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    Older articles from the original Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness website.
    The topic of preparing to compete as a vegan bodybuilder has been weighing heavily on my heart in recent months because a lot of people ask me how I do it. As a five-time champion bodybuilder and vegan since 1998, I am honored to be a person others look to for answers. So, let's first consider ten very important concepts that will make your preparation more of an anticipated event than a chore.


    Decide why you want to compete: WHY is everything, and I do mean everything. Without it, your goal will not withstand the challenges and obstacles you will face along the way to the stage.
    Save a Date: Setting a date focuses on the target and compels you to commit. Saving the date has an effect on the body and mind (much like a wedding date), so be prepared.

    Phone a Friend: Tell your closest and most honest family/ friends of your date. This will solidify your commitment and hold you accountable. They will want to support you and come see your "finished product". Those who know will want to see you complete in something that most of the world finds unusual and/or difficult to do. Think about it, who gets on a stage to have 6-10 people judge whether your body looks best or not?!? Crazy when you think of it that way, but true nonetheless. You've just got to love it.

    Tell yourself, No excuses!!!: This should be your mantra for the duration of your training. If you accept excuses, you will live under them.

    Find a mentor or two: Watch and learn from those who are the best at what they do, even if you have to YouTube it. It is no secret that the best in the world (at whatever sport or job they have), learned from someone else who was at the top of their respective game.

    See for yourself: Attend competitions locally and, if possible, even some bigger events. Pay attention to what the judges may be looking for. Be a "backseat" judge of who you think will place 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. Then focus on first!!!

    Pinch your Pennies: Don't break the bank and "borrow from Peter to pay Paul" just to compete. Do it at a time when you can budget and not add to the stress of the event. Find out what it will cost to compete: your suit, tanning, registration, trainer, food, supplements, hair, nails, shoes, make-up, etc., and then make sure you won't be homeless as a result of competing.

    Something Borrowed: Do not be afraid to take on new things to help your journey (food, training styles, advice from reputable people and so on). However, limit how many people's advice and opinions you follow; do your own research and be responsible with information.

    Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe: Pick an organization with integrity, honesty and great people. The only way to do this is to talk to people who compete with various organizations, or trial and error. Some organizations have certain terms and conditions that may not align with how you want to represent yourself, so be sure to read the fine print.

    Relax and Enjoy: Last, but definitely not least, have FUN!!! This cannot be emphasized enough. Have fun in the gym, have fun in the park, enjoy your meals, and enjoy practicing poses. Let the haters hate, but this is your L.I.F.E (Living In Freedom Everyday), so focus and enjoy it.


    Now that we have discussed the "10 Things to Consider Before a Competition", stay tuned for Part II of this series, in which we will discuss contest preparation as a vegan. Torre Washington

    Please note: This is Part II of a series of articles following Chad Byers' quest to gain 30 pounds of muscle in a year. To read / review Part I, please click here.
    For the last two years, I have consistently been Intermittent Fasting (IF) and consuming approximately 4500-5000 calories while eating three meals per day. These meals were whole plant-based foods consisting of mostly fruits and vegetables, juices and smoothies, with the addition of some plant-based protein supplements such as brown rice, pea and hemp. While the combination of this diet and training allowed me to stay lean year round, adding additional lean muscle happened much more slowly.
    During the first couple of weeks (1-2) of my first bulking phase I continued to follow my IF schedule of 3 daily meals, eating the same types of foods without the addition of protein supplements, while increasing the total daily calories to 5500. I found it difficult to get in the additional calories at each meal needed to reach my daily total.


    In weeks 3-7, I decided that in order to consistently complete my daily calorie goal, I would need to add an additional meal. In order to do this, I would need to increase my feeding window by starting earlier. My first meal while IF would usually begin at noon, but I would now have to begin at 8:00 AM. In addition to adding an extra meal (4 total), I also added more variety of whole foods such as beans, quinoa, avocados as well as nuts and seeds to include more sources of proteins and fats.
    DateWeight8/3/131949/20/13198My training has, for the most part, remained the same. I am still strength training every other day and focusing on heavy compound movements. I alternated between low rep (5-6) and higher rep (8-12) days. I keep the weight as heavy as possible, even on my high rep days. As the competition gets closer, I may add in more isolation movements, but right now I am focused on building as much mass as possible. Sadly, I have had to discontinue all conditioning workouts with the exception of Tough Mudder training 1 day per week. This will help me to conserve additional calories for building muscle.
    Superset 1 (4 rounds)
    -No rest between exercises
    -Rest 30-60 seconds between rounds
    -Rest 2:00 between Superset 1 and 2
    1a. Box Squats x 12
    1b. KB Clean/Press x 12
    Superset 2 (4 rounds)
    2a. KB Row x 12
    2b. Decline Pushup x 12
    Post-Workout Smoothie
    2c rice milk 6 bananas 2c blueberries 2c pineapple 2c kale 1c quinoa 1c black beans 2tbsp cinnamon Chad Byers

    When it comes to getting and staying fit, words such as purpose, action, drive, enjoyment, consistency, dedication, adaptation, passion, transparency, follow-through, and achievement come to mind, at least for me. That is because results don't happen without consistent action, either positive or negative ones. Positive consistency (developing habits supportive of goals), such as eating healthy and exercising regularly, usually leads to desirable end results. Negative consistency (developing habits unsupportive of goals), such as eating poorly and being inactive, typically leads to undesirable results.


    This is, of course, is very obvious and well known. So why don't people follow this logic in their daily lives? We have 1,440 minutes each day, and we need only a fraction of that time to dedicate to fitness-related actions, and the rest of our time simply needs to be spent avoiding bad habits. Sounds easy enough, right? If it were that easy, January 17th wouldn't be the most common day that people give up on their New Year's Resolutions. By the way, how are yours coming along this year?
    Today I would like to share five quick tips to help you get and stay fit.
    First, thank you to all of you who have read my latest book, Shred It!, endorsed by 28 world-renowned experts including Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Julieanna Hever, RD, and Rich Roll, to name a few (yes, I'm very proud of this). You no doubt picked up a tone in my writing style, that is one of accountability and transparency. I encourage readers to have a meaningful reason behind their pursuit of greater levels of health and fitness, and I expect consistency, accountability, and transparency to support the reader's goals. Far too often, people put in a 40% effort, expecting a 100% return on an investment they didn't make, but that's not how health and fitness work. My approach calls upon science, metrics, logic, success stories, experience, and reason as its foundation, which is why it works so well.
    If your daily nutrition requirement to maintain weight, based on BMR + caloric expenditure through activity (i.e.; real &aps;useful' metrics) is to consume 2,300 calories per day, but you routinely consume 3,800 calories per day without knowing it, you will likely gain weight. If your goal is to maintain the same weight or lose weight, you are unlikely to achieve your goal due to habits that are unsupportive of your desired outcome. There are countless examples (and of course, I provide many of them, in great detail, in Shred It!), illustrating why some people will likely achieve health and fitness goals and why others likely won't. These compelling examples really matter because they map onto reality and apply to you and everyone you know.
    Here are some tips to put you in a position to increase your likelihood of achieving your health and fitness goals:
    Tip #1 — Determine what you want to achieve in the areas of health and fitness. Be specific, and find meaningful reasons to support your pursuit. Qualify this desire and compare it to other priorities in your life such as spending time with family and social time, work, errands, hobbies, checking Facebook notifications and watching YouTube, and see where this fits into your life in the Big Picture. Write your goals down, tell a few people you trust who can help keep you accountable, and work to develop habits that will support your goals, while detaching yourself from the habits that prevent these goals from being achieved. I find that the more meaningful the reason behind your health or fitness pursuit, the more likely you are to achieve it.
    Tip #2 — Understand where you are starting from. Don't give yourself too much, or not enough credit. Just be honest and accurate. What is your daily caloric expenditure based on your gender, age, height, weight, and activity level? What is your daily caloric intake? Do you understand the important difference between nutrient-density and caloric-density? Do you apply appropriate principles into your diet/lifestyle based on these factors? Determine these metrics for yourself so you have a baseline and foundation to work from. There are easily accessible calculators online to discover these figures for yourself. Search BMR calculator and Harris-Benedict calculator online to get started.
    Tip #3 — Learn from others who have achieved what you desire to achieve. There is often pride and honor associated paving your own way and carving out your own path (I know, I became a vegan athlete before the Internet came around, back in the mid-90's), but that isn't always the most efficient way to reach your goals. It often brings a pat on the back, but it could cost you a lot of time when you could learn lessons from others who have been down that road before. Find role models who have had success in the specific areas of your own pursuit. Study what they did to get where they ended up. There were probably a lot of setbacks, lessons learned, and ups and downs all along the way, before they ended up where they are now. Trial and error doesn't have to be yours, it could be learned from others.
    Tip #4 — Once you have combined tips 1-3, implement what you've learned into a program or approach that you can follow with consistency, developing positive habits. A health or fitness program tailored to your specific interests will put you on a path to success. This generally means you'll ensure your diet (based on caloric intake, not weight or volume) is primarily comprised of plant-based whole foods, and that you will be exercising with regularity, perhaps four to five days a week. You can also establish daily exercise habits, such as my push-ups and crunches every day approach, ensuring I do &aps;something' to burn additional calories daily.
    Tip #5 — Evaluate your progress every few weeks. Is what you're doing working? Is something working exceptionally well, or holding you back? Are there struggles or obstacles that need to be addressed? Have you plateaued, or are you ahead of schedule? This kind of reflection every three to four weeks will help keep you on a path to succeed. As you achieve goals, it is time to set new ones. Start over at Tip #1.
    To further help you achieve your goals, here is a link to the entire workout chapter of Shred It! (minus the dozens of images demonstrating exercises)
    I hope these tips assist you in your pursuit of elevated levels of health and fitness. Follow your passion and make it happen! Thank you for reading.
    Wishing you all the very best,
    Robert Cheeke
    /legacy/shred-it-book

    Robert Cheeke

    Happy Vernal Equinox, all! Spring is in the air, and winter is slowly loosening its grip upon NYC, allowing for a little warmer weather! (WAHOO!)

    There isn't much I love more than a sunny day that is not solely aesthetic, days where I don't have to be bundled up for the 20 or 30 degree temps. As I was thinking about how easily I am affected by the climate about me, I began to correlate how the seasons of weather are not so far removed from the seasons in our lives as well. We have seasons of eating a certain way, seasons of style, seasons of extreme fitness, seasons of education/school; really the list goes on and on. I pondered this for a while, and came to the conclusion that these seasons aren't necessarily in our control, as much as we would like to think they are...because, life happens. We have seasons where we are so on point with every food item that enters our mouth, or seasons where we don't injure ourselves, and then something happens that forces our season to shift. Our schedule may get clogged with too many commitments and the thought of juggling classes, family, AND food prep just becomes too much, or something could go awry with our body or someone we love. Whatever the reason, we are changed, and though the situation at hand may not be permanent, what we learn and how we respond to this new phase will never leave us.




    When was the last time you were doing your workout and nothing hurt or made you wince? Probably hasn't happened for a while, because in order to see change, we have to push ourselves and it's not always comfortable. Oftentimes, valuable, long lasting changes take time and valiant effort, right? What's more, how we behave and how we respond to painful moments during the growth and after, defines who we really are--in the same way our food and exercise routines either define our bodies, or not. We can either allow a hard season to set us up for continued failure, by allowing ourselves to wallow in the tough times, or we can utilize those trying hours, days, & weeks and learn to avoid future slip-ups. We are not going to be perfect every day, all day, 100% of the time, but, hey, we can continue to strive towards bettering ourselves!

    Because diet is equally, if not more, important than our exercise habits, I've comprised a few tips that may be helpful for anyone trying to improve their physique, mental or physical health, or heal their bodies with a plant-based diet and activity. We all know we need to eat our greens and fruit (food), rest, drink water, and follow our workout plan, but when we are busy it can be hard to be consistent. Hopefully, this is helpful!

    The #1 way for me to keep myself on point with veggies is by buying those huge tubs of pre-cut, pre-washed, organic kale from Whole Foods. Once that's in my fridge, I have no excuse. I can grab a handful, throw it in the pan, add a tiny bit of water, seasoning and — boom! — sautéed greens. The same goes for food prep. Grab a few handfuls, shove into a to-go container, snap the lid down, and you're done. A) those containers last quite a few days B) did I mention this is EASY? C) it may cost 0.33 cents more to buy the kale this way, but I also just saved myself at least 15 minutes of prep because it's already in bite sized portions.

    The #2 way to stay on top of food prep, is to buy containers that are the same size, make sure you have two days' worth of them, and wash (or at least rinse) them out at night. When all my containers are different sizes I find myself spending way too much time trying to find the right lid, or being bummed that one isn't big enough for my kale AND my sweet potato. Consistency in all things. 10-12 containers that are the same size sets you up for success.

    #3 Fruit gets beat up in your bag, even if you have a food cooler you're taking with you to work. There are these crazy things called knives and you can cut your fruit up and put it into containers and never have a mushed banana again! Also, I recently discovered banana travel cases. There are also cases with accordion centers so you can adjust the length. Problem solved? I'd like to think so.

    #4 If you just don't like the food you're preparing and you find yourself wanting to cheat, you've gotta change it up!!! Maybe it's bland, so add seasoning! Maybe you just don't like the texture, then find another food that fits the macros but which you WANT to eat that feels different/better to you. The problem with the typical "bodybuilder' diet is that there is no variation. People get bored, then they cheat, then they feel bad, then they starve themselves, then they have eating disorders and body-dysmorphia. Don't do that to yourself. If your meal plan is not working for you, change it. We only have one body and one life to live, so don't be miserable the entire time! Add more garlic or onion, or hot sauce, or if you don't like kale eat collard greens. There are SO many options in the plant world, it is just silly to not enjoy fueling our bodies!

    #5 Rest. This one can be tough, because no one else can do it for you. You have to learn what makes you want to sleep, how you can turn your brain off, what will keep you asleep, and so forth. For me, some nights I need my sleeping mask, or my eyes are going to be wide open as I mull over the stresses I'm facing in my life. Other times, I'm so exhausted I can sleep anywhere, at anytime, for any amount of time. It's about finding that balance. Maybe you need curtains, maybe you need a night light. Someone else might need tea, or to read a book to fall asleep. Whatever it is, figure it out and make it count. You can never, ever, ever "catch up" on lost sleep. That's not how it works. If you have a sleep deficit, take extra care of your body by drinking water, avoiding caffeine, and eating your fruits and veggies. And, sometimes, sleep deprivation means you need to skip the gym. I know that probably made you really uncomfortable to read, and it made me twitch to type it, but it's true! We cannot expect our bodies to recuperate from a tough workout when we didn't even adequately prepare ourselves for normal daily activities. SLEEP!

    #6 The last, but certainly not least, topic is that of water. Personally, I love to drink water, but I won't drink it from a water fountain if I can avoid it; I don't want to buy plastic/disposable water bottles while I'm out; and if I'm dining, I don't drink more than a glass or two during and after, so if I expect to drink my water, I've got to be smart about it. The best thing to do: invest in a water bottle, not just reusing that SmartWater plastic bottle you bought last week at Whole Foods either. I mean, actually buy a bottle you KNOW you will carry around with you wherever you go. I've bought a few over the past couple of years and have found some to be better than others. For a while I was using the Bobble, because I'm a princess and I prefer filtered water, but then I decided I really want glass or metal instead of plastic. Note: even if a plastic bottle states it is BPA free, this does NOT guarantee it is BPB, BPC, BPD free... do you follow? The attention has only been brought to one of the many chains of the hazardous chemical, so I'd rather not risk it! Recently, I was using an awesome glass bottle, but I dropped it, and even though it had a silicone case, it broke. So, now I'm using a stainless steel bottle, which is still not the ideal option for consistent use, because metal is still porous and can retain germs/bacteria, but I have a bottle with me every day. I encourage you to really research your bottle. Find one that doesn't weigh too much pre-filling, especially if you walk a lot and will be carrying this long distances. Read up on the quality of the mouth piece: Does it leak? Is it plastic? Is it safe for your health? Once you figure out what works for you, buy it, use it every day, and never leave home without it. Our bodies are primarily made up of water, right? So, a good rule of thumb is to drink at least half of our body weight in ounces. For example: if you weigh 180 lbs., you should drink at least 90oz of water daily.

    These steps aren't the cure to all that ails you, but they are powerful tools that will help prepare you to be your best, help you recover and heal, and will benefit you for years and years to come!
    Here are a few meal ideas that may be helpful for you as well:

    Salads: kale, carrots, avocado, broccoli, tomato, garbanzo beans, beets, and fresh squeezed orange as a dressing with black pepper!

    Snacks:
    1) hummus, carrots, broccoli
    2) nut butter and fruit
    3) smoothie of fruits and/or veggies

    Meals:
    1) oats, nut butter, cinnamon fruit
    2) rice with pistachios, spices (like curry powder and cinnamon) with pineapple
    3) lentils, mushrooms, onion, garlic, cauliflower, Swiss chard, with salsa and nutritional yeast

    Being healthy can be difficult, but giving ourselves various flavors and textures, planning ahead, and investing in powerful (simple) tools (like containers!) can eliminate the stresses and make being healthy a habit like brushing our teeth.

    Make it fun, make it feasible, and make it yours!  
    Mindy Collette

    A Review of the USDA's MyPlate
    Food Guide
    by Derek Tresize

    By now you've probably seen that the USDA has come out with it's latest rendition of the food guide pyramid- MyPlate. Its release last week led to some buzz (at least from my perspective on facebook and twitter), and I have already seen several articles written on the pros and cons of this new model, such as in The Boston Globe and The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). Here's my take on the USDA's latest guidelines:
    The Pros:
    Half the plate is produce; the biggest portion on the plate is even vegetables! There are several plant foods listed under proteins Vegetarian diets are (finally) listed as able "to meet all the recommendations for nutrients"! The layout is straightforward and much less ambiguous than the last pyramid The Cons:
    A place reserved for dairy! Many epidemiological studies strongly correlate dairy intake with increased rates of cancer, type 1 & 2 diabetes, and Dr. Campbell's research even identified the milk protein casein as being "one of the most potent carcinogens ever discovered". Why on earth is the breast milk of another species an essential food group for humans, especially weened adult humans?! See the part on subsidies in the PCRM article listed above. There's still lots of emphasis on animal protein sources in the protein section, and none of the risks associated with it are mentioned (increased risk of heart disease, stroke, many cancers, and diabetes). Under the vegetarian diets question it states "Consuming enough plant foods to meet calcium needs may be unrealistic for many". Unrealistic? There is a day's worth of calcium in one cup of cooked broccoli! Bok Choy has even more! How, then, do all the other primates (or all the herbivores for that matter) get enough calcium to survive without drinking cow's milk? The grains section lists both whole grains and refined grains, and suggests making sure only half of the grains you eat are whole grains. Refined grains are high glycemic and very low in nutrients (all the fiber, vitamins/minerals, and antioxidants are stripped out with all the processing). And refined grain-based foods invariably come in a package full of fat, sugar, salt, and plenty of chemical preservatives and flavors (take corn chips and/or donuts for example). So, even though this plate is a huge step in the right direction with its increased emphasis on plant foods, there are still many things that could be improved. If you'd like a better set of guidelines to plan your diet around, try the Power Plate, also from PCRM, shown below. Hmmm, I wonder where the USDA got the idea for their new model....

    This PCRM guide came out a few years ago!
    P.S. Dr. Neal Barnard, an expert in the field of health and nutrition, compares the two plates here.
    Derek Tresize
    BS Biology
    ACE Certified Personal Trainer
    Certified in Plant-Based Nutrition
    Derek Tresize

    Abdominal Workout
    by Robert Cheeke, Vegan Bodybuilder, February 28th, 2004
    Just like training any other muscle group, give yourself a 5-10 minute warm-up before beginning your workout. Use a treadmill, stair-stepper, stationary bike, go for a jog or any other aerobic activity. Perform some light stretching and range of motion exercises to get loose before you begin.

    Hanging Leg Raises
    3 sets of 20 reps

    Hanging Leg Raise (twisting for obliques)
    3 sets of 20 reps left side
    3 sets of 20 reps right side

    Front Cable Crunches With Rope (increase resistance each set)
    3 sets of 15 reps

    Side Crunches (on floor)
    3 sets of 25 left side
    3 sets of 25 right side

    Decline Sit-Ups
    3 sets of 15

    If you are only working abdominals, keep the workout to around 30 minutes, 45 minutes max. Keep the workout active and intense with 30-60 seconds rest between sets and 2 minutes between exercises. Robert Cheeke

    There was an unbelievable amount of vegan muscle at the Naturally Fit Super Show in Austin, Texas this summer. After watching the other PlantBuilt members compete in the bodybuilding division, I have decided that this will be my last time competing in the Physique division. I placed 1st in the 2012 NFSS and 3rd in this year's. But, next year I will be competing in the Heavyweight bodybuilding division. At my height of 6'4", in order to compete with those under 6', I will need to gain about 25-30 pounds of muscle.
    For the past two years, I have maintained a consistent weight between 195-200 pounds and a consistent body fat between 4-5% due to my diet and training program. Gaining weight has always been challenging for me, mostly because I don't like to eat (I've just never had a big appetite, so eating a large volume of food is difficult for me), but also because of the types of food that I choose to consume. I currently follow a mostly raw plant-based diet. I don't eat meat substitutes such as seitan or tempeh, and I try to stay away from processed foods.
    When I first transitioned to a plant-based diet, I began to lose weight. This was not a welcome side effect of my new diet, so I began to track my caloric intake through a food log. The meals that I was consuming were very nutritionally dense and fiber rich, but were lacking in calories. After tweaking my meals, I was able to find the right balance of nutrition and calories to maintain my weight and even build muscle.


    Now I must find a balance again, in order to gain a large amount of muscle without gaining body fat. Building muscle does require more calories, and that means more food. I currently eat three meals per day and consume between 4500-5000 calories, while following an Intermittent Fasting (IF) program. This means that I fast 14-16 hours between my last meal on the previous day and my first meal of the current day. This leaves a small 8-hour window during the day in which to consume all of my meals. I will try to continue my Intermittent Fasting program while increasing the calories of my three meals. I am currently not using any protein supplements, and I will continue to get all of my macronutrients from whole foods for as long as my progress allows.
    My training has been devoted to heavy compound lifts and High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Although my training style is not what a typical bodybuilder would recommend, it has worked for me, and I believe that functional compound lifts build mass faster than isolation training.
    This goal that I have set will not be an easy one to reach by next year. I have found comfort in my current eating and training routines, and it will be difficult to change them knowing that the results that I have obtained are due to them. I have already been told by many that my goal is not possible to achieve with the way that I train and eat. However, I will show that it is possible, and I will show how I do it each step of the way.
    I will be documenting my progress through monthly articles, photos, and video updates on Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness, detailing my diet/meals, training, and contest prep, as well as answering some reader questions. I am looking forward to this new challenge and competing as a heavyweight onstage, alongside my fellow PlantBuilt teammates in 2014 in Austin, Texas. I hope you can join me in this journey to show what is possible following a healthy plant-based, cruelty-free, and environmentally-friendly diet.
    Chad Byers

    An Apple a Day Keeps Muscle Loss Away
    by Robert Cheeke, Vegan Bodybuilder, October 24th, 2004

    If you're a serious bodybuilder who wants to gain and maintain size,you should consume a variety of fruits and vegetables. While we often push protein because it's the most critical macronutrient category for bodybuilders, regardless of the type of diet, we also emphasize the value of mixed meals based around whole high-protein foods...

    This is an article I found on www.flexonline.com. This website is run by the people who bring us FLEX Magazine, which happens to be my favorite magazine. The ironic thing is that FLEX appeals to bodybuilders who are consuming large quantities of meat and lots of anabolic drugs, yet in this article promotes eating more fruits and vegetables and less meat. I've appeared in FLEX every year for the past three years promoting vegan bodybuilding and maybe some things are catching on over in the California headquarters of FLEX.

    Check it out, it's a great plus for the fruits and veggies! - Robert

    Fruit's benefits are potentially quite significant, especially in the long run.

    An Apple a Day Keeps Muscle Loss Away
    Written by: By Team Flex

    If you're a serious bodybuilder who wants to gain and maintain size, you should consume a variety of fruits and vegetables. While we often push protein because it's the most critical macronutrient category for bodybuilders, regardless of the type of diet, we also emphasize the value of mixed meals based around whole high-protein foods. Powders are great and can make it easier and more convenient to consume large amounts of protein (without extra fat and carbs), and thus achieve your maximal potential, but they are not essential for developing a massive and monstrously strong physique. Remember, food forms the basis of your nutrition plan and supplements enhance a balanced diet.

    Fruits and veggies are typically promoted because of their content of fiber, phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals, as well as their direct and indirect influence on metabolism and overall health. The benefits are many and potentially quite significant, especially in the long run. Fiber has significant "gut building" (as in the lining of the intestines, not your waistline) effects that, among other things, help process and utilize protein more efficiently. One very important but little-publicized reason for bodybuilders to hit fruits and veggies hard is the potential anticatabolic effect of these foods--their ability to help maintain muscle and bone.

    PROTEIN AND METABOLIC ACIDOSIS
    When your diet is unbalanced, you stand to lose muscle and bone through metabolic acidosis, a situation in which the body retains more acid than it excretes. When that happens, the body strives to correct the acidosis in two main ways. First, glutamine is cannibalized from muscle; this generates bicarbonate, a major acid buffer, and increases urinary nitrogen excretion. (This is another important reason to supplement with L-glutamine or glutamine peptide.) Second, calcium is released from bone to help buffer and eliminate excess acidity. It doesn't take a genius to realize that avoiding acidosis is a good idea if you want to hang on to--and build--muscle and bone mass.

    The metabolism of animal-based proteins leads to the production of phosphoric and sulfuric acids. Although food proteins differ greatly in their potential acid load and, therefore, in their ability to generate acids, a diet high in animal-source foods--and especially one low in fruits and vegetables--can cause chronic low-grade metabolic acidosis, even in healthy young men.

    Whether and to what extent this occurs in bodybuilders is not known, but it's certainly conceivable that many bodybuilders suffer from chronic low-grade acidosis. Consuming 300-500 grams (g) of animal-source protein per day would raise levels of blood sulfuric acid (by breaking down sulfur-containing amino acids, such as cysteine and methionine) and phosphoric acid (by breaking down phosphorylated amino acids, such as phosphoserine and phosphothreonine). This could easily lead to low-grade acidosis. Diets that are low in carbohydrates, and especially those that are concurrently low in calories, also contribute to acute acidosis and negative nitrogen balance.

    For these reasons, bodybuilders probably have a higher-than-normal risk of low-grade acidosis.

    FRUITS AND VEGGIES CAN BE ANTICATABOLIC
    To regulate the potential catabolic effects of an unbalanced high-protein diet, you can consume fruits and veggies. They contain organiccompounds (e.g., citrate in citrus fruits, malate in apples), the metabolism of which yields acid-neutralizing bicarbonate ions. The addition of fruits and vegetables, especially those high in potassium, to a high-protein diet reduces the output of acidic urine, ammonium and net acid excretion, as well as decreases the amount of calcium lost through urine. Bone loss may be halted and bone building may actually occur, not to mention improved capacities for skeletal muscle contraction, relaxation and growth.

    The U.S. government wisely suggests a minimum of five servings a dayof fruits and vegetables, but we'd prefer to see you consume eight to 10, depending on how much protein you're slamming. If you follow ourguidelines for fiber intake--10-15 g per 1,000 calories consumed (working up to that amount over a period of four to six weeks)--your fruit and veggie intake should be adequate. Robert Cheeke

    Another Description of Veganism
    January 5th, 2005

    The following is an exerpt from Vegan Vittles written by Joanne Stepaniak, M.S.Ed.

    Simply stated, veganism is the conviction and practice of compassionate living. Although this way of life has been followed by a number of individuals and groups throughout history, it wasn't until 1944, when the first Vegan Society was formed in England, that the term vegan (pronounced VEE-gan) was coined to differentiate vegans from vegetarians. This was the beginning of the vegan movement.

    By definition, a vegetarian is one whose diet consists of vegetables, fruits, grains, beans, nuts, and sometimes animal products such as eggs, milk, or cheese. A total vegetarian is someone who lives solely on the products of the plant kingdom without the addition of eggs or dairy products.

    The term "vegetarian" refers only to what one eats and does not pertain to any other aspect of one's life. The impetus for becoming a vegetarian may be based on ethical, religious, health, environmental, or economic concerns, or any combination of these. The motivation for becoming vegan, however, is fundamentally rooted in a compelling set of ethical beliefs. Both total vegetarians and vegans abstain from eating all meat, fish, or fowl, as well as any other foods of animal origin such as butter, milk, yogurt, honey, eggs, gelatin, or lard, and any prepared foods containing these ingredients. But veganism encompasses far more than just diet.

    The Vegan Society in England defines vegenism as follows: "Veganism is a way of living which excludes all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, the animal kingdom, and includes a reverance for life. It applies to the practice of living on the products of the plant kingdom to the exclusion of flesh, fish, fowl, eggs, honey, animal milk and its derivatives, and encourages the use of alternatives for all commodities derived wholly or in part from animals."

    Therefore, in addition to adopting a total vegetarian diet, vegans make a conscious effort to avoid all forms of exploitation, harm, and cruelty to animals regardless of any "beneficial" end result or any perceived "value" to society. Thus, vegans do not hunt or fish and abhor the unnatural confinement, cruel training, and degrading use of animals in circuses, zoos, rodeos, races, and other forms of "entertainment." Vegans oppose the unnecessary and barbarous testing of cosmetics, drugs, and household products on animals. They also denounce experiments performed on animals for the alleged potential benefit to human health. Vegans make every effort to abstain from medical procedures or drugs that have involved animal suffering. The use of animal products for adornment such as pearls, ivory, or tortoise shell; or clothing including items made from silk, wool, leather, or fur is also shunned. Furthermore, vegans do not use soaps, cosmetics, or household products which contain animal fats or oils, perfumes which are made from animal products, brushes made of animal hair, or pillows, comforters, or parkas stuffed with feathers.

    Although this may appear to be a lengthy list of "don'ts," it illustrates the extent to which human beings have come to rely on animal-based products and will advocate animal exploitation when it involves making a profit. Nevertheless, vegans do not bemoan what they cannot have and instead view their philosophy and lifestyle as surprisingly liberating.

    Some people might argue that it is impossible to be totally vegan in today's modern society, and technically, they would be right. The use of animal products and the byproducts of meat, dairy, and egg production are, sadly, tremendously pervasive. For instance, animal fats are used in the production of steel, rubber, vinyl, and plastics. Hence, cars, buses, and even bicycles are not vegan items. Animal products are used in bricks, plaster, cement, and many home insulation materials. They can also be found extensively in everyday products including over-the-counter and prescription drugs, glue, antifreeze, hydraulic brake fluid, videotape, photographic film, tennis rackets, musical instruments, and innumerable other items. Even wine may be clarified with fish meal or egg whites.

    Vegans acknowledge that purity in an industrial country is not only unattainable but unrealistic, and to maintain the impossible as an objective may very well be counterproductive. Participating in a society which is founded on animal exploitation places vegans in a continual ethical dilemma. The goal, in effect, becomes trying not to capitalize on, promote, or in any way contribute further to this anthropocentric perspective. Vegans are, at times, inevitably forced to choose between the minutia of ethical consistency, and a realistic approach. Embracing veganism compels practitioners to confront their attitudes towards all forms of life. According to the American Vegan Society, founded in 1960, the primary motive behind veganism is dynamic harmlessness, the tenet of doing the least harm and the most good. This philosophy encourages vegans to search for options which will protect and improve the lives of all living beings on this planet, eliminate suffering, bring about the responsible use of natural resources, and inspire peace and harmony among people. Consequently, veganism is not passive self-denial. On the contrary, it instills active and vibrant responsibility for initiating positive social change by presenting a constant challenge to consistently seek out the highest ideal. Joanne Stepaniak

    A recent study illustrating that too much protein can reduce your life span prompted me to write a series of articles about how much protein you really need for building muscle, or just to live a long and healthy life. In this final article of the series, I want to talk about a common source of confusion regarding plant protein: complete versus incomplete proteins.

    It is extremely common to come across the idea that plant proteins are 'incomplete', and therefore are inferior to animal-based proteins. Often you will also see that plant proteins need to be combined in some sort of complicated fashion to make a healthy, 'complete' protein your body will be able to use. So, just what does it mean for a protein to be complete? Proteins are made up of basic building blocks called amino acids which link together to form proteins, like train cars linking together to form a freight train, or letters in the alphabet linking together to form words. There are 21 different amino acids the human body uses, of which nine are essential, meaning your body cannot make them from other amino acids and must get them from the food you eat. A complete protein is a protein which contains all nine of the essential amino acids that the human body needs and cannot make on its own. By this definition, every single plant protein found in nature is complete. In fact, the only protein I've been able to find which does not contain all of the essential amino acids is gelatin - an animal derived protein! This means that you could eat any single whole plant food exclusively, and while you might have all sorts of other nutrient imbalances, as long as you were getting enough calories in, you would never be deficient in any of the essential amino acids!




    The reason this myth is so prevalent (you even see it in some nutrition and medical texts) may have to do with a related concept: protein 'quality'. According to the USDA's National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, "Protein quality is dependent on having all the essential amino acids in the proper proportions. If one or more amino acid is not present in sufficient amounts, the protein in your diet is considered incomplete [low-quality]". So, protein quality has to do with how much of each essential amino acid is present in a given protein - and a protein may be called incomplete, even though all nine essential amino acids are present, if the amounts are not up to a certain standard. So where did these standards come from? As it turns out, a study done at the very beginning of the 20th century on how different amino acid concentrations affect the growth rate of rats was used to rank protein quality. Animal protein, which has higher levels of the essential amino acids, allowed rats to grow faster than plant proteins, which were therefore dubbed of lower quality. The biggest problem with this measure of comparison is that humans aren't rats! When a follow up study was done by a different group focusing on adult humans in 1955, the human requirements for essential amino acids were found to be considerably lower than those from the rat studies - low enough to make any plant protein you care to name perfectly sufficient to be called 'high quality'. And this makes perfect sense. Rats grow to adulthood in a matter of months, whereas humans take around two decades - and that rapid growth requires more essential amino acids. That's probably also why rat breast milk has roughly ten times the protein concentration of human breast milk. And the reason this information likely isn't well know is simply how long ago the rat study was done. With all those years and many follow up studies confirming that animal proteins led to faster growth, the idea of animal protein as the benchmark of high quality protein become entrenched, as it mostly remains today.



    So, hopefully now it can be said with certainty that plant proteins are 'complete' and of perfectly sufficient 'quality' to serve the needs of a healthy homo sapiens. There is absolutely no need to mix and match your whole plant foods with the intent of building a better protein to enhance your health, or to base your diet on soy and quinoa because those are the rare 'complete' proteins of the plant world. And besides, if you did want to focus on eating lots of plant proteins with higher concentrations of essential amino acids just for the fun of it, I've compiled a list below of as many whole plant foods as I could find with a high amino acid score on nutritiondata.com.

    Pumpkin Seeds - 136
    Avocado - 129
    Turnip Greens - 128
    Spinach - 119
    Soy - 118
    Black-Eyed Peas - 116
    Chia Seeds - 115
    Animal protein (Averaged Score of Beef, Milk and Eggs) - 114
    Potatoes - 112
    Persimmons - 110
    Pistachios - 109
    Chestnuts - 107
    Quinoa - 106
    Garbanzo Beans - 106
    Kiwi Fruit - 105
    Black Beans - 104
    Great Northern Beans - 104
    Kidney Beans - 103
    Spirulina - 103
    Cauliflower - 102
    Peas - 102
    Cashews - 100
    Collards - 94
    Kale - 93
    Asparagus - 93
    Pigeon Peas - 91
    Navy Beans - 90
    Zucchini - 90Nutritiondata.com lists any food with an amino acid score over 100 as being 'complete', so even though we now know better, you can still have an easy time getting tons of whole plant foods with all the essential amino acids you could ever need. Enjoy!
    References:
    Rose W. The Amino Acids Requirements of Adult Man. Nutr Abst Rev. 1957;27: 63-67

    Osbourne, Thomas, et al. Amino Acids in Nutrition and Growth. J. Biol. Chem. 1914, 17:325-349.

    http://www.nutritiondata.com
    Derek Tresize

    As I See It

    As I See It
    by Robert Cheeke, Vegan Bodybuilder, July 8th, 2004

    In the March 2000 issue of Muscle Media Magazine, Bill Phillips had a story titled As I see it. He sat down in his house, and for five hours he thought of ideas that would be motivating for readers of his magazine. He wrote them down and had them listed in his magazine. I read that story over and over and I decided to come up with 82 of my own quotes, visions, and things to consider when climbing the ladder of success. It took me quite a while to complete my list of quotes and I hope that you find them inspiring and motivating, as I found Bill Phillips' list to be.

    Please take the time to allow me to now share with you my views, visions, and the truths I have learned over the course of my 20 years, As I see it...

    1. As I see it... When you have a childhood dream that still burns and tugs at your heart when you're an adult, you owe it to yourself to pursue and achieve this dream.

    2. As I see it... You really can give a 110% effort towards something that you are truly passionate about.

    3. As I see it... Don't just reach for the stars. Grab a hold of one, grasp it tightly, and pull it into your heart and soul.

    4. As I see it... We are all capable of living each day with a fiery passion and sense of purpose that radiates in our smile and voice.

    5. As I see it... They may never say it, but your parents really are proud of you when you follow your heart and chase your dreams.

    6. As I see it... If you want it to be, your heart can be your biggest and most powerful muscle in your body.

    7. As I see it... We were all born to “be somebody,” look deep inside your heart to find out who and what you are supposed to be.

    8. As I see it... Some of us are fortunate enough to have known what we wanted to be since the day we were born.

    9. As I see it... I challenge myself everyday to be the most positive and enthusiastic person I know.

    10. As I see it... Dare to be different. Successful people always stand out.

    11. As I see it... My brother is my best friend and nothing is stronger than family.

    12. As I see it... We all need to have heroes, people to admire and look up to. To find a hero, first look to your parents or older brother or sister. Then look to the people who share the same morals and values that you have, and have accomplished the goals that you strive to achieve.

    13. As I see it... Don't be intimidated by people who try to belittle your ambitions. Most of the time they are just jealous of your success or determination to reach the highest peaks of the mountains, and reign over them.

    14. As I see it... When backed up against a wall, dig deep, demand excellence, stand tall, and be strong.

    15. As I see it... Look in the mirror and stare at your eyes and say, “I can and will be successful.”

    16. As I see it... Search for inspiring quotes and put them on the walls of your bedroom. Read them before you go to bed and the first thing when you wake up in the morning.

    17. As I see it... The ability to make and keep promises is the key aspect to trust in a relationship.

    18. As I see it... Most people are afraid to follow their dreams. The thought of failure is too much for them to handle so they never even try to achieve them.

    19. As I see it... Do nice things for people who may be less fortunate than you.

    20. As I see it... There is no “I” in “Team,” but there is an “E” for “Everyone.” A team achieves more when everyone contributes.

    21. As I see it... When I accomplish a challenging goal it is one of the most powerful and wonderful feelings in the world.

    22. As I see it... Before starting a fitness program or diet, know why you're doing it. Have specific goals with deadlines and visualize the end result each night before going to bed.

    23. As I see it... Despite what we may think, we are all talented in our own unique way.

    24. As I see it... The people who wake up and jump out of bed with energy and enthusiasm are the people who will be smiling all day, go out of their way to help you, and call you by name.

    25. As I see it... Your friends may influence your decisions even more than your parents will.

    26. As I see it... A vegan diet is one of the best things you can do for your health and the well being of our planet.

    27. As I see it... Go out of your way to make an outstanding first impression.

    28. As I see it... If in a tense or nervous situation, take a moment to center and ground yourself and make a thoughtful decision. Remember that nothing is as important as it first seems.

    29. As I see it... Nobody knows you better than you do.

    30. As I see it... The people who put limits on your abilities, goals, or dreams, may not be the people you want to associate yourself with.

    31. As I see it... It is worth it to give up all that you now are to be all that you could become.

    32. As I see it... When I workout early in the morning, the rest of the day feels so much better.

    33. As I see it... After a grueling leg workout nothing feels better than a slow, deep massage on your quads.

    34. As I see it... At least once a month, do something for someone who will never know who did them the friendly favor.

    35. As I see it... Be someone's best friend and be there when he or she needs you.

    36. As I see it... We all have 1,440 minutes each day to accomplish everything on our schedule. We are accountable for prioritizing the decisions we make with our time.

    37. As I see it... Make it a goal to be somebody's hero.

    38. As I see it... I'd rather have a picture-perfect body than a million dollars in my pocket.

    39. As I see it... Your health and well being should be your number one priority, nothing else is more important.

    40. As I see it... When lifting weights, nothing feels better than achieving a high point on the bench press with no help from your spotter.

    41. As I see it... When going for a run, I pick fresh air, openness, and scenery of the outdoors over a treadmill every time.

    42. As I see it... When someone compliments me on my physique, positive attitude, or enthusiasm, I walk on air the rest of the day.

    43. As I see it... The words: never, can't, quit, and fail, are not in my vocabulary.

    44. As I see it... There is a Tony the Tiger inside of all of us just waiting to be unleashed.

    45. As I see it... Most people use excuses to cover up mistakes, but it takes less time to do something right the first time.

    46. As I see it... The people who are scared of going on a diet are the people who could benefit the most from one.

    47. As I see it... For some people hope is all they have. Encourage them and don't take their hope away, for they will be left with nothing.

    48. As I see it... Be open to other people's opinions, ideas, and try new things. One of the best ways to learn is to feed off other people's experiences.

    49. As I see it... Nobody had a bigger heart or passion to win than America's Greatest Running Legend, Steve Prefontaine “Pre.” Watch the movies Prefontaine, Without Limits, or Fire on the Track to see what I'm talking about.

    50. As I see it... When working out, play your favorite music loudly for an extra boost of energy.

    51. As I see it... Whether you know it or not, you are a role model for somebody. Watch what you say and know that you're responsible for your actions.

    52. As I see it... Sometimes small setbacks are just blessings in disguise. They enhance your determination and whole-hearted dedication to achieving your goals.

    53. As I see it... Always work harder than other people are willing to work. Sweat more, endure more pain, and then reap the rewards of success and achievement.

    54. As I see it... Everyday I attempt to consume 4,000 Calories and 200 grams of protein. I don't always reach that mark but when I go to bed at night I know that I did the best I could given my schedule and the circumstances that day.

    55. As I see it... I am a Body-for-LIFE Challenge 2000 Winner. “Winners finish and finishers win.”

    56. As I see it... When you succeed be proud of yourself and know that not everyone gets to experience the thrill of success on a consistent basis.

    57. As I see it... The song How do you like me now? By Toby Keith will be my personal theme song when I attend my first high school reunion.

    58. As I see it... Don't be afraid to show emotion. Get excited, get angry, get motivated, laugh, cry, yell, and vent. You will feel so much better after a great release.

    59. As I see it... Take time to compliment people every day. Do it sincerely and with no desire to gain anything but a smile in return.

    60. As I see it... When it comes down to it, it really is the little things that count most.

    61. As I see it... Keep records of your fitness progress throughout your training. Chart all of the food you eat, the exercises you complete, and even the amount of sleep you get each night. Refer back to your records to see where things went right or went wrong.

    62. As I see it... We need more people like Bill Phillips in the world. People who live each day with a passion to help other people. The kind of person who will motivate you beyond what you thought was possible and the kind of person who will celebrate your success with you.

    63. As I see it... Take risks that could result in Greatness! Wayne Gretsky said, “You miss 100% of the shots you never take.”

    64. As I see it... On your birthday thank your parents and celebrate with them. They are the reason you are here and it is their day too.

    65. As I see it... Believe in yourself and others will believe in you.

    66. As I see it... Remember all the people in your life who helped guide you on your road to success. Thank them sincerely and often.

    67. As I see it... The names Lillian Smith, Eric Dazey, Jon Bullock, and Clari Higginson may mean nothing to most people but the mean the world to me. Of all my years in school, these are the teachers who challenged me to get better everyday and whole-heartedly believed in my dreams. The support they gave me was priceless and life changing.

    68. As I see it... Dream big with no limitations.

    69. As I see it... Be willing to give people a second chance. You'd be surprised how well people respond to another opportunity to succeed.

    70. As I see it... Learn to see the big picture. Often times we get tunnel vision and lose sight of the big picture and what we're really trying to accomplish.

    71. As I see it... Pay close attention to detail in whatever it is you are doing. Be specific and expect quality from your performance.

    72. As I see it... People tell me I'm a perfectionist. They tell me I'm too extreme and that I work too hard. I tell them, that is all I know how to do. I was taught to give my best effort in everything I do and demand perfection and raise the standard of excellence to a whole new level.

    73. As I see it... Imagine yourself at your funeral. Ask yourself what you want your family and friends to say about you. How will you be remembered and what impact will you have had on other people's lives? How did you make the world a better place?

    74. As I see it... Attend your children's athletic events. There's nothing better than watching your child succeed while absolutely loving the opportunity to play in front of you.

    75. As I see it... Celebrate each accomplishment on your way to reaching your goal. Each challenge conquered whether large or small is a positive step to greatness.

    76. As I see it... Every day look in the mirror and flex your muscles. Smile and enjoy the sight of a beautiful fit body. If you don't like what you see, find a photo of how you want your body to look and paste it to the corner of your mirror. Be willing to work hard for what you have the potential to become.

    77. As I see it... Surround yourself with positive, energetic, successful people and learn from them.

    78. As I see it... Every year I want to experience something that makes me say, “this is the best day of my life.”

    79. As I see it... Laugh a lot. Laughter will make even the dreariest situations a whole lot more enjoyable.

    80. As I see it... Most of us have the tools we need, we're just not sure how to use them.

    81. As I see it... The most important job you will ever have is your commitment to a promise you made to someone.

    82. As I see it... People ask me why I work so hard and why I have this compassion to reach the top and be great. I respond by telling them, “I work insanely hard because people said I couldn't do it.” When someone tells me I can't do something, or that I'll never achieve my goals and visions, I am determined to prove them wrong.

    It is my sincere desire that the words I have shared with you today have touched your heart and inspired you to be your very best.

    For LIFE,
    Robert Cheeke
    A list of quotes composed at 20 years of age. Robert Cheeke

    Beginning Bodybuilding
    by Robert Cheeke, Vegan Bodybuilder, Julty 10th, 2004

    Before you begin a bodybuilding program, you should take a moment to determine what your goals are. That answer will guide you to the specific approach to take for best results based on your own personal challenge. Bodybuilding success takes a long time, that's just the way it is. Most of the individual attention to detail and specific personal goal-oriented techniques are performed after a year or two of basic beginning bodybuilding training.

    My recommendation is to stick to the basics, with special attention to consistency and a sound nutritional program in your initial building phase

    I will list a few important things to consider as well as a one week sample training program to follow as you embark on a successful bodybuilding journey.

    Nutrition

    Bottom line, nutrition is the most important aspect of bodybuilding. Things to consider....each day consume approx 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight....take in 3,500-6,000 calories per day focusing on quality bodybuilding foods....drink a gallon of water or more each day...stay consistent with your nutrition program....consume 6-10 meals per day eating every 2-3 hours....combine protein, carbs, fat, and water with each of those meals....use supplements to enhance nutritional balance ensuring a complete and effective nutrition program.

    Training

    I'll say it all day long, consistency is key to success. Don't skip workouts, don't give half-efforts in the gym, and don't neglect certain muscle groups just because they aren't as fun to train. When performing an exercise try to get 3-5 sets in with 30-60 seconds rest between each set in most cases and 60-120 seconds or more rest for larger muscle groups especially when using heavy weight. Take a couple of minutes rest between different exercises or muscle groups. Try to limit workouts to 45-65 minutes + a 5-10 minute warm-up before you start the actual workout. Stay focused on the task at hand and put concentration and meaning into each rep, each set, each exercise and each muscle group

    Lifestyle

    You have to live the bodybuilding lifestyle to see results. This means remembering to consume high amounts of protein and carbs immediately after training during your post-workout window of opportunity. It means getting eight hours of sleep each day. It means no drinking, smoking, or engaging in activities that will be counter productive and hinder your ability to achieve results. It means being goal-oriented and driven by intrinsic motivation. It takes a lot of discipline, but I can tell you from experience that the end result is worth the hard work and sacrifice.

    1 Week Sample Training Program

    Day 1 - Chest and Biceps

    Chest

    Flat bench dumbbell press

    1x12, 1x10, 1x8

    Decline barbell bench press

    1x12, 1x10, 1x8

    Incline barbell bench press

    1x12, 1x10, 1x8

    Cable cross overs

    1x12, 1x10, 1x8

    Biceps

    Barbell bicep curls

    1x12, 1x10, 1x8

    Alternating Hammer curls

    1x12, 1x10, 1x8

    Concentration curls

    1x12, 1x10, 1x8


    Day 2 Back and Abs

    Back

    Chin-ups 1x12, 1x10, 1x8

    T-bar rows 1x12, 1x10, 1x8

    Deadlifts 1x12, 1x10, 1x8

    Cable rows 1x12, 1x10, 1x8

    Abs

    Hanging leg rasies 1x20, 1x20, 1x20

    Rope pull-downs 1x20, 1x20, 1x20

    front and side crunches 1x20, 1x20, 1x20

    Day 3 REST

    Day 4 Shoulders and Triceps

    Shoulders

    Dumbbell Latereral Raises 1x12, 1x10, 1x8

    Behind neck Seated Military Press 1x12, 1x10, 1x8

    Over-head Dumbell shoulder press 1x12, 1x10, 1x8

    Front cable or dumbbell raises 1x12, 1x10, 1x8

    Triceps

    Rope triceps pulldowns 1x12, 1x10, 1x8

    Skull crushers (french press) 1x12, 1x10, 1x8

    Dumbell kickbacks 1x12, 1x10, 1x8

    If time permits Dips 1x12, 1x10, 1x8

    Day 5 LEGS

    Leg extensions 1x12, 1x10, 1x8

    Squats 1x12, 1x10, 1x8...if time permits go up to 5 sets (two more 1x8)

    Leg press 1x12, 1x10, 1x8

    Hack squat 1x12, 1x10, 1x8

    Lying Hamstring curl 1x12, 1x10, 1x8

    Standing calf raises 1x20, 1x15, 1x12

    Day 6 REST

    Day 7 REST Robert Cheeke

    Bicep Workout

    Bicep Workout
    by Robert Cheeke, Vegan Bodybuilder, February 28th, 2004
    I often train biceps and triceps together but lately I've been training them on their own. First I warm up with 5-7 minutes on the stair stepper then I do a few exercises to warm-up the biceps before I begin the actual workout. I do some reverse-grip pull-downs for 20 reps, push-ups, and light cable bicep curls. I stretch in between sets to get my arms ready for the thrashing I'm about to expose them to. As like most upper body exercises I rest approximately 60 seconds between sets, and 120 seconds between exercises.

    Remember that this is just an example of one bicep workout, and different exercises are performed each time.

    EZ Bar Bicep Curls
    60 pounds 20 reps
    80 pounds 15 reps
    100 pounds 12reps
    110 pounds 8 reps
    120 pounds 6 reps
    60 pounds 15 reps

    Standing Alternating Dumbbell Curls
    35 pounds in each arm 12 reps
    40 pounds in each arm 10 reps
    45 pounds in each arm 8 reps
    50 pounds in each arm 6 reps

    Standing Alternating Hammer Curls
    35 pounds in each arm 12 reps
    40 pounds in each arm 10 reps
    45 pounds in each arm 8 reps
    50 pounds in each arm 6 reps

    Cable Straight-bar Curls
    110 pounds 15 reps
    120 pounds 12 reps
    130 pounds 10 reps
    140 pounds 8 reps
    150 pounds 6 reps
    110 pounds 12 reps

    Machine Preacher Curls
    80 pounds 12 reps
    100 pounds 10 reps
    120 pounds 8 reps

    Cable Bicep Squeeze
    100 pounds 10 reps
    120 pounds 8 reps
    140 pounds 6 reps

    Finish with a few minutes of posing. Keep the biceps hard and full.

    End of workout Robert Cheeke

    In this video, I share one of the staple menu items of competitive veganbodybuilder Derek Tresize and myself! Black bean burritos - so simple itseems almost crazy to actually write out a recipe, yet so misunderstood! Theversatility of this dish, that is customizable to either a weight loss orweight gain program with some simple adjustments, deserves a littleattention, and in this video you will learn some variations on this basicthat will provide you with many (cheap and simple) mealtime options!


     
    Marcella Torres

    Without a doubt the most important factor in achieving any fitness goal, as well as long term health, is consistent high quality nutrition. Some of the most common questions I get are how to get enough meals in during the day and how to get enough food in total. One of the most popular articles I've posted on our blog, veganmuscleandfitness.com, is a recipe for a vegan &aps;weight-gainer,' or as I call them, "bean shakes.” Here is a complete blueprint that will help you design your very own fast and easy whole food shake!


    The concept behind my original shake recipe was simple: I was looking for a way to make a healthy, plant-based version of a weight gainer shake like those available in the mainstream fitness industry. I was struggling to get enough calories in each day to make the gains I desired, so I went to the drawing board.

    As it turned out, designing the recipe was easy! I looked at the four food groups (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes) and tried to figure out which of those food types I could use to hit the calorie and macro nutrient targets I was looking for. One of the first things I realized is that by including some sort of legume (beans, peas, or tofu, for example), I had an easy time getting the calories and protein way up, and with a little trial and error it tasted great!
    I've since used my 'bean shakes' to help me gain 20 lbs. of lean muscle mass, and countless friends and clients now swear by them as well! We all have busy days where it just isn't possible to sit down and eat a meal every three hours. Even I struggled as a personal trainer because I would often see 6-8 clients in a row with no time in between to sit down and have a meal. A shake was the perfect solution, allowing me to drink it quickly between appointments or on the go. And don't let the title vegan gainer fool you; I've even had many clients with weight loss goals drink a modified version that really helped them stay consistent with their diets even on the busiest of days.


    Below is a blueprint of how you too can design your own perfect shake:
    What you'll need:
    A powerful blender (we use a Vitamix, but there are many brands out there)
    Several large smoothie containers (I use a protein shaker bottle, which works well)
    Bulk quantities of the ingredients you decide to use for your shakes
    Things to keep in mind:
    Depending on your current calorie intake, your goals, and your food preferences/tolerances, you'll want to adjust the food types and amounts accordingly. For example, a lean young male looking to add maximum weight will need to go heavy on the calories with lots of starches and fats, and someone who bloats easily after a meal of beans should opt for little to no beans and instead use tofu or perhaps even a protein powder.
    Things to include (mix and match!):
    Proteins:
    White beans: Cannellini, Great Northern, navy beans (I've tried others and they work, but white beans have the mildest flavor)
    Tofu: Choose a soft or silken variety for a creamy smoothie!
    Peas: Have a sweet flavor, so they can be a good addition
    (Optional) Protein Supplements: For those of you who choose to use protein supplements, these serve as an easy source of extra protein and also as a flavor enhancer. Just be sure to include some whole food protein also so you don't miss out on all the awesome nutrition! My favorite options here are PlantFusion, Sunwarrior, Vega, or any other similar minimally processed plant-based brand.
    Carbohydrates:

    Keep these portions small if you have a weight-loss goal.
    Fruits: My favorites are strawberries and bananas, but anything goes - just avoid citrus and it'll go fine!
    Grains: Oatmeal or oat bran (raw), quinoa (cooked), brown rice (cooked), and grits (cooked) can all add lots of extra calories and nutrition.
    Starchy vegetables: Carrots or sweet potatoes (cooked) can also add tons of nutrition and some extra calories.

    Fats:

    Avoid if you have fat-loss goals!
    Seeds: Any will work, but my favorite is raw hulled pumpkin seeds because they have a fantastic amino acid profile and tons of minerals. Flax or chia seeds are a good choice as well.
    Nut butters: Peanut or almond butters work well and are delicious.
    Avocado: Sounds weird, but it can be surprisingly tasty and also has a great amino acid profile.
    Coconut: I don't recommend using coconut oil because it is a processed, concentrated fat, but raw coconut flesh would be a tasty addition

    Other Additions:

    Vegetables: As a way to sneak in extra nutrition, I add heaps of frozen spinach, which doesn't affect the flavor and is extremely nutritious, but you could add any vegetable you like. The more the better, especially for weight loss goals!
    Flavor Enhancers: Fruit (especially bananas), flavored protein powder, milk and/or yogurt alternatives (which also add protein, but are processed), nut butters, sweeteners like fruit juice or maple syrup, spices like cinnamon or nutmeg (great with almond butter and carrot!), cocoa powder, and coconut. Keep in mind that many of these are not fat-loss friendly.
    Derek Tresize

    Exhausted, legs shaking, face beat red, hair wet from sweat, and I see I still have FOUR more leg lifts left to this workout. I feel like I can't walk, let alone muster up the strength to finish the plan. I take another sip of my BCAAs, look at a picture of one of my "fit-sperations", and take a deep breath. Those last four exercises might have taken me 20 minutes longer than the first five combined, but I finally finished. And, upon completion of the last dreaded unilateral leg extension, I felt so accomplished, knowing full well I would be sore for days to come.

    The next morning when I woke up, I bent my knees and as I pulled my heels in, I winced. I was already feeling the burn. Yet, the following day was the WORST! This is what we call DOMS: delayed onset muscle soreness. I had to use the hand rails to walk up and down stairs; I had to flop down into my seats, the bed, the toilet; I sat down to put my pants and shoes on, and cringed if I dropped something to the floor. By the third day, I could walk more normally, the stairs were getting easier, and I could sit much more gracefully.




    Much like the tearing down of muscles in order to rebuild them — to make them grow and become what I want them to be — so it goes for our personal character as well. Oftentimes in my life, I am humbled before rising to a greater success, so I can learn but also so I can appreciate the next phase. Being in a tough phase — whether physical, financial, mental, or all of the above — we are given the opportunity to choose to work through it, find the good and excel, or let it overwhelm us. No matter the phase you're in, it can always be improved with exercise. For me, the best exercise to beat the blues the quickest is lifting weights! But, how do we keep going if we're too sore to even walk? What if you're plum near broke? Or, what if you are so emotionally distraught you're not sure you can leave the house, or face people?

    When you're sore, your body is aching, you're tired, exhausted, and/or sleep deprived, it's okay to rest, but it's also okay to make yourself go for morel. Listen to your body. There are so many different muscle groups and types of exercises that there is almost always another option. And, if you're having a particularly difficult life phase, if you can muster up the gumption to work out, you are bound to leave feeling better than you started! (Did you know that physical exercise gets your endorphins moving? I call them my happy makers!)

    So, I can imagine some of you asking, "Okay, that's all good and well, but I'm broke. How do you expect me to go to the gym?" If you are not in an area where there are gyms for a reasonable monthly fee, then bring the gym to you, or tag along with a friend who has unlimited memberships. And, if you feel so down and out that you can't leave the house, do a DVD or other in-home workout. See, the thing I'm learning is that our finances do not have to dictate our health. We can rise above our situation and still do the building we need to do. Just think of those days where you can't go to the gym as a carpenter who readjusts the floor plans. Applying ourselves diligently means no wasted days. Push-ups, crunches, squats, wall-sits, and pull-ups are always free and accessible!



    Speaking of which, after a gnarly shoulder injury that took me from doing unassisted pull-ups and pull-downs of my own body weight, to only being able to do pull-ups with a band and nearly half of my body weight, I am now in full tear down mode of my shoulders. My new schedule is shoulders twice a week, going HARD. I will tear them down with zeal, and rebuild them gracefully by replenishing my body in the best ways possible on my budget, but indefinitely with BCAAs and protein shakes. In order to build, we must first tear down. The greatest structures involve extensive planning, but inevitably mistakes will be made, and things will have to be redone. It may hurt, it will seem unattainable, too expensive, and impossible, but maybe if we take on the mindset that we are architects of our own body, then we may realize our work is never done and nothing is impossible. Mindy Collette

    Body Transformation
    by Robert Cheeke, Vegan Bodybuilder, July 6th, 2004

    I always wanted to get bigger and stronger so when I was 19 years old I finally took a serious approach to improve my physique. I decided to participate in the Bill Phillips' Body-for-Life Challenge 2000. I started at 157 pounds and 12 weeks later finished at 176. With the proper financial backing I could have managed even greater gains. That was the first time I was consistent and averaged six meals a day and along with training 6 days a week.

    When I moved to Arizona in the summer of 2000 I switched from fitness to bodybuilding. IFBB Pro Bodybuilder Troy Alves trained me and taught me new training principles and nutritional habits. I also began doing my own research and studying nutrition to continue to improve my physique and maximize my potential.

    Consuming 6-10 meals a day, compiling nearly 5,000 Calories with approximately 250 grams of protein per day is what I attribute to my muscle gains, which currently have me at 195 pounds. I am not content with my current size, but I am headed in the right direction. Just a few years ago I was 150 pounds, so with consistency and proper nutrition I've been able to make the gains that have come lately. Motivation, dedication, and determination are also major factors in the success and progress that you make. Many times that means, skipping a party to go train, waking up early to pack meals to last you the whole day, and getting into the gym whether it's convenient or not. You can't just push weights in the gym either. You have to train with intensity with a goal in mind. Goal-oriented people are the ones who find the most success.

    When I decide to compete in a fitness challenge, bodybuilding program, or set my own personal goals, I have a specific goal in mind and write down the steps necessary to accomplish what I set for myself. I read motivational quotes and find a physique that I dream of having and post it on the wall. I look at an image I plan to achieve for myself and it motivates me when I'm at the gym and when I'm home. It reminds me of all the nutritional requirements my body needs, and which key elements I need to exceed the typical daily intake to have massive gains. It reminds me to make quality bodybuilding decisions and get enough sleep at night.

    It reminds me to train with focus, intensity, and purpose in the gym. Most importantly it gives me hope each day and keeps me positive, competing in a sport that often takes years to see progress.

    A body transformation is for everyone. Everyone has a physique that can be improved and as soon as you take the initial steps to change, results are quick to follow. Our website contains training programs, nutrition programs, examples of daily meals, and recipes to help you get you on your way. We also have more than 100 photos of impressive male and female bodies and over 100 motivational quotes that will help inspire you to transform your body.

    You can either stand outside the fire, or jump in ready to fight. Challenge yourself and create a new you.

    By Robert Cheeke [email protected]

    Photos taken in 2000 and 2001 to show a quick body transformation. 2003 and 2004 photos can be found on the image gallery pages and random pages thoughout the website.
    Robert Cheeke

    Bodybuilding Basics
    by Robert Cheeke, Vegan Bodybuilder, May 18th 2004

    To be a successful bodybuilder, you need to first start with the basics and be patient and allow your progress to take place. You must understand that results do not come overnight and to achieve a desired look you have to put in the time and dedicate hard work toward achieving your goals.

    Bodybuilding basics include creating a workout schedule and sticking to it. This doesn't mean doing the same exercises, it means training consistently with purpose and having a goal in mind. It means going to the gym even on the days you don't really feel like it. It means making time to stay on schedule and stay on track. Don't ever say, “I ran out of time to train today;” make time. The basics of bodybuilding also include an understanding of the role that a sound nutritional program plays in the progression of your physique transformation. Nutrition in a key element in bodybuilding, perhaps the most important and most overlooked component in the whole bodybuilding lifestyle. Other basics to remember are the exercises themselves. There are a few somewhat primitive power exercises that do more for you than any of the new-age equipment that is floating around late night television infomercials. These base exercises will be the foundation of your training and include squats, bench press, dead lifts, military press, leg press, chin-ups, barbell bicep curls, lunges, hanging leg raises, dips, dumbbell curls, and lateral raises. You don't need cables or complicated machines for these exercises, you just need the basic equipment and a sense of determination and you will succeed in bodybuilding.

    When in comes to your nutrition program you also stick to the basics as your core, but include other key elements to enhance your bodybuilding progress. The basics for nutrition are consuming large amounts of fresh green vegetables and a variety of fruits, to load yourself up with vibrant vitamins and minerals. When it comes to bodybuilding nutrition, the most important keys are to keep your immune system strong and to consume a large amount of protein and calories. Quality protein sources include tofu, tempeh, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, isolated protein powders and shakes, soy protein bars, nut butters, seitan, soymilks, and other soy products. In addition to all the great food that you need to consume to feed your muscles and build your body, it is also very important to drink plenty of water. Everyone talks about it, but not many drink as much water as they should. As a bodybuilder, you should shoot for a gallon a day, or even more. Drinking lots of water helps carry all the nutrients to your cells and creates greater cell nutrition and a body capable of functioning on higher levels.

    Efficiency is another important component to the basics of bodybuilding. This means that you don't have to spend two or three hours in the gym to get desired results. This doesn't mean that you have to stuff yourself full of food at each meal until you can't possibly eat anymore. Efficiency is understanding what actions need to take place to enable your body and your body's systems to perform on optimum levels. Train just as much as you need to, not more. If you spend too much time in the gym, you will break down muscle fibers at a faster rate than they are recovering and this could lead to injury. Spend about an hour of weight training during your session, anymore time spent weight training can be counter-productive. You can get away with 90-minute workouts for some larger muscle groups but in most cases that amount of time is not necessary. Allow yourself anywhere from 30-180 seconds rest between sets, depending on the muscles being trained, and you should be fresh to continue your workout full of energy. Being efficient will keep you ahead of the game, and assist in your overall bodybuilding progress.

    Supplementation can be a major factor in bodybuilding. Again, there are countless options out there for products that could possibly enhance your physique, but stick to the basics and you will reap plenty of benefits. Protein is one of the most popular supplements you can take. Every bodybuilder seems to want to increase protein intake. Take a protein shake in the morning and another one at night time and you should accumulate all the protein you need, assuming you are eating plenty of foods throughout the day. Taking a multivitamin is another common practice and a great idea for everyone, not just bodybuilders. Multivitamins help bring up levels of certain nutrients you may be lacking in your diet from day to day. Liquid forms tend to be the most effective because they are absorbed the fastest and are the most bioavailable. This means your body uses a higher percentage of the nutrients than is does from other forms such as pills or powders. Amino acid L-Glutamine is another very popular supplement for bodybuilders to take. Glutamine is the most important amino acid in muscle recovery and growth and becomes “essential” for bodybuilders trying to make the most gains with the help of effective supplementation. There are plenty of other basic supplements such as Vitamin C to promote a strong immune system, and flax oil for omega fatty acids.

    Setting specific goals is not only a crucial component to a bodybuilding program but is also another bodybuilding basic. You don't train without motivation, do you? There has to be something that drives you to push your body to its physical limit. For many bodybuilders, the thought of a chiseled, fit, strong, aesthetically pleasing physique is enough to make them train without fear of pain or failure. Whatever your reasons are, make your goals clear, and specific as possible. Tell others about the things you desire and show them the work ethic that it takes to achieve greatness in a demanding sport.

    The final basic rule to becoming a successful bodybuilder is to live the bodybuilding lifestyle. This means making responsible decisions and getting enough sleep at night. This means preparing meals ahead of time so you will never have to go long periods of time without food. This means budgeting your money so you can afford the food and supplements that the sport of bodybuilding demands. This means being accountable for your workouts in the gym, ensuring that your time there is valuable and not wasted. Follow your instincts, but also seek advice from those who have walked in your shoes and succeeded in bodybuilding. Learn from those who know the ropes and who have “been there,” before.

    Following the basics of bodybuilding will not only enhance your physique but your overall bodybuilding program. You will become more efficient in your workouts and more effective in your nutrition programs. Stick to the basics and you will become extraordinary.
    Robert Cheeke

    Bodybuilding Nutrition Program
    by Robert Cheeke, Vegan Bodybuilder, February 28th, 2004

    Bodybuilding for MASS

    Example Day 1

    8AM
    1 1/2c Oatmeal
    1 Banana
    Soy Protein Drink
    16oz water 8g pro 210 Cal
    1g pro 80 Cal
    20g pro 330 Cal
    29g pro 620 Cal
    10AM
    1 cup walnuts
    1 cup grapes
    1 Clif bar
    16oz water 14g pro 250 Cal
    0g pro 100 Cal
    12g pro 240 Cal 26g pro 590 Cal
    12PM
    2 boca burgers
    4 slices of bread
    1 baked potato
    1 serving spinach
    2 tofu hotdogs
    24oz water 26g pro 180 Cal
    24g pro 720 Cal
    5g pro 80 Cal
    2g pro 70 Cal
    18g pro 90 Cal 75g pro 1,140 Cal
    2PM
    3 serv. crackers
    2 s. peanut butter
    1 banana
    8oz orange juice 6g pro 210 Cal
    14g pro 340 Cal
    1g pro 80 Cal
    1g pro 100 Cal 22g pro 630 Cal
    4PM
    Soy protein drink
    12oz water 20g pro 340 Cal 20g pro 340 Cal
    6PM
    4 serv. pasta
    2 s. refried beans
    1 cup broccoli
    2 serv. baked tofu
    16oz orange juice 28g pro 480 Cal
    12g pro 140 Cal
    5g pro 150 Cal
    26g pro 150 Cal
    1g pro 200 Cal 72g pro 1,120 Cal
    8PM
    1 Orange
    1 serving almonds
    12oz natural soda 1g pro 80 Cal
    7g pro 100 Cal
    0g pro 170 Cal 8g pro 350C
    10PM
    Soy protein drink
    2 serv. corn chips
    2 serv. salsa
    20oz water 20g pro 340 Cal
    4g pro 240 Cal
    2g pro 140 Cal 26g pro 720 Cal
    Totals 278g protein 5,510 Calories

    Example Day 2

    8AM
    4 Organic Waffles
    Maple syrup
    banana
    soy protein drink
    16oz water 16g pro 480 Cal
    0g pro 80 Cal
    1g pro 80 Cal
    20g pro 340 Cal 37g pro 980 Cal
    10AM
    3 servings almonds
    Clif bar
    banana
    16oz water 21g pro 300 Cal
    12g pro 240 Cal
    1g pro 80 Cal 34g pro 620 Cal
    12PM
    2 Tofu Salami sandwiches
    2 servings spinach
    2 servings carrots
    16oz orange juice 56g pro 800 Cal
    1g pro 100 Cal
    1g pro 70 Cal
    1g pro 100 Cal 59g pro 1,070 Cal
    2PM
    3 servings of crackers
    2 servings peanut butter
    1 Orange
    16oz water 6g pro 180 Cal
    14g pro 340 Cal
    1g pro 60 Cal 21g pro 580 Cal
    4PM
    Soy protein drink
    Flax oil/glutamine/B12
    12 oz water 20g pro 340 Cal
    0g pro 35 Cal 20g pro 375 Cal
    6PM
    2 boca burgers
    3 servings lentil soup
    1 boiled potato
    1 cup broccoli
    12oz soy milk
    12oz water 26g pro 180 Cal
    27g pro 360 Cal
    5g pro 80 Cal
    5g pro 100 Cal
    11g pro 250 Cal 74g pro 970 Cal
    8PM
    2 slices of toast
    2 servings peanut butter
    16oz water 12g pro 340 Cal
    14g pro 340 Cal 26g pro 680 Cal
    10PM
    2 soy protein drinks
    16oz water 40g pro 680 Cal 40g pro 680 Cal
    Totals: 311 grams of protein 5,955 Calories Robert Cheeke

    Building a Vegan Community
    by Robert Cheeke, Vegan Bodybuilder, July 1st 2006

    For many of us, adopting a vegan diet is the best decision we've ever made. We all seem to share the same postive results from an important dietary and lifestyle change to veganism. We tend to feel more at peace with ourselves and our environment, experience an increase in energy and vitality, and we thrive with rejuvenated health.

    As a vegan for more than ten years, I have focused on consuming plant-based foods, avoiding all animal products in all forms, and have been promoting this lifestyle in many forms of media. I thought I was doing everything right for most of the past ten years, but recently realized that eating organic foods was really the key to optimal health and optimal environmental sustainability. Being vegan is great, but supporting non-organic food companies and non-organic mega corporations are not the most environmentally-friendly lifestyle choices. There are numerous reasons to eat organic foods, and supporting local organic farms is ideal in my opinion.

    One of my goals is to build my own vegan community of friends and aquaintences. I go out of my way to promote veganism within my community and network with others who share the same lifestyle. I started my own vegan company (Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness) in 2002 and have developed a large online community based on our www.veganbodybuilding.com website. Today, many of us within a geographical region meet-up in person on a regular basis at vegan potlucks, animal rights protests, and just to enjoy each other's company watching a movie, going for a walk, or during a weight training session.

    I have met a lot of vegans over the past decade and unfortunately some of the people have given up their vegan lifestyle because they did not know any other vegans and did not have the support of like-minded people. Building a vegan community can play an important role in the lives of young vegans and people new to the vegan lifestyle. Any dramatic lifestyle change can be eased with the support of others who have "been there and done that."

    Eating a vegan diet comes quite naturally since fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains and seeds are all foods we evolved on. The possible difficulties being vegan in today's society is the fact we've moved so far from our natural diet, it is no longer the norm. Having friends and aquaintences who share the same moral and ethical values and eating habits, provides a supportive cast for your dietary choices and gives you someone to eat meals with who won't question or criticize your lifestyle.

    As a vegan, I not only like to expand my own vegan communtity but I like to have an impact and positive influence on the non-vegan community. What are we doing if we aren't including the people we're trying to have an impact on? That is how we save human and animal lives and improve all life on Earth; by reaching non-vegans and informing them about the benefits to individual health and planet sustainability of a plant-based, organic diet.

    I don't view veganism as a cult group out to recruit as many members as possible. I don't see it as a set of rules we must obey. I view veganism as a compassionate lifestyle with the goal of reducing and eliminating animal cruelty while providing our bodies with proper nourishment for ideal or optimal health.

    There are a number of things you can do to impact the people around you and expand your own vegan community. I focus on participating in local vegan education groups, vegan potlucks, supporting local organic farms, and patronizing local vegan businesses. In all of these activities there is an opportunity to network with plenty of other vegans. The larger the vegan group, the greater impact you can have on your non-vegan community.

    Search out events going on in your community, and better yet, start your own events. You can start small by making flyers promoting a vegan potluck or picnic. Invite your friends and family to ensure you'll have a decent turnout. Usually the larger the group, the more likely others are to join in and participate a second time. Be inclusive to non-vegans as well. Afterall, we can make a far greater impact on the planet by working with non-vegans than by soley hanging out with a group people who already see the big picture. An all vegan world, or at least an all vegan community, can be an ideal goal, but be open to the involvement of others too. You'll be surprised how many people you can influence by being a positive role model for a healthy vegan lifestyle. Most of the people I've introduced veganism to, and who are now vegans because of that introduction and interaction, were positively influenced by my role model approach rather than my judgements or criticisms of their lifestyle at the time. A favorite quote of mine is from an annoymous source and says, "When your actions speak for themselves, don't interrupt."

    One of the exciting upcoming events I'm involved in is the 2006 Vegan Vacation that Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness is sponsoring and hosting in Portland, Oregon from August 3-9. This will be a week-long vegan fest full of activities including vegan dinners, potlucks and picnics, hikes, cycling, and running events, weight-training sessions, a trip to the Oregon Coast, and of course, lots of hanging out with fellow vegans. We will also have an impact on the Northwest community by outreach and activism we will be doing with our collective group.

    The Vegan Vacation participants will be primarily members of our Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness online forum (over 2,000 members in total and dozens expected to make the trip out west) who will be traveling here from all over the country and from various other countries for our event, but we'll also have great involvement from the Portland community including participation from groups like Northwest Veg. For more information about the Vegan Vacation visit www.veganbodybuilding.com or e-mail [email protected]

    The more vegan community events worldwide, the more animal lives we can save, the more human lives we can save, and the greater our chances are of improving the quality of our planet. There are veg fests all over the world and I encourage you to attend one in your area to to get involved in your community. Another great upcoming event is the OrganicAthlete Conference on September 30 in San Francisco, California. Successful vegan athletes who talk the talk and walk the walk will be on hand to present their strategies for success and explain how they thrive on a plant-based diet.

    Remember that healthy food defines you, and you are in a position to make a tremendous impact on your community and your planet. Embrace the opportunities before you and share your organic vegan lifestyle with the world, encouraging and motivating others along your journey.
    Robert Cheeke

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