Name: Chris Snedeker
Year of Birth: September 11th, 1991
Birthplace: Jackson, Mississippi
Current Residence: Flower Mound, Texas
Sports: Martial arts, swimming, cycling, rugby, parkour
Tell us a little about yourself, what you do for a living, what hobbies / interests / passions you have:
I'm a student at University of North Texas studying Kinesiology. My work and passion is fitness: I work as a personal trainer and greatly enjoy helping others reach their goals physically, mentally, and spiritually. I believe your outward appearance gives insight to the inner workings of your body, mind, and soul...and in taking care of both inside and outside, you further yourself as a being in your entirety. All fitness goals start as an internal desire, and by applying your wish to be more fit and/or healthy, you grow in all aspects of life. I also have a bleeding heart to aide in ending suffering in this world, and the topic of animal rights is one that strikes home. Our world has so many issues and despairing faces, and it can be disheartening when you think about the contribution of one person: it's hard to see you can make a difference. However, by refusing to take part in the support of one of the greatest injustices going on in our time...you take a stance for something greater than yourself. In turn you gain a sense of peace, love, and harmony that really is second to none. Not to mention, your health and spiritual life both improve greatly! We can better ourselves and become a beacon of light for others when we stop looking inwards, and start making life choices that better the world around us. Something as small and seemingly insignificant as your diet can make a huge difference inside and out.
Why did you become vegan?
I originally became vegetarian, and later transitioned to vegan. My reasoning started for animal rights: I wanted to stop participating actively in the injustice that is factory farming. I grew up with my mother and little sister being vegan, and I always looked down on their lifestyle. 5 years ago though, I felt a spiritual desire to start living the vocation of “earth stewardship” that my faith calls humanity to take part in. As I awakened and discovered the peace and calm of the mind and soul that came with my new lifestyle, I began learning more about the nutritional, economical, and ecological sides of veganism, and stumbled upon more faces of the lifestyle that keeps me never looking back. By finding multiple pillars to keep my passion strong, part of the foundation that makes me who I am, I have been solidified in standing up and refusing to take part in suffering of other beings. The added health and nutritional benefits are certainly a plus
When and why did you become interested in fitness?
I grew up very active in martial arts. Some call martial arts a sport, but for me it was and always will be a lifestyle. It focuses on bettering oneself physically, mentally, and spiritually, and the self-discipline aspects have shaped who I am today, having started at the age of 3. About 4 years ago I began weight lifting moderately, about 3 times a week, and about a year ago began lifting about 5 times a week. The focus and adrenaline I feel on the weight floor is a wonderful place to push myself and find my inner peace. It betters me in my martial arts, always having to set goals, and also keeps me sharp and on the ball when it comes to performance. Strength, flexibility, and endurance are all important to me, and have been since I was able to walk. One of my major goals was to be able to dumbbell press the 100 pounders, and 8 months ago reached my goal of 3 sets of 6 reps. I've improved since then and love the feeling of accomplishing something you set your mind to!
How would you describe your nutrition program?
I believe nutrition is over half the battle in aiding on the road to overall fitness growth. I focus mainly on heavy fruits, whole grains, vegetables, and legumes. I keep it pretty simple, but I really enjoy cooking so when I have time I love to go all out and make various vegan meals. Typically day to day though, it's a mix of the above, giving me great recovery, and a fantastic boost in energy and stamina!
How would you describe your training program?
Intense. I wake up every morning before school and workout weights and end with a quick cardio routine. I throw on my headphones, hit the floor, and don't stop until I can't go any longer. I focus usually 2 body parts a day and switch them out when the other isn't able to go on. Then I go back to the first until I decide I've pushed it enough and need to leave. Minimal breaks, high weight, low-medium rep range, and a lot of focus are essential for my workouts.
What kind of supplements do you use if any, and why?
I'll cycle creatine occasionally until I decide if I feel it works for me or not. With all the “broscience” out there, it's one of those things that I am still figuring out, but I definitely do notice a slight increase of strength during my cycles. I'll occasionally use Vega/Sun Warrior protein after my workouts, but it gets quickly expensive. I prefer to eat well rounded, and in high quanity. If eating enough and the correct balance of foods, I don't think you are in dire need of any supplements; some are there however, to give a slight edge.
How do people react when they find out you are vegan?
I'm a very social, outgoing person, and I don't wear my beliefs on my sleeves. I prefer people get their impression of me, so I don't impress my own views of myself onto them. Usually there is a reaction of either worry and concern, or disgust and misunderstanding. The latter mainly because our society pushes a diet of high animal products...and those who eat plants and mock-meat/ fruit/grains...things from the earth, are for some reason crazy! The worry/concern usually because they believe (and I've heard them all) that I'm low on protein, going to lose my teeth, going to get heart disease, going to get cancer, going to die of deficiency...etc. The most common reaction I'd say though is: WHY!?
What are some common misconceptions about veganism?
That we lack variety in our diet, and that we have deficiency in macro and micro nutrients...also, that we are all radical hippies that promote animal life over all other forms and walks of life. None of which are true! Not to mention the conception that we are all scrawny and unable to perform athletically. I've even heard some say we are less sharp mentally. I chalk it all up to ignorance and bad education. I don't hold it against anybody; I believe it's our job to be a living testament to the opposite.
Have you had success in promoting veganism / vegetarianism to others? If so, how did you go about it?
Here and there yes. I for one would want somebody to become vegan/vegetarian because their journey in life as brought them to a place where they feel the need to make a change. If I am to be an instrument in doing so, I am always beyond honored, and will always take the opportunity to share my beliefs on the subject, be it spiritually, mentally, physically, ethically, etc. Veganism affects everything from economics, to ecology of our earth, to our own bodies, minds, and souls. Everyone has something to gain from it, and I feel by staying educated and passionate on the subject, we can transform others when they are open to being so. I'm not a fan of using offensive tactics to gain favor. Shock value can work, yes...but offense just turns people away and confirms their original impression of the vegan culture.
What do you think the most important aspect of training is?
Frequency and intensity. Workout because you love it, not because you have to. If you don't love it, find something active that you do love, and do it! Movement is one of the most freeing aspects of the human experience, and by keeping your body in good shape, you keep your mind sharp and ready for the day. Train hard and train frequent...you'll love where you end up.
What do you like best about being vegan?
The noticeable sense of peace of mind and body you feel. I feel a oneness with the earth and the animals, and feel a sense of self-worth when I think about the human races purpose here. A major step towards clarity and peace can be as simple as looking outwards instead of inwards, and making changes accordingly. I also love the fast recoveries after my workouts. Fantastic results!
What do you like best about being fit?
When I am in shape everything feels clearer. I feel sharper and more on the ball...I'm able to take whatever life throws at me, be it a weight or a problem!
What advice do you have for people who are just starting out with training?
Take it slow and stretch. Push yourself but not beyond your limit, and be frequent with your workouts. Allow time to recover, and train smart. You know when too much is too much. Also get educated in nutrition. Learn your body inside and out, and treat it with respect...take care of it and it will take care of you.
What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming vegan?
Find multiple passions for your reasoning to transition. That way if one of your pillars slips, you'll have other ones to support you. Get involved and find friends or people from work/school that share your interest. Don't listen to the skeptics; you're going against the flow of society to be a healthier and more peaceful person. Research the health benefits to find the concrete evidence of how it's the way we're meant to live. Don't let anyone tell you that you aren't able to make it work. You can!
What motivates you in life?
Physical pursuits, a drive for knowledge both academically and otherwise, and helping others. A call to love all beings, human and animal, and to see all around me thrive.
What do you think of veganbodybuilding.com? Has it helped or inspired you?
It was the first website I found about vegan athleticism. I figured a few years ago I'd be meatless, but I'd just have to live with maybe being a little smaller. I got into weight lifting to prove the world wrong, and this website has helped a lot in my pursuits to be a stronger and healthier person.