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Name: Brian Duda
Year of Birth: 1975
Height: 5’4”
Weight: 165
Current Residence: Lisle IL
Sports: Bodybuilding

Tell us a little about yourself, what you do for a living, what hobbies / interests / passions you have
I’m a tech support specialist for a software trading company in Chicago. I also co-own a vegan baking business called Canary Confectionery. In my spare time I participate in animal rights activities I’m a huge animal lover and support causes for the better treatment of all animals.

Why did you become vegan?
I first became vegetarian about 11 years ago as a dare with a friend that was going vegan. She wanted me to understand what is meant to be a vegetarian.

When and why did you become interested in fitness?
I have always been interested in bodybuilding and weight lifting, my dad used to take me to the gym when I was young and I just thought that’s how people were supposed to be, big and strong and healthy.

How would you describe your nutrition program?
I don’t have a program that I follow. I basically listen to my body, if I’m sore I eat more protein, if I feel tired and weak I take in more carbs. I do make sure that I have my protein shakes in the morning when I get up, after working out and before I go to bed to help with recovery while I sleep.

How would you describe your training program?
I usually train 3 days a week breaking up the muscle groups each day. For example:

Mon- chest, triceps, shoulders

Tues- legs and abs

Wed- back and biceps and forearms

I give my body as much rest as needed and don’t stick to a schedule written in stone, if I’m too sore to workout I rest. Rest is the actually time that the body recovers and grows, so I don’t want to hinder the recovery process.

What kind of supplements do you use if any, and why?
The only supplements I really take are protein powders and a vegan multi-vitamin. Other than that I just eat normal vegan foods.

How do people react when they find out you are vegan?
Most people are surprised. They think that vegans are skinny and frail, so it’s nice to show that it’s possible to be strong, muscular and athletic as a vegan. Anything is possible as a vegan, it’s not a liability, it’s an asset to your health and wellbeing.

What are some common misconceptions about veganism?
Most people think that being a vegan means not having muscles, energy or strength.

Have you had success in promoting veganism / vegetarianism to others? If so, how did you go about it?
I have had success in promoting veganism through people that I meet while working out or just out and about when they ask how I got my big arms.

I also created a website, www.strongvegan.net to help people get started in vegan bodybuilding.

I was lucky enough to participate in Chicago Veganmania’s “Powered by Plants” fitness panel. I also shared the stage with other wonderful vegan athletes including Robert Cheeke. That was such an honor and a lot of fun!

What do you think the most important aspect of training is?
Desire and willpower, those two things alone will allow you to overcome anything

What do you like best about being vegan?
Not harming or contributing to the suffering of animals is what it’s all about for me.

I also love answering the question” where do you get your protein and how much chicken do you eat a day?” with… “I’m vegan”. My favorite moments are when I’m training at the gym doing dips with 200lbs on my waist and people asking me what I do to get so strong.

What do you like best about being fit?
I like feeling strong and healthy, and having the energy to do all the things I enjoy.

What advice do you have for people who are just starting out with training?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, whether it’s a spot or asking what exercises work which muscles. Remember no one started out looking they way they do now, so don’t feel embarrassed or intimidated by others. Push yourself and do what you can do. Remember there are people bigger and stronger. There are also people smaller and weaker too, and to them you are going to be the big, strong person that they want to be!

Be competitive, but show respect, and don’t put others down.

What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming vegan?
Join vegan groups in your community or even online, those are great places to meet supportive people. Usually those groups have get-togethers and share dishes and recipes, and you get to meet people with common interests.

What motivates you in life?
Making others happy, and caring for animals.

What do you think of veganbodybuilding.com? Has it helped or inspired you?
I think the site is really great! I love that there is a site to show the world that vegans are fit, strong and athletic.