: Sebastian Grubb
: 153 lbs
: San Francisco, California
: Professional Dance, Bodyweight Strength Training
Current Employment: Personal Fitness Trainer, Health Coach, Professional Dancer
Personal Bests: 1200 Push-ups in 1 hour; 400 Chin-ups in 1 hour; 5:07 1-mile run; 1:25:02 ½ marathon run
Why did you become vegan?
In 2003 I became vegan to improve my health. Looking at the scientific data and at the diets of healthy, traditional cultures, it's clear that we should all eat more plants, especially unprocessed vegetables and fruits. I decided to take this information further and eat almost exclusively whole plant foods.
When and why did you become interested in fitness?
I grew up running in the mountains, but got lazy as a teenager. One day I looked at the junk food I was eating and had a very rude awakening - I couldn't believe what I was eating! I started a daily strength-training and running routine right away. In college I took weight-training classes and started bodybuilding and powerlifting. I also started training distance cycling, acrobatics, and dance. By the end of college I had fallen in love with dance as an athletic and artistic practice, and decided to pursue it professionally. Now I work for two dance companies and run my own fitness training business.
How would you describe your nutrition program?
I base 90% of my diet on whole, unprocessed plant foods, and leave the final 10% for less healthful foods. My basic approach to eating is: If it's a plant, eat it. If it's a vegetable or fruit, eat more of it.
How would you describe your training program?
I have dance rehearsals and performances 15-30 hours per week. I also do 1-hour strength sessions 2-4 times per week and a pure cardio session 1-2 times per week. These sessions are based on exercises that use my body-weight for resistance, so that the strength, agility and coordination I develop end up supporting my work as a dancer.
What kind of supplements do you use if any, and why?
There are three primary nutrients that may be harder to get in plant foods alone: vitamin B-12, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, and iodine. I get B-complex vitamins from fortified foods and nutritional yeast. I get omega-3s from ground flaxseed, hemp seeds, and high-quality algae oil. And I occasionally eat seaweed for iodine.
What are some common misconceptions about veganism?
There are some really common ones, like about having to supplement to get enough protein, having to perform difficult calculations to figure out what to eat, having to mix certain foods, getting sick more often, being unable to be an athlete. Not one of these has been true for me. Another big misconception is that vegans are closed-minded to non-vegans, that we believe ourselves to be morally superior. I used to think like that; now I focus my interactions with other people around compassion and understanding, not around trying to change them.
What are your strengths as an athlete?
My history of fitness training allows me to do choreography that is very acrobatic and athletically demanding. Outside of dance, I excel in bodyweight strength moves like pull-ups, push-ups, jumping and sprinting. I also have excellent cardiovascular endurance, so marathons are fair game too.
What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming vegan?
Take a month in which you wean yourself off animal foods. Then commit to a full month eating vegan to see how it works for you. Regardless of whether you eat animal foods or not, you can still improve your health by eating more whole plant foods and fewer animal and processed foods.
What motivates you to continue to be a successful vegan athlete?
For me, there have been no limits to how fit I can get while eating this way. I like to show people that they can be athletic and reduce animal suffering at the same time by reducing animal foods in their diet and training hard.
Visit Sebastian’s website at http://www.sebastiangrubb.com
or find him on Facebook and Twitter.