Name: Rosemary Kelly
Year of Birth: December 7, 1984
Birthplace: New Hampshire
Current Residence: New Hampshire
Sports: Bodybuilding – Bikini Division
Social Media: Instagram @BikiniRawkinVegan
Tell us a little about yourself, what you do for a living, what hobbies / interests / passions you have.
When I was in 3rd grade, I decided to become a vegetarian. It is hard to remember why I decided to do this, but it just proves my passion for animals, food, nutrition and nature is deep and has been there since I was young. When time came to venture off to college, I knew I wanted to learn more about the benefits behind this vegetarian lifestyle I had been living. I wound up studying nutrition and communication and I graduated with a degree in Health Communications with a focus in Nutrition. I always found it astonishing that we live our entire lives understanding how everything around us works - television, car, phone, etc. but we have no desire to understand how our bodies work. The passion I have to learn more about nutrition and health is a huge part of my life. My idea of the perfect night would be curled up with my dogs watching a documentary about food. This is actually where my entire transition from vegetarianism to veganism came into play…from a documentary I watched curled up on the couch with the dogs.
Other hobbies that I enjoy are: walking, jogging, hiking, lifting, creating healthy foods, checking out blogs, watching bodybuilding shows, spending time with my family, and so much more!
Why did you become vegan?
I became a vegan because of the documentary, Vegucated. I always felt very strongly about being a vegetarian because of how the animals were treated, but I never knew how awful the dairy and egg industry could be. This documentary opened my eyes and made me realize that I needed to make the transition to a vegan lifestyle.
When and why did you become interested in fitness?
I spent more than a decade on stage as a child performing ballet, tap and jazz recitals. When I entered high school, I knew I had to try out for the dance team. I had to try out twice before I finally made it. After one year of being a member of the dance team, I tried out to be a captain. I wound up becoming co-captain of the dance team for my last year of high school. When I started college I realized that I missed dancing more than I thought I would. I then found out the dance team I was on was in need of a coach. I decided to apply and I was the their coach for about a year. I had to venture away when my college classes because more time consuming.
When Zumba became popular, I jumped at the opportunity to become a Zumba Instructor. I taught for about three years and wound up getting my certification to teach Insanity classes as well. My passion for a healthy and active lifestyle was growing, and so was the group of friends who shared this passion with me. On a girls trip to the beach my friend and I started talking about Bikini Competitions. When we left the beach that day, we already had a show picked out that we wanted to do and as soon as we got home we started researching more about this sport. The two of us just competed in our second show, and we are now in the off-season before we start prepping for our third show. I have learned a lot about my body and I feel healthier than I have ever felt. It feels great to go up on stage and let the audience and judges know that I achieved this body by eating a plant-based diet.
How would you describe your nutrition program?
(please give some examples of the type of meals or food you focus on, things you avoid, or if possible, give a breakdown of what you typically eat each day, so people can understand specifically what you do) I eat 6 small meals a day about 3 hours apart from each other. The foods I eat are usually organic vegetables, organic fruit, Sunwarrior protein powder, hemp protein, pea protein, seeds, nuts, beans, rice, and a weekly “cheat” meal. I am a huge fan of eating foods as close to the earth as possible. I make my own almond butter, I make my own almond and hemp milk, I love juicing, dehydrating, spiralizing, and turning my protein powder into “desserts”. During my last prep, I avoided gluten, soy, refined sugar, rice and beans due to stomach issues. I have started re-introducing them into my diet one by one. I am going to try to not add much, if any, soy or gluten back into my diet. I will save refined sugar for any sweets I am craving for cheat meals, making sure the sugar is vegan first! You can find a lot of my meals and recipes (I get pretty creative) on my Instagram account @BikiniRawkinVegan.
How would you describe your training program?
(What do you typically do to work out, how many days, what exercises/movements, what kind of reps and sets do you do, and anything else unique to you) I tend to work out 6 days a week and have 1 day as a recovery day. I start every work out with some stretching and soft movements to get my body ready to work hard. I then jump rope for 5 minutes to get my heart to wake up. I focus on different muscle groups daily – legs, shoulders, arms, back and chest. I work out my legs and shoulder twice a week (a heavy day and a light ‘fine tuning’ day). After I lift, I usually do a 5 minute energy system training or circuit. At the end of each workout, I either do 20 minutes of high intensity on the StairMaster or I spend 20-30 minutes on the treadmill at an incline and keep my heart rate in the fat burning zone while listening to a book on tape. I usually alter these days so I get a mini break.
What kind of supplements do you use if any, and why?
I currently do not take any supplements (other than vitamin D, silver and protein powder). I am a part of an amazing team, Maximum Nutrition; and I am working with my coach right now to find vegan supplements that may fit my workout needs. I will be getting all of my supplements through Maximum Nutrition Centers, Inc. (www.maxnut.com).
How do people react when they find out you are vegan?
I went through my entire childhood being the girl who ate ‘weird’. I was always asked questions about what I ate and why. I basically had to go through my entire childhood explaining to people how I ate and why I ate it. I remember feeling like it was not fair to have to explain myself all of the time. I also remember being confused at how rude people were to me about this. All I knew when I was little was that I was a vegetarian because I could not wrap my head around why an animal should suffer and die because I had a craving to eat it’s flesh. To me, an animal’s life was not worth a meal or an extra topping to a dish I was making.
Again, as a vegan, people were curious as to what I eat, how I get certain nutrients, where my protein comes from, how I can possible be alive, etc. And again, people looked at me more confused when I started explaining nutrition to them. Like the quotes thrown around on Instagram say: “No one cares about your protein intake until they find out you are vegan”. Most of the people who ask had no idea that protein is made up of amino acids!
What are some common misconceptions about veganism?
I could sit here all day and come up with a laundry list. Most misconc
eptions that I hear about veganism is that we don’t get enough protein, we don’t get enough calcium, we are unhealthy, we are always hungry, we are never satisfied, we are weak, we can’t build muscle, we must be starving ourselves, we have eating disorders, we must really be missing out on meat and dairy, it is too expensive to be a vegan…I could go on forever.
Have you had success in promoting veganism / vegetarianism to others? If so, how did you go about it?
I sure have! I have taught many friends about veganism and vegetarianism and some of them have switched their diets to a more plant based diet. Even my boyfriend, who is a huge consumer of animal products, is a vegan on Monday’s so we can share one meal together. I share a lot on my Instagram page (@BikiniRawkinVegan) and I make it known that I am a vegan when I step onto the stage when I compete.
What do you think the most important aspect of training is?
I think the most important aspect of training is finding a good coach. I was lucky enough to find someone who was interested in learning more about my vegan diet and making sure my body reacted well to the plan she wrote for me. She is great about making adjustments and staying on top of me when it comes to my food plan and exercise plan. She also has lots of experience with bodybuilding.
What do you like best about being vegan?
I love the fact that I get to live cruelty free. I would never be able to try to go back to eating animal products. My heart is too big and those animals’ lives mean a lot more to me than a simple ‘food craving’. I also enjoy teaching other about animal testing. I don’t purchase any makeup that is tested on animals, cleaning products that are tested on animals, etc.
What do you like best about being fit?
I enjoy running into people I have not seen in a long time. They always tell me I look happy and healthy. I have also noticed that the energy I get from being fit is amazing! I am always on top of my game and ready for the next move. My mood has changed as well and I am a lot happier. I used to be someone who wanted to go home and have a stiff drink after work, now I want to go home and exercise or make a healthy meal. It makes me feel a lot better.
What advice do you have for people who are just starting out with training?
Make sure that you are committed. It takes a lot of time and effort. I knew that I was going to spend a lot of time at the gym, but I never thought of the amount of hours I would spend figuring out what to eat, making food for the week, and doing all of those darn dishes! Also make sure that you are working with someone who is willing to work with your dietary needs. Coaches have asked me if I would be willing to eat chicken and eggs for prep. The answer was NO.
What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming vegan?
Speak with other vegans and see how they did their transition. When I decided to become vegan, I threw out everything in my house with dairy and eggs. Some people go from a full meat eater to vegan. It may need to be done in small steps. That is ok! You can make small steps that will lead you to a huge change.
What motivates you in life?
Others motivate me. I try to surround myself with people with positive energy. I have amazing support groups of family members and friends. I also find that Instagram motivates me. If I ever feel like I want to give up, I log onto my Instagram account and check out photos that people have posted.
What do you think of veganbodybuilding.com?
Has it helped or inspired you? I am a huge fan of this website. I wound up stumbling across it when I was trying to find more people who gain muscle on a vegan diet. I really appreciate the work you do to keep this site up and running.
Do you have any other thoughts you’d like to share?
Remember, you only have one life to live. Live it to the fullest and make sure you touch everyone in a positive way. You may have bad days, but others may be having it way worse. Don’t judge people you meet. You never know their story or their struggle unless you give them the chance to open up and tell it. Make changes daily! Whether it is for yourself or someone else. If everyone made 1 change a day, by the end of the year that is 365 changes…and that is amazing. Thank you to everyone who has made the change to go Vegan!
My favorite quote: "No matter which side you are on, does it make sense to judge someone else because of the food they are eating? Do you actually know the journey of the other person and why they eat the way they do? Is it possible that maybe they could one day adjust their diet to be just like yours? And would that make them any better of a person?"