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    Older articles from the original Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness website.
    Dieting Tips for the Offseason Vs. Pre-Contest
    by Derek Tresize
    When you're a bodybuilder, you're generally either eating to bulk up offseason or dieting down to get lean and shredded pre-contest, and for a bodybuilder relying on animal foods, these two diets are worlds apart in calories and content.
    A standard offseason diet might even include a liberal dose of junk food like fast food burgers and pizza, which on a very high calorie diet leads to 300+ lb bodybuilding "athletes" who are obese half the year! The pre-contest diet is really not much healthier, as athletes will often drop their carbohydrate intake down to nothing by eating only animal protein to shed all the extra fat they gained offseason. While this technique does reduce body fat, it also puts a tremendous strain on the heart, liver, kidneys, brain, and even all that hard-earned muscle tissue!
    However, as vegan athletes, our needs and priorities are very different, and our diets should reflect that. First of all, we are a lot more conscious of what we eat, and by and large as a population we're much more concerned with our overall health. A really healthy off-season diet might not allow you to gain 50 pounds over a couple of months, but it will leave you with a lot less fat to deal with when the contest season starts. Similarly, you might not drop body fat as quickly on a healthy pre-contest diet as you would eating nothing but chicken breasts, but you won't need to given that you didn't gorge on junk food offseason! You will also step on stage feeling and looking much more vital and energetic, in stark contrast to some of your competition who will have been starving themselves for weeks!
    Some overall meal-plan guidelines I've used in the past when preparing for photo shoots and that I'm using to prepare for my first bodybuilding contest are:
    1. Keep your carbohydrates high (50%+ of total calories) no matter what you're trying to do. Carbohydrates are your body's main source of fuel so eating them gives you lots of energy and protects your muscle tissue from being broken down. Restrict them too much and you risk fatigue, lethargy, irritability, and muscle loss! Some healthy options are oatmeal, brown rice, sweet potatoes, quinoa, etc.
    2. Keep your protein intake moderately high (+/- 25% of total calories) on every meal plan. Proteins/amino acids are the building blocks of new muscle tissue, so if you are a bodybuilder (and you are training as hard as you should be) you will need more protein in your diet than the average person to allow your body to recover and grow from your training. Excess protein you consume has to be filtered out by your kidneys and is potentially damaging, so make sure not to take in too much and always drink lots and lots of water! Oh, and get the majority of your protein from whole foods too (doing this ensures that you will be adhering to guideline #1). Healthy protein sources are beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
    3. Eat a low-fat diet (<25% of total calories), especially pre-contest. Fat is essential for your body to operate properly, but consuming even a little more than you require is an easy way to gain body fat. Dietary fat is by far the easiest nutrient for your body to store as fat, so you want to be careful not to go overboard with fatty foods as a means to add calories. I also recommend limiting oil as much as possible because oil is a refined fat in exactly the way sugar is a refined carbohydrate. Remove it from its whole-food source, and you lose all the nutrients in that food that made it so healthy, leaving you with a nothing but empty calories. Healthy sources of fat are avocados, olives, nuts and seeds.


    So with those tips to guide you in designing ANY meal plan, here are some tweaks for making a program that will...
    Bulk you up: The number one concern with weight gain should be calories. A plant based diet is not as anabolic as an animal based diet (which makes it a lot healthier) so gaining muscle will take a lot more calories from plants than it would from meat. That being said, a plant-based diet keeps your metabolism high so as you do gain weight you will stay a lot leaner than you otherwise would! Easy ways to get your calories up are eating things like peanut/almond butter (being careful not to eat too much overall fat), steel cut oats (twice the calories of rolled oats), sprouted grain bagels (twice the calories of bread), and a LOT of beans. You can be a bit more liberal with this sort of diet because your main focus is making sure your body is never in want of anything that will halt muscle growth, so you can include cheat meals a few times a week and even eat things like whole wheat flour-containing foods and lots of fruit (which has quite a bit of sugar) on a regular basis.
    Trim you down: While the same basic macronutrient breakdown works well on a 'pre-contest' type diet, there are a few more things to consider. You are trying to lose body fat first and foremost, so bringing your calories down to a maintenance level and avoiding dietary fats and simple sugars are a must. This will mean reducing or eliminating your intake of refined starches (flour), any oils including salad dressing, fatty foods like peanut butter, and sugary foods like most types of fruit. What you'll be left with are whole grains, beans, vegetables (excluding potatoes), and the low sugar fruits (strawberries, cherries, and grapefruit etc). You will also want to eat very little carbohydrates at or past dinner time because in the evening you will have less chance to burn them and more chance to store them as fat while you sleep.
    So, regardless of your goals you can follow a very similar diet year round and make great progress as a bodybuilder. I have used all of these techniques with great success, and I know that you can too! Bodybuilding is a sport about building a muscular, healthy body, and by being a vegan bodybuilder and following a meal plan that promotes long term health you will represent the sport in every aspect, not just appearance.

    Derek Tresize
    BS Biology
    ACE Certified Personal Trainer
    Certified Plant-Based Nutritionist
    [email protected]
    Derek Tresize

    Derek Tresize and I have been working on a book about competition preparation as a vegan. The writing is nearly done, it's been edited and transcribed, and I need only to write the recipes for the meal plans! It includes all of the nitty-gritty details and calculations involved in preparing for a competition - mainly the mechanics of bulking and cutting with some contest tips - and so could be used by anyone with a physique goal to meet.


    As I've been sorting through this volume of information and reflecting on our own experience as a bodybuilding couple, it occurred to me that a point I've made several times in the text is a great one to share here with the Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness audience. It may be shocking or banal, depending on where you are in your fitness journey, but here it is: there are no special foods or special exercises for female athletes. The foods eaten and their quantity, the exercises included in workout routines - these things are determined solely by your goal as it relates to where you are currently and by your preferences. When we began preparing for the Naturally Fit Super Show eight months before the contest, I was 5'2, 129 pounds and had just had a baby, leaving me with a body fat level of 28%. Derek was 5'11 and 196 pounds with 8% body fat. Yet throughout our prep, we ate virtually the same meal plan, in different quantity, and performed very similar workout routines that included the same exercises, with different weights. At the end of our prep, I was 111 pounds and 12% body fat and Derek was 183 pounds and 3% body fat. Clearly, we did not need different food and exercises to arrive at our very different goals!
    Here's a comparison of one of the menus from our contest prep, for example:


    We eat almost entirely the same foods, but the volume is different. I had more fat to lose than Derek for the competition, so I didn't include high-fat pumpkin seeds in my snacks. I also needed to eat less calories overall (because I'm much smaller) so my portions of calorie-dense foods such as sweet potatoes and beans were smaller, while my portions of vegetables and fruit were about the same as Derek's. These slight differences were necessary, not because I'm female and he's male, but because I'm significantly smaller and my fat loss goal was greater and required a more drastic diet.
    Here's a comparison of the exercises, for a few body parts, that we included in our respective routines at around 12 weeks out from the show:




    My purpose in pointing this out is that a woman can use any meal plan or workout routine they desire, whether it was written by and for a man or not, and this is useful information because most of the free information out there is written by or about male athletes! The key lies in knowing how to take all of this free information, such as the meal plans and workouts each athlete shared in last year's Plant Built Muscle issue of Vegan Health and Fitness magazine , or any of Chad Byer's articles listed on this website, for example, and customize it to fit YOUR goals and your starting point. These calculations are covered in (at times excruciating) detail in our upcoming competition prep manual, and I will be sharing some of them in next month's article! Marcella Torres

    I love shaking things up a bit, so I wanted to bust some myths about cardio!

    Cardiovascular activity, or “cardio” for short, seems to be either loved or despised in the fitness world. We associate that term with fat burning, increasing lung capacity, and overall endurance. But for the sake of bodybuilding/sculpting, let's take a look at the true benefits of cardio.

    For the benefits of bodybuilding and sculpting, cardio plays a part in bringing out the muscle definition that you have worked hard to get. Now, although I believe in the health benefits of doing cardio, I am not a big proponent of the overuse of cardio to decrease body fat to achieve “the look” of being shredded; that can be dangerous to one's metabolism. As to what I mean by “overuse”, here is an example: John Doe has a show coming up in eight weeks, but by the looks of his physique, he is not ready. The standard protocol that has been traditionally used over many years is to drop calories, decrease sodium, and then do cardio twice a day for an hour each time, and then eventually dehydrate. Now, this will have an effect — and very possibly the effect that John Doe is looking for — but the underlying issue is that this method will have to be matched or increased time and time again until it no longer is effective.




    From a very basic standpoint, there are two main types of cardio:

    LISS (Low Intensity Steady State)
    This type of cardio keeps your heart rate within a certain range at a constant pace for an extended period of time. An example of this form of cardio is when a person walks on a treadmill while watching TV for 30min or more. He/she does burn calories and utilizes energy; however, over time when doing the same exercise at the same pace for the same amount of time, the body has adapted to use less energy and burn less fat. The body will need more time to do the same fat burning it was doing on 30 minutes initially.

    HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)
    This type of cardio keeps the body guessing virtually every time. The heart rate fluctuates in intervals causing the increase in the consumption of oxygen and an increase in core body temperature. An example of this form of cardio is when a person does an activity, whether it is sprinting, box jumps/plyometrics, or a tabata form of exercise for 20-30 seconds followed by a 10-20 second rest. Research has shown that this increases the VO2 max and causes EPOC (Energy Post Oxygen Consumption). This is my personal favorite (sprinting,of course) and usually the only type of cardio I implement in the plans I develop for individual clients. Unwanted weight gain is typically caused by more calories consumed than burned on a consistent basis. In order to lose weight/ body fat, a calorie deficit must be created with manipulation of food, weight training, and the right types and amounts of cardio. Hours of cardio are not necessary to burn fat and build muscle. I personally rarely need to add HIIT to my routine in order to lean out or achieve “the look”. Although everyone is different, one fact remains: If you desire to build muscle and have a sculpted look, consider incorporating more HIIT and less LISS cardio into your workout plans. For more information, or if you are looking for guidance to get you on the right track, I would love to hear from you. You can reach me at: www.ThaVeganDread.com, IG: ThaVeganDread, Twitter: ThaVeganDread and also right here on www.veganbodybuilding.com
    Let's Get It!
    Torre Washington

    Before the sun set over the Austin, TX skyline on July 27, 2013, the mission to make a statement for veganism in athletics had already been made loud and clear. The PlantBuilt Vegan Muscle Team, founded in 2012 by Giacomo Marchese and Dani Taylor, co-owners of VeganProteins.com, had dominated the bodybuilding stage at the Naturally Fit Super Show, producing four overall champions. The team of 15 vegan athletes ran the table in many categories of the International Natural Bodybuilding Federation (INBF) sanctioned event, producing five individual champions, four overall champions, two professional qualifications, and numerous top three finishes, including a 2nd and 3rd place finish in a class of 24. The results from the PlantBuilt athletes sent an unmistakable message to the crowd, the other competitors, and to the large online following who received live updates throughout the 2-day bodybuilding and fitness competition, that there was a new sheriff in town, who only eats plants.



    Light-heavyweight Champion Derek Tresize (left) and Lightweight Champion Torre Washington (center) battle it out for the Overall Title, which Torre won, earning his Professional qualification within the INBF (International Natural Bodybuilding Federation)

    The tone set by the founders of the team they named PlantBuilt was one of teamwork in a collective effort to stand up for animals and make a loud statement for veganism in athletics. The team formed a cohesive unit that plowed its way across the Texas landscape en route to celebratory performance by many, highlighting some individual accomplishments. Bodybuilder Torre Washington won the lightweight division and the men's overall bodybuilding title, outlasting light-heavyweight champion Derek Tresize who also won his division earning him a spot in the finals. Bodybuilder Sara Russert won her lightweight division and the women's overall bodybuilding title. Figure competitor Pam Kalstad won her division and overall title, earning her professional status, and bodybuilder Will Tucker won his division and overall title for master's bodybuilding (over 40 years of age). Bodybuilders Austin Barbisch and Marcella Torres finished second in their divisions and Giacomo Marchese finished 3rd in men's middleweight bodybuilding. Figure competitor Stephanie Rice finished runner up and Tiffany Burich followed in 3rd. Men's physique models Ed Bauer and Chad Byers finished second and third of two dozen vying for the title, and cash prizes. Finishing in the top three, both increased the bulk of their wallets to Texas-sized status including a large physical check to carry around like a walking billboard. "We did better than we even imagined," said team co-founder Giacomo Marchese. "Everyone did so well and we made such a great impact" he added. When asked about what the plans are for next year, he suggested that because of the incredible response from social media buzz throughout the week that the team could be double or triple the size come next summer. You know what they say, 'everything's bigger in Texas', including the vegan bodybuilders who crushed the competition.
    For some it was their first time competing, and for seasoned veterans it was an opportunity to join others to make a louder statement for veganism than can be accomplished alone. Many athletes met for the first time and formed what will likely be long-lasting friendships. The enthusiastic crowd roared for the PlantBuilt athletes and many fans were in the audience sporting their vegan-themed shirts. Approximately 10,000 people attended the fitness expo, and hundreds were on hand to take in the bodybuilding competition. They all witnessed history as the vegan athletes stole the show.



    PlantBuilt co-founder Dani Taylor (front) with the clients she trained behind her from L to R - Tiffany Burich (3rd place winner), Stephanie Rice (2nd place winner), co-founder Giacomo Marchese (3rd place winner) and Sara Russert (1st place winner and women's bodybuilding Overall Champion)After some time to wind down, and eat something other than tofu and broccoli (staples in a vegan bodybuilding competition preparation diet), the PlantBuilt founders plan to open up an application process in late September with an opportunity to join them in their historic pursuit to come together to make a positive difference in the world through their leadership and athletic success.
    For more information about PlantBuilt, including seeing photos of the outstanding team, visit www.plantbuilt.com and join them on their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/VeganOlympia. See you in Austin next summer. Bring a Texas-sized sense of adventure. PlantBuilt is taking the bodybuilding world by storm with their own vegan muscle Texas tornado, sweeping up the competition.
    Robert Cheeke

    Robert Cheeke

    Dr. T. Colin Campbell's 8 Principles
    of Nutrition
    by Derek Tresize
    Last year I completed the Plant Based Nutrition certification through the T. Colin Campbell Foundationand Cornell University, and I feel it is one of (if not the) best courses I have ever taken. The program isa three course series in which Dr. Campbell and many other highly esteemed lecturers discuss plantbased nutrition and how it affects human health, as well as virtually every other facet of our lives fromthe economy to the environment to world hunger. A highlight of the course was when Dr. Campbelloutlined his lessons in nutrition with 8 Nutrition Principles. While nutrition is an extremely complexand integrative topic, these 8 principles were designed to answer many fundamental questions aboutnutrition and to provide a simple guide to healthy eating, and I want to share them here and providesome discussion because I feel that they are extremely important. Remember, these are Dr. Campbell'scarefully formulated principles based on decades of research, policy, and observation in the field ofhuman nutrition. What I provide here is just a brief description of each, so for more detail you can read hisbook The China Study or better yet, take the certification program I took!
    1. Nutrition represents the combined activities of countless food substances, and the whole isgreater than the sum of its parts.
    When you consider that each whole food has literally thousands of compounds within it, many of whichare unknown and/or unstudied, imagine the possibilities for beneficial synergistic effects when manywhole foods are eaten together. This has already been observed in such food combinations as citrus fruitand whole grains, so just imagine how many undiscovered health multiplying benefits are out there if youeat whole plant foods!
    2. Vitamin supplements are not a panacea for good health.
    In other words, eating terribly cannot be made up for by taking some isolated vitamins. Dr. Campbelldescribes nutrition as operating as an infinitely complex biochemical system involving thousands ofchemicals and thousands of effects. Isolated nutrients cannot substitute for whole foods and may havedangerous side effects. Studies cited in the course described Vitamin A and E supplementations as beingassociated with an increased incidence of cancer — something to think about!
    3. There are no nutrients in animal foods that are not better provided by plant foods.
    Animals products across the board are rich sources of fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol (whichis only present in animal foods). Plant foods, on the other hand, are good sources of vitamins, minerals,fiber, and antioxidants (with the last two only being present in plant foods). Many indicative charts werepresented that showed the striking distinctions between these two categories, but plain and simple: Plantshave more nutrients and less calories, while animal products offer the exact opposite.
    4.) Genes do not determine disease on their own.
    Genes function only by being activated orexpressed, and nutrition controls which genes, good or bad, are expressed.This is an extremely important point. The modern rise of genetic research for combating chronic diseasehas been fruitless. Mainstream tabloids would lead one to believe that simply identifying a gene thatcauses disease, then making a drug to control said gene, will be the end of poor health as we know it.Things just aren't that simple. Each disease is the product of actions by potentially hundreds of genes,and no single gene only has one job. So, expecting a single desirable effect from the chemical control ofa single gene is very unrealistic.What's worse, the belief that your health is controlled entirely by your genes leaves you in a helplessposition. Why bother taking care of yourself if it all comes down to your genes? In actuality, eating awhole plant-based diet goes extremely far in giving you the most beneficial possible gene expressions,putting you back in control, and all without any fancy research or drugs required.
    5.) Nutrition can substantially control the adverse effects of noxious chemicals.
    Another very important point. Similarly to controlling your genes to your greatest benefit, nutrition alsogreatly improves your body's ability to handle nasty chemicals that could potentially do a lot of harm.Take Aflatoxin as an example. Aflatoxin is among the most toxic and carcinogenic chemicals ever discovered, and in Dr. Campbell's own lab he was able to keep rats on an aflatoxin-laced diet completelyhealthy and cancer free just by controlling their nutrition. 0% of the animals on high protein plant-baseddiet developed cancer, while 100% of animals on a high protein milk protein-based diet developedcancer. Results don't get much clearer than that.For a human example, studies following heavy smokers who practice a whole plant based diet haveshown that they have lung cancer rates almost as low as typical non-smokers!
    6.) The same nutrition that can prevent disease in its early stages can also halt or reverse it in itslater stages.
    The clearest example that comes to mind here is the number one cause of death in the US — heartdisease. Heart disease rates have climbed steadily in the US for decades, and now the diseaseclaims 430 thousands lives every year in the US alone. Work done by Dr. Esselstyn demonstrates thatheart disease is a completely avoidable disease for everyone, and he now coaches patients on how tohalt and reverse their heart disease at the prestigious Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Esselstyn has successfullytaken many patients from the brink of death by heart disease to return to normal healthy lives throughdietary intervention alone. His website and his book “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease” go into fargreater detail than I can here, but suffice to say if it works for these most extreme cases, it will work foranyone. While a diet rich in processed foods and animal products strongly promotes the hardening ofarteries, the formation of plaques, and the raising of blood pressure, a whole foods plant based diet hasthe exact opposite effect. In fact, the same is true for cancer. Dr. Campbell's own lab demonstrated thatnutrition alone could promote or halt the growth of tumors in rats, and epidemiological studies clearlysupport this theory in human populations.
    7.) Nutrition that is beneficial for a particular chronic disease support good health across theboard.
    This principle is pretty self explanatory. A whole foods plant based diet will prevent and treat any and allchronic disease prevalent in society today, and will simultaneously promote good health across the board.8.) Good nutrition creates health in all areas of our existence.Dr. Campbell's final principle of nutrition is by far the most all-encompassing. By eating more healthfully,every aspect of our lives and our surroundings stands to benefit. Our economy stands to benefit bysaving billions of dollars on healthcare costs. Our population stands to benefit by being better fedbecause it is cheaper and much more efficient to use land to produce crops rather than livestock, andthe environment as a whole stands to benefit for this same reason. In fact, the single greatest impactyou can have on your &aps;carbon footprint' — if that is important to you — is to choose whole plant foods overprocessed foods and animal foods.
    I really hope you find this information as helpful and inspiring as I did when I first came across it. As avegan athlete, we are a role models and have a reasonability to lead by example and show that a plant-based diet promotes optimal health and a better world all around. As always, I love to receive commentsand answer questions so have at it!
    Derek Tresize
    BS Biology
    ACE Certified Personal Trainer
    Certified in Plant-Based Nutrition
    Derek Tresize

    In order to be fit and healthy, we need to eat the right foods. If we are eating plant-based whole foods, we are on the right path. However, just because something is vegan, does NOT mean it's healthy, nor does it mean it benefits our bodies or physiques. Likewise, we aren't all independently wealthy with hours of time to prepare meals for ourselves. The past few months have been an uphill battle for me, and most days I have not been eating enough food and did not have a gym membership, due to living on an extremely restricted budget. It has been a big eye-opener for me, and I am happy to say that I'm figuring it out. Also, I've found that the beauty of it all, despite the downsides, is that eating the healthiest vegan food I can afford has allowed me to maintain some muscle and not gain weight. However, my goal is to be gaining muscle, maintain weight, and stay on a consistent eating schedule. But, how do I do this without a personal kitchen, a consistent place to call home, limited budget, long days at work, and no gym membership? I'm working out the kinks, but so far here's what I've been learning.


    This is 2 bunches of chard, 2 boxes of tempeh, bell pepper, cilantro, avocado, and two large potatoes - all for $15 from the grocery store. This will provide me with about four meals. Being vegan does not have to be expensive.The biggest trick to doing this is planning ahead when possible. (HINT: It's always possible.) In a massive hurry? Had a late night at work but need food the next day? Don't worry, there are plenty of options, with differing costs. First of all, a box of 8-10 instant oatmeal packets, even organic from a mini mart, will be about $4. Fruit — depending on what is in season — can be $2-4 and be paired with your oatmeal, be a snack, or go in a morning smoothie. Lunch can be a fun challenge...or a nightmare. Just remember, it is what you make of it, especially if you take the initiative to actually MAKE it! Also, if you have a container of protein powder or meal replacer around (I use Vega One), use it! It's not the ideal way to get nutrients consistently; however, they do supply our bodies with essential nutrients, vitamins and amino acids, and getting those in some capacity is better than not at all!

    As of recently, I'm staying in a place where it's finally possible to use the kitchen, so I'll make large batches of rice, veggies, and tofu. But, if you need variety, or just aren't into a big pot of food that you will eat for the next six meals, there are always whole carrots, hummus, and broccoli that are easy, pretty inexpensive on-the-go options. For snacks, a local market has strawberries at 2/$3, which is a killer deal. Another store has a bag of apples for $5, and a pound of organic bananas for $0.79. Learning how to shop within your budget and still eat meals with enough nutrients IS a challenge, but it's definitely not impossible. Speaking of bananas — AKA nature's fast food — I can eat them on the way to the train, midday when I need a snack but can't take a break, or in the evening with a meal replacer if I haven't had time to make dinner or am just too tired.

    Another affordable, filling, and easy to pack for lunch (or reheat the next night for dinner), is "cheezy crispy chik'n" with veggies and sweet potatoes. The great thing is, this meal only requires four ingredients, but you can add more veggies or seasoning/spices for flavor if you want to mix it up. (I shared this recently on my public Facebook page, so please excuse the repetition if you already saw the post.)
    For the "chik'n" you only need nutritional yeast and extra firm tofu. Cube up the tofu, toss it in nutritional yeast (I season this with garlic powder, cayenne, and turmeric), and flip it in a frying pan until it starts to brown.
    Word of caution: the nutritional yeast can burn easily, so don't let it hang out over the heat, unsupervised for too long. Throw your sweet potatoes in the oven for about an hour (Take advantage of the time to shower, or do yoga in the living room.) or, if time is not on your side, cut into chunks and boil on the stove top.
    Now, if you're really in a pinch, you can microwave them for 7-9 minutes. Disclaimer: I'm not a fan of the microwave, but desperate times call for desperate measures. To eat a potato from the microwave, or not to eat? The correct answer is: eat the food. Perhaps it's not ideal, but if it is only occasionally, you're gonna make it. And, on the flip side, it just gives you another area in which to grow in your food preparation!
    In a separate pan or pot, get your broccoli cooking. You can steam it, boil it, or if you don't want to wash more pans, just put it in the frying pan with the cheezy crispy chik'n. This meal not only is healthy and tasty, it also can use up very little of your time. Win/win!

    Another great option for budget-friendly and minimal preparation meals are smoothies. Day or night, a smoothie is filling, quick, and has minimal clean up, especially if you have a high powered blender such as a Vitamix (which I so lovingly refer to as my "Vitie"). If you don't like the taste of smoothies, find other recipes! There are so many incredible ones out there! Here is one of my favorites: 1/4 of a cooked sweet potato (or beets!); 1 banana; ice; 1/2 cup of nut, oat, or soy milk; 1/2 apple; handful of berries; 1/2 bunch of kale; and if you want/need a little fat, 1 Tbls. nut butter or 1 Tbls. hemp seeds. The beauty of smoothies is that you really can't go wrong, because if you're not satisfied you can always add something else until you love it.


    My beloved Vitie makes delicious, healthy, and affordable smoothies.All in all, our health is in our hands, and if we take the initiative, we CAN succeed in our physical goals, health, and the ever incessant battle we all fight against: time. Whatever road you choose, just know it IS possible to plan, to be prepared, to attain your goals and dreams, and, best of all, to do it purely cruelty-free on a budget!
    Mindy Collette

    Exercises from True Bodybuilding
    by Robert Cheeke, Vegan Bodybuilder, February 28th, 2004
    Milos Sarcev has one of the best bodybuilding videos out there, True Bodybuilding. The following exercises are ones that he demonstrates and explains why he's doing them, for how many sets and reps, what muscle groups he's working and different techniques to use. So if you ever run out of exercises to do or get bored of your old routine in the gym, try some of these, courtesy of Milos "The Mind" Sarcev.

    CHEST
    Flat bench barbell press
    Incline bench barbell press
    Decline bench barbell press
    Incline bench dumbbell press
    Incline bench dumbbell fly
    Flat bench dumbbell fly
    Cable crossover
    Incline cable fly
    Incline cable press


    BICEPS
    Standing EZ-bar curl
    Seated dumbbell curl
    Preacher dumbbell curl
    Preacher hammer curl
    Seated concentration curl
    Standing cable curl
    Standing unilateral cable curl

    TRICEPS
    Close-grip bench press
    Lying French press (skull crushers)
    Dumbbell French press
    Cable French press
    Triceps press down with rope
    Triceps press down with V-bar
    One-arm unilateral cable press down
    Triceps dumbbell overhead extension
    Overhead cable triceps extension
    Triceps kick-backs
    Triceps cable kick-backs

    FOREARMS
    Barbell wrist curl
    Barbell over-grip wrist curl
    Dumbbell wrist curl
    Behind the back wrist curl
    Seated hammer curl

    QUADRICEPS
    Barbell squat
    Hack squat
    Leg press
    Single-leg leg press
    Leg extensions
    Single-leg leg extensions

    HAMSTRINGS
    Dumbbell stiff-legged dead lifts
    Lying leg curl
    Standing leg curl
    Dumbbell lunges

    CALVES
    Standing calf raise
    Seated calf raise
    Machine calf raise (toe press)

    BACK
    Wide-grip pull-ups
    Close-grip chin-ups
    Behind the neck lat pull-downs
    Front lat pull-downs
    Reverse-grip lat pull-downs (close grip)
    V-bar lat pull-downs
    Seated cable rows
    Wide-grip seated cable rows
    Barbell bent-over rows
    Dumbbell bent-over rows
    One-arm dumbbell rows
    Dead lifts
    Good mornings
    Hyperextensions

    DELTOIDS (SHOULDERS)
    Seated dumbbell side lateral raise
    Standing cable side lateral raise
    Seated dumbbell press
    Arnold press
    Seated dumbbell front raise
    Standing cable front raise
    Seated rear deltoid lateral raise
    Cable rear deltoid lateral raise
    Incline bench rear delt flys
    Bent-over lateral raise
    Dumbbell shrugs
    Upright rows

    ABS
    Hanging leg raises
    Side cable crunches
    Cable crunches
    Sit-ups Robert Cheeke

    Fast Facts Food Choices
    February 28th, 2004

    Meatless Meals
    Vegetarian meals served, 1999, United Airlines: 491,300
    Vegan Meals served, 1999, United Airlines: 192,250
    Households (U.S.) eating four or more meatless dinners per week, 1994: Over 20%
    Males (U.S.) who always order a dish without meat, fish, or fowl, 1999: 5%
    Females (U.S.) who always order a dish without meat, fish, or fowl, 1999: 6%
    U.K. population (of about 57 million) that is vegetarian: 5%
    U.S. adults who don't eat meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, honey (vegans): 0.9%

    Changing Food Patterns
    Decrease in per capita consumption of veal calves 1970-1998 (U.S., retail weight): 67%
    Decrease in per capita consumption of sheep, 1970-1998 (U.S., retail weight): 58%
    Decrease in per capita consumption of cattle, 1970-1998 (U.S., retail weight): 58%

    Grocery Trends
    Increase in veggie burger sales in 1999 (U.S.): 10%
    Increase in veggie burger sales in 1999 (Canada): 12%
    Increase in sales in veggie breakfast items (vegetarian bacons and sausages) in 1999 (U.S.): 20%
    Increase in sales of vegetarian alternatives for ground beef in 1999 (U.S.): 35%
    Increase in sales of chicken substitutes that are vegetarian in 1999 (U.S.): 71%
    Increase in sales of veggie sandwich slices in 1999 (U.S.): 79%
    Safeway stores (Canada and U.S.) that sell tofu, soymilk, vegan burgers, and hot dogs: 100%
    Tesco and Stainbury's stores (U.K) that sell soymilk, tofu, vegan burgers, and hot dogs: 100%
    Kroger stores (Atlanta & Nashville regions) that sell vegan burgers and hot dogs: 100%

    Source: Becoming Vegan The Complete Guide To Adopting A healthy Plant-Based Diet by Brenda Davis, R.D. & Vesanto Melina, M.S., R.D. Guest

    The dedication required to become an athlete can be rather egregious if diligent maintenance hasn't been adhered to. Many will strive for excellence in a particular sport throughout their elementary education and some into college. But what happens next? Most will give it up once they've run their course at the college level, and within a few years, they see where lack of consistency and self-motivation in exercise coupled with poor nutrition have crept up on them, and they may try to regain some aspects of their youthful body back by going in the gym and doing some of the warm-ups their coach gave them years before.




    Though there is nothing wrong with playing catch up, and we all start somewhere, what if we could never allow ourselves to go back to that place? That place where we feel unhappy, unhealthy, and defeated. If we are driven enough, we can successfully ward off those unwanted pounds, gain muscle, eat clean, and work toward a healthier body every step of the way.

    For many, determination has come and gone with seasons of life, waxing and waning through hard times and good times. Ultimately, the goal is to stay strong year-round, while still growing consistently. But, what can happen is that we can let life dictate whether we push ourselves harder or slack off and go back to bed and hit snooze, or go have coffee with a friend instead of a date with the weights. So, how do we post-high school or post-college athletes stay on track to continue to grow, be successful, healthy and flourish in these bodies that are only going to continue to age?

    One way is to lean on others. Whether it be their motivational pictures on social media, their statuses or posts about food or workouts, having a friend or spouse go to the gym with us, hiring someone to train us, and/or having a meal plan made specifically for us. All of these things are powerful tools that help make us out best, that help us power through when we don't want to, or give us the wisdom to allow ourselves to rest when we are fighting a cold. When we are humble enough to admit we need someone else's guidance, we are confident in our growth.

    I first stepped foot into a gym--Gold's Gym to be exact--in mid-2006. Initially, I felt paralyzed by the machines, men grunting, women running like there was a grizzly beast behind them, and trainers having their clients do the craziest things. It was new. Before that moment all I knew was dance: leotards, tights, ballet flats, pointe shoes with silicone inserts, jazz shoes, leg warmers... This gym experience baffled me. I got a trainer, but due to my terror, she went easy on me with the exercises. (This also could have been because it was 4:30 AM.) But, eventually, after six weeks or so, I wanted more. I wanted to do what the guys were doing, and what one woman in her late 40s did: I wanted to lift weights and build muscle.

    The desire to grow and change didn't go away, but I didn't get the correct info or tools for a bit longer. In late-2008, I saw an image of a bronzed, lovely woman, strong and her suit sparkled flexing on a stage as a guest poser. I had no idea what that meant, or why it was happening, but I wanted to be like her. It was then that I met a trainer who could see my drive, and in about 6 months, I gained 10 pounds and lost 9% body fat.

    I did that show the traditional way, unfortunately, and ended up with a myriad of health issues the following months. It was then that I switched to a plant-based diet and began to heal from the inside out. During those months of being ill and fighting to stay afloat, I lost most of my muscle and was grateful to work out 3 times a week.

    So, what does all of this have to do with determination? Without determination I would probably still be ill or worse, I would not be where I am today, undoubtedly. I heavily relied on fitness and muscle magazines and images online of other women who were stronger than I'd ever been, women who destroyed the lies that lifting weights wasn't feminine--whatever that even really means. There were many days where I felt defeated, deflated, and damaged beyond repair, I didn't think I could make it, I didn't know if I wanted to. I did, and still do.
    My personality is one that doesn't take "no" for an answer; I go hard after what I believe in, what I want. I say these things just because I've seen so many blogs and pictures lately about girls/women who have terrible misconceptions of themselves, and others who are terrified to start (because frankly, without guidance, where DO you start?). I say this because not everyone has the confidence to keep going when they fail, to ignore their imperfections and move forward. There are far too many females who are picking themselves apart for flaws no one else sees, meanwhile other females dream of having a body like theirs. So, not only do we need to verbally support one another and respect where we all are on our own journeys, we also must stay humble despite our growth to see where we can modify and improve and be open and honest with one another in order to continue growing.

    My training program has been designed by Tiffany Burich. I know she expects me to do what she sends me, and when I don't I feel terrible. It's imperative for my goals to have someone I respect be my accountability. Dani Taylor has given me a meal plan as I am building muscle. When I don't stay within the guidelines she set, I cannot expect results. I personally NEED these women (and others) at this point in my life. Though my growth and improvement is not solely dependent upon how much I lift and what I eat, and instead on a balance of those things, I also must maintain a good attitude, consistent work, and reasonable expectations.

    Here are my top five tips for physical success:

    1) Eat clean. If you don't know what that means, or you aren't seeing results, hire someone who knows what they're doing. It's worth it.

    2) Train smart, consistently, and with purpose. If you don't know how to do exercises, ask a friend, hire a trainer, or do a lot of research. Whatever you do, remember: form over quantity. Posture & correct form are crucial.

    3) Sleep. I don't need to say anything more.

    4) Drink water. That whole "8 glasses a day" thing is fine, but it might be easier to think of it this way instead: Drink half of your body weight in ounces (i.e. if you weigh 180 pounds, drink 90 oz. of water per day).

    5) Rest day and cheat meal. Don't skip these. If we only eat super restricted meals and never take a day off from the gym, out bodies will retaliate. Just take a day off.

    It's pretty simple in the grand scheme of things, right? Okay, so it's not simple, but you CAN do it. Just remember that wherever you are is good, and it's okay to need assistance, input, & motivation from others as inspiration. Mindy Collette

    Fiona is a vegan marathon runner, along with owning and running her own animal sanctuary Tower Hill Sanctuary with her partner Martin. We don't have a VBB profile up for her just yet, but we will soon! However I wanted to get this news out there as soon as possible, because it's truly remarkable.




    Her goal was to compete in an incredible eight marathons in one year, all taking place on different continents, including both poles. Competing against other people who could quite likely just be training for just a single marathon, she performed extremely well in all races, despite the number of marathons she was involved with, international travel, and on top of it all, continuing to work her everyday job at her own animal sanctuary when she was back home in between the races. The completion of this sequence of races in one year is a world record in itself!

    Her results were:

    UVU North Pole Marathon 9th April 2013
    1st place - and new course record
    Time: 4:53:10

    Isle of Man Marathon 11th August 2013
    1st place
    Time: 2:48:06

    Adelaide Marathon 25th August 2013
    3rd place
    Time: 3:08:47

    Siberian International Marathon 22nd September 2013
    13th place
    Time: 3:11:37

    Atlantic City Marathon 13th October 2013
    4th place
    Time: 3:10:56

    Casablanca Marathon October 27th 2013
    7th place
    Time: 3:13:41

    Chile Volcano Marathon 14th November 2013
    2nd place
    Time: 6:00:39

    Antarctic Ice Marathon 20th November 2013
    1st place- and new course record
    Time: 4:20:02



    It should also be noted that she unfortunately came down with a flu bug after Atlantic City, and there was serious concern about her competing in Casablanca. She persevered however, and then in the Volcano marathon, she twisted her leg... despite that she still managed to take 2nd place. And once again there was doubt that she would even be able to continue with her endeavour - especially as the final race would be in such dangerous conditions in the Antarctic, where of course it is extremely cold and windy. It was -20 degrees at the race, excluding wind chill. So it took something amazing for Fiona to compete - and she still managed to take first place, something that must have surprised everybody considering all these factors. I personally can't wrap my head around it all, so many factors would make this seem impossible to most people.

    Fiona is such a marvelous figure within animal rights, given that she runs her own sanctuary, and is very vocal about the movement in general. Obviously, like many vegan athletes, she benefits from the nutrient-dense lifestyle, eating a wholefood diet, but that is not her focus at all. Everything she does is for the animals - to prove that veganism is not only the right choice ethically, but that there are no health issues related to it. If you can run 8 marathons all over the world, breaking records and placing well consistently, then there is nothing more to be said.



    Go Fiona, we all support you! Please consider donating to Tower Hill Sanctuary. At this moment, a benefactor is willing to triple anything you donate, so if you donate a dollar, another two will be donated on top automatically. So please take this opportunity to support what she has done!

    Also find Fiona on facebook

    Richard Watts

    What do you commonly think of or notice when you see amateur bodybuilders posing at a competition? Lots of greased up musclebound men in a teeny tiny mankini or banana hammock, awkwardly navigating the stage while looking for your admiration and praise, or a string of men captivating your attention by how they strategically and flawlessly move into the next position as if they could do it in their sleep? More than likely you notice more awkward greasiness than finesse and flawless poise.
    As in any other sport, bodybuilding requires practice and technique. One major difference between bodybuilding and other sports is that there are no “little league” opportunities to get started very young. It can simply be a bucket list for some, and even a bet for others that turns into a lifelong passion. You could find yourself starting at the age of 35 and competing until you are 80 if you want! The audience and the judges are looking to see how your workouts, meal plan, posing practice, and self-esteem look in comparison to the next competitor. How you represent each pose that the head judge calls out seals your placing in that competition as the winner, or the runner-up.
    Posing is really the next level in the art and professionalism of body sculpting that most people do not take enough time to study or put their mind to. Memorizing the feeling in each muscle fiber, while noticing and controlling how each muscle looks — this is key to the total package. Presentation of your physique is critical to how the judges perceive your anatomy. It should be every serious competitor's goal to look like an anatomy chart with every twist and turn, enhancing his/her best features as often as possible.
    So now that you are second guessing your every pose in the mirror right now, let me point you in the right direction. First, pay attention to those athletes in your division/category who are winning shows, those who are at the top of their game. Use their poses as a baseline for accuracy, then “tune in” to your unique physique. Practice in order to accentuate your best features. Tuning in might mean a slightly more twisted wrist or hip. Then you must spend time — lots of time — in front of a full-length mirror. The bathroom mirror is great for selfies, but the judges will be looking at your whole body all at once — and so should you. I cringe when I go to shows and see a person with a great physique, yet no stage presence: fumbling through poses, looking at the other competitors to figure out what to do, and then not even copying them correctly! That's a waste of valuable muscle definition, symmetry, and mass if I've ever seen it; all that hidden potential due to a lack of posing guidance and practice.
    If you have read all this, done all this, or even done some shows and the judges' feedback is usually about your posing/presentation, consider hiring a professional in your area or attending a posing workshop. Many organizations (especially natural ones) offer posing workshops with one-on-one tips that may make the difference between first and second in your next show. Although most organizations have different rules and policies, there are mandatory poses for each category that all organizations stick to as a general rule. Simply go to the organization's website for details.
    Front relaxed pose (not necessarily relaxed)


    Front Lat Spread


    Side Pose


    Side Triceps Pose


    Side Chest Pose


    Hands overhead abs and thigh


    Most Muscular
    Side serratus (tie breaker pose)
    Show of Calves (tie breaker pose)
    Show of hamstrings (tie breaker pose)
    Rear Lat spread
    Rear relaxed pose
    Rear Double biceps
    Front Double Biceps
    Torre Washington

    Fitness Nutrition
    by Robert Cheeke, Vegan Bodybuilder, February 28th, 2004

    In fitness, nutrition is equally as important as it is in bodybuilding. You want to focus on eating about six meals a day, again with attention to 40% protein, 30% carbohydrates, and 30% fats, each day. Your interest should be more on getting adequate amounts of all essential and non-essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals, rather than massive quantities of protein and total Calories. Of course, protein is important in fitness and "working out" so eat about .75-1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight each day. Therefore, a 150-pound fitness athlete should eat around 112-150 grams of protein per day to maintain muscle mass and improve their physique. Be sure to have a high carbohydrate intake. In fitness, you will most likely be doing lots of cardiovascular exercise and will need the extra carbs for energy. The extra carbs will also add quite a few Calories to cover all the ones you are expending during exercise. In fitness, many people have the goal of losing weight. The way to lose weight is to burn more Calories than you are consuming. When doing this, be sure that you are still following a sound nutritional program. Obviously consuming more Calories than you are expending will allow you to gain weight. Usually one pound per week to gain or loose is a safe and realistic approach for a fitness athlete. Take multivitamin, vitamins C, D, and E, calcium, and folic acid supplements. Many will be found in energy or protein bars, protein or meal replacement powders, and in everyday healthy foods. Robert Cheeke

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

    Here is a menu & eating schedule for fitness.

    7AM
    1 cup oatmeal
    1/2 grapefruit
    8oz pineapple juice
    multivitamin supplement

    10AM
    rice cakes with soynut butter
    banana
    8oz orange juice

    1PM
    bowl of rice
    bowl of steamed or fresh veggies
    baked tofu pattie
    8oz cranberry juice

    4PM
    two soy yogurts
    apple slices dipped in almond butter
    8oz pineapple juice

    7PM
    vegan lasagna
    salad (lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, green peppers)
    small squash and 1/2 baked potato
    8oz soymilk

    10PM
    soy protein smoothie (soymilk, protein powder, strawberries, banana, ice cubes)
    vitamin and mineral supplements
    *Note...drink water between meals* Robert Cheeke

    "I just went vegan, and I'm worried about getting enough protein. What do I eat instead of meat?" Or, how about, "I don't like tofu or tempeh — how can I get enough protein?" Many of us know that the fear of protein deficiency is unfounded, and that it's about as hard to get enough protein as it is to breathe enough air and when he hear these questions our eyes sort of glaze over with boredom and we give the simple answer: tasty protein powders, fake meats, and ways to prepare tofu and tempeh that might make them more palatable. But what about broccoli? It's hard to picture broccoli fitting into that imagined meat-shaped hole on the plates of new vegans, yet broccoli has more protein thank you might think. Romaine, kale, and other green vegetables are comparable — a head of romaine lettuce, for example, has about 8 grams of protein.


    Of course, there's nothing wrong with tofu! My argument is that a vegan, whole foods diet cannot be compartmentalized in the way that a diet of processed foods and animal foods can, in which an enriched grain product provides only carbohydrates, a meat provides only protein, and butter provides only fat. Whole plant foods have a little of every macronutrient — some are more starchy, some are more fat, and some, like green vegetables, are more protein — and they provide a host of micronutrients besides! This is why I suggest you boost your greens intake if you'd like to get more protein — more greens means more micronutrients and more antioxidants from fresh produce that will provide greater health benefits to you than another scoop of protein powder. I'm also speaking from experience. In my six years of bodybuilding alongside Derek Tresize, we have experimented with our diets extensively and documented the results, and I still feel I had the fastest gains in muscle when I replaced my protein shake with greens at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This broccoli soup, for example, has been a staple for us, and one batch has at least 16 grams of protein!
    Make steamed greens a part of your breakfast. Sounds weird, doesn't it? I'd never tried it until the vegan cruise, the Holistic Holiday at Sea, but it was unexpectedly delicious. It added a savory element to the breakfast of whole grains, such as whole oat groats or sweet rice, that was served every morning. We enjoyed it so much that I continued to steam greens for our breakfasts long after we got home!

    Add frozen, organic greens to your smoothies and post-workout beverages. This one's probably already on your menu, but it's a great (and cheap) way to add more greens in. We add frozen spinach to just about everything.

    Eat a large green salad before lunch and dinner. Fill up on nutrient dense food first and get those greens in. If you use a whole head of romaine you'll get 8 grams of protein in before you even get to the main course! Oh, and sometimes we don't even bother chopping it — we just snack on the whole thing as we go about our business.

    Make the salad the centerpiece. I'm talking a giant salad here — too big to eat out of anything but a salad bowl. You can top it with black beans, corn, salsa, and cilantro or blackened tofu or mashed chickpea salad...the possibilities are endless for a one-dish meal. Add some steamed baby potatoes or a side of baked sweet potato for extra satisfaction.

    Add kale, swiss chard, collards or other greens to brown rice or pasta. You can buy bags of pre-washed and chopped organic greens at some stores, such as Trader Joe's, for extra convenience. I love having them on hand to just dump half a bagful into a pot of rice or pasta to wilt for the last minute or two of cooking, or into a pan of beans to add to a burrito. We also eat a very low sodium diet so the mineral content of the steamed greens really adds a lot of flavor and saltiness to our food.
    Try adding more of these vegetables to your diet and you'll see: GREENS = GAINS!
    Marcella Torres

    One of the most important aspects of health and fitness that is routinely overlooked is flexibility training. Recreational trainees (outside of yoga) will spend untold hours running, biking, and lifting, with an occasional stretch tacked on as an afterthought. This is a huge mistake! Training to improve your flexibility will not only make you more limber in day to day life, it will also improve your performance, exercise technique, and recovery, all while reducing your risk of injury. These are huge benefits for the minor time commitment of incorporating it into your routine!

    By adding short stretching sequences to your regular workouts, you will better prepare your body for the task at hand. Your muscles and ligaments will have increased temperature, circulation, and mobility allowing you to train harder and safer through a longer range of motion. The increased mobility will translate to longer strides, a faster pedal cadence, or greater range of motion on your lifts — all of which will lead to better results, faster.

    Regular stretching will also improve your posture, which is important for everything from exercise technique to healthy aging to non verbal communication! Standing tall and broad-shouldered makes anyone look confident and healthy, whereas standing with a slouch can make anyone look shy and uncertain. Posture has even been linked to chronic disease risk later in life! Through regular stretching, I've had numerous middle-aged clients gain inches of height they thought they'd lost forever! And they only realized it after people in their personal lives kept telling them how much younger/fitter/healthier they were looking!

    If you're not already including stretching into your daily fitness regimen, I strongly suggest it's something you add in 2014, and to help I'll be sharing a video series on different stretch sequences to get you started! For this month, I'm sharing my favorite pre-workout stretch program: a total body dynamic stretch sequence that takes only a few minutes! Take a look at the video below, and try these stretches before your next workout - I bet you'll feel a difference!
    Derek Tresize

    There are many misconceptions of a plant-based diet. From a simple lack of variety and being deficient in protein, to contributing to sub-optimal nutrition for physical performance and mental clarity.
    I beg to differ.
    Since turning vegan, and then helping clients to harness the benefits of a nutrient and fiber-rich diet, I believe that a plant-based diet is the elixir of life on all levels. Improved detoxification, better body composition with less training, increased energy levels and strength gains are just the tip of the iceberg for the plant-based perspective.
    In order to thrive on a plant-based diet, what one needs to focus on is nutrient-dense calories from whole plant sources. Based on my experience, this is what I have found works for me and for the clients that I've worked with.


    1. Start your day with a green blend
    I believe in starting the day with a green smoothie. It is the best way to consume a large amount of fruits and vegetables in one go. A green smoothie consists of a variety of fruits and vegetables blended together.
    This morning blend will provide you with the necessary phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, and soluble and insoluble fiber to help nourish your cells and facilitate the body's natural detoxification process.
    If you happen to miss a meal or two and find it a struggle consuming a healthy amount of fruits and vegetables, having a green smoothie at the start of your day will give a boost to your energy levels.
    Opt for local and seasonally available fruits and vegetables. Do a search online to find out where farmers markets are held in your local area. You can also search online for recipe ideas and get creative with your smoothie!
    Here's one simple green smoothie recipe that I love:
    Alka-Banana smoothie
    Ingredients:
    1 banana
    1 date
    ½ a lemon (skin removed)
    Handful of spinach
    2 stalks of kale
    Small sprig of cilantro/coriander
    2 cups of water (to desired consistency)
    5 or 6 ice cubes
    Sprinkle of cinnamon powder on top


    Method:
    Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend!


    2. Protein
    This is the word on everyone's mind! There are many perspectives on this macronutrient, including how much to have and what protein sources are best. There are even diet perspectives — High carbohydrate/low fat (eg: 80/10/10), high protein/low carb, high protein/high fat — this list gets longer all the time. I believe that there is a misconception about how much protein we actually need to consume in order to thrive.
    Contrary to popular belief, the RDA for protein according to the World Health Organization (W.H.O) is 0.8g/kg of body weight (0.8g/2.2 lbs.). This means that for an average male weighing 80kg (approx. 176 lbs.), his protein requirement is 64 grams per day. There are even some individuals who thrive on a 90% carbohydrate, 5% fat, and 5% protein ratio.
    Protein requirements really depend on your goals, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Based on my experience working with clients, I adopt a range of between 1.3-2 x bodyweight to calculate protein requirements. So, taking an average 80kg male, the range would work out to be between 104g-160g of protein daily.
    Not only is it easy to hit your protein goals on a plant-based diet (see below), plant-fueled individuals have experienced enhanced recovery, increased strength gains, and are able to stay leaner all year round, with less training.
    Where do you get your protein?
    80kg male @ 1.6 x bodyweight = 128g of protein
    Meal 1: Green smoothie (various fruits and vegetables) = 8g
    Meal 2: Quinoa breakfast porridge = 10g
    Meal 3: Lentil/bean salad = 30g
    Meal 5: Post-workout protein shake = 30g
    Meal 6: Tofu stir-fry with vegetables = 35g
    Snack: handful of raw nuts, fruits = 15g
    Total protein count: 128g

    3. Consuming sufficient nutrient-dense calories
    As they say, a calorie isn't just a calorie. There are a whole host of factors — nutrient-density, organic/non-organic, raw/cooked, etc. — that could determine the nutrient/energy yield from a specific food. Depending on body type, hereditary background, body composition, and performance goals, the caloric model on a plant-based diet is just one aspect of achieving optimal health and wellbeing.
    Although it is not necessary to calculate your caloric needs on a plant-based diet, I tend to use the Harrison Benedict formula (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harris%E2%80%93Benedict_equation) to calculate caloric client requirements, as a reference point.
    To work out overall daily caloric requirements based on an individual's Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), the calculation is as follows:
    Women
    655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) — (4.7 x age) = (Approximate BMR in calories required)
    Men
    66 + (6.23 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches) — (6.8 x age) = (Approximate BMR in calories required)
    The next step is factoring activity level of the individual:
    Sedentary - No exercise
    BMR x 1.2
    Light activity — Exercising 1 — 3 times a week
    BMR x 1.375
    Moderate activity — Exercising 3 — 5 times a week
    BMR x 1.5
    Active — Intense exercise 6-7 times a week
    BMR x 1.725
    Extreme — Intense exercise twice per day, 6-7 times per week, or very physical occupation
    BMR x 1.9
    The final figure will give you an idea of your caloric requirements based on your level of activity.
    4. Keep it whole and keep your fats low
    Taking into consideration the three points above, I'd recommend including a majority of foods that are close to their natural source. Foods such as:
    Whole grains
    Fruits and vegetables
    Legumes
    Nuts & Seeds (sparingly)


    As conventional crops often contain chemically derived herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers, opt for organic where possible, especially with these specific fruits and vegetables, which tend to be heavily sprayed (Read the &aps;Dirty Dozen')
    Apples, Strawberries, Grapes, Celery, Peaches, Spinach, Bell peppers, Nectarines, Cucumbers, Potatoes, Cherry tomatoes, Hot peppers, Squash
    I tend to opt for a lower fat approach in my own diet, and limit or exclude refined oils where possible. I try not to exceed 75% of my bodyweight (in kilograms) in grams of fat per day.
    Good fats that I tend to incorporate into my diet include:
    For cooking - Organic Cold Pressed Coconut Oil, Organic coconut milk
    Omega 3 supplementation - Chia seeds and Flax seeds
    Various nuts and seeds - Pumpkin seeds, raw activated almonds/brazil nuts etc.
    Example:
    80kg male x 75% = 60g of fat/day (where 1g of fat = 9 calories)
    I believe that everyone's nutritional requirements are different, and it is through trial and error that you will find what works or does not work for you. Depending on what you are trying to achieve, aim to work with a coach who shares your beliefs and has a vested interest in your goals, not their own.
    Luke Tan
    Vegan Strength and Empowerment Coach
    www.evolvedgeneration.com/team/luke-tan
    Luke Tan

    General Bodybuilding Nutrition Program #1
    by Robert Cheeke, Vegan Bodybuilder, October 11th, 2004

    Grams of protein Calories
    7AM
    1 bowl of Hi-Lo Cereal with soymilk 20 400
    1 Soy Yogurt 6 160
    1 Banana 1 70
    All vitamins taking today
    24oz water

    10AM
    Protein or Meal Replacement shake 15-25 300-500
    2 whole pieces of fruit 1 150
    16oz water

    1PM
    Mock Meat Meal 10-30 300-600
    Bowl of potatoes, broccoli & carrots 10 200
    24oz water

    4PM
    Mixed raw nuts, unsalted (cashews, walnuts, almonds) 15 350
    Clif or Odwalla bar 10 250
    16oz water

    7PM
    Tofu/vegetable stir-fry (variety of veggies) 25 400
    Spinach, lettuce, cabbage salad w/kidney beans/chickpeas 12 280
    12oz chocolate soymilk 10 300
    16oz water

    10PM
    Protein or Meal Replacement shake 15-25 150-300
    Lentil Soup with crackers or wheat bread 15 300
    12oz water

    Daily totals 205 4,200
    108oz water plus water consumed in protein drinks

    Robert Cheeke

    General Bodybuilding Nutrition Program #2
    by Robert Cheeke, Vegan Bodybuilder, October 11th, 2004

    7AM
    1 large bowl of oatmeal 10 300
    1 cup of berries 1 120
    1 fruit smoothie with protein powder 20 350
    16oz water
    All vitamins for the day

    10AM
    2 soy yogurts 12 320
    Small bag of cashews 14 330
    24oz water

    1PM
    2 boca burgers 26 320
    1 cup broccoli 10 160
    1 bowl of lentil and vegetable soup 15 400
    24oz water

    4PM
    Bean burrito 10 260
    1 cup of carrot sticks 2 120
    16oz water

    7PM
    Bowl of brown rice 10 240
    Mock chicken salad 22 320
    Mixed vegetable stir-fry 8 200
    24oz water

    10PM
    Banana smoothie with protein powder 20 250
    Baked tofu squares dipped in peanut sauce 20 350
    12oz water

    Daily totals 200 4,040
    116oz water plus water in protein drinks

    Robert Cheeke

    General Bodybuilding Nutrition Program #3
    by Robert Cheeke, Vegan Bodybuilder, October 11th, 2004

    7AM
    4 organic flax waffles 12 320
    1 cup applesauce 3 140
    Soy protein drink 20 280
    16oz water
    All vitamins for the day


    10AM
    1 cup grapes 1 100
    2 sliced apples and peanut butter 15 370
    Handful of walnuts 7 130
    24oz water

    1PM
    3 tofu hotdogs 27 240
    1 baked potato 4 130
    Spinach, cabbage, lettuce, carrot salad 5 180
    Fruit smoothie with protein 20 320
    16oz water

    4PM
    Baked Tempeh sandwich with spinach and wheat bread 28 500
    24oz water

    7PM
    Pad Thai noodles and bocks of tofu with veggies 25 600
    1 cup broccoli 8 200
    16oz soymilk 14 320

    10PM
    Soy protein or meal replacement drink 20 220
    Corn ships and refried beans 14 300
    12oz water

    Daily totals 223 4,350
    108oz water plus water in protein drinks

    Robert Cheeke

    General tips for Building Muscle on a Vegan Diet and Staying Active Healthy and Fit at Any Age
    by Robert CheekeConsistency and Accountability
    Make exercise and a sound nutrition program priorities and stick to them withconsistency and accountability. You can have all the knowledge in the world, but if itisn't applied it doesn't get you anywhere. You have to find meaning in what you'redoing to get the best results from it.
    Why do you want to be healthy in the first place?
    To live longer, to feel better, to live without or with fewer aches and pains, to be a rolemodel for others, to be an elite athlete, or for some other reason?
    Establish what health, wellness and fitness mean to YOU and create a program that fitsyour interests, desires and goals and see it through to achievement.
    Eat for nourishment not stimulation
    Make the foundation of your nutrition program whole foods designed to nourish yourbody and help fuel your active lifestyle, reduce inflammation as a result of it, andrecover well to do it all over again the next day.
    Relying on processed foods, refined carbohydrates and sugars won't supply enoughtangible nutrition. But fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, legumes, and seeds will.
    Stay Hydrated
    Stay hydrated by consuming large quantities of water throughout the day. This is ofincreased importance for someone who is active, say building muscle or playing sports.We lose not only nutrients through sweat but obviously water too.
    Since the body is comprised mostly of water, it behooves us to consume it regularly, upto a gallon a day or even more based on our sports interests and level of activity.
    To help reduce cramping, stay hydrated and consume sodium and potassium as well,either naturally from foods, or in supplement form to replace nutrients lost throughexercise.
    To reduce lactic acid build-up as a result of exercise stress, stay hydrated, replenishlost nutrients, proactively consume essential fats, oils and whole foods that reduceinflammation, rest, stretch and consume adequate nutrition to properly recover.
    To help with rest at the end of day, be well hydrated by bedtime so you don't getmuscle cramps during your sleep and take Zinc and Magnesium if desired to help youfall asleep naturally.
    Types of exercise from home gyms to large athletic facilities
    Regardless of whether you belong to a large health club or have some weights andequipment at home, you'll never run out of exercises to do because so much can bedone with just bodyweight exercises alone.
    From push-ups to pull-ups to sprints, bodyweight squats, lunges, static contractions,plyometrics and calisthenics, you can always find ways to stay fit. Of course, don'tforget that fun athletic games and sports are also a form of exercise. For example,soccer, basketball, tennis, cycling and swimming all burn fat, and build and tone muscle.
    The key is to stay active as frequently as possible. Activity is the best way to keep yourheart, lungs, and bones strong, combat body fat and increase muscle mass and muscletone. Find what you love to do most and do it often for optimum personal fitness.
    Exercise lengths and rest needed for recovery
    In general, weight training sessions should be about 45-90 minutes in length, anylonger can be counter-productive to muscle building since we already know that weighttraining causes muscle tears.
    I usually recommend weight training sessions last about an hour, resting about a minutebetween sets, or more for heavy compound exercises, and a couple of minutes betweendifferent exercises.
    Train with weights 3-6 days a week depending on your goals and interests, get adequate6-9 hours of sleep a night and recover to become stronger. Cardiovascular exercise canoften be performed daily if adequate rest is supported for recovery.
    I wish you all the best in your journey to a happy and healthy compassionate fitnesslifestyle. You are equipped with the tools, the only thing left to do is put them into
    action.
    Robert Cheeke
    [email protected]
    http://robertcheeke.wordpress.com/
    @RobertCheeke on Twitter
    Robert Cheeke

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