Name: Jessica Roberts
Birthplace: Stamford, CT
Current Residence: Farmington, CT
Sports: I was a competitive equestrian for most my life, and have
recently delved into the sport of figure competition.
Why did you become vegan?
I started my journey as a vegetarian back when I was about 14 years
old. About a year after that, I began to follow a vegan diet. It truly
just dawned on me one day at the dinner table that it didn’t make sense
for me to consume food from animals when there was other food
available. Even though I did not understand all the aspects of animal
welfare at the time, I knew that I wanted to make a conscious decision
about the food I ate. I wanted to explore the affects on my body, be
more mindful of the animal community, and learn more about the
methods and medicine used produce food from animals.
When and why did you become interested in fitness?
I was always active in sports. Whether it was riding horses or playing
street hockey, I was always up to something:) However, with all
the sports and riding, my body began to accumulate quite a few
injuries. About 12 years ago, I discovered the practice of yoga. Since
that time, I went on to train in 2007 to become a Bikram yoga
instructor. This mental and physical challenge was one of the best
experiences in my life. A few years later, I was searching for another
challenge. At the encouragement of a local trainer, I began to explore
the sport of bodybuilding and figure competition. I was hooked! I have
been seriously training for about 1 ½ years and it has been a fantastic
journey in so many ways.
How would you describe your nutrition program?
I am in contest preparation now so I generally eat six to seven meals
a day, high protein, low fat and I cycle my carbs depending on how I
am progressing in my prep. I use protein powder supplements, plenty
of fresh fruit and vegetables, oats, sweet potatoes, wheat gluten, hemp
protein, some soy, flax meal, and nut butters. I love to experiment in the
kitchen and my meals are different everyday.
How would you describe your training program?
I focus on one to two body parts per workout in my contest prep, lifting
about 4 times a week. Cardio is pretty simple, a few longer sessions a
week and some shorter sessions after weight training. My trainer has
me doing a generous amount of warm-up sets before we even get to the
work sets. And this is no ‘3 sets of 15 reps’ type of training! It’s basic
bodybuilding exercises with varying sets and rep numbers, drop sets,
yo-yo sets, and my favorite supersets. And lifting heavy all the way
through my prep.
What kind of supplements do you use if any, and why?
Maca root for energy and endocrine support. Vit D, calcium, iron, B-
vits and iodine to make sure I’m getting all my micronutrients while
training and dieting. I also use glutamine, BCAA’S and creatine for
my pre-workout supplementation and glutamine and BCAAs for post-
What are some common misconceptions about veganism?
That we are frail, anemic-looking waifs that would blow over with
a light breeze. Most are concerned that we don’t get nearly enough
protein as a vegan so we couldn’t possibly put on any lean muscle. As
we know that is far from the truth!
What do you think the most important aspect of fitness is?
Commitment. You have to be in it 100%. There will be days you may
not feel like working out, or pushing it that last set, or following your
nutrition plan. But if you have relentless and unshakable commitment,
you will undoubtedly succeed in achieving your fitness goals.
What do you like best about being vegan?
The best part about being a vegan is that I have chosen to follow a
path that best serves me emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I find
strength in my commitment to veganism. And I hope to encourage
others to become more mindful about their food choices and incorporate
more plant-based foods in their diets.
What do you like best about being fit?
Knowing that I am taking care of myself for the rest of my life. Waking
up every day and making the commitment to a healthy and fit lifestyle
gives me strength to continue to achieve my goals and help others do the
What are your strengths as an athlete? Persistence. I never give
up. Commitment. I set a goal, get a plan, and put 100% of my heart
and soul into achieving that goal. Love of learning. I’m constantly
absorbing information from all kinds of sources, whether it be from
books, online information, other athletes or health professionals.
What advice do you have for vegan athletes who are just starting out?
Educate yourself!! Read Robert’s book, read online, talk to the other
vegan athletes on this site. Reach out and communicate! There are
many resources available. And you have to be willing to experiment and
take the time to adjust your diet and your training. This is a process, be
patient, ask a ton of questions and have fun along the way:)
What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming
Take it slow. It is a major lifestyle change that not only affects you
physically, but can have profound emotional and spiritual effects on you
as well. Think very deeply about why you want to make this change
in your life. Then educate yourself, talk to other vegans, and create a
support system to help you along the way.
What motivates you to continue to be a successful vegan athlete?
I feel fantastic. I’m stronger in body, mind and spirit. The more time I
spend on this path, the stronger and more passionate I feel about being a
How has the website www.veganbodybuilding.com helped or inspired
It was the motivation and inspiration I needed to make the final decision
to compete as a vegan figure competitor. Finding nutritional resources,
pertinent articles, and listening to other athlete’s experiences has been an
integral part in my commitment to vegan bodybuilding.
Is there anything else you would like to add about your vegan fitness
I’m looking forward to stepping out on stage this year representing
vegan athletes everywhere!