Name: Roxanne Thaler Year of Birth: 1979 Height: 5"2 Weight: 126 Birthplace: Brooklyn,N.Y. Current Residence: Yorktown Heights,N.Y. Sports: Bikini Competitor Website: www.RoxanneThaler.com Facebook page: Roxanne Thaler~ All About Holistic Nutrition & Fitness page Email: [email protected] Why did you become vegan? I Love animals. I couldn't stand the thought that because of my old shopping habits, that was part of the contribution to animals being slaughtered! I just never liked the taste, texture and the look of meat! I was becoming very ill to top it all off. Like I said, I love animals, I LOVE my Doggie Saige, who just happens to be one of the most important love's of my life...she is fourteen years old When and why did you become interested in fitness? I was always pretty active. I used to dance as a kid and into my teen years. Jazz, Hip-Hop, Ballet, African Dance but I learned mostly on the streets for dance. As a kid, in elementary we used to go behind the red brick house at recess and all of my friends would teach me how to dance;) As I got older, I kinda moved away from dance and became more interested in just being fit. After a while, I had went through some life changes and became very unhealthy as a result. Since realizing where I had started and where I had ended up so unhealthy at a point, I decided to get back into the swing of things. Except this time I took it a step further. I loved my results so much that I decided I wanted to help other people. Thats when I became a NASM Certified Personal Trainer.
How would you describe your nutrition program? I am a Raw Vegan. A lot of Fruits, Veggies, Nuts and seeds. How would you describe your training program? It changes ALL the time. Right now I'm on a little bit of a resting training period, so for me its 3 days total body circuits, HIIT and Steady state cardio. However, in a week that all changes for contest prep. What kind of supplements do you use if any, and why? Sunwarrior protein, Maca, some herbs, Raw Garlic, Chlorophyll and probiotics.
How do people react when they find out you are vegan? There are two types of reactions. Usually the first is, "wow, what about protein?" and the second is "Really? so what do you eat besides salad?". What are some common misconceptions about veganism? That it is Impossible to compete on a Vegan Diet! That Vegans cannot build quality muscle. and last but certainly not least...Vegans are all frail and skinny looking. Do I look Frail and/or skinny? lol
Have you had success in promoting veganism / vegetarianism to others? If so, how did you go about it? Yes. My family and friends have become interested just by my results, so they have come to me for advice and I usually lead them towards the Peta website, alicia silverstone's "The Kind Diet" book or for competitors Veganbodybuilding.com and refer them to my Wellness coach WBFF Pro Channa Serenity.
What do you think the most important aspect of training is? Consistency, variety (make it fun) and Focus. What do you like best about being vegan? I feel healthier than ever, I have way more energy to get me through my workouts, the food is awesome and knowing that I didnt contribute to the harm of any animals for the love of a sport!
What do you like best about being fit? I feel very balanced and calm. Then of course there is the whole aesthetic part which is just the added bonus! What advice do you have for people who are just starting out with training? Learn about everything and anything. There is so much info out there. The more variety, the better. Make it FUN! Maybe go to some Fitness camps(alot of famous Non-vegan competitors hold these, I'll be holding some of the first Vegan camps in the near future), You'll definitely learn alot while your there and make new Fitness friends while your at it! What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming vegan? Experiment and have fun. There is an alternative for almost every meat option out there when you are making the transition if need be! Check out Vegan websites for recipes and Vegan forums (such as www.veganbodybuilding.com) where you can talk to other Vegans. Also if you can, Speak to a professional to help you meet your own personal nutritional needs! What motivates you to continue to be a successful Vegan Athlete? I feel healthier than ever before. I want to share that with the world and show people in the Bikini Competition and Fitness Industry that competing as a Vegan is highly attainable, just look at these amazing Vegan Athletes on Veganbodybuilding.com's profile section!
What do you think of veganbodybuilding.com? Has it helped or inspired you? I think that Vega BodyBuilding.com has opened the door for Vegans in the Fitness industry. In fact if it weren't for Veganbodybuilding.com I might not have met my Wellness Coach Channa Serenity, who has helped me tremendously with my health and is guiding me through my next Competiton as a Raw Vegan Athlete. This is the best site to network with other Vegans and help get the word out about who we are and what we stand for! Do you have any other thoughts you'd like to share? Yeah, Vegans are Awesome!
Name: Ryan Nelson Nickname: Big Nelly Year of Birth: 5-19-1988 Height: 6'4" Weight: 250lbs Birthplace: Sheridan, WY Current Residence: Minneapolis, MN Sports: Previously Football/ Currently Bodybuilding Personal Best Deadlift: 605lbs Facebook: NPC Bodybuilder Ryan Nelson & Alpha Fitness Twitter: @AlphaD307 IG: alphad307 Website: www.alphafitnessmn.com E-mail: [email protected]
Tell us a little about yourself, what you do for a living, what hobbies / interests / passions you have Well, let's see, I've been a fitness junkie since I was a young boy and since May of 2012 I've been an independent personal trainer. I absolutely love my job! I hesitate to even call it a job, but rather a source of income. I'm a very easy-going guy, yet very passionate & high energy. I am 100% practice what I preach. I take pride in having a relentless work ethic, preparing delicious vegan food, and exploring outdoors.
Why did you become vegan? I'm a pretty open minded guy. It didn't take much more then then a couple documentaries and the ole' lady switching to a vegan diet to persuade me to take the plunge. I like to say the day after Thanksgiving 2012 I went cold turkey vegan haha. Looking back on it now it's one of the best things I've ever done in my life! Not only has it benefited my health, but also opened up so many new avenues of life from amazing people, great business opportunities, and a respect for all living beings.
When and why did you become interested in fitness? May, 1999 is when I first became interested in fitness. 2 older guys that I looked up to, coincidently both named Ryan were great athletes. I saw how the weight room benefited both of them. I was addicted!
How would you describe your nutrition program? 100% of the time I am a gluten free vegan. I will eat basmati rice occasionally, but other then that I am a gluten free, grain free, vegan. In most cases I buy local and organic. Some of my favorite foods include sweet potatoes, garbanzo beans, lentils, split peas, squash, buckwheat, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, avocados, strawberries, raspberries, apples, bananas, kale, spinach, sprouts & red pepper. In the offseason when I'm trying to gain size I will eat between 5,000-6,000 calories a day. When cutting my calories range from 1,750-2,500.
How would you describe your training program? I workout 5-7 days a week. In the morning I do 15-25 mins of medium to high intensity intervals incline treadmill. I follow that with 20-30 minutes of various ab exercises. In the evening I come back and spend 1 1/2 - 2 1/2 hours on my big muscle groups. My style is one of a kind with influence from athletics, powerlifting, and bodybuilding. My reps range from 1-20 depending on the movement and muscle group.
What kind of supplements do you use if any, and why? I incorporate a variety of different plant based proteins including brown rice, hemp, and pea. I've found that creatine monohydrate helps me build solid dense muscle mass. Also, I'm a stronger believer in a high quality liquid vitamin D-3 and B-12. The D-3 is especially important if you live in the North, where there is far less sun light.
How do people react when they find out you are vegan? Major freak out 99.9% of the time. Usually followed by where do you get your protein haha.
What are some common misconceptions about veganism? 1. Vegans are skinny and malnourished 2. Vegans are hippies and tree-hugger 3. Vegans know nothing about nutrition 4. Vegans hate non-vegans 5. Vegans feel they are superior to non-vegans
Have you had success in promoting veganism / vegetarianism to others? If so, how did you go about it? Ya. Everyone is always very interested. A lot of friends have either went vegan or incorporated more plant based products into their diets. I back my nutrition talks by example. It never hurts to feed them some off the hook vegan grub either.
What do you think the most important aspect of training is? A relentless grind and passion to succeed rep after rep, set after set, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. Along with spot on form and nutrition.
What do you like best about being vegan? That no living beings have to suffer because of me.
What do you like best about being fit? Being super hero strong and shredded!
What advice do you have for people who are just starting out with training? Talk to as many professionals as you can and stick to the basics. Form > weight!
What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming vegan? Do plenty of research before you start. The internet and social media are great resources.
What motivates you in life? Success motivates me. I love a challenge and proving that I can do something that someone else thinks is beyond me.
What do you think of veganbodybuilding.com? Has it helped or inspired you? It's a valuable resource for vegans and people inspiring to become vegan.
Do you have any other thoughts you'd like to share? When you take "can't" out of your dictionary you'll find you CAN!
Name: Ryan Wilson Age: 33 Height: 6' Weight: Currently 265, occasionally going up to 285 Birthplace: Brookfield, Wisconsin Current Residence: Waukesha Sports: Strongman competition, general strength training
Why did you become vegan?
I became vegan because, oddly enough, I started helping my wife with VeganEssentials in my pre-vegan days and my exposure to veganism helped me see that going vegan myself was the logical progression. I'd always felt pretty hypocritical about saying that I loved animals while still eating them, and the more I began to find out about veganism and what it really means, the more I wanted to change in that direction. So, after a few months of helping from the sidelines with some of the website work and marketing, I first went vegetarian, then shortly afterward I went vegan and have never looked back (and never felt better, for that matter!) The majority of my decision was based on ethics, but I realized after a while just how unhealthy my diet had been, being purely meat and junk food, anything green and healthy was out of the question. I've gotten sick far less and had a LOT more energy after going vegan, so I can definitely say that I experienced the health benefits first-hand once I made the change over.
When and why did you become interested in fitness?
I first became interested in fitness around 1995 when my friend John inspired me to start weight training. He'd always said that with my body type I'd be suited to be pretty big and strong, but for years I held the assumption that lifting was just for “dumb jocks” and wasn't meant for a guy who had been a skateboarder for a decade up to that point. I gave it a chance — I did the challenge that the EAS supplement company put on every year, the Body For Life contest. I quit my bad habits, stopped eating junk food, ceased to drink anything but water, ate only what I considered healthy at the time (this was a few years before going vegan when I still ate meat and dairy), and managed to lose around 25 lbs. in 3 months, going from the 230s down to a little over 200 lbs. I was pretty happy with the results — I felt that I wasn't excessively overweight for the first time in my life (I usually carried 30-60 lbs. of extra fat around on me) and decided to stay with training. I jumped around a bit, for a while trying to get as lean as possible and got under 200 lbs. for the first time since 5th grade (I was always a big kid) but it didn't look right on me. I started to get my weight back up to the 220s for a while and it hovered there for a few years, and then I went vegan in late 2001. I spent a year or two just keeping generally fit, but didn't feel like I had a purpose. Eventually I decided I wanted to pursue being strong and wanted to see how easy it would be go get big while being vegan. I found out quickly, it wasn't anywhere near as difficult as most people think. Along the way, I entered my first powerlifting competition in late 2004, but decided that I wasn't really too excited about that type of lifting, at least competitively. In 2005 I entered my first strongman competition and was instantly hooked, despite getting injured on the first event from lack of warming up. I've batted some injuries this past few years, but plan on resuming competition in summer or fall of 2008 after having the next few months to get back to my best and beyond. How would you describe your nutrition program?
My nutrition has been greatly cleaned up this past few months — I was recently diagnosed with a fairly rare eye disorder that has affected my vision a bit, and once that came about I decided that the days of being a convenience-food vegan had to come to a close. I cleaned things up a great deal and started to move away from the convenience foods and focus more in whole grain breads and pastas, nuts, fruits, greens, and some freshly-cooked meat substitutes rather than the pre-packaged things I'd depended on for a few years while bulking up. I find that I just feel way better when I steer clear of the processed foods and go with fresh ones instead, and I do credit making the change with helping keep my vision from getting worse. Despite weighing quite a bit, I don't really need to eat much to maintain or gain — I can keep my weight up on around 2600 calories/day and gain weight easily if I go above 3200 calories/day. That's just my family genetics — I have 2 brothers and 2 sisters, and all of us turned out to gain weight easily and quickly. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it isn't, but as long as I keep my diet clean everything seems to work out well enough.
How would you describe your training program?
My training program right now is a combination of strength and conditioning, changing every month or two. I need to improve my overall conditioning for strongman events while simultaneously getting stronger, so I use both higher-repetition endurance lifting and lower-repetition heavy weight training together to get the best of both worlds. I used to train very much just with low reps and heavier weights, and while it made me a lot larger and stronger, I'd get tired after climbing a few flights of stairs. That's not good for strongman or day-to-day living, so I decided that really needed to change. So, as of now I train with weights 3-4 times per week and try to get a few good long walks in between on my non-lifting days. For weight training, I normally break my sessions into 3 main workouts — legs/shoulders, upper back, and lower back/chest. I try to keep my sessions in the gym between 40 and 60 minutes on average — that isn't including warming up, which I usually do with weights for 5-10 minutes before I dive into the heavy stuff. I typically focus on compound movements done with free weights — my goals don't require and isolation movements, and it isn't often that machines have a purpose for me either, except as a bit of assistance exercise after the barbell/dumbbell training is complete. Everything revolves around squats, deadlifts, barbell or dumbbell rows, and overhead presses and the base for workouts — things like chest and arm work fall back for the occasional workout, but they're never a main focus, definitely secondary. I'm terrible at the bench press and it has little practical application to strongman competition, so I do it only a few months out of the year at most. Arm work is the same — I'm not a bodybuilder, and my arms are indirectly worked pretty well by the main exercises I do, so I rarely train them on their own. Soon I'll be starting back up again with strongman event training, which involves lifting concrete stones onto platforms, lifting heavy steel logs overhead, pulling trucks and other unusual strength events. It's not always easy to find a place to train events during the colder months, but there are a few dedicated people in my area that have equipment and places to train year-round, so that's what I'll be devoting at least 1 day per week to in the near future.
What kind of supplements do you use if any, and why? Until recently, I didn't use much of anything other than some pea protein and a multi-vitamin, but since my eye problems came about I've been experimenting with a lot of different things, having had a few weeks where I'd taken roughly 15 different supplements each day to see if it made a difference. I didn't see a whole lot of change due to the supplements, so I cut down to the few things I put the most trust in and take a minimal amount on a daily basis. Currently I take pea protein, a multi-vitamin and a DHA/EPA supplement every day, and I try to keep up with taking a creatine/glutamine/taurine supplement on workout days.
What are some common misconceptions about veganism?
There are two main misconceptions that I think tend to plague the image of veganism. One is that you have to sacrifice everything you used to enjoy, which most people get turned off by because they don't like the thought of change or inconvenience. The other is that vegans are all scrawny, sickly people who live off salad and don't seem to be as healthy as they should be. If it weren't for these two assumptions I think a lot more people would give it a try. I can safely say that neither one is true — I feel like I enjoy my food and all other vegan items I use much more than I used to with non-vegan things, and I believe that I've done a fair share to dispel the “sickly and weak” myth, too.
What do you think the most important aspect of fitness is?
I think that the most important aspect of fitness is being healthy and happy. It doesn't matter how strong you are if you're in jeopardy of having a heart attack at any time. It doesn't matter how far/fast you can run if your diet is making you feel ill. Fitness and health should be very closely connected — I think that people often disassociate the two when it's important to keep them equal in importance. I wouldn't sacrifice my health for fitness, and vice versa — they both work together quite well in my lifestyle.
What do you like best about being vegan?
What I like best about being vegan is that I know I'm doing my best to make a change for the better, for the animals, the environment, and for myself. It's an all-encompassing journey that really makes me feel good about a lot of things, and knowing that I've taken a step in the direction to make a positive change is what I enjoy about it. To wake up and know that I'm not knowingly directly contributing to animal cruelty on a daily basis is a great lift to my spirits. And, the better I feel about why I am vegan, the more I work toward furthering veganism through my business to promote it to others to keep the cycle going.
What do you like best about being fit?
I think that I have a good way to go in the general term of “fitness” since when it comes to endurance-type activities I get left in the dust, however, in being larger and stronger than most people, that's the part that I like best. It feels good that where other people would struggle to move a heavy piece of furniture with a two people working together, I can usually move it by myself. I like the fact that I can go out and have fun doing hard manual work because I just think of it as an aspect of training — if someone needed me to move rocks from one side of a field to another, I'd find it enjoyable since it's all making me stronger. Not saying that I'm not a fan of intellectual pursuits, but my training and goals have made me appreciate the simple things as well when I know that it gives me a chance to test my will and progress physically, too!
What are your strengths as an athlete? I think that my main strengths are that I'm not afraid of hard work to make progress, and I'm always willing to take the time to help people who are just starting out or who are seeking advice from someone who has spent a good deal of time training over the years. If you expect quick results you'll end up disappointed, as experience has taught me that in lifting, nothing comes easy and nothing comes that quickly, or, at least as quickly as you want it to happen. Be patient, be helpful, and good things will come your way.
What advice do you have for vegan athletes who are just starting out? My advice is, find what you like doing and have fun with it. If it makes you feel better about yourself and provides some physical benefits, then you're doing the right thing. We all have our preferences, and some people are better suited to some sports and might not excel at others (for example, I will never be an ideal marathon runner!) But, whether or not you're good at it is beside the point — if you're having fun and being safe about it, it doesn't matter whether you're going to be a top athlete or if you're just doing it for the fun and exercise. Just set reasonable goals in your sport at the start, give yourself a few years to see where it takes you if you want to pursue it on a competitive level, and study from those who have done well in your activity if you want to see how far you can go. Again, it doesn't matter whether you hope to be in the Olympics or just want to get out and hike on occasion — it's all doing good for your body and your sense of well being, so get out there and have fun!
What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming vegan?
I think that going vegan is one of the best decisions someone can make — it's so much of a complete self-realization process and opens up so much insight during the journey and after you've made the change. It really, really puts into perspective how much impact each and every one of us has on other creatures and our environment. Then, it shows you how you can make little changes to improve the big picture and improve yourself at the same time. I guess my advice is, don't think twice — give it a shot, because it's something you won't regret!
What motivates you to continue to be a successful vegan athlete?
My motivation has always been to try and make each year better than the last when it comes to my training — I've hit a few snags along the way with injuries and such, but while years ago that would have been enough to derail my desires now it only makes me want to try harder. I dream of being far more competitive at Strongman competitions in the future — I'm not as skilled or as strong as some of the people I've competed against, but my aim is to close that gap over time and keep getting better and better, all while maintaining Longetivity so that I don't end up one of those guys who is battered and broken before 40 and can only reminisce about the glory days. I expect to be bigger, faster and stronger when I break the next decade in my age than I am now!
How has the website www.veganbodybuilding.com helped or inspired you?
I find the site very helpful and inspiring in a few ways. It's always helpful to network with other vegans and get to know more people in the community, especially those who share similar interests such as fitness. I'm always inspired by following the progress of people on the site — it's fascinating to watch the transformations of people who go from beginners at their physical activity to seeing them develop into being those who reach their goals and really enjoy themselves along the way. I've kept track of quite a few people over the years who didn't really know what they'd wanted to do fitness-wise and came to the board for help and for the camaraderie factor, and in the end they've done some pretty amazing things. It doesn't matter if I share the same activities they do or not — it's all really great to see them make such terrific accomplishments and look/feel better for it in the end.
Name: Samantha Shorkey Year of Birth: 1982 Height: 5'7 Weight: 125 lbs Birthplace: Ottawa, Ontario (Canada) Current Residence: Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada) Sports: Strength Training/ Fitness Competitor (Bikini Division) Facebook: facebook.com/JackedontheBeanstalk Tell us a little about yourself, what you do for a living, what hobbies / interests / passions you have. An important recent event in my life was not only competing (and WINNING) in my first-ever amateur bodybuilding competition (bikini division) but spreading the message of vegan activism through a local project called Jacked on the Beanstalk: A Vegan Bodybuilding Adventure. It was basically a five-day road trip that followed me and my three friends (the women already well-known on Vancouver's 'vegan' scene as the founders of The Vegan Project) on a journey through rural, “carnivorous” Northern British Columbia, as we aimed to break the stereotypes that all vegans are skinny, protein-deficient and unhealthy. And break them we sure did because I took home a first place trophy for my division! I'm blessed to have been sponsored by Vega and am excited to compete on a provincial level next at the BC Provincial Championships in June 2014. For anyone interested, I'll be posting about the road trip and sharing vegan competition tips, recipes & advice on my facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/JackedontheBeanstalk.
Why did you become vegan? I grew up in a small “hunting town” outside of Ottawa, Ontario in a log house in the middle of the forest. We didn't have cable TV, we had nature. My mom was my biggest hero, always feeding the birds, raccoons & deer, taking in stray cats and even raising orphaned baby squirrels. Sometimes we would have 30 deer behind our house and it would literally break our hearts to see them disappear every fall when hunting season was on. I just couldn't understand how people could hunt and kill such beautiful, sweet creatures. So at the tender age of eight, I became vegetarian. I went vegan in 2011 when I learned more about the dairy industry and realized that animals were still dying because of my milk and egg consumption.
When and why did you become interested in fitness? I'd always enjoyed going to the gym but I didn't get serious about weight training until I dated a personal trainer for four years. I suppose I've always been quite strong and healthy because people were always surprised to hear that I didn't eat meat. Their constant questioning of my diet inspired me to not only want to impress them with an above-average “healthy-looking” appearance but to blow their minds when they see just how “Jacked on the Beanstalk” I can get!
How would you describe your nutrition program? Competition dieting is so HARD! I have a big sweet tooth so not eating all my favourite raw, vegan desserts & treats has been tough for sure! But I'm making sure to get lots of protein to fuel my training from quinoa, beans, spinach, tempeh & tofu. My healthy fats come from flax oil, olive oil and Vega EFA oil. I eat tons of veggies, a moderate amount of fruit (in the morning only) and I love Vega Sport protein powder. I also drink matcha green tea or yerba mate for an energy boost before my workouts.
How would you describe your training program? Pre-competition training means I'm doing cardio five days per week and weights four days per week. Sundays are my rest days and the day I also try to prepare all of my meals for the week. Being prepared is so important! It not only frees up more of my time but it prevents me from cheating on the diet BIG TIME!
What are some common misconceptions about veganism? Well we all know the big “protein” misconception that people still seem to have so I won't even go there! I think a lot of people also think that buying “free range” eggs or “organic” meat from a farm somehow justifies the killing and treatment of the animals they're consuming. At the end of the day, they are STILL being slaughtered. And “free-range” does not necessarily mean they're wandering free, only that they have access to the outdoors. I think a lot more people would consider a vegan diet if they actually saw first-hand how their meat gets from the farm to their plate.
What advice do you have for people who are just starting out with veganism or training? I always suggest baby steps first. If you're a meat eater, try going vegetarian first or incorporate just two or three vegan meals into your diet every week. And if you're already vegetarian, try to only eat vegan at home and allow yourself cheese or milk when you're dining out or as a “special treat” only. That's how I began the transition from vegetarian to vegan and I found it was quite easy. Also, there are so many vegan options available nowadays that anyone can replace common comfort foods like cheese or milk with a dairy-free substitute. I try not to eat a lot of processed foods but the fake meat products are yummy substitutes for people in the transition phase. As for those starting a vegan training regimen, try to ensure you're getting 99% of your nutrition through whole, plant-based foods. Yams for instance, are a wonderful starchy, complex carbohydrate source that will help get you through those long, hard workouts. And watch the sugar & sodium contents of your foods. They can be very bloating! And lastly remember that it's super easy to be an unhealthy, overweight vegan too. Everything in moderation. One bad meal isn't going to make you fat just like one good meal isn't going to make you fit J
Do you have any other thoughts you'd like to share? A lot of people will question your ethics and lifestyle and sometimes you will feel like a pain-in-the-you-know-what because of your dietary restrictions. But every time you think it's difficult, just imagine how much harder it is for the animals that you're NOT vegan!
Name: Scott Shetler Year of Birth: 1975 Height: 5'10” Weight: 175-180 lbs Birthplace: Geneva, Ohio Current Residence: Atlanta, Georgia Sports: powerlifting, kettlebell sport, student of internal martial arts Social Media: facebook.com/sshetler Twitter - @sshetler Websites: www.extreme-fitness.org www.scottshetler.com www.plantbasedperformance.org E-mail: [email protected]
Tell us a little about yourself, what you do for a living, what hobbies / interests / passions you have. I've worked in the fitness industry for over 15 years as a personal trainer. I have been running my own business since 2004. I started with a small powerlifting gym in my basement where I would train with my training partners, as well as train private clients.
I work with both highly competitive athletes and motivated fitness enthusiasts. In 2008 I moved my training center out of the basement and into an office/warehouse complex. I've authored 6 books, and my 7th is a project I'm doing in which I have put together a book, with contributed articles from 19 other plant-based athletes, trainers, and health and fitness professionals, and 100% of the sales will go to Mercy For Animals.
I was also the kettlebell training specialist for the TapouT Virtual Training Center, and am a managing partner in a golf fitness and performance business. I've always had an interest in the martial arts and at various points in my life studied various “external” martial arts, and most recently have spent the past couple of years studying qigong and Taijiquan with a Shaolin Master. In addition I have competed in powerlifting and the sport of kettlebell lifting as well. I am very passionate about helping people accomplish their health, fitness, and performance goals; and I have a deep love for animals so I do all I can to help support rescue and shelter organizations.
Why did you become vegan? My love and support for animals was the primary reason, in addition my health has improved dramatically since going plant-based. I was conflicted for a long time, I had a sincere love for animals, yet I was still eating meat. For a while I tried to disassociate from my food, but it was still in the back of my head. Then one day I noticed a horrible smell in my garage. At the time we were using our garage for storage, not for parking our cars in it, so the doors were not opened often. When I moved a bookshelf I found a dead bunny behind it. I realized that it must have gotten in one day when I had the door open and was still inside when the door shut and obviously died from starvation. This realization was my tipping point. Realizing that I caused, even though it was indirect, the needless suffering of this poor animal killed me. It absolutely wrecked me and woke me up to the fact that I was denying what I knew all along, that I was being a hypocrite. I made the decision to change my life on the spot and that is what triggered my journey to a plant-based diet, and I'm still learning and growing daily, but I have no regrets-it's the best thing I've ever done.
When and why did you become interested in fitness? I was a skinny kid and became interested in bodybuilding when I was in high school. Mainly I wanted to have bigger muscles like the comic book characters I grew up reading. Later my interests were more strength related. Now health and longevity is my primary motivation
. How would you describe your nutrition program? I generally start the day off with a huge glass of clean water with lemon or lime squeezed in it. Next I have a freshly made vegetable juice. I'll drink 1-2 big green smoothies a day. The rest of my food is typically raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.
I eat 1 and sometimes 2 cooked meals a day on top of all this, usually some type of rice and beans, or oatmeal, or a sandwich on sprouted grain bread made of either almond or sunflower seed butter.
Post-workouts I usually have a protein drink made of almond milk and whatever plant-based protein I'm using at the time, currently it's a pea, hemp, brown rice, and chia seed blend.
I definitely lean more towards a high-raw vegan diet, and at various times of the year, particularly during the summer, I will eat 100% raw vegan and usually do a juice cleanse each year as well. I drink nut milks, water, tea, and coffee. I do like the occasional, and sometimes frequent, vegan dessert. I try not to label myself as a “vegan” or “raw-vegan” or whatever. I just say I follow a plant-based diet, with a focus on fresh, raw foods whenever most people ask.
How would you describe your training program? I practice meditation, qigong and Taiji daily. I am currently studying both Yang and Chen-style Taiji under my Shifu, Shi Deru. In addition I usually have four primary training sessions a week in which I focus on compound movements like squats, deadlifts, bench press, and standing press, coupled with a lot of bodyweight movements like pull-ups, dips, push-ups, glute/ham raises, etc. I work in a lot of kettlebell and Indian club training on top of the strength work, and I run or do sled/prowler work 2-4x a week as well.
What kind of supplements do you use if any, and why? I supplement with a vegetable protein powder (currently using a blend that contains brown rice, hemp, pea, and chia seeds). In addition I use a B-12 supplement (this just stems from concern of not getting enough in my nutrition, although I've talked to a lot of vegans who don't supplement and seem to be doing fine, so I'm a bit conflicted here), flax seed oil, and I take some extra vitamin C as I feel it helps me recover from hard training periods. In addition I generally take some blue green algae, or chlorella; and am experimenting with, and looking into, some various Chinese herbs, but have not learned enough yet to comment on it.
How do people react when they find out you are vegan? Most people are pretty cool and inquisitive about it, especially since most people who know me well have seen a huge change in my physique, appearance, and health since switching to a plant-based diet. Some people like to joke around, but I've never encountered anyone who was vocally against it. On the flip-side I don't push it on anyone either. I try to share my story and other's stories, and the positive benefits I've experienced, but I won't ever be pushy about it. Too many people take a really hard stance on nutrition, and sometimes argue about nutritional habits like fundamentalists argue about religion and politics. I want to help people be healthy, not argue with them!
What are some common misconceptions about veganism? The biggest is that you need animal-based protein to be strong, athletic, lean, muscular and healthy. There are too many examples of vegan bodybuilders, and athletes, destroying this myth. Personally, after switching to a plant-based diet, I competed in a kettlebell sport competition. In addition to training and competing in this meet with 100% plant-based nutrition, I came in about 40lbs lighter than my last kettlebell meet a little over 2 years prior, when I was eating a very meat-heavy diet. I ended up beating all of my previous records in the long cycle event (clean & jerk of two kettlebells for maximum reps in 10:00 without setting the kettlebells down) in both training and competition!
What do you think the most important aspect of training is? Defining your goal, and training consistently.
What do you like best about being vegan? In addition to the exceptional health benefits I've experienced, knowing that I'm helping animals and having a positive effect on the environment. I still have a ways to go, but I'm getting better daily!
What do you like best about being fit? Having really good health and energy levels, and helping others experience the same benefits I've gained.
What advice do you have for people who are just starting out with training? Start slow. Focus on progress but keep things simple. Decide on what your goal is, and make consistent progress toward it. Use as few exercises as you can to get there. It's easier to evaluate what works and what doesn't when you have fewer working parts. Simplicity, and consistency are the most important variables when starting out. I see too many beginners “program hopping” and getting discouraged when they fail to make progress.
What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming vegan? Do it! Educate yourself. Learn. Don't fall victim to the unhealthy vegan diet! Focus on fresh, whole, and raw whenever possible.
What motivates you in life? Having the realization that my purpose is to help people experience better health and to help contribute to the happiness and welfare of animals has been my biggest motivation. I see people who train day in and day out in that quest for a 6-pack, or bigger biceps, and many of the things they do to get there are far from healthy. I want to help people realize the importance of developing real health and having good energy, and when the get healthy on the inside, and develop a strong mind and spirit, the physical stuff takes care of itself, but it very rarely works the other way around.
What do you think of veganbodybuilding.com? Has it helped or inspired you? I think veganbodybuilding.com is a great resource. It's an opportunity to learn from people who live a similar lifestyle, and share similar goals and passions. Plus all you have to do is browse the user profiles for a minute to realize that the idea that it is not possible to build strength and muscle without a diet that is heavy in animal-based protein is far from accurate. I think veganbodybuilding.com is helping to educate people about the health and performance benefits of a plant-based diet in a constructive, and very effective, manner.
Do you have any other thoughts you'd like to share? Life is short, don't waste it. Look inside yourself, figure out what your purpose is here in this lifetime and do something every day that takes you closer to that realization.
Name: Sebastian Grubb Height: 5'5" Weight: 153 lbs Current Residence: San Francisco, California
Sports: Professional Dance, Bodyweight Strength Training Current Employment: Personal Fitness Trainer, Health Coach, Professional Dancer Personal Bests: 1200 Push-ups in 1 hour; 400 Chin-ups in 1 hour; 5:07 1-mile run; 1:25:02 1/2 marathon run Website: http://www.sebastiangrubb.com
Why did you become vegan? In 2003 I became vegan to improve my health. Looking at the scientific data and at the diets of healthy, traditional cultures, it's clear that we should all eat more plants, especially unprocessed vegetables and fruits. I decided to take this information further and eat almost exclusively whole plant foods. When and why did you become interested in fitness? I grew up running in the mountains, but got lazy as a teenager. One day I looked at the junk food I was eating and had a very rude awakening - I couldn't believe what I was eating! I started a daily strength-training and running routine right away. In college I took weight-training classes and started bodybuilding and powerlifting. I also started training distance cycling, acrobatics, and dance. By the end of college I had fallen in love with dance as an athletic and artistic practice, and decided to pursue it professionally. Now I work for two dance companies and run my own fitness training business.
How would you describe your nutrition program? I base 90% of my diet on whole, unprocessed plant foods, and leave the final 10% for less healthful foods. My basic approach to eating is: If it's a plant, eat it. If it's a vegetable or fruit, eat more of it. How would you describe your training program? I have dance rehearsals and performances 15-30 hours per week. I also do 1-hour strength sessions 2-4 times per week and a pure cardio session 1-2 times per week. These sessions are based on exercises that use my body-weight for resistance, so that the strength, agility and coordination I develop end up supporting my work as a dancer.
What kind of supplements do you use if any, and why? There are three primary nutrients that may be harder to get in plant foods alone: vitamin B-12, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, and iodine. I get B-complex vitamins from fortified foods and nutritional yeast. I get omega-3s from ground flaxseed, hemp seeds, and high-quality algae oil. And I occasionally eat seaweed for iodine. What are some common misconceptions about veganism? There are some really common ones, like about having to supplement to get enough protein, having to perform difficult calculations to figure out what to eat, having to mix certain foods, getting sick more often, being unable to be an athlete. Not one of these has been true for me. Another big misconception is that vegans are closed-minded to non-vegans, that we believe ourselves to be morally superior. I used to think like that; now I focus my interactions with other people around compassion and understanding, not around trying to change them.
What are your strengths as an athlete? My history of fitness training allows me to do choreography that is very acrobatic and athletically demanding. Outside of dance, I excel in bodyweight strength moves like pull-ups, push-ups, jumping and sprinting. I also have excellent cardiovascular endurance, so marathons are fair game too. What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming vegan? Take a month in which you wean yourself off animal foods. Then commit to a full month eating vegan to see how it works for you. Regardless of whether you eat animal foods or not, you can still improve your health by eating more whole plant foods and fewer animal and processed foods.
What motivates you to continue to be a successful vegan athlete? For me, there have been no limits to how fit I can get while eating this way. I like to show people that they can be athletic and reduce animal suffering at the same time by reducing animal foods in their diet and training hard. Visit Sebastian's website at http://www.sebastiangrubb.com or find him on Facebook and Twitter.
Name : Sereen Curtis Height: 5'10 Weight 150lb Birthplace: Iran Current resident: United States Sport: body builder, lifting weight, boxing. Model Mayham profile: http://www.modelmayhem.com/1874442
Tell us a little about yourself, what you do for a living, what hobbies / interests / passions you have I'm a model, and through my modeling and my images I try to change the world for the better.
Why did you become vegan? I become a vegan as i always knew eating animals was not the healthy way or the right way. I am against killing and bloodshed and seeing how animals are being abused I can never bring myself to be a part of that, I am human, a divine being, not evil I can never eat a living in order to survive.
When and why did you become interested in fitness? I have always been interested in fitness as I love to work out and keep my body in tip top shape.
How would you describe your nutrition program? My nutrition program is very easy, I don't cook anything, I eat raw, as I would in nature, I try to stay away from man-made foods and anything out of box. I love fruit, veggies and now and then have beans and seeds which I haves boiled. Besides that I keep it simple as i would without any technology in the wild.
How would you describe your training program? My training all depends on my energy level. I try to work out 3 times a week for 2 hours.
What kind of supplements do you use if any, and why? I dont usually take any supplements, but now and then try some muscle growth stimulator.
How do people react when they find out you are vegan? People usually don't like it when they find out that Ii am vegan as they find themselves in a moral battle of trying to explain things relating to religious belief in god and their prophecies.
What are some common misconceptions about veganism? The most common misconception is prophecies which are all against vegans and promote animal cruelty; man-made prophecies have brought the end to the human diet. Lack of education and respect for life brought us to killing the animals and each others in wars.
Have you had success in promoting veganism / vegetarianism to others? If so, how did you go about it? I use my body as promotion and my images, I really need for others to follow, as I know this is the way of life.
What do you think the most important aspect of training is? the most important aspect of training is to keep at it and never give up on your goals.
What do you like best about being vegan? i love being vegan as i know i will never be obese or get cancer.
What do you like best about being fit? i love to be fit as I am a model - without it I won't be able to pay my bills, lol.
What advice do you have for people who are just starting out with training? my advice is to keep at it and never give up.
What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming vegan? It is a very easy choice to become a vegan, you never have to cook, you never need to worry about dishes greece, nasty oils, smelly meats, and blood, you will never get fat and have your belly hanging like pregnant woman. What are you waiting for?
What motivates you in life? My motivation is my body, when i compare myself to others the more i know being vegan is the only way.
What do you think of veganbodybuilding.com? Has it helped or inspired you? I think its great to have a website which will show the world about vegans and how healthy it is to be one, it promotes peace and stops the cruelty to animals.
Do you have any other thoughts you'd like to share? My only hope is one day the world will be vegan and stop selling all this junk and cancer-encouraging foods, so that I can go out and eat wherever I want, lol.
As statement I would like to add:
Vegan nutritional practice is designed to prevent disease and promote health, Creating public awareness against cruelty to animals and abuse which clearly illustrates a lack of education and respect for life and some deep rooted psychological and religious damage of violence in our society and conflict of cultures.
Name: Shae Valko Year of Birth: 1989 Height: 6' 2” Weight: 191 Birthplace: Rochester, MI Current Residence: Shelby Township, MI Sports: Hobbyist Bodybuilding Tell us a little about yourself, what you do for a living, what hobbies / interests / passions you have Well, that is a complicated question. I just graduated with a BS in environmental Biology but I'm entertaining notions of returning to get my Masters in Public Health and Nutrition. I want to make a career out of my obsession with health and fitness. I'm also an artist, more specifically musician, actor, and writer. I would love to try and carve out a decent career in those disciplines as well. Hell, I'm currently developing a science fiction TV series to pitch to some production studios. I'm of course passionate about treating out environment and its organisms right.
Why did you become vegan? You know it's funny. I went vegetarian for a month on a dare from one of my vegetarian friends at college. It was so easy. Then I picked up a pamphlet from Vegan Outreach on impulse. The things I learned about the treatment of animals were disgusting. I decided I wanted nothing to do with that. I was a junior at MSU. It was bound to happen. As a science major, I was hard-wired through education to be skeptical of all things, including societal norms, like the meat-centric “American” diet. When and why did you become interested in fitness? It was at almost the exact same time that I became a vegan. I was incredibly unfit in high school (225 lbs and not in a good way). Then I went down to a dangerously low 175 lbs after running a lot and not eating. It wasn't healthy either. I'd never been a buff guy. I wanted to achieve that. It was an uphill battle, because of my new vegan lifestyle and my long arms (building biceps and triceps is a bitch). But I found this website and discovered an entire subculture of athletes and bodybuilders completely animal-free. I was inspired. I started doing more research than I can even recall. I started doing a 5 day split. The rest is history. I love it!
How would you describe your nutrition program? Well, I am currently trimming down for the summer beach body season. So I am eating around 500 calories a meal, 5 to 6 meals a day. In a month, I will return to trying to build muscle, but I want to keep mid-section fat gain to a minimum, as that was a problem when I started out. I plan on maintaining a 3500 to 4000 calorie intake, high in healthy whole foods. I don't fear carbs, so long as they are low glycemic (except immediately after training of course) or whole grain carbs. I eat tons of legumes (mmmm lentils), dark greens, nuts, seeds, and whole soy products like tofu and tempeh. I usually cut most carbs out after 7pm. Big salads loaded with nuts, tempeh, and tons of home-grown sprouts make up a big part of my evening diet.
How would you describe your training program? Right now, I am at the tail end of the Insanity program. It has been a totally different fitness experience; all body weight and core cardio training. I can finally see my abs. It is fantastic! But I miss being buff as I lost a lot of shoulder and arm muscle cutting down my caloric intake for the program. After Insanity is done, I will start bulking again, this time having a nice lean frame to build upon. I plan to hybridize weight training and Insanity by doing a 5 day weight split with Insanity cardio workouts on the 2 days off. It will another interesting experiment that hopefully helps me make substantial muscle gains with a minimum of fat gain. We'll see.
What kind of supplements do you use if any, and why?
I make use of several brands of protein powders, namely Plant Fusion, Sun Warrior, and True Protein. When bulking, I use creatine as it has worked wonders for me. It also has some sound science research to back it up. I trust the research. I also make use of superfoods like spirulina, chlorella, gelatinized maca root, and goji berries when possible.
How do people react when they find out you are vegan? Most seem really confused, especially when I add that I'm trying to build muscle mass. They almost laugh in my face, then I show them the progress and they back-pedal mercilessly. Again, many people are hard-wired to think that meat equals protein. Us educated vegans know this to be far from the truth. And of course my biggest pet peeve “Woah where do you get your protein?” Such a silly question when you think about it for even a second.
What are some common misconceptions about veganism? Vegans are gaunt, malnourished, feminine, tree-hugging hippies that will never be as athletic as the fat guy with the beer belly who eats piles upon piles of ribs and bacon ranch dressing.
Have you had success in promoting veganism / vegetarianism to others? If so, how did you go about it? Yes! My aunt Michelle and her husband Aaron recently went straight vegan from omnivory. My aunt had been picking my brain whenever she had the chance as family gatherings and holidays. I am always happy to discuss veganism and fitness with anyone genuinely interested. We do a secret santa drawing for Christmas every year. Last year, I drew her name. So I got her a book called The 31-Day Vegan Challenge. They both tried it and haven't looked back since. It feels wonderful to have 2 more devout vegans in the Valko family.
What do you think the most important aspect of training is? It may seem obvious, but it's discipline. Yes the diet and fitness regime are important entities to commit to, but it is that commitment to these regimens that is the key. A lot of people think that they can work out hard in gym or outside then eat any shitty food they can. False! Those foods like potato chips and soda don't do anything for you other than waste caloric space. Especially when starting out, discipline is important, as you haven't yet earned the metabolism to have a cheat meal (I don't believe in these anyway). If you truly want to better yourself, you need to reevaluate your entire work ethic as well as your nutritional pitfalls. To quote Shaun T of Insanity, you need to dig deeper!!
What do you like best about being vegan? Proving the naysayers wrong. Honestly, it is a great thing to have a friend or relative say that vegans can't possibly be buff only to see them months later with a noticeably bulkier physique. The look on their face is priceless. I also love cooking for non-vegans. It's rewarding to teach people that healthy food is not only terrific for you, it is downright delicious!
What do you like best about being fit? The unbridled confidence it gives you in all realms of your life. Feeling great about your body will permeate your entire existence right down to how you even interact with others.
What advice do you have for people who are just starting out with training? Keep with it! It is frustrating at first because you're seeing these other guys in the gym lifting circles around you and hear you are with your two 25's doing chest flys. You'll get there. Just remember. Everyone's body builds differently and needs to be fueled in different ways.
What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming vegan? Do your research. Make sure you know how to get all your necessary vitamins and minerals in addition to carbs, fats, and protein.
What motivates you in life? Not betraying my values, despite the constant scrutiny from people who simply fail to understand a lifestyle different from their own. I am motivated by the need to do something incredible. My goals and ambitions are lofty sure, but they drive me.
What do you think of veganbodybuilding.com? Has it helped or inspired you? Oh yes definitely. The very inspiration for my weight training can be directly chased back to an interview with Big Rob. The man is one of my idols and I'm happy to finally be at the point where I have the discipline to attempt to reach his level of fitness.
Do you have any other thoughts you'd like to share?
I am a huge comic book nerd and it's safe to say that Christopher Nolan has crafted one of the all time greatest movie trilogies in The Dark Knight Trilogy. Had to be done.
Name: Sharla Boychuk Year of Birth: 1986 Height: 5'5” Weight: varies in the 100-107lb range, depending on where I am at in competition prep Birthplace: Swan River, Manitoba, Canada Current Residence: Brandon, Manitoba, Canada Sports: Previously a long distance and marathon runner and now a fitness competitor. I enjoy many other sports but these two have taken precedence in my fitness training Tell us a little about yourself, what you do for a living, what hobbies / interests / passions you have. I grew up in a small town in rural Manitoba. In 2004 I moved to a small prairie city to obtain a higher level of education and four years later graduated with my Bachelor of Environmental Sciences. I have since been employed in the environmental and water resources field. I now live in Brandon, Manitoba with my partner Josh and our Morkie puppy Loala. I am a voracious reader, love to travel as frequently as possible and consider myself a fitness enthusiast. I trained for and ran marathons for a number of years until a knee injury required for me to take a change in focus and I entered into the world of fitness competition training. I am currently taking my personal trainers and love to share my passion for fitness with others.
Why did you become vegan? I became vegan in April 2011. Throughout my post-secondary education I had begun to follow an increasingly plant-based diet, however it was actually a close friend of mine that convinced me to go vegan. It started with a 30 day challenge that just stuck for me. I felt great once I made the switch and dropped dairy. When I decided to stick with the switch to a vegan diet I consulted a dietician and read intently into the subject, I wanted to make sure I was getting the nutrients I needed and incorporating as many whole, plant-based foods into my diet as possible. It was during this time that I discovered Brendan Brazier's Thrive books and Vega, both of which have been crucial in my success as a plant-based athlete and competitor.
When and why did you become interested in fitness? I am not sure I can remember a time when fitness was not part of my life. Even as a child I remember being outside all of the time, playing tag with my brothers and riding my horse. In the fall of 2004 I battled a nasty bout of mono, which confined me to bed rest for 21 days. I never wanted to be that sick again. The spring following I ran my first half marathon, from that point on I made a conscious effort to incorporate fitness into my lifestyle and continue to push myself.
How would you describe your nutrition program? Full of vegetables, fruit, whole grains and almond milk! Topped with a little red wine and dark chocolate (when my training program permits!). I like to cook and especially enjoy making my own soups and bean dips, I have made all varieties of hummus. I enjoy good quality food and like to explore ethnic cuisine. I do have a sweet tooth (hence the red wine and dark chocolate) but believe in balance and enjoying your food. Food is your fuel and I feel it is important to fill up on good quality, whole foods.
How would you describe your training program? At the moment it is very focused on strength training. I have just come out of my first fitness competition (mid November) and am now training for a spring competition. To facilitate muscle growth and due to my very lean frame my cardio has been cut to almost zero, something which has been a bit of adjustment for this retired marathon runner. However I have come to appreciate and look forward to lifting weights. Strength training has helped to balance me out and pushed me in a way I had not pushed my body previously. What are some common misconceptions about veganism? That we are radical, preach daily and that we are all skinny! When others ask me what I eat as a vegan I love to tell them deep-fried lettuce J their reaction is priceless (who eats deep fried lettuce??)
What advice do you have for people who are just starting out with veganism or training? Read, read, read! Do your research and locate others with similar interests who will support you. Make goals and work towards achieving them. Experiment a little bit as well, everyone is unique and has individual needs. Find yourself a good personal trainer if you are interested in training, discuss your goals and aspirations with your trainer so you can work towards them together.
Do you have any other thoughts you'd like to share? Whether it is fitness or any other aspect in your life, set goals for yourself, label them with timelines and push yourself towards them. Share your goals with others and surround yourself with those who support you and share common interests. And where you can return the favour, help others become involved in fitness and a healthy lifestyle. Being there for others is rewarding and gratifying.
Height: 5'3 Weight: 110 Birthplace: St. Louis, MO Current Residence: Raleigh, NC Sports: Bodybuilding, weight lifting, bowling, walking exercising
Tell us a little about yourself, what you do for a living, what hobbies / interests / passions you have. My name is Shirley Minter-Smith and I celebrated my 60th birthday on November 26, 2012. I am the seventh of ten children. I grew up in East St. Louis, Illinois, and I believe the words to the song "The Rose," by Bette Midler, are so descriptive of my essence.
I was employed by the Federal government for 30 years and served as an Administrator for the Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons. After retiring in 2004, I spend much of my time speaking, teaching, and promoting good health. I have taught healthy living, vegan cooking, and exercise classes throughout the United States and abroad. I also write a weekly Health Tip column. I am the Founder, Owner, and CEO of Vegan Magic/Healthy Living Made Simple. I specialize in vegan dishes, RAW desserts, spices, seasonings, and a healthy living program.
I am a “lightweight” natural bodybuilder, and have competed in and won over 35 amateur body building and bench press contests. On November 3, 2012, at 60 years of age, and after four years as an amateur, I received my Professional Bodybuilding credentials. On December 2, 2012, I received awards from the National Physique Association as “Top Pro Female Athlete of the Year” and “Iron Female Athlete of the Year”. In 2013, I was presented the “Women and Girls Inspiring Change” award from Global Girls of Chicago, Illinois. I believe that God allowed me to achieve these goals and accomplishments to encourage others to take care of their temples. As the result of my many health and bodybuilding accomplishments and attributes, on February 1, 2013, I was named the first spokeswoman for ZOBO Hibiscus Drink and Hemisphere Beverages. Since that time, I have been featured on NBC, TV 17 News, The Dr. Melanie Show, the Voice on America Health and Wellness Channel; Nubian News, a Monthly Online Publication for Black Business Owners (March 3, 2013); BOOM and WEEN Magazines, YouTube, local newspapers, and other periodicals.
I want to be a walking billboard, letting people know that I was once considered obese because at 5'3” I weighed over 200 pounds. Today, after being committed to changing my poor eating habits, I weigh 110 lbs.
I believe God is using me as a vessel to positively affect individuals' physical health. I also believe that one can be healthy at any age; and I am proof of what dieting and exercise can do for one mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. I want others to know that there are NO excuses not to be healthy. “Make the decision right now, make the commitment right now, and pray.” I am a living witness that God WILL show up and show out!
I am the mother of two, and grandmother of four. I earned a Master's degree in Public Administration from Troy State University; a Master's degree in Counseling and Education from Southern Illinois University; and a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Eastern Illinois University. Each year, I attend and participate in various classes and seminars on Health, Nutrition, and Fitness. I believe that if you take care of your body, your body will take care of you; and when we know better, we can CHOOSE to do better! I have learned to eat to live and not live to eat, which has made all the difference in my continual health journey. My philosophy is: WHAT YOU WANT, WANTS YOU!!!!
Why did you become vegan? Mostly for health and fitness reasons. However, I am very concerned about our earth and the animals.
When and why did you become interested in fitness? I have been interested in fitness most of my life but really embraced it about 35 years ago.
How would you describe your nutrition program? I eat very clean, usually oats and beans for breakfast with fruit, and chia, flax or hemp seeds. Each day I consume at least one 32 ounce green drink (with wheatgrass which I grow) a large salad, cooked vegetables and tofu or another meat substitute. I usually eat a small dinner or pea protein shake.
How would you describe your training program? I train about 3 hours a day, five days a week. Most of the time I work out with a personal trainer (M, T, W, TH, and Sat - Sunday is my off day). I have two trainers. I work two different body parts each session, 60 minutes of cardio, stretching for at least one hour, and I always work my abs.
What are some common misconceptions about veganism? After becoming a vegan, I started taking a daily "B-12 Dot;" however, after starting my bodybuilding journey in 2008, I included one additional vitamin supplement, "Vegan CLA" - Conjugated Linoleic Acid, According to my research, CLA safely decreases the amount of fat stored after eating and the total number of fat cells in our bodies. It also increases how fast fat is broken down in fat cells and the rate of fat metabolism, thought, "...this will work for me and give me the edge I need..." I take no medications and I contribute my physique, outstanding health, muscle mass, etc., to my vegan diet and training. However, I believe that these two supplements have been beneficial to my current status and have given me that extra dose of confidence. What advice do you have for people who are just starting out with veganism or training? Just do it but keep it simple. For those who can afford it, I recommend a personal trainer, for at least 30 days.
Do you have any other thoughts you'd like to share? My philosophy is: "what you want, wants you", but it comes with a price, you must do the work.