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  • Personal Transformation by Ed Bauer


    Personal Transformation
    By Ed Bauer

    Can I be honest? I am a little hesitant to puts words on this document because I am not a writer. At least that's what I&aps;ve told myself. I have told myself a lot of things. In fact, what I really have said to myself my whole life is “I am average.” I am not good at anything. I am not too bad at anything. I am not that smart. I am not that fast. I am not that funny. I am not that anything. I am just plain, nothing more, nothing less. This is what the voice in my head was telling me. This is no fault of my parents. Both of them raised me and supported me in whatever I wanted to do. My father always said I could be anything I wanted to be.

    Be that as it may, the society I grew up in told me a different story. It told me that very few people succeed in life, some people fail miserably, but most fall in the middle. Most never make as much money as they want, are not as effective as they want, or as happy as they could be. This seemed like a very likely reality for me. My mind left me somewhere in the middle, just trying to keep my head above water. After graduating college with a four year degree, from age 22 to about 25, my life was sort of passing me by. I didn't know who I was or who I wanted to be. Really, this lack of purpose was a lack of confidence, disguised as normal life. I didn't yet realize it, but it was really up to me to decide what life I was going to live. It wasn't society and its perceived limitations; I was numb and essentially paralyzed by my own thoughts. Once I realized what was happening to me, I started to branch out and push myself more. I started taking more chances. I decided that I wanted to be a change in this world. As a compassionate vegan, I wanted to inspire people to take a look at what they were eating and how they were affecting the world around them. I wanted people to see that a vegan lifestyle can make you healthy, strong, more attractive, and more confident. In other words, adopting an active vegan lifestyle can make you happy (and save animals and the environment)!

    Another thing I want to touch on is lifestyle habits. Our habits make us who we are tomorrow. For me, I still have ingrained in me some of my eating habits from when I was an unhealthy teenager. I grew up around big guys who knew how to eat... a lot. My brother, my dad, and my best friend all weighed 240 lbs. or more and were at least 6 feet tall. I was 165 pounds and 5'9”, trying to keep up with these guys. That led to the wrong habits for sure! I still like a lot of the foods I ate from back then. I still like sugary cereal, sandwiches, fried stuff, candy, and cookies, but now I know how that stuff affects me. Some people think that I have always been fit or always looked a certain way. I want to let you all know the real story. I have never been that overweight, but I surely wasn't “fit.” It wasn't until 2009 that I truly pushed myself to see who I could be. If you never try, then it is guaranteed. You will never know who you can be, or what you can achieve. I am reminded of Henry Ford's quote “Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.” Back then (2009), I had just moved to Portland, Oregon and got a job as a personal trainer at 24 Hour Fitness. I knew I wanted to get in the best shape of my life, and started my journey. Along the way, I met Robert Cheeke, and he challenged me to see what I can do on a bodybuilding stage. Not yet confident enough to step on a bodybuilding stage, I decided to replicate the experience, just without the stage. I got my close friend Randall Perez to agree to be my photographer for a photo shoot. We set the date and it was on! It was within this context of mental focus and determination that I was able to make this initial transformation from being a regular looking guy, to an example of what a strong vegan diet and training regimen can accomplish. After the photo shoot, with encouragement from friends including Robert, I took this confidence and entered into a bodybuilding show in May 2010. That focus and determination earned me 1st Place in the Novice Middleweight Bodybuilding Category at that show. I went from an existence of feeling forgettable, average, uninspired, and questionably satisfied with anything, to knowing that I truly can succeed if I put my mind to it.

    Since getting shredded that first time in 2009, with the tremendous support of Robert and www.veganbodybuilding.com, I have managed to stay one of the leading faces and (still working on) voices in the vegan fitness movement. Every day, I decide if I want to push myself to become something better, or let old habits turn me back into who I once was. Every day, with persistence, I decide if I am going to exercise and do it with purpose. I decide if I am going to eat clean and supplement well. Every day, I have to decide if I will sleep enough and recover properly. I decide whether I continue to educate myself on proper fitness and nutrition. With understanding on how this process works, I decide that pain is temporary and necessary for anything worth accomplishing. I think of the Robert Allen quote, "Everything you want is just outside your comfort zone." Old habits die hard, and I know that. It never gets easy, but we decide on who we can be, every day. Embrace the challenge, and let it redefine you. I am happy to get the chance to promote a compassionate world through fitness and awareness. I hope you will join me and do the same.

    Ed Bauer

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