Name: Mark Martell Year of Birth: 1968 Height: 6'3” Weight: 212 Birthplace: NY Current Residence: NY Sports: Tennis Tell us a little about yourself, what you do for a living, what hobbies / interests / passions you have I'm a pharmacist, but more importantly a Team Beachbody Coach. I love to inspire, motivate & educate. My passions include playing tennis, training & helping others achieve better health & fitness. I enjoy traveling, experiencing life & being in the present moment. One of my dreams is to be selected for the reality show “ Survivor” & win, bringing even more awareness to those interested in the vegan lifestyle.
Why did you become vegan? Because I believed that there was a better way to live life. I wanted to the best bang for my buck. I have always been in search of the best nutrition. I never felt good after eating meat, steak in particular. Always felt lethargic. Wanted to obtain the highest level of health & fitness.
When and why did you become interested in fitness? I became interested when I was 17 and was “asked” to “gain” weight in order to continue to play college baseball. I had always been an athlete. Basketball, football, hockey, track & field, baseball etc..
How would you describe your nutrition program? 99.99% raw vegan.... Pretty extreme, but that is me... extreme ....
How would you describe your training program? Extreme... high intensity level... P90X has been my base for the past few years. What kind of supplements do you use if any, and why? I have supplemented with SunWarrior raw protein, Shakeology, many superfoods to include chia, maca, goji etc...
How do people react when they find out you are vegan? Usually they say, “really? You have muscle... how can you maintain your lean muscle and be a vegan? Where do you get your protein from ?” What are some common misconceptions about veganism? It's boring... you'll get really skinny... can't build functional lean muscle ....
Have you had success in promoting veganism / vegetarianism to others? If so, how did you go about it? Lead by doing....
What do you think the most important aspect of training is? Intensity What do you like best about being vegan? It feels right....
What do you like best about being fit? Because being fit allows life to be fully enjoyed.... What advice do you have for people who are just starting out with training? Be consistent.. train smart... get the handle on nutrition... What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming vegan? Try it for 30 days.. set small goals... eventually, your body will guide you.... What motivates you in life? Challenging myself, experiencing change, helping others
What do you think of veganbodybuilding.com? Has it helped or inspired you? Yes, it has helped me. Hoping to pass along the inspiration.. Do you have any other thoughts you'd like to share? Want others to feel as light, grounded & healthy as I do since evolving into vegan life.
Name: Marta Year of Birth: 1982 Height: 5,6 Weight: btw 130 - 118 lb (depending where I'm from my competition) Birthplace: La Pinya (Spain) Current Residence: Barcelona (Spain) Sports: Fitness, Bikini competitor, Soccer, Ski, Padel, Tennis, etc Social Media: twitter “martagb8”, instagram “martagb” E-mail: [email protected]
Tell us a little about yourself, what you do for a living, what hobbies / interests / passions you have I'm originally Catalan, moved to USA where I lived for 10 years and since a year ago I'm back to Spain. It's hard for me to say what I do for living now because I'm trying to adjust and find my place. When living in USA I worked as massage therapist, personal trainer, model, and compete in fitness and soccer. Now, in Barcelona, I work as a personal trainer and doing some rehabilitation as well. I'm also planning to study orthomolecular nutrition
Why did you become vegan? The way I become vegan was gradually but most of it because all my digestive problems and lately finding out I had a lot of food allergy. I stopped eating meat long ago, but after finding out all my allergies and all the consequences I was having I had to change my diet. I didn't need to be fully vegan, but I made the choice after reading and finding out a lot more information, and now I'm vegan happy and healthy.
When and why did you become interested in fitness? I become interested in fitness a long time ago. I was a teenager I think. But was something rare where I'm from. I joined the gym, I lift weights and play soccer. When I moved to USA it's when I got into fitness and started competing. I found competitors, learn that being a fitness lovers was not rare and finally found the part of “my passion” I was missing. How would you describe your nutrition program? I try to eat as clean as possible, like any other competitor. And also gluten free. I don't eat bread, pasta or cereal (although I like it). Carbs, fats and protein in each meal. Chocolate is my big weakness. So all my protein shakes are chocolate.
How would you describe your training program? Lift and cardio. I love functional training and I try to put some extra exercises in each routine. I love doing HITTS & cardio.
What kind of supplements do you use if any, and why? Spirulina, vegan protein and glutamine. Also some multivitamin depending how I feel (my stress level, season, etc). I also buy super green powder that I usually add at my protein to add some extra green power! Every other month I take aleo vera too. I'm a huge fan of spirulina for all its benefits. Great great supplement to have.
How do people react when they find out you are vegan? In Spain most people ask me “what that means?” . If I'm lucky to meet someone who is vegan of vegetarian, perfect, no problem. But if not, I need to explain what it is and they put this “oh, weird face” that don't understand why I eat like this. Not everybody accepts it. A lot of people still believe I need to eat “jamon serrano”, “tortilla” or “steak”.
What are some common misconceptions about veganism? That we only eat lettuce, tomato and onions. Frustrating!!
Have you had success in promoting veganism / vegetarianism to others? If so, how did you go about it? That's actually one of my goals I have in Spain, or at least my community. It's not easy, but I'm promoting living it, doing some blogs, showing/teaching others, finding local vegan products and trying to work with them, etc What do you think the most important aspect of training is? Consistency.
What do you like best about being vegan? How do I feel!! Energy, health, etc
What do you like best about being fit? EVERYTHING!! I can not pick one thing. I thing being fit it's an option, a lifestyle. And that's the way I like to live.
What advice do you have for people who are just starting out with training? Do not give up. Little steps will take you long way. And to enjoy it. It does not have to be a task, it should be a “hobby” or something you do it and like it.
What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming vegan? It's a different way to eat but you will not regret it because you will feel better than ever.
What motivates you in life? My goals. I keep putting goals on myself and it's what's keep me going. Looking forward to need adventures, new dreams, new experiences. And if I can motivate people on the way even better. What do you think of veganbodybuilding.com? Has it helped or inspired you? Definitely!!
Name: Mary Stella Stabinsky Age: 33 Height: 5'6” Weight: 135 - 140 Birthplace: Philadelphia, PA Current Residence: Wilkes-Barre, PA Sports: Running, Cycling, Swimming, Duathlon, Triathlon, Crossfit, Previously — Martial Arts — Karate, HapKiDo, Jeet Kune Do, Boxing, Kickboxing Why did you become vegan? Originally for health reasons, I turned vegan. I had high cholesterol for years and starting getting high blood pressure. Everything I read said a plant based diet was the way to go and it was for me. I saw dramatic changes in my health and also my athletic performance. As I was vegan longer I got more into the other aspects of it. I believe it is the correct decision for the earth and animal life.
When and why did you become interested in fitness? I ran and swam at a young age. I participated in Track and Cross-Country as well as road races when I was in school. I've always found it fun and enjoyed working out. You always feel great after a good workout. It also improves your quality of life. I feel many people have become too inactive and it leads to a myriad of unnecessary health issues. How would you describe your nutrition program? Plenty of water. I try to keep my protein intake high enough to recover from my workouts. I keep the sources varied from tofu, tempeh, lentils, beans, etc. I try to keep my carbs and fats balanced and from natural sources instead of refined products. I change it according to how I am feeling and what workouts I am completing. I am also a big fan of VEGA products and use them regularly.
How would you describe your training program? I train using Crossfit and Crossfit Endurance as I am a certified trainer in both. I do five to six days a week of both a Crossfit Workout (CF) and also a Crossfit Endurance (CFE) workout. I split the CFE workouts amoung swimming, biking and running. Usually 2, sometimes 3 of each a week. They would include intervals, Time trials, Tempo work, Hill climbs, as well as weighted workouts. Crossfit workouts typically include strength and metabolic conditioning, varying from named workouts to AMRAPS (as many rounds as possible in a set time) to a task to be completed. I also commute on my bike when possible. You can sneak fitness into your day just by riding or walking when possible. It is also better for the environment.
What kind of supplements do you use if any, and why? I use VEGA Whole Food Optimizer everyday mixed with coconut water (for electrolytes). I normally have it for breakfast and find it a quick and easy way to start the day and have all of your nutritional bases covered. I also will use VEGA Sport Performance Protein when I have days where I feel I need the extra protein and don't have the opportunity to get it directly from food. What are some common misconceptions about veganism? The biggest misconception is probably that vegans can not be good athletes because the diet doesn't support the necessary training regimen and recovery. It is totally not true and I have seen better athletic performance since adopting a vegan diet. Another misconception is that people adopt a vegan diet for animal rights issues only. I feel like the health benefits and environmental issues do not usually come to mind first for people. Mostly because people see it as a diet of deprivation but I see it as when you feel this good you really don't want to eat things that are going to make you feel bad. What do you think the most important aspect of fitness is? Consistency. If you keep working on something, you will improve. I also think keeping a training log is important so you can see your progress. I personally like to track diet and rest/recovery also so you can relate it to your performance. The log can be private or public. I encourage vegans to keep a public log as an everyday activism. Public also allows for feedback.
What do you like best about being vegan? How good it feels! More Energy, better performance, enhanced quality of life, less health problems, quicker recovery.
What do you like best about being fit? It feels fantastic to push your body hard and enjoy your gains. Everyday life is easier and you can accomplish so much more in your day. It allows you to make the most of your time, every day. What are your strengths as an athlete? Discipline, Determination and Dedication. I feel I consistently do the work because I love doing it and putting my best effort into it. If you always try your hardest you can never be unhappy with your results because you gave it what you had. What advice do you have for vegan athletes who are just starting out? Look for others in your discipline and study what they are doing. Learn everything you can about your sport. Seek the support and counsel of others. Get a coach or a training program. Have fun and enjoy the process. What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming vegan? Get some books and cookbooks and learn as much as you can. Don't go into it without knowing what your nutritional needs are. Seek the support of other vegans who have the experience to lend you. Don't apologize for your diet. It is your right to eat how you see fit.
What motivates you to continue to be a successful vegan athlete? I find it enjoyable and really love to do it. It is also nice to prove to other that it can be done and encourage others to do it.
How has the website www.veganbodybuilding.com helped or inspired you? It is a tremendous resource of knowledge and support, an online community where vegan athletes can network and foster our culture. It is also there to show non-vegans, look at all of these vegan athletes having success in their disciplines. Is there anything else you would like to add about your vegan fitness lifestyle? Having a vegan fitness lifestyle changes your world and therefore the world.
Name: Marzia Prince Age: 35 Height: 5'9” Weight: 135 lbs. For competition-127 lbs. Birthplace: Omaha, Nebraska Current Residence: Dallas, Texas Sport: “Bikini” bodybuilder, Professional Fitness Model, Gaspari Nutrition Athlete, 2007 Ms. Bikini Universe, IFBB Bikini Pro, Yoga
Why did you become vegan? It's not like I sought out to become vegan. It just kind of happened that way. After discovering I had 4 food allergies, I had no choice but to modify my diet. I am allergic to dairy, soy, peanuts, and gluten. With dairy- I always had a runny nose and congestion, I thought I had sinus problems or it was the air in Texas! LOL! I am highly allergic to soy; I break out in hives from head to toe. Peanut butter made my throat swell. (Yes, even the organic peanut butter!) And last but not least, gluten, it gives me gastro intestinal problems and makes me retain a lot of water. So, it was a progression of trial and error to get my nutrition down. I had to work around my allergy issues to come up with a nutrition plan that worked for me.
Also, as a fitness model and a competitor, I have done every “competition diet” out there to stay in top shape. Every time I competed for a competition and got off these rigorous diets, I would feel starved, low energy, tired, and then I would binge on food. I would put on extra pounds that were always hard to get off. It was a vicious cycle. After self educating, collaborating with nutrition specialist, and getting certified in nutrition, I realized how dangerous and toxic animal protein was being overdone in the fitness world. It is very acidic for the body. If your body is always acidic, it is hard for your body to lose weight. Not to mention it reeks havoc on your skin! My skin was dry with horrible acne. (Not a good look for a fitness model!) I also found out that too much animal protein for everybody was unnecessary on an everyday basis. It is false advertising to us as consumers to buy meat all the time to make the large corporations rich. So, between cutting out my animal protein and my allergy foods, I discovered I was basically eating a pescatarian diet. After a few weeks of trying it, I lost 10 lbs. Then my body started to sculpt and was lean within 8 weeks. I couldn't believe this was the answer I had been looking for this whole time to maintaining a top physique without killing myself in the gym and aggressive dieting. Then I took it one step further and quit fish, officially becoming vegan. I feel like I didn't have to suffer to stay in top form anymore. My body was reacting to the quality nutrition I was eating. I am also a big believer into eating raw as well. I eat 80% of my food raw. Now I have so much energy, great skin, and a better outlook on eating food!
When and why did you become interested in fitness? I started out in sports in high school. I ran track and played volleyball for all four years. After high school I got a gym membership and did aerobic classes. I was the cardio queen for awhile till I discovered bodybuilding. In my mid twenties I got my first personal trainer that introduced me to bodybuilding. I loved how shapely my body became after months of lifting weights. It took my fitness to a whole new level. I went from being a skinny fat to shapely and firm. I was addicted! Here I am at 35 still going strong!
How would you describe your nutrition program? My nutrition changes depending on my fitness goals. I modified my “old” standard competition diet that was (5 times a day, every 3 hours) high protein animal meat diet to high quality plant based protein with fruits, vegetables and healthy fats. Some of my favorite proteins are hemp, brown rice, beans, seeds, nuts, and leafy greens. I love my healthy fats such as avocado, olive oil, flax oil, and nuts. As far as carbs go, I eat whole grains, beans, veggies, and fruits. I just watch my clean carbs when I get close to a competition or a photo shoot.
I used to be on a really strict competition diet but now being vegan; I eat organic plant based foods and don't feel like I am on a diet. I listen to my body. I am more in tune with my body now, than I have ever been. Gone are the days of fad diets, “competition diets”, and being lost on how to eat. I feel like I have taken back control of my body. Aha! So this is what they say mean when they say lifestyle! LOL!
How would you describe your training program? I usually train 7 days a week. I love training for competitions! Right now I am training for a competition. So, I am weight training 5 days a week, cardio 5 days a week and yoga 2 to 3 times a week. It looks something like this.
When I am not training for a competition, I will back off on cardio to 2 days a week in my off-season.
What kind of supplements do you use if any, and why? Yes, I do. I recently discovered Vega protein powder. Love it and it taste good. I use that, along with hemp protein powder, brown rice protein powder, BCAA's, a multivitamin, and flax oil.
What are some common misconceptions about veganism? Wow, I get so many people asking so many questions! People will look at you like you're an alien! LOL! A couple of top questions I get asked on a daily basis are “Where do you get your protein?” and “What do you get to eat?” First off “What do I get to eat?” I simply tell them I get to eat high quality organic real whole foods. Then I get the look like “What's that?!” I go into depth about how real whole foods are there to nourish the body cell by cell. Your body will cleanse itself from the inside out. It makes you feel energized and it is fundamental to good health and well being. It changes you for the better. I have never felt better in my life than I do right now.
As far as protein goes, I have to educate people that you do get high quality protein from plants. Many people associate protein equals animal meat. I used to be that person! I know first off what it is like to eat animal meat 5 times a day everyday for years, especially when I was competing! I had to do my research and collaborate with nutrition specialist to help me understand that you can get your protein from plant based source and meet your needs. Making this change not only changed my body, it changed me. I feel like I have been reborn and am so inspired to help educate other around me.
What do you think the most important aspect of fitness is? I think the most important aspect of fitness is good health. Like they say “If you don't have good health, you have nothing!” I believe that. Being healthy has benefits internally and externally. Internally- I feel like I can do anything! When I feel good, I am in a great mood, and with that, comes a positive attitude. This is the inner beauty which radiates externally. Having a great physique is the benefit of eating quality food. I definitely get it now when people say it gives you a sense of well being! This lifestyle change has me very inspired! I want to save the world! (Even if it takes me one person at a time!)
What do you like best about being vegan? How much time do you have! LOL! I can probably go on and on about this one.
I love being vegan because of three main reasons. My health, the animals, and my contribution to saving the planet! It is an indescribable feeling that words cannot express. I feel balanced and connected to myself. I wish I would have discovered this years ago! I also feel as if I am making more educated food choices for my health, that of the animals, and the environment! It's a win win situation!
What do you like best about being fit? Being fit allows me to push myself physically and mentally. I set goals all the time to keep me in check. Having small and long term fitness goals throughout the year makes it easier for me to keep with it. When I reach my goal or goals I set new ones. Fitness is not a look, it is a lifestyle!
What are your strengths as an athlete? Discipline! I stay disciplined to my nutrition, my time in the gym, and setting goals. I feed my body the right foods to give me the strength which allows me to reach my goals. It all correlates together. Talking about strength, I hit a personal goal at the gym on the leg press. I can leg press 568 lbs! (5 sets of 5 reps!) I am proud of that!
What advice do you have for vegan athletes who are just starting out? Educate yourself! Do your research. Talk with other vegan athletes as well. This is how I found www.veganbodybuilding.com. I didn't just become vegan overnight. It was a process of listening to my body, educating myself and collaborating with nutrition specialist. I am still in the process of educating myself right now! I consider myself a “vegan virgin”. Still new to it all.
What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming vegan? I guess I just answered that in the last question. I would definitely educate yourself. Know why you are doing it. It is a journey that will take you in a different direction in life. A journey that will awaken you! There is a whole new world out there people!
What motivates you to continue to be a successful vegan athlete? So many things! I have been a fitness model for 5 years now so being a role model and leading a healthy lifestyle has motivated me to take my own fitness more seriously. Also, the fact that I am helping the planet and animals gives me a deeper meaning to stay on my path.
How has the website www.veganbodybuilding.com helped or inspired you? I found this website Googling information about being vegan and bodybuilding. I have to say I was excited to see there was a website for vegan bodybuilding! It has helped me connect to other bodybuilders and athletes. Everyone on here has a different story and is very inspiring to read. Also, I contacted Robert Cheeke (very prompt at returning emails!) and he has been very helpful himself as well. I love all the information his site has put together.
Is there anything else you would like to add about your vegan fitness lifestyle? I just want to say to others out there to take it one step at a time. Enjoy the journey and process it takes to get there. You can do it with time and consistency! This is your chance to save you, the animals, and the world! And to all my vegan friends: Keep Rocking It!
Name: Massimo Brunaccioni Year of Birth: 1985 Height: 5,77 feet — 175 cm Weight: 73 kg (161 lbs) Birthplace: Cattolica (Rimini) ITA Current Residence: Milan, Italy Sports: Bodybuilding and track and field (100 m) Facebook: Massimo Brunaccioni — VEGAN fitness athlete, Instagram: massimovegan_fitness_athlete E-mail: [email protected]
Tell us a little about yourself, what you do for a living, what hobbies / interests / passions you have I am a 29 year old vegan athlete. I work for a famous clothing brand and fitness is my great passion. In addition to working out in the gym, I train in athletics, as I am a sprinter. Over the last few weeks I am competing with a photo of me on a facebook contest in order to appear on the front page of the Olympian's news magazine, in the January 2015 issues. What is fantastic about this is that the whole facebook vegan community is voting for me with the hope to see for the first time in Italy the front page of a fitness magazine with a vegan athlete.
Why did you become vegan? I believe this is one of the most important choices of my life. My mum, who has been vegetarian for the last 20 years and vegan for the last 3 has strongly influenced me. But the final spark to make that life choice came when our dog entered the family. Since then I started seeing his eyes, which were staring at me with the hope and love, in all the animals that I used to eat without any thought. Since then, thanks to God, I am not able to put in my mouth, a bit of meat or fish. When and why did you become interested in fitness? The culture of the body has always fascinated me. Initially from the aestethic point of you, but then the sense of wellbeing that you feel after a hard workout became the main motivation that leads me to continue my trainings. I started when I was 16 years old, now I am 29. There were ups and downs, but I never abandoned weight-lifting. Since I became vegan, I more and more feel the need to release all the energy that this change of food brought about, also trying and hoping to be of inspiration for others.
How would you describe your nutrition program? I aim to have a complete and balanced diet with all macronutrients. Nice doses of grain, as well as pulses. I have raw vegetables at the beginning of every meal. Lots of fruit, but not with the main meals and also lots of dried fruit in the breaks. How would you describe your training program? I train practically every day. Usually 4 days in the gym and 2/3 times on the athletic track. In the gym I mainly aim to improve the strengths of the principal muscle groups, together with lighter sessions for the smaller muscle groups. What kind of supplements do you use if any, and why? during the most intense training periods, and those few times when I don't reach the caloric total via normal food intake, I use vegan powder proteins.
How do people react when they find out you are vegan? Lots of people can't believe it, others debate my being ”natural”. Many other people compliment me and take me as an example and goal to convince themselves that with a vegan diet they can become stronger, healthier, and most of all, live well in respect of nature and of our animal friends. What are some common misconceptions about veganism? Many still believe that meat is fundamental for our health, that we need to eat a bit of everything, that man is an omnivore, etc. The usual common ideas. Luckily in the last few years many studies are confirming how most health problems are due to a diet based on meat and derivatives.
Have you had success in promoting veganism / vegetarianism to others? If so, how did you go about it? Thanks to my facebook page (massimo brunaccioni — VEGAN fitness athlete), many people write to me and ask me suggestions and information. I receive many emails daily from people. including sportsmen, who would like to become vegan, asking me to explain my training/food routine to them.
What do you think the most important aspect of training is? The most important aspect is consistency and dedication. It is useless to train 3 months before a competition and not to do anything for the rest of the year. With these two aspects, we need to add the technique: training every day in the wrong way is like not training at all. To build a good body or to have excellent results we need daily dedication to this goal, both in gym as well as at table. What do you like best about being vegan? I have more energy and my performance has improved. I can train more intensely and I don't have issues in keeping my ideal weight. What do you like best about being fit? I feel well! After my sessions I am full of energy and at the same time mentally relaxed. In addition, it is nice seeing the results of hard work. What advice do you have for people who are just starting out with training? I suggest training intensely remaining focused on what you are doing. I think it is better to train a fewer days and better, than more often and badly. More and more often I see boy and girls spending time chatting without doing any type of exercise. Best results and goals are reached only with hard work.
What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming vegan? I would tell them that they are surely making a choice that will bring them many benefits. At the same time, I would tell them to get information in order to have a balaned diet, complete with all the nutrients we need. What do you think of veganbodybuilding.com? Has it helped or inspired you? It was very useful during the first period. I, like many people who write to me for suggestions, had some doubts about the possibility of maintaining a strong and performing body with a vegan diet. Looking at the boys and girls on veganbodybuilding.com I immediately changes my idea. I believe this is also our duty, to convince people that the vegan choice is the best.
Do you have any other thoughts you'd like to share? the vegan choice is the nicest and most important one a person can make. For our health, the health of the planet, for the one of our animal friends that deserve, as us, a happy and long life.
Name: Meghann Nevada Tiegs Year of Birth: 1980 Height: 5'3 Weight: 119 Birthplace: Prince George, BC Current Residence: Calgary, Alberta Sports: Competitive Fitness/Bikini Model, Yoga Tell us a little about yourself, what you do for a living, what hobbies / interests / passions you have I am a personal trainer and nutrition coach. When I am not in the gym helping clients achieve their fitness goals I am in the gym training hard for my next fitness competition or off to a yoga class.
Why did you become vegan? I became vegan after my dad was diagnosed with Cancer. It was something I had considered prior to that but had never wanted to stray from the traditional body building style diet for fear of it having a negative effect on my ability to gain or maintain lean muscle. After my dads diagnosis (being the self educator that I am) I felt it was time to take a more serious look at Veganism and I began researching, reading and watching what ever information I could get my hands on to get to the truth about a Vegan diet vs traditional western nutrition and the benefits to our health.
When and why did you become interested in fitness? I was active in sports from a young age and continued being active in sports until my mid teens. As with most teens, my social life took over and that spilled into my twenties. Fast forward a few years, with thirty in the not so distant future I realized I wanted to take control of my health and start my thirties in the best shape of my. A few months in to my new fitness regime I was seeing huge changes in my physique (as well as confidence & energy), I was worried that I might fall off the wagon and go back to old habits. So, having no real idea about it, I decided to commit to a fitness competition. I knew if I committed publicly there was no way I'd not follow through. And so began my journey. Before I had even stepped on stage for my first show I was planning my next show. How would you describe your nutrition program? I eat mostly fresh fruits and vegetables. Lots of leafy greens — Kale/Spinach/Berries are staples. Avocado, coconut oils, seeds for healthy fats. I am up at 4 am daily to train clients so greens smoothies are a part of my daily nutrition. I can load them up with all the nutrients I need and get them in when I am in a hurry. Because of my long days and early starts I can be eating 6-7 meals a day.
How would you describe your training program? I get bored really quickly with cardio so I like to do HIIT or Tabata style cardio sessions to keep me motivated. I love Sprints, 20 minutes of sprint (30 sec on, 30 off) — short and sweet. Plyos are an absolute MUST for my lower body days. I do weights six days a week; depending on where I am at in my training I switch it up, but I prefer hitting each body part twice a week (chest/back, shoulders/bis/tris, lower), keeps my workouts intense and my body burning maximum calories both during and after my workouts. Yoga is an essential part of my fitness program. What kind of supplements do you use if any, and why? BCAAs & Vega sport performance protein powder or Sun Warrior Protein Powder How do people react when they find out you are vegan? The usual responses: Surprise, skepticism.
What are some common misconceptions about veganism? As with most vegans, the most common response is: how do you get your protein? I also am often asked what exactly I eat. Mostly people respond with “I don't know how you could do it, I could never give up meat (or cheese...people love their cheese!)
What do you think the most important aspect of training is? I think nutrition and training go hand in hand. I believe we need to start by looking at what we put in our body to support the work we put our physical body through. Its all about recovery. What do you like best about being vegan? The way I feel! My body feels good eating vegan. I feel energetic, focused and healthy. I know that my body is being fueled by clean whole foods and I can feel good about knowing I am not supporting industries that promote harming animals.
What do you like best about being fit? Inspiring others to make a change in their lives and become more fit and knowing that I am setting an example for my daughter. She is almost 13 and I want her to see what a strong fit female is. I want to be a role model for her. What advice do you have for people who are just starting out with training? You will never look back and regret becoming more healthy. Just take that first step and you will be amazed at how you can be in control of improving your quality of life!
What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming vegan? It is easier than you think. People seem to think they could never do it or never give up certain foods. Vegan and meatless products have come such a long way. There are so many resources and websites out there to help you on your journey and you will be surprised how easy it is to connect with other vegans/vegan athletes who can help guide you through the transition.
What motivates you in life? Helping others. Inspiring others. Educating others. Being the best mother, trainer, coach, friend, partner and competitor I can be. What do you think of veganbodybuilding.com? Has it helped or inspired you? Veganbodybuilding.com has been such a valuable resource to me. Its great to have a resource dedicated to Vegan athletes, especially with all the bodybuilding sites out there. It is full of information and I love the nutritional guidance. I have directed many clients and fellow trainers here when they have been considering veganism!
Name: Melissa Brey Height: 5-4” Weight: 115 Birthplace: Pasadena, CA Current Residence: Irvine, CA
Why did you become vegan?
I'm very passionate about Global Warming causes and Environmental issues. I became Vegan after learning that it is the single most important thing that I could to help protect the future of this planet.
Our media is placing so much importance on changing light bulbs, driving a Prius and C02 emissions, but the fact is that we could do more good to help this planet by going Vegan than if every person was to go out and buy a Prius tomorrow. There are a lot of article links on my website at http://www.veganpersonaltraining.com if anyone is interested in knowing how going Vegan helps the Planet.
When and why did you become interested in fitness?
I did the Body For Life challenge in 2000 and was amazed at what my body was capable of in just 12 short weeks of weight training and proper diet. It inspired me to become a Personal Trainer and seek out the most knowledgeable people I could find in the fitness community.
How would you describe your nutrition program?
The emphasis of my diet is on “clean” unprocessed carbs, dark leafy greens, high protein Vegetarian sources, limited amounts of fruits and healthy fats such as Flax Seed Oil, Avocados and nuts in limited amounts. I eat every three hours and drink at least a gallon of water a day
A highly qualified Dietitian named Chuck Rudolph created a diet plan for me based on my height, weight, activity level, etc. He's been training athletes, doing Bodybuilding and Figure Competition diets as well as everyday lifestyle diets for years and the changes in my physique since hiring him have been astounding. More information on Chuck and his diet plans is available on my website at http://www.veganpersonaltraining.com
How would you describe your training program?
One hour of cardio a day 5 days a week at a medium to low intensity level, weight training 4 times a week and two rest days per week. My Dietitian/Trainer makes adjustments to my training program (and diet if necessary) every 3 weeks.
What kind of supplements do you use if any, and why?
I do ALOT of Protein Shakes in the form of Soy, Pea and Hemp. This allows me to keep my protein high enough to maintain and continue to build lean muscle tissue. The only other supplement I take is Xtend by Scivation. It is the BEST!
What are some common misconceptions about Veganism?
I think one of the biggest misconceptions exists in the Bodybuilding and Fitness community. There are many that truly believe that you can't build muscle mass on a Vegan diet and it is 150% false. I eat basically the same diet a figure competitor or bodybuilder would; “clean carbs”, healthy fats, and lots of protein. The only difference really is that my protein sources are all Vegan. Robert Cheeke and Dr. Joe DiMarco are prime examples that you can obtain ALOT of muscle on a Vegan diet! And even win shows if that is your goal.
The second misconception is that it is hard. I'm surprised at how easy it actually is. You can call any restaurant in advance to see what choices they have available. You can carry high protein Vegan bars and shakes in your car, purse, briefcase. It's very easy, and it makes you feel good about yourself to not be supporting the Meat and Dairy Industry.
I'd say the other misconception is that it is unhealthy. I have more energy and look better now than I ever did as a meat eater. I pay attention more to the nutrients in my diet to make sure that I'm getting everything I need. Sure, there are Vegans that have unhealthy diets just like there are Non-Vegans that have unhealthy diets. If you make it a priority to learn what the healthiest foods are, then you will be healthier than you ever thought possible!
What do you think the most important aspect of fitness is?
Self-esteem. When you feel good about yourself, you are a better person for your family, friends and everyone you meet. You can actually be a role model and inspire others. Becoming healthy and fit changes every aspect of your life. You have more energy, you feel better about yourself, you actually like looking in the mirror or trying on clothes! Not to mention the confidence that you get from being disciplined and watching your goals come to fruition. We have to love ourselves first before we can be a good person and inspire others. Being fit and healthy is one of the greatest steps you can take to developing self-love and then you can spread that to others.
What do you like best about being vegan?
What don't I like about being Vegan?? I am helping the planet and doing the biggest thing I can toward man-made climate change. I'm not supporting an industry that is destroying our environment and depleting all of our resources. I look better, feel better and have more energy than I ever did as a Non-Vegan. I love taking a non-vegan recipe, getting creative and turning it into something Vegan and better tasting! Most of all I love educating people that are curious about this lifestyle and being a positive role model in everyday life.
What do you like best about being fit?
What I like about being fit is also connected to why I like being a Vegan. My favorite moments in life are when someone comes up to me and says, “You look great, what do you do?” And then I can tell them about my lifestyle. I'm not convincing anyone of anything because they approached me. I love answering emails and helping people who really want to change the way they look and feel.
Before I was Vegan, all I cared about was looking good in my clothes. It was all about my own ego. Now the motivation is different, and I feel that I could have a positive impact on others, so it's never an effort to stay fit anymore. Helping others achieve their dreams and live a better life is far more rewarding than looking great in a pair of jeans.
What are your strengths as an athlete?
My perfectionist side. I am militant when it comes to proper weight training form. It's far better to do 4 reps in proper form than it is to do 12 to 15 reps not in perfect form. Also, most barriers that people have are mental, not physical. When you are able to push past your own mental barriers, a whole new world of possibilities opens up.
What advice do you have for vegan athletes who are just starting out?
Consult the advice of a professional when it comes to training and diet. If you try to do it on your own and you don't see things happening, you may get frustrated and give up, or you may get injured. If you find a trainer or dietitian that tells you your goals are not possible on a Vegan diet, find a different one. Don't ever let anyone tell you what you can't do, or what isn't possible.
What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming vegan?
First of all, it is the best decision you will ever make, and most rewarding, hands down. Secondly, do your research. You may want to start by experimenting with several Vegan meals throughout the week to get comfortable with the idea. Meanwhile, seek out some knowledgeable books and websites to assist you. The most important thing you can do for yourself is to find out what Vitamins and Minerals you will need to be focused on in a Vegan Diet to ensure optimum health.
What motivates you to continue to be a successful vegan athlete?
Messages that I get from people telling me that I inspired them. That is my motivation to keep going FOREVER, and to help others achieve their dreams! I never EVER question my decision. The benefits that I've experienced as a fit, healthy Vegan are so much more rewarding than I ever experienced as a Non-Vegan.
How has the website www.veganbodybuilding.com helped or inspired you?
Robert Cheeke has been such a positive role model in the Fitness community and Vegan community. He is always planning an event, festival, doing press... anything he can to create a positive image and promote the benefits of Veganism.
It's been great to have a website and forum to visit daily where we are all of like-mind and have common goals. We support each other and it's like having a huge extended family all over the world.
Is there anything else you would like to add about your vegan fitness lifestyle?
There are so many aspects of life that we can't control. We can't control people or what the universe has in store for us, but we do have control over what we put in our bodies and we do have a choice to get our butts to the gym to do our workouts.
There are so many aspects of life that we don't have control over, why not take responsibility for the one aspect that you truly can control? What you put into your body and your decision to get as fit as possible!!!
I love answering questions about Veganism, so I invite anyone to send me a message through my website at http://www.veganpersonaltraining.com if I can answer any questions about becoming a Vegan and/or their Fitness, Training and Diet goals.
And just remember, if your not quite ready to make the switch to being a Vegan, by consuming a few meals a week that don't contain any animal products does help this planet and is a step in the right direction. As Martin Luther King said, “Take the first step in faith... you don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step”
Name: Melissa Hauser aka Plant Powered Hauser Year of Birth: April 17, 1980 Height: 5' 2 1/4” Weight: 120 (115-118 competition weight) Birthplace: Santa Ana, CA Current Residence: Denver, CO Sports: Figure Competitor, Bodybuilding Social Media: IG @ plantpoweredhauser, FB: https://www.facebook.com/plantpoweredhauser BLOG: http://www.blogger.com/profile/01241410816809750169 E-mail: [email protected]
Tell us a little about yourself, what you do for a living, what hobbies / interests / passions you have: I am a vegan fitness hobbyist; working out to improve my own physique and inspiring others to lead healthier lives is my ultimate passion! I've been married to an incredibly supportive husband for three and a half years, and am momma to an amazing 14-month old boy. I work full-time as a sales manager for a national food & beverage company, and travel about 1-2 times per month for work. Outside of that, I love live music (we volunteer at Red Rocks Amphitheater), and love being outdoors (we raft, hike, camp and backpack as much as possible, though that's become much harder with a baby!). I also enjoy gardening, reading and playing in the kitchen, as time allows.
Why did you become vegan? My transition to a vegan lifestyle was gradual. In early 2009, I first eliminated beef, poultry and pork from my diet. I was never a huge fan of meat, and had sincere concerns around the treatment of animals. I did some research, and learned that animal protein was not an essential component of our diet. Almost as an 'experiment' I chose to cut these from my diet, and never looked back! It wasn't until mid-2012 that I cut dairy. My son was born with a severe dairy allergy, and even the slightest intake by me would pass to him while feeding. I immediately eliminated all dairy products, did some more research and was mortified to learn about the negative health effects that dairy has on the human body. Shortly after eliminating dairy, I removed all fish and seafood. Eggs have been the most recent step for me. We actually have 6 backyard chickens that produce about 4-5 eggs a day. They roam through our yard, and I know exactly what they eat and how they're treated, but ultimately for health reasons I did decide to go fully vegan and remove these also.
When and why did you become interested in fitness? I've always been a relatively “fit” person, but my focus and dedication have come in waves. I taught aerobics way back in college, have had gym memberships on-and-off throughout my adult life, ran a half-marathon once, and toyed around with various group sports. After having my son in 2012, I knew that I needed to focus on my health and physique and started Jillian Michaels DVDs in my living room! In late March 2013, I decided to put a work bonus check to work for me. I picked the gym within the closest vicinity to my home, and started meeting with trainers. Little did I know that this gym is the ultimate gym for bodybuilding in Colorado, and Joel, my chosen trainer, is experienced in contest preparation. After just a few workouts, Joel had me convinced to compete, and I committed to my first show in June. It took incredible focus and dedication, but I competed in my first local NPC-qualifying show in August 2013, placing 2nd in Novice and 5th in Overall! At my second show in October, I placed 1st in Novice, won Overall Novice, and 1st in Open! I qualified for Nationals, so I'll be competing next year at the national level.
How would you describe your nutrition program? During contest preparation when I am actively trying to build muscle, I eat an incredible amount of protein (200 grams per day, which makes up about half the calories in my diet!). I track my food religiously on www.myfitnesspal.com, and eat 6 meals a day, every 2 to 3 hours. I also drink a full gallon of water per day, which I recommend for everyone! A typical day looks like: Meal 1 (7:00 AM) — Gluten-free oats mixed with protein powder, cinnamon and water, served alongside a spinach salad topped with a few berries and my hemp-protein/balsamic dressing OR a TVP or tofu scramble with lots of green veggies and a hemp-protein/salsa sauce and a slice of gluten-free toast. Meal 2 (10:00 AM) — 1/4 - 1/2 cup of a complex carb like brown rice or quinoa, 4-5 oz of protein (generally seitan, TVP, tempeh or tofu), and lots of green veggies. This meal may be a salad or a quick stir fry. Often topped with nutritional yeast and/or Bragg's liquid aminos. Meal 3 (12:30 PM) — Protein Shake (Vega Sport and Nutribiotic are my go-to's) and 1-2 rice cakes topped with PB2 or a hemp-protein spread. Maybe some cut veggies (cucumber or bell peppers) if I'm still hungry. Meal 4 (3:00) — Lots of greens (spinach, asparagus, and broccoli are my favorites) and lean protein. Meal 5 (5:00 PM) — Protein Shake, plus cut veggies with PB2 or hemp-protein dip Meal 6 (7:30 PM) — Lots of veggies (spinach, asparagus, broccoli, mushrooms, onions, cauliflower, brussell sprouts) and more lean protein (I usually have seitan at this meal, as it is the most versatile to prepare: bake, sauté, grill, etc.) Depending on my total macronutrient intake for the day, I may snack on a protein pudding for dessert, or popcorn sprinkled with nutritional yeast.
How would you describe your training program? I love to lift heavy weights, and love to sweat! I am one of the rare people who love a good, long cardio session. Monday through Friday, you can find me on the stair stepper at the gym from 5-6 am where I do fasted cardio interval training. (I use this as my “me” time, and bring my Kindle to catch up on TV shows and movies that I've missed!) I try to get in an additional hour of cardio on the weekend too. I also fit in 45 — 60 minutes of weight training 6 days a week. I rotate workouts to focus on my primary target areas (shoulders, back and legs) and work in a secondary muscle group (biceps, triceps, chest and abs) each day too. So, a 6-day plan may look like: Day 1: Shoulders & Triceps Day 2: Back & Abs Day 3: Legs & Chest Day 4: Shoulders & Abs Day 5: Back & Biceps Day 6: Legs & Abs I aim for 5-6 exercises on my primary muscle groups, and 1-2 exercises on secondary. I generally do 4 sets of 20 reps on each exercise, and try to increase my weight with each set. Often times my last set is a drop-set (where I have to switch to a lower weight part-way through), but I always strive to lift more. You won't build muscle lifting light weights!
What kind of supplements do you use if any, and why? Vega Sport Protein Powder is a staple of mine, and provides BCAA's and glutamine. Other than that, I take multi-vitamins, extra calcium & magnesium, CLA, and flaxseed oil.
How do people react when they find out you are vegan? Most start to lecture me on protein consumption. If I'm feeling feisty, I usually turn the tables on them and ask how much protein they consume daily. Rarely can anyone tell me that, and they are amazed when I rattle off how much I eat per meal, and my total per day. I find many people are still very confused about what being vegan means, and in general are confused about food groups. I recently had a business lunch, and asked the waitress to confirm that the salad that I ordered had no dairy. She came back and said, “Well, it has avocado, so I guess you can't eat that”. Really?!
What are some common misconceptions about veganism? That we don't shower or shave our armpits, and that we don't eat enough protein...the typical ones! I also see a lot of misconception from people who assume that “vegan” is the same as “healthy”. There are still plenty of unhealthy vegans, and I feel the need to address this topic quite a bit lately. If you replace animal products with vegan “junk food”, you're not necessarily better off. You need to replace animal products with whole grains, leafy greens, and other plant-based foods to see true results. There are great vegan snacks, and meat-substitutes, but if you're truly trying to achieve optimum health then you should aim to eat minimal (or no) processed foods. I once knew a vegan who lived off of french fries and Mr. Pibb. She was not a great example to follow.
Have you had success in promoting veganism / vegetarianism to others? If so, how did you go about it? I've recently taken to social media, and am overwhelmed by the response that I've received from my followers. There are definitely people who are turned off by my eating habits, and subscribe heavily to the “I must eat meat to be big” mentality, but there are hundreds and thousands of people looking to a plant-rich diet to improve their overall health. I am overjoyed to receive messages from people every day stating that I'm inspiring them to change their lives through exercise and by eating whole plant based foods.
What do you think the most important aspect of training is? Consistency and dedication. Change take a long time, but it's incredibly rewarding and worth the commitment.
What do you like best about being vegan? Feeling great all the time! My energy levels are through the roof.
What do you like best about being fit? Where to start? I love seeing physical changes in my physique, and I am fascinated how easy it actually is to manipulate our bodies through diet and exercise. Friends frequently tell me, “Oh, my body just doesn't put on muscle the way that yours does.” My response? “Try working out 6 days a week and eating 200 grams of protein each day, consistently for 6 months. Let's see what happens!”
What advice do you have for people who are just starting out with training? My key tips for anyone starting out are: Have your body fat percentage measured by a professional (most gyms and recreation centers offer this service for a nominal fee). When you begin a training program, your weight may go up while you're building muscle, and the scale is not an accurate tool to track results. Determine a healthy goal weight, and develop a nutrition plan to meet that goal weight (there are numerous tools online, and you can also check my blog for pointers). Drink a gallon of water a day, every day. Period. Eat small meals every two to three hours. Take progress pictures! Take them of your overall physique, and specific body parts. Stay sane. I love bodybuilding, because it provides me a healthy outlet for my OCD, but I have to keep it in check! It's easy to get obsessive with this sport, by calculating macros, tracking food, monitoring workouts, and checking weight & body fat stats. Remember that skipping a workout or overeating at one meal is not going to derail all of your efforts. Get back on track the next day or meal....one small slip is not an excuse to throw in the towel. Be sure to balance this sport with family and friends. What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming vegan? Small steps are best, in my opinion. If you currently eat meat and dairy, then start by eliminating meat in your home. As you become more comfortable, eliminate meat when eating out, and in various social situations. Then do the same with dairy (start by eliminating at home). If a vegan lifestyle is unfamiliar to you, then jumping in with both feet can often be a recipe for disaster. Be sure that you're replacing animal products with healthy, plant based whole foods, and try to avoid processed “fake meats” as much as possible (though these can be very instrumental when starting out!). Start to follow some of the incredible vegan bloggers for recipe ideas.
What motivates you in life? I continually push myself to be better, and hope to inspire others to do the same. At my job, I try to coach and mentor others to be successful in their roles. At home, I try to teach compassion and kindness to my son through leading by example. And in bodybuilding, I hope that my success so far can inspire others to improve their overall health and lives.
What do you think of veganbodybuilding.com? Has it helped or inspired you? This is one of my favorite sites! I come here for tips, motivation and inspiration. The profiles have allowed me to connect with my idols for support, advice and guidance. Do you have any other thoughts you'd like to share? Lift heavy, eat clean, and be kind!
Derek Tresize was born and raised in San Diego California where he lived until attending university in northern California. Derek first converted to a plant-based diet at the age of 19 when he began reading about the vast health impacts of eating this way through the works of Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. Joel Furhman, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, and several other prominent researchers and clinicians. Throughout his high school and college career, Derek participated in a wide variety of sports and activities including football, cross country, track and field, powerlifting, martial arts, swimming, surfing, and kayaking. When he converted to a plant based diet, he found his performance in these areas approved across the board, and he began promoting this diet to everyone around him.
Since obtaining his bachelor's degree in Biology, Derek has been working as the Director of Personal Training at Gold's Gym in Richmond Virginia where he also works one on one with clients to help improve their diet, fitness, and overall health. He is a Certified Personal Trainer through the American Council on Exercise (ACE), and is Certified in Plant-Based Nutrition through the T. Colin Campbell Foundation and Cornell University.
Derek has been weightlifting for 10 years and has been strictly bodybuilding for the past 5 years. He has been a bodybuilding/fitness model in the Richmond area since 2009. Derek was voted into the top 20 semifinalists of the Bodybuilding.com Spokesmodel 2011, and plans to compete in his first bodybuilding contest over the summer of 2011. Whenever Derek trains or travels he promotes a plant-based diet for health and athletic performance, and he plans to do so to a greater extent as his bodybuilding recognition grows.
For more information on Derek, visit his blog at http://www.veganmuscleandfitness.com/, or to contact him directly send an email to [email protected] or [email protected]
Name: Mike Mahler Height: 6'0 Weight: 195 pounds Vegan: 11 years
Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness talks with popular vegan athlete Mike Mahler and this is Mike's Story:
by Mike Mahler
I have been into strength training for twelve years and started with the basics. Over the years I have tried a variety of programs and training styles and now primarily do Kettlebell lifting and bodyweight drills.
I am a strength and conditioning coach based in Los Angeles, CA. I am a Senior level certified Kettlebell instructor. The Senior level classification means that I have assisted in certifying aspiring Kettlebell instructors. I have done over forty Kettlebell workshops in the past two years across the US and overseas in London, England. Some of the locations that I have been to include: Washington DC, Los Angeles, Dallas, Boston, NYC, Portland Oregon, San Jose, and Phoenix. I am one of the most experienced Kettlebell instructors in the US and the most experienced Kettlebell workshop instructor in the US.
In addition to working with people around the world, I have the best selling manual and DVD. Also, I have written over seventy articles and I am a regular contributor to: Hardcore Muscle Magazine, Testosterone Magazine, Ironman Magazine, Ironman Magazine Japan, Industry Magazine, and Exercise Magazine for Men.
Favorite foods: Anything by Native Foods, pad thai, spicy eggplant
The most important thing I've learned about living a healthy lifestyle is that there is no price for feeling great all of the time and having an abundance of energy.
I am always researching different ways to train and Kettlebell training really clicked with me. I really enjoyed it and have been doing Kettlebell training for many years now. My favorite place to do Kettlebell workshops is New York City.
Some of my goals for the future include more videos, working on a book, and workshops overseas in Japan.
Showing meat eaters that you can get bigger and stronger on a vegan diet is the best thing about being a vegan strength coach.
Live Life Aggressively!
*For more information about Mike Mahler and his Kettlebell Workshops visit www.mikemahler.com Vegan Kettlebell Instructor and Aggressive Strength Coach. Vegan Strength Training For Over 10 Years.
Thanks Mike, you are an inspiration to vegan athletes worldwide! Keep up the great work.