds around the middle although always seemed to keep my lanky limbs.
After going vegan I really started to think about what it was I was putting into my body and how it affected me both physically and mentally. A combination of this new found curiosity and wanting to disprove the many myths surrounding veganism led me to leading a more consciously active lifestyle. I figured what better way that through fitness as a platform to show others that veganism in no way holds you back, in fact I’ve never felt better!
Since mid-late 2009 I started getting busy in the gym, lifting weights with clear goals in mind. It’s given me so much drive and motivation to see my strength increase over time, which has helped in many other areas as well including in my rock climbing ability and touch football comps as well as my day to day energy levels.
How would you describe your nutrition program?
I probably would have laughed at this question not so long ago but now I try to eat regular meals, sticking to around 5 a day with around 3 hours in between. Now I make sure I get a good chunk of whole foods in, keep the protein levels up, eat low GI foods and am trying more so to eat less processed foods also. Some of the usual suspects on my shopping list are:
Fruit and Veggies!
Lentils and beans
Soy/rice milk for protein smoothies (I change it up using a combination of pea, soy, brown rice and artichoke proteins. I use Nitro Fusion, Phyto Pea Protein and Natures Way Soy Protein)
Nuts and nut butters
Seeds and seed oils eg. flax, sunflower, sesame..
Udo’s oil for a good ratio of omegas 3, 6 and 9
So far so good with being ‘controlled’ in my eating habits of late, although I do have a ravenous sweet tooth that can’t always be restrained! This is where the mango tapioca and tofutti cuties come in..!!
How would you describe your training program?
Currently I’m sticking with a full body workout 3 times a week as I struggle to make it to the gym anymore than this with trying to fit in touch comps and rock climbing among an otherwise already busy schedule. I’m changing things up every 6 weeks and am currently doing 4 sets for each exercise with reps from 12 down to 6, increasing the weight on each set. This seems to be working fairly well but I’m still looking at changing things up to see how my body best responds.
Melissa Brey (www.veganpersonaltraining.com) originally helped me with my diet and training through her vegan personal training, she does a fantastic job!
What kind of supplements do you use if any, and why?
I use Xtend by Scivation to help with energy and preserving lean muscle mass during extended exercise as I’m often walking home from work, straight to the gym and then onto climbing or a touch football game..
I take a multivitamin daily also which is something I’ve always done even before becoming vegan.. that’s pretty much it. I get everything I need from my diet really.
What are some common misconceptions about veganism?
That there is a mandatory dress code which involves tie dye clothing and dread locks or that you are therefore a tree hugging hippy and/or a string bean wimp. Not that there is anything wrong with anyone who chooses to hug tree, has dreads or likes a bit of colour in their wardrobe.. however I think a lot of the mainstream look upon this image in a negative light and by stereotyping vegans in general under this umbrella they can feel okay about not taking them seriously.
I think a lot of people view veganism as ‘extreme’ because they’ve never known anything else except for the old ‘meat and 3 veg’. I used to subconsciously hold a similar viewpoint coming from a very meat centric diet previously but I’ve since learned and experienced that there really is nothing extreme about it at all. There are so many other great options out there. I don’t feel as though I’ve had to sacrifice anything - and feel much healthier for it!
What do you like best about being vegan?
I love that I truly have found peace of mind in knowing that I no longer play a role in feeding the corporate greed of those who exploit animals. Knowing that I’m not only doing something great for myself but also for other animals and the environment. It gives me a great sense of purpose and drive in everything I do in life. I also look and feel better than I ever have before. It’s helped me to think clearer and has really made me a more open minded person.
What do you like best about being fit?
That I no longer have to press the snooze button and don’t have to be paranoid at the gym by wearing my big baggy t-shirts anymore! Of course the best bit is the overall fitness ‘high’ you have which ripples through all other aspects of your life.
What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming vegan?
Do it! Give it a go, you’ve got nothing to loose.. except those extra pounds and a chunk out of your carbon footprint. I think one of the first things to do is to understand your reasoning behind doing it and really researching the issues behind a vegan lifestyle. Find the videos and read up on the facts of what goes into producing animal products. This will increase your likelihood or sticking to a vegan diet as often times people to tend to treat it as just that, a diet or a fad/phase. I would also suggest doing it with someone or find a vegan friend or a community for support and become educated on the food choices and recipes out there to make the transition easier. Remember, you’re not alone!
How has the website www.veganbodybuilding.com helped or inspired you?
It’s definitely inspired me to become more fit and active personally. It’s so encouraging to see such a large and thriving community of like minded individuals coming together to share their experiences and advice on bodybuilding and fitness. From just reading through a few of the forum threads and articles I’ve learnt so much. It’s a great place to come when you need to boost your moral and get motivated!