Name: Christian Garcia Year of Birth: September 21, 1992 Height: 5'7” Weight: 154 lbs. Birthplace: California Current Residence: Santa Cruz, California Sports: Competitive Bodybuilding Social Media: Instagram: @cgadventure, Twitter: @Chri_Gari, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/christian.garcia.921 Website(s): plantpowerhouse.com E-mail: [email protected] (all of the above are optional, if you don't want to share social media or your contact details, it's entirely up to you!) Tell us a little about yourself, what you do for a living, what hobbies / interests / passions you have: At the moment, I am a full-time student, single dad (to two pups), part-time freelance writer, competitive bodybuilder, and member of Team PlantBuilt. I spend a lot of time in the gym (training for competitions), out and about running/sprinting with my dogs, cooking in the kitchen, writing recipes, and watching movies/television shows.
Why did you become vegan? Initially, I became vegan (May 1, 2012) for health reasons after watching Forks Over Knives. It wasn't until about a year later that I was exposed to the grim reality of the animal-based industries (whether it is for food or clothing). Once I was exposed to that, the conviction behind my veganism increased ten-fold. I had always been an animal lover, but it wasn't until I adopted a full-on, activist lifestyle that I truly gained a true appreciation for the animals- the ones who cannot speak for themselves. When and why did you become interested in fitness? I have always been a health/fitness-oriented individual, but it wasn't until I saw Team PlantBuilt compete in 2013 that I set my sights on becoming a competitive bodybuilder and a true example of what a compassionate lifestyle can do for one's body and for the lives of many. I immediately started training for what I believed would lead me into bodybuilding. I don't do this fitness stuff for my own vanity or ego anymore; I do it for the animals.
How would you describe your nutrition program? (please give some examples of the type of meals or food you focus on, things you avoid, or if possible, give a breakdown of what you typically eat each day, so people can understand specifically what you do) Depending on where I am in my season, I am either super high on carbs (500+ daily) or when it comes closer to contest-prep crunch time, I gradually taper off my carbs (never below 225 or so). I am comfortable eating soy, as it is NOT what many make it out to be, gluten, etc. My daily diet primarily consists of tofu, TVP, seitan, lentils, grains, veggies, oats, tubers (sweet potatoes, mainly), beans, protein supplements, seeds, nuts, etc. During my reefed days, I get to have cereals and pancakes, too. Eating vegan food is pretty tasty. My coach sets my up with different meal plans depending on my progress, so it is hard to list what I eat on a day-to-day basis. How would you describe your training program? (What do you typically do to work out, how many days, what exercises/movements, what kind of reps and sets do you do, and anything else unique to you)
When I am strength training during off-season and trying to gain size, I typically do lower reps and higher weight. When I am cutting down, I begin doing higher-volume workouts with as much weight as I can tolerate with the higher reps. I do cardio (fasted, steady-state, or HIIT) when I am at a certain point in my training. I typically keep sprintervals (sprint intervals) to twice a week, as they're great for muscle training. When I am all carbed-up, I love doing weighted pull-ups, bench press, deadlifts, front squats, stiff-leg deadlifts, rows, and a bunch of other exercises (mainly compound exercises). What kind of supplements do you use if any, and why? I take Deva multi-vitamin (as everyone should take one, vegan or not), creatine monohydrate, L-glutamine, BCAAs, Clean Machine's Cell Block 80, WarriorForce health supplements, different protein powders (PlantFusion, Vega, Rawfusion, etc.), Vega pre-workout, and beetroot powder. Yeah, a killer physique can be crafted without supplements, but I choose to use them due to a convenience factor, a cost-effective means of full and well-rounded nourishment, as well as for expedited, healthy muscle recovery.
How do people react when they find out you are vegan? People have actually taken quite well to me living a vegan lifestyle. When I was smaller in size, I'd get all sorts of scrutiny and criticism for being skinny. Once I actually started lifting, I stopped getting scrutiny and criticism and started receiving questions about advice, tips, and tricks regarding a vegan lifestyle and training. People admire what I do because I am good at it (good coaching, dedication, and commitment can take you far). What are some common misconceptions about veganism? Vegans are typically seen as small, unable to build muscle (or have difficulties doing so), hippies, frail, vitamin/nutrient/protein deficient, less masculine (for guys, in my personal experience), too compassionate/caring/sensitive, etc. However, it is quite the contrary. Vegan competitors, athletes and us bodybuilders are a growing breed (both in numbers and in physical size).
Have you had success in promoting veganism / vegetarianism to others? If so, how did you go about it? I have had success in promoting veganism. I have led by example. I have directly influenced two people to go vegan, and as a result, one of those people has influenced another to go vegan. Also, as a member of Team PlantBuilt, I compete alongside other vegan bodybuilders, powerlifters, and CrossFitters to promote veganism to demonstrate that no one has to die in order to become a bigger, better, and healthier individual. We compete every year to do this. What do you think the most important aspect of training is? Remember why you're doing whatever it is you're doing. Set your goals and keep to them. For me, it's the animals. Even when I don't want to work out, I remember that it's not about what I want; it's about what the animals want: the right to live. I am an active vessel for voiceless.
What do you like best about being vegan? I get to save lives! I love being able to wake up and go to bed every day knowing that I did my absolute best to inflict little or no harm upon anyone living being. I have a clean conscience and cleaner hands. The health and fitness aspects of the vegan lifestyle are a definite plus, too. I also can access my superpowers sometimes. What do you like best about being fit? I feel and look great. I am able to demonstrate the vegan lifestyle in the best light possible. It is also influential to those seeking a healthier and more active lifestyle. Leading by example is what I do best, especially for veganism.
What advice do you have for people who are just starting out with training? Consistency is key and so is form. No, changes won't happen immediately, but they will happen, given you have a plan set out for you. No one ever said that everything worth doing was easy. Actually, anything worth doing often comes with a price (time, energy, commitment, etc.). Don't get discouraged if you don't see results right away. It's a time game. What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming vegan? Know in your heart that it is the single-most compassionate, kindest, and best thing you can do for the animals, the planet, and for yourself. Put your conscience before your palate. Essentially, the tastes you've come to enjoy are all based on perception and your taste buds' ability to adapt to a change in taste. And most importantly, in order to continue living, you don't have to stop someone else's need and desire to live. You CAN live without animal products. What motivates you in life? In life, knowing that I do my absolute best to inflict the least amount of harm on anyone or anything Also, seeing happiness in the lives of others motivates me. I am an extremely empathetic and vicarious person; I feed off of the emotions of others. That's why seeing everyone happy means a great deal to me...because I feel happy, literally. I also find ways to generate motivation in the littlest of ways. Oh, and food definitely motivates me in life.
What do you think of veganbodybuilding.com? Has it helped or inspired you? Veganbodybuilding.com was one of my first resources for competition training. I found the advice people gave extremely beneficial. I have gotten to know Robert Cheeke on a personal basis and he is what set this train in motion. So glad he started this. Do you have any other thoughts you'd like to share? Ultimately, things are what you make them out to be. I choose to put animals before myself so that my sights are always clear and set. For others, they may choose to put themselves before the animals and that sometimes distorts people's goals.
Name: Christy Morgan Year of Birth: 1979 Height: 5'3 Weight: 106 Birthplace: Dallas, TX Current Residence: Austin, TX Sports: lifting weights, HIIT, yoga, biking, swimming, running, kickboxing, rock climbing
Tell us a little about yourself, what you do for a living, what hobbies / interests / passions you have. I'm a vegan chef, educator and cookbook author known as “The Blissful Chef”. In January 2013 I launched an online wellness program with Chad Byers called Wellness Reboot. I love cooking and teach others how to cook delicious, healthy meals with private cooking instruction, my blog, cooking videos and cooking demos at festivals across the nation.
Why did you become vegan? I went vegetarian in 2002 as an experiment to see if I could do it. My best friend in college was vegetarian and I often ate veggie burgers and fake chicken nuggets so it seemed like a natural progression. It wasn't until I moved to Los Angeles, 3 months later, that I went vegan overnight after watching the horrific video on PETA about the meat and dairy industries. I honestly had no idea what was happening. All I knew is that I didn't want to contribute to the violence and death anymore. It was one of the best decisions I've made in my life.
When and why did you become interested in fitness? In college I took a yoga class and played racquetball but I never did sports growing up. It wasn't until post-30 that I decided to get into shape and see what I was capable of doing. I signed up for my first sprint triathlon in September 2011 and will be doing an Olympic triathlon in September 2013.
How would you describe your nutrition program? I eat 5-6 small meals throughout the day every 2-3 hours. In training mode I eat all whole food plant-based with one fun meal a week where I eat out at one of my favorite restaurants. I try to stay away from processed food, sugar, and alcohol whenever possible, but I know how to splurge on a cupcake or fried “chicken” sandwich. As a chef, I'm always creating new things in the kitchen for myself, my blog, and for the meal plans for Wellness Reboot. If you follow me on Instagram and Twitter I post photos of what I'm eating.
How would you describe your training program? I used to do a ton of cardio to train for my triathlon, but now I'm more focused on weight-training and building muscle. So I weight train 5x a week and do anywhere from 2 to 4 hours of cardio throughout the week. Once the show is over in July I will re-focus on triathlon training and up my swimming, running, and biking all 2 times a week (so about 6 days of training at least 2 hours).
What are some common misconceptions about veganism? That it's difficult, too expensive, you won't get enough nutrients and protein; I've heard every excuse possible. But what I encourage people to do is to take baby steps if you can't go 100% overnight. It's better to do something than do nothing.
What advice do you have for people who are just starting out with veganism or training? Start by adding in more plants and whole foods while you move away from dairy and meat. Think about the amazing array of plant foods you can eat rather than focusing on the very few things that you can't eat. Learn to cook your own food by getting in the kitchen with some good vegan cookbooks and experimenting. You may have a few failures but learning how to cook is the key to your success with a vegan diet!
Do you have any other thoughts you'd like to share? I was already vegan when I started getting serious about fitness and training and I am shocked at what my body can do. Quicker recovery, longer and harder workouts, I've put on more muscle that I thought I would be able to as a woman. Eating a plant-based diet is a not so well kept secret to having the best performance ever. So if you are an athlete I encourage you to give a whole foods vegan diet a try for a good 6 months (with the help of a professional and this website) to reap the benefits!!
Name: Claudia Cuellar Age: 37 DOB 2/28/70 I can't wait to be 38! Height: 5'2" Weight: 125 lbs (figure contest weight 115 lbs) Birthplace: Chicago, IL USA Current Residence: Chicago! Sports: Figure Competitor, Bikram yoga, squash, rock climbing/bouldering, dance
Why did you become vegan?
It has been a two year evolution and it goes something like this; From an early age I was involved in sports and fitness and grew up on SAD - Standard American Diet and firmly believed that muscle came from animal protein, dairy and whey/casein products like Met-Rx, Designer Protein, EAS, Muscle Milk, Russian Bear 5000, etc. (just kidding, I never did RB5K but I have tried almost every protein supplement out there!). In 2005, I was introduced to the work Dr. Hans Diehl and the CHIP program (Coronary Health Improvement Project www.chip.com) which led me to the work of T. Colin Campbell and his China Study www.thechinastudy.com and Dr. Dean Ornish and his Program for Reversing Heart Disease. I then became interested in making some huge lifestyle changes in the way of diet (eliminating dairy and meat) and thought it would be a good idea to do a detox. I did an amazing month-long detox program with Karyn Calabrese www.karynraw.com who has the longest standing raw food restaurant in the US (she opened six months before Juliano) and is 60 years old and has been vegan for 37 years and raw for 17, and she is GORGEOUS and SEXY! So I'm like, OK I want to be gorgeous and sexy at 60 too - I am going to do whatever Karyn tells me to do! Though I was very interested in looking gorgeous and sexy and in long term health and disease prevention, I was not totally convinced that the plant based diet could support athletic performance and muscle development and held on to egg whites and fish for protein supplementation. UNTIL.... I was walking through a Whole Foods Market, came across an endcap of Vega product www.myvega.com and saw the cool logo and Brendan's picture and I thought, Whoa, this stuff looks awesome! When I read Brendan's story and I tried the product, I TOTALLY FELL IN LOVE. Brendan and Vega opened up a whole new world for me where being vegan could be athletic and strong and very very cool - it seemed like anything was possible! Finally, I could compete in figure and nourish and build my body in a healthy/positive/optimal way AND foster long term health and disease prevention.
When and why did you become interested in fitness?
Fitness, sports and any movement based/kinsthetic activity has been my primary passion since I was a child. I was always running and jumping and riding and throwing and hitting and catching and hanging and climbing, WHENEVER I had the chance. I was a gymnast and an ice skater and played on multiple sports teams in grade school, high school and college. It was in college that I discovered the movies, Pumping Iron and Pumping Iron 2, The Women, and my life was changed forever. Rachel McLish was/is the Ultimate Woman and Role Model for me, an icon for female athletes of all types, not just bodybuilders. She embodies strength and feminity, poise, discipline, toughness and yet still a certain softness, the softness that comes from being a woman. From that point forward, the gym was my home, the place where I became strong and created my body, where it was OK to be a girl and lift heavy weights - and I loved hanging out with big muscular dudes! There is nothing like the camaraderie, mutual respect, support and friendship that happens in the hard core/free weight section of a gym. The bigger the muscles, the louder the grunts and the more noise made from dropping big weights, well, that's the place for me. Finally in November 2006, after 16 years of training and trying to find my own path, I walked on stage in my first figure competition at the age of 36 and I did it vegan and raw. It was the proudest moment of my life. I came in 4th place (better posing technique could have gotten me 3rd place) out of 8 girls in both the novice and open divisions - pretty cool for my first competition - and I did it my way! Now that I have my first competition under my belt, I really know what to do for the next one - May 8, 2008 at the Heart of America Natural Classic www.hoanaturalclassic.com
How would you describe your nutrition program?
Vegan and raw, comprised mostly of Vega Chocolate meal replace and salads. My nutritional approach also includes Ionized water (pH 10.0), coconut water, Chlorella and Spirulina (tablet) and Barley Grass (powder), Vega EFA Oil, coconut oil, avocados, dulce, maca, goji berries, fruits, greens, nuts, seeds, sprouts, bananas, dates and of course raw cacao!
When not competing, I do one to two Vega shakes a day, one big salad a day and a couple of snacks. Closer to competition (about 8 weeks out), I eat 5-6 smaller meals on a more structured time schedule, every 2.5 to 3 hours, alternating between 1/2 servings of Chocolate Vega with 1 teaspoon of Vega EFA Oil and chlorella/spirulina tablets (5 tablets @ 500 miligrams = 2,500 miligrams or 2.5 grams). I have one big salad a day and try to be more diligent about ionized water intake throughout the day as well.
How would you describe your training program?
In a word, multidisciplinary. Traditional strength training, functional training, bodyweight training, plyometrics, cardio in the form of running, cycling/spin classes, dance and squash and offloading/recovery activities include yoga, swimming, Power Plate and inversions/inversion table work. Since my next figure competition is on May 3, 2008, this gives me a nice 16 week cycle to work with. I will do more cardio and leaning the first month, build more the second month, tweak specific body parts the third month and practice posing/stage presence and nourish on a very very tight schedule the last few weeks leading up to competition. Sleep is an important part of my training as well.
What kind of supplements do you use if any, and why?
Vega, which isn't supplement but just milled whole food. My lifestyle is very active and busy and I don't really want to think/worry about food all day. I do Vega Chocolate meal replace as a snack or meal in the am and/or lunch or after training. It is a great blend of hemp protein, brown rice protein, yellow pea protein, Omega 3 and 6, fiber, vitamins/minerals, probiotics, digestive enzymes, maca and chlorella. It is not just protein or greens but a really nice balance of all the things I need to nourish, build and help my body recover from training. I also love taking chlorella, spriulina, barley grass for added chlorophyll and protein.
What are some common misconceptions about veganism?
Ask me two years ago what I thought about vegans and I would have thought of a non-athletic person, skinny fat, no muscle with yoga being their only athletic endeavor possible. I grew up very traditionally and in a hard core athletic and gym environment. I loved hanging around with plate heads and big muscular dudes. I worship Arnold and Rachel and Cory and Kiana. I never thought being vegan and having muscles could ever go together.
What do you think the most important aspect of fitness is?
The most important thing is EVERYTHING you do. Fitness includes exercise, nutrition, flexibility work/yoga, adequate sleep, adequate hydration, positive mental attitude, meditation, visualization/intention.
What do you like best about being vegan?
The way I feel and look. I really feel great and I look better than ever - I can't wait to be 40! For the first time in my life, I have confidence in who I am as a person, inside and out.
What do you like best about being fit?
The confidence that it gives me. I want to be an inspiration to women, to show them that they can use strength training to be strong on the outside which builds confidence on the inside. Exercise/strength training/being in the gym BUILDS CONFIDENCE!
What are your strengths as an athlete?
My strength as an athlete is that I LOVE being an athletic/kinesthetic person. Training for me is FUN - anytime I am moving/challenging/pushing my body, I am HAPPY. When it comes to fitness/sports/exercise/training, I LOVE IT ALL!!!!
What advice do you have for vegan athletes who are just starting out?
Find a vegan athlete you admire and follow their example - for me it was Brendan Brazier, his example and experience was such an inspiration for me. Find your vegan role model!
What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming vegan?
Read two books; by Brendan Brazier, Thrive Diet (www.thrivediet.com) and T. Colin Campbell, The China Study (www.thechinastudy.com). Those two books have had the most influence on me and leave very little room for doubt without being freaky or preachy.
What motivates you to continue to be a successful vegan athlete?
In the world of figure competition, to show that it's possible to compete in a healthy positive way and not abuse the body through crash dieting, dehydration and acidic foods which acheive the short term stage result but with long term physiological damage.
How has the website www.veganbodybuilding.com helped or inspired you?
To know that there is a community of vegan athletes out there that are setting an example and inspiring others and providing a network of support for each other. Thank you Robert for creating this website and community!
Name: Claudia Lailhacar Age: 38 Height: 5'4" Weight: Competing -118lbs — off season 125lbs Birthplace: Chile Current Residence: Vancouver, B.C. Sports: Figure Competitor, Weight lifting and yoga website: www.claudialailhacar.com
Why did you become vegan? I wanted to make a difference, do something for the environment, animals and my health.
When and why did you become interested in fitness? I have always been involved in Fitness — Gymnastics at a very young age, Track in high school and have been lifting weights since I was 18. Why? It makes me feel GREAT..physically and emotionally.
How would you describe your nutrition program? I am a strict Vegan, So I make sure my diet is a balanced and healthy one. I eat 6 meals a day, most consist of veggies and some complex carbs and protein. My protein comes from beans, veggies, nuts , tofu, veggie meats. During pre competition, my protein comes from mostly shakes.
How would you describe your training program? I lift weights 4 times a week and cardio 3 times. Add in yoga when I feel the need to connect I also walk to work daily which is a total of 7 miles a day.
What kind of supplements do you use if any, and why? I take a multivitamins because no matter how well I eat I thing we all need it.
What are some common misconceptions about veganism? That we are unhealthy, iron deficient and cannot build muscle : (
What do you think the most important aspect of fitness is? Enjoying it! You need to find something that you enjoy and will stick to. It can be fun and it makes a world of a difference to your health and mind. It makes a happier you.
What do you like best about being vegan? Cruelty free life,. I can live in harmony without hurting anything..including our environment. Feeling like a million bucks! : )
What do you like best about being fit? The way I feel inside and the way I look on the outside. Having all the energy in the world.
What are your strengths as an athlete? I am very committed..diet and training. When my head is in it..I go all the way giving it 110%.
What advice do you have for vegan athletes who are just starting out? You can do it!! Just educate yourself..knowledge is everything. Eat clean and balanced. Ask other Vegans who have been doing it for a while...we are friendly and helpful people : )
What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming vegan? Same as above — Educate yourself..Not all Vegans are healthy ones. You need to provide your body with all the essential nutrients it needs to run like a perfect machine.
What motivates you to continue to be a successful vegan athlete? My accomplishments, my future accomplishments and the recognition I get from other Athletes.
How has the website www.veganbodybuilding.com helped or inspired you? Yes! It's great to know there are others out there just like me!
Name: Cory McCarthy Year of Birth: 1981 Height: 6'0” Weight: 197 lbs. Birthplace: Camphill, PA Current Residence: New York, NY Sports: Bodybuilding and martial arts Tell us a little about yourself, what you do for a living, what hobbies / interests / passions you have. I currently work for a financial institution in NYC, and I am a budding fitness model on the side. Beyond this, I practice martial arts (24-years of involvement in Japanese forms), and I am an artist (illustration, writing, music).
Why did you become vegan? I was a Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian for the longest time, when I realized I had intolerances (however slight) to dairy and/or eggs. So, I eliminated both from my diet, as I had done with gluten. Made ALL the difference in my performance and physique.
When and why did you become interested in fitness? Always have had some level of interest. Began with martial arts (Okinawan Karate) at the age of eight. I caught the “Bodybuilding Bug” in autumn 2009; when I became more interested in adding size... not just strength and fitness.
How would you describe your nutrition program? I eat a keto-style diet. High-fat, high-protein, low-carb. I eat this way 6 days out of 7, with a carb re-feed day once a week (every 5-7 days) for 6-8 hours straight (keeping insulin spiked for that time frame is key). The re-feed is for stimulating leptin. This is mostly for shedding body fat and maintaining those lower-levels. When I want to bulk, I load-up on carbs in the evenings, but continue to eat keto-style *until* post-workout. This method / timing of eating trains my body to rely on fat stores for energy. Sort of a re-programming, if you will. One of my favorite low-carb, high-protein, high-fat snacks looks like this: 3 1/4 scoops of Raw Protein by Garden of Life (the Vanilla-Chai flavor) 1 tbsp. of coconut oil 2 1/4 to 5 1/4 tbsp. of finely ground flaxseeds Mix in filtered water to taste (until desired texture is reached) ...I call this “carb-free oatmeal”, due to the consistency. It is quite bland, but quick and efficient. I also eat a lot of green salads w/ mushrooms, nut butters, nuts and seeds. My low-carb days are pretty regimented and consistent. Not too interesting, but I eat for results most days... not pleasure. I get some enjoyment on my weekly carb-feeding — enough to satisfy any cravings I may have accumulated during the low-carb week. On my carb-feedings, I load up on white rice covered in maple syrup and/or jams like blueberry and tart cherry. I also eat a lot of white or yellow sweet corn. I tend to finish off a carb-feeding (last meal) with some fresh-baked Vegan cookies, which I use coconut oil in place of margarine. In fact, I rely heavily on coconut oil. It is a medium-chain triglyceride. The body uses it efficiently for energy, and it cannot be easily stored as fat. Coconut oil is ~60% MCT.
How would you describe your training program? Standard bodybuilding split. 3-5 days of lifting, per week. 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps, per exercise, occasionally going as low as 6 reps. I cycle in intensifiers every 4-8 weeks: drops, rest-pauses, eccentrics, burns, etc. I try to keep overall volume to 24 working sets (not counting warm-up sets) or less, in total, per workout. For cardio, I rely on martial arts, and sometimes will add 3 days of HIIT per week.
What are some common misconceptions about veganism? The big one: not getting enough protein. I'd say my body proves that AIN'T a problem. HAHA!
What advice do you have for people who are just starting out with veganism or training? As with anything... have belief in yourself and what you do, have conviction and KEEP AT IT! Results and good habits aren't formed overnight — they take time and practice.
Do you have any other thoughts you'd like to share? EDUCATE YOURSELF! If you enjoy bodybuilding and fitness, learn all there is to know about exercise, nutrition and supplementation. There is no knowledge that is NOT power. The more you know the more confident and successful you will become.
Name: Crew Spence Year of Birth: 1983 Height: 5' 11" Weight: 160 lb Birthplace: Cleveland, OH Current Residence: Austin, TX Sports: professional wrestling
Introduce yourself! I've got about a decade's experience in professional wrestling. I am a professional dating coach, and I am also a certified fitness trainer. I've dedicated my personal and professional life to helping other people live well. When I'm not working I like to spend time with my lovely girlfriend and the dog we adopted.
Why did you become vegan? I initially considered vegetarianism because my cousin said it would improve my endurance. I decided to experiment with an ovo-lacto vegetarian diet, but two weeks into the trial I learned about the animal liberation movement. I was immediately convinced to give up animal products altogether. Luckily it's the healthiest way to live!
I first learned about the Animal Liberation movement by reading Peter Singer's book, Animal Liberation. The most powerful part of his argument was the equal consideration of interests. I realized that the line of reasoning I used to defend my use of animal products was the same used by racists, sexists, and other bigots. If I continued to discriminate based on species I was indirectly supporting other forms of prejudice.
When and why did you become interested in fitness? I became interested in fitness when I turned 16. I wanted to be a professional wrestler, but I only weighed 125 pounds. I knew that I'd have to build a muscular physique. I managed to put an extra 60 pounds not my frame within a few years. I've since competed at various weights, but my interest in fitness has only become stronger.
How would you describe your nutrition program? My nutritional program depends largely on my goal. If I'm trying to gain size I eat way more food. No matter what I'm looking to do I always try to get most of my calories from whole foods. I limit my supplementation to only a few essentials like an organic pea or rice protein powder, creatine, sublingual b12, and a few others. My diet has a lot of variety in it, but there are a couple of things that I do everyday. I start each morning with a blender full of fruits, vegetables, and water. It's delicious and gives me the vitamins and minerals I need to stay healthy and strong. I also eat an astronomical amount of beans, rice, and quinoa. I work to get most of my nutrition from whole foods as opposed to protein supplements and various pills.
How would you describe your training program? I enjoy lifting weights, but I also try to do a lot of functional exercises. It's important that my program leaves me flexible so I can perform complicated and dangerous maneuvers in the ring. I'm a big fan of doing various exercises with a weight vest.
In my training I do a lot of the traditional things you'd expect from a wrestler. I'm no stranger to squats, deadlifts, and bench press. But some of the things that might surprise you are my love of running, bodyweight exercises, and my growing fascination with yoga. I believe in keeping yourself functional. It's great to look good naked, but what does it matter if you can't use your body?
What are some common misconceptions about veganism? There's always the question, "Where do you get your protein?" I think another common misunderstanding about veganism is that we have few food choices. This is simply untrue. My diet probably contains a larger variety of foods than most omnivores.
What advice do you have for people who are just starting out with veganism or training? If you're becoming a vegan it's important to ignore the insecurities and ignorance of others. People are going to tell you that it isn't healthy. Science is not on their side. A healthy vegan diet can change your life and athletic performance for the better. Remember to stay focused, and create a solid structure for your program. That will help you to follow through with your goals. Too many people just go to the gym and hit a couple of machines with no results. You need to have a plan not only for the exercises that you will do, but also for your diet and recovery.
Name: Dalila Eshe Year of Birth: 1984 Height: 6'3” Weight: 180 Birthplace: California Current Residence: Florida Sports: Basketball, beach volleyball Social Media: Instagram: dalilaeshe twitter: deshe2 Website(s): sportsholisticnutrition.com E-mail: [email protected]
Tell us a little about yourself, what you do for a living, what hobbies / interests / passions you have Im a professional basketball player.. Going in to my 8th year pro. I played college ball for the University of Florida and was a WNBA draft pick in 2006 to Seattle Storm. I have played 7 years internationally... I am very passionate about fitness, nutrition and coaching. I love adventure sports and anything where the beach is involved. I have aspirations to retire from pro-basketball and venture in to professional beach volleyball.
Why did you become vegan? (What were the contributing factors was there anything in particular which made you aware or changed your way of thinking etc?) I was born and raised vegan until I was about 9-10.. When we moved to Florida from California I think honestly the southern stereotypes and pressure made me want to fit in a little more. (smh) I have only ever eaten fish and chicken. And recently, although over the years I have barely eaten much meat, something finally set in and I was completely done without a second thought. My heart literally hurts for the animals that are abused in our culture and around the world. When I actively think about it, it truly saddens me. I could not longer be a part of that. In addition to any contribution I can make to cleaning up our world.
When and why did you become interested in fitness? I have been an athlete all my life. Played basketball, volleyball, and ran track. And before then was always a very active kid.. It's been a part of me since I can remember. I love the human body in all shapes and forms and find it quite amazing how when can sculpt it they way we want.
How would you describe your nutrition program? I limit my processed foods. So for me breads and sweat potato chips (which I loveeeee) lol. And try to incorporate as many whole raw foods as possible. A typical day for me is Warm lemon water first thing in the morning to aid in digestion Then about 32ounces of green smoothie My favorite is: Spinach, kale, celery, 1banana, 1/2 cup blueberries, and a cup or 2 of water and some ice About and hr later I have a cup of steel cut oats with a tbsp. of maple syrup, walnuts, and cinnamon Maybe also some scrambled tofu with veggies depending on hunger level Then I go workout, if I'm hungry at all during workouts I have a date or 2 Immediately after workouts I have an apple If I'm really hungry I will add in a rice cake with almond butter 30minutes to an hr .. Post workout meal will be: Quinoa and edamame mixed together so good a salad I add avocado on the salad squeeze a fresh lemon and add some apple cider vinegar Dinner A sweat potato, 3/4 cup black beans with steamed veggies and a salad Before bed I typical have a protein shake with hlf rice milk/ hlf water. Vega brand .... Love Bredan Brazier and his products
How would you describe your training program? Depends on the season: In the off season: I lift 6 days a week diff muscle groups and do 45mins to and hr of cardio a day. Each day it is different sometimes I just do cardio machines other days I ride my bike or go for a trail run (I cant run on pavement) Once every couple weeks I will swim laps for cardio My lifting concentration in the off-season is bulking up because I loose muscle mass during the long stretch of a basketball season About a month before I had back to play I'm on 2-a-days schedule. So typically cardio and weights in the a.m. and then at night I do a 45minute court workout. During the season we practice 2xs a day the entire season and I lift full body 2-3 times a week concentration on maintaining the best I can.. I will do a lot of core work and a little extra cardio here and there depending on how I'm feeling.
What kind of supplements do you use if any, and why? I just learned I should be taking possibly B12 and I'm going to research that a little more. I don't take any supplements. Supplements cause acidity in your body and if you're eating a balanced diet you don't really need them. I do drink protein shakes specifically from the Vega line.
How do people react when they find out you are vegan? In the basketball world my teammates just tell me I'm weird lol. Then they come around later and start asking me questions about it. Typically I think they are curious just their initial reaction is a little off. After a while they admire it and I think they try to be a little more health conscious around me lol.
What are some common misconceptions about veganism? You don't get enough protein You can't maintain your energy level and perform well on the court Or my favorite lol... Your going to become too thin.
Have you had success in promoting veganism / vegetarianism to others? If so, how did you go about it? Yes.. I think mostly to friends and teammates because they watch me and ask a lot of questions. It is so rewarding when I see some of them adopting good habits. I know it's a process for a lot of people. It's important to remember the first step is progress. I always tell my friends to first just add a tone more veggies to their diet.
What do you think the most important aspect of training is? Clean eating first and form most.. And then as an athlete I've been training for so many years it's easy for my body to go in coast mode. So its very important to switch things up. Keep it interesting and continue to push outside of your comfort zone.
What do you like best about being vegan? I like feeing l light and energetic. What do you like best about being fit? There is something so powerful about being strong and in particular being a strong female. What advice do you have for people who are just starting out with training? Just be consistent.. On the days you don't want to workout those are the days you have to push the hardest. What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming vegan? Your body will thank you. What motivates you in life? Loving the pursuit.. I love the pursuit of goals and challenges.. You can not only want the end product or just the results. You have to enjoy the journey otherwise you will never make it to the end.
What do you think of veganbodybuilding.com? Has it helped or inspired you? I love reading other athletes and bodybuilders pages and bios. There sample meals always give me new ideas. And there are some gorgeous bodes that are plant powered its great to see! Do you have any other thoughts you'd like to share? There is a new wave in fitness and sports with Vegan athletes and it's a stepping-stone I think to making society more aware and conscious. Trends start with athletes and this is one trend I hope sustains.
Name: Dallas McCulloch Date of Birth: 4/30/1986 Height: 6' Weight: 155 lbs. Birthplace: Battle Creek, MI Current Residence: Grand Rapids, MI Sports: Yoga, Triathlons, Biking, Running, Skateboarding Tell us a little about yourself, what you do for a living, what hobbies / interests / passions you have. I'm a recovering alcoholic, I am currently enrolled in school to be a yoga teacher. I work service industry and work the desk at a yoga studio in Grand Rapids to support myself, I also sing and play bass in a pop punk band called This is the Year (facebook.com/thisistheyearMI) and love going on tour where I eat awesome vegan food all over. I love punk rock, cooking, ethnic food, bikes, yoga, left wing politics, Detroit Sports, traveling, dumb comedies, mopeds, and learning about history/ geography.
Why did you become vegan? I became vegan in the summer of 2009, I had been a vegetarian since I was 16 back in 2002 and had always liked the idea of veganism but never acted upon it. I went through a bad breakup and watched the ex become self destructive, I decided it was time for me to do the opposite and become fully vegan and I have been ever since. I always knew it was a better way to live, I just lacked the will power to do it until 2009 and since then I never looked back. I have always been against animal exploitation and only through a vegan diet can you avoid it, regardless of what words like "organic, green, local, environmentally friends, etc." is thrown on meat, dairy, eggs, etc. at the end of the day meat is murder, and dairy is rape any way you look at it. Since becoming vegan I have gotten down to the lowest weight and body fat percent of my adult life, I have my blood pressure exactly where it should be when it used to be hypertensive, and I sleep at night just fine knowing I'm ethically making the right decision. It's good to know that the healthiest diet is also the more environmentally friendly and the most ethical, and it doesn't hurt that all of my food tastes amazing too. When and why did you become interested in fitness? I started running or working out occasionally in 2009, largely to try to counter the destruction being on tour was doing to my body. At the age of 21 I had stage two hypertension, despite being a somewhat thin junk food vegetarian. I also have a history of heart problems, diabetes, hypertension in my family, and I figured I should try to overcome those genetic flaws. I became very involved with fitness in the summer of 2012 where I was in a rough spot in my life and decided to start doing yoga a lot, and also running and doing some weight training from time to time. January 2013 I returned home from a trip to Scotland where I decided to make a few major changes. Realizing I'm an alcoholic I cut the drinking significantly, got out of a long term relationship, and decided to start playing music again and working out constantly. Eventually I went 100% sober and have been for a few months now, went from being a total drunk to a triathlete in yoga school over a period of a few months.
How would you describe your nutrition program? My food is largely based around the farmer's market, Michigan has a crazy amount of diversity in our agricultural products and the city of Grand Rapids is a mecca for vegan food. I try to keep a pretty balanced diet of small meals with whole ingredients in general, but definitely load up on protein post weight lifting and get my carbs in the morning. I also used to get 1000 of calories every week from alcohol, cutting that has helped me more than anything.
How would you describe your training program? I do yoga (mostly vinyasa) 4 days a week, run a lot when training for a race, and hit the weights about 3 or 4 days a week... but lately with yoga teacher training the weighs and running have become secondary. I also do a lot of walking and biking since I live in the city. I don't like running crazy distances but I keep consistent with listening to hardcore and doing some medium speed runs throughout the week. I also try to time out my yoga sessions to be after doing heavy lifting, helps my rebound time.
What are some common misconceptions about veganism? I'm originally from a very blue collar town in Michigan where most people don't know what veganism is, but if I explain it to them they think I must be sick, unhealthy, and on a steady diet of twigs. They don't realize I'm healthier than 95% of Americans, I eat a wider range of food in a week then most Americans do in their lives, and I love my life. In my neighborhood things are pretty liberal and accepting, but some people think I'm an elitist or some yuppie because I'm a physically active vegan when I really don't think that's true. I figure leading by example is the best way to win people over, not being a condescending asshole.
What advice do you have for people who are just starting out with veganism or training? Keep your food simple, Amy's or Boca is fine and all, but it's expensive and usually not that great for you or as great tasting as cooking from scratch. If you go to the farmer's market and buy pretty much anything, you can make a really easy, cheap, and healthy soup or veggie hash out of it, and if you prep a crazy quantity it'll last you for a week. I also think that punk rock/ hardcore music has helped me a lot, getting into a lot of bands like Propagandhi, Strike Anywhere, Death is not Glamorous, Gorilla Biscuits, Youth of Today, etc. kind of helps reinforce my ideas and help me stay motivated. There's no motivation to keep pumping iron or to keep running hard than having some straight edge vegan dude yelling positive things at you, it's like having your own coach for the price of a record.
Do you have any other thoughts you'd like to share? Whoever said giving a s*** isn't punk rock clearly doesn't know what they're talking about, living well, questioning the status quo of modern medicine/ food production, and taking direct action in your own life is the most hardcore punk rock thing you can do.
Name: Dannii Simone Year of Birth: 1985 Height: 5”7 Weight: 116 Birthplace: Bulgaria Current Residence: Austria Sports: Insanity, Speed Walking, Boxing Social Media: https://www.facebook.com/danni.simone Twitter: @SimoneDannii E-mail: [email protected]
Tell us a little about yourself, what you do for a living, what hobbies / interests / passions you have I love sports and have been sporty all my life, but during college years I stopped working out and got out of shape. Now I am back to working out and I feel great. I like watching movies and shows with friends, eating healthy and doing yoga.
Why did you become vegan? I had been a vegetarian for 14 years and mostly the reason behind it was the ethical reason of not eating animals. Naturally this year I felt even more disgusted and bothered so I decided to quit the dairy and eggs as well. I have never felt better. When and why did you become interested in fitness? I like to have a great and healthy body, so I am not that crazy about having big muscles, just a tight body and small muscles is fine for me. I never wanted to have loose body and this is why I exercise as much as I can. How would you describe your nutrition program? My diet is mostly around 80-90% raw vegan diet, which means I try to avoid meals that are cooked over 118F. This can be difficult in the beginning but it is a matter of getting used to it. I'm not saying it's bad to eat cooked meal, what I'm saying is try to reduce it, since it doesn't contain the enzymes you need. Before every meal I have a glass of water, since most of the times you think you are hungry, you are actually just thirsty.
I start in the morning either with fruits (anything is fine) or with raw muesli with grain milk (almond, rice, coconut are other types) because breakfast is the most important. Remember if you eat fruits, to eat them on an empty stomach and NEVER after a meal. The simple sugars contained in fruit need time to be completely absorbed by your body. When fruits are eaten alone, your stomach can more easily process all of the nutrients, fiber and the simple sugars contained in the fruit. If you eat fruit close to a meal, especially right after a larger meal and combine with other foods, it's held in the stomach too long along with other foods and will rot and ferment in the gut.
After breakfast around noon or 1pm I eat my meal, which is a kale salad (high in protein) containing kidney beans, green peas, cherry tomatoes, avocado, raw sesames and pour it with Sesame Oil. You can change the vegetables, just remember greens are more alkaline and contain more proteins. I quit using normal oil just because it's not cold pressed and not that healthy. You can use either Olive Oil, Sesame Oil or other cold pressed.
Dinner I keep very light and try not to eat heavy anymore. But I think if for some reason you skipped lunch or ate something or are just hungry, I would eat a small salad again or black bread with some lettuce etc. on top to fill your stomach. Don't overdo it. End your day with hot tea or hot water. Yes I do eat sweets once a while, it won't kill you e.g. before a workout.
How would you describe your training program? I have done Insanity by Shaun T for a year now (even though it's made for 60days) and combine a muscle work as well. I try to do the Insanity in the morning, and included a whole body muscle work to tighten my body after work. For me this works fine and I try to change things so that my muscle don't get used to same routine. I like walking to I try to walk home from work which is about 4.3miles. I have thought of trying out some other Shaun T programs, such as T24. What kind of supplements do you use if any, and why? I don't use any supplements. How do people react when they find out you are vegan? The best question always is “where do you get your protein”? Suddenly they become the protein experts. Also now I'm a freak of nature, and a hippie who's hugging trees, just a weirdo. But this only makes me smile; I don't get offended because they just don't get it. I'd rather be healthy and not eat other animals. And they call them “mankind” ? What are some common misconceptions about veganism? I think people think vegans belong to some cult or associate it with negativity, which for me is strange. They also keep telling it's unhealthy!! This is the most ridiculous thing I've heard.
Have you had success in promoting veganism / vegetarianism to others? If so, how did you go about it? I post a lot of information and pictures/videos on my Facebook and Twitter to raise awareness. I follow PETA and am part of their Activist Campaign. I've created my own Vegan blog now which I hope grows more so I can continue to Instagram.
What do you think the most important aspect of training is? To do it frequently and better in the mornings rather late evening. What suits you best. For each it's different. What do you like best about being vegan? The feeling of being a great person and supporting the life of animals. The fact that it makes me feel so much lighter than before and I can see my skin feel better. I feel calmer as a vegan and more positive and happy and many friends have said I ooze happiness and glow.
What do you like best about being fit? My motto is “your body is your temple” and I believe being fit makes you feel great. Don't treat your body as garbage and take care of it. The more you do the healthier you are, also with flus and colds.
What advice do you have for people who are just starting out with training? Remember to stretch and breath a lot. Start with what you can and slowly increase the amounts. If you can, do it early in the day.
What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming vegan? I motivate you to change to vegan. Think of how healthy you will be. If you're vegetarian, it will be easier to go vegan, but if you are a meat eater and you want to completely change, maybe try first being a vegan for a week, and see how you feel. I promise you the feeling is amazing!
What motivates you in life? Happy people and sports. I like to be surrounded with good energy so I tend to keep away from negative people. My goals in life motivate me to achieve them. Anything is possible, you just need a little push J What do you think of veganbodybuilding.com? Has it helped or inspired you? I have never tried bodybuilding, but I find it very fascinating and inspiring. Unfortunately I'm working too much and therefore I don't have time for a gym, but I would like to transfer my body even more muscular.
Do you have any other thoughts you'd like to share? Become part of something important in your life!
Tell us a little about yourself, what you do for a living, what hobbies / interests / passions you have
DAVE SHEAHAN is a plant based vegan triathlete, High Performance Coach and Founder “Go Vegan Grow” working with individuals and corporations in achieving sustained high performance and realising their full potential. Adopting and following a wholefood plant based lifestyle forms a major part of all of Dave´s coaching programs.
Coming from a bodybuilding and personal trainer background the idea of going vegan was not just alien but plain crazy up to 10 years ago when his son was born and his vegan wife decided he would be raised vegan. Watching his child's incredible development on a plant based vegan diet made Dave take notice and over a number of years researching he made nutritional changes until making the decision to adopt a 100% wholefood plant based diet on 1st January 2012. This also lead to Dave founding Go Vegan Grow which educates and supports both vegans and non vegans in successfully adopting a plant based lifestyle through books, trainings, membership site and events.
Competing as a Vegan Triathlete and working as a High Performance Coach means improved performance and recovery are of prime importance to Dave both personally and with his clients. In following and recommending a plant based lifestyle both areas have improved dramatically as well as Dave witnessing many health conditions, pains and injuries disappear as a result of nature's diet.
Dave is also the founder of Formula 4 Success, has also been a Body for Life Champion, Coach of Body For Life Champions 5 years running, NSCA International Competitions Coach For Ireland, shortlisted for UK Gladiators and has completed many events including the New York and Paris Marathons before putting his sole athletic focus on competing as a plant based triathlete.
Dave Sheahan has authored and co-authored many books and his 20+ year career so far also includes 10 Years owning and managing his own branded chain of fitness centres with over 50 staff and contractors and speaking at and running educational events all over the world.
Why did you become vegan?
I became interested in exploring the plant based lifestyle as I watched my son raised as a vegan. Then as I learned more I moved more plant based to see if improved recovery and performance as I had read and heard. Then after so much proof and knowledge from reading/watching/listening I made the decision to go 100% plant based vegan Jan 1st 2012
When and why did you become interested in fitness?
I have always played sports since about 7 years of age. I got into fitness specifically at 17 with my first visit to the gym and never left. I loved the impact it had on my own body and self image and then as a tool to help others achieve the same. For me being fit and healthy both mentally and physically is the catalyst for success in all areas of life
How would you describe your nutrition program?
Since 2015 I predominantly eat wholefood plant based vegan. Before that I consumed much more processed vegan food. These days I eat lots of fruit, grains ,pulses, beans and such Here is a typical day for me
Porridge(oatmeal) with various nuts, seeds, banana and strawberries/blueberries
4 slices of 5 seed bread with hummus, cucumber, tomato, lettuce, onion, olives pasta/rice with chickpeas/beans and lots of veg or could have rice or potatoes as a casserole or curry or tagine or pie.
Muesli with rice/wheat flakes and rice milk another smoothie as above
These would be a typical 6 meals I have most days but there will be other variations in what I will eat too. We are quite varied in what we eat
I eat good fats — avocado, nuts, seeds and oils. But control quantities too. Don't focus too much on how much protein getting in as know getting enough. Avoid junk food 5 or 6 days of the week and then the rest of time can have something if want as a treat. I drink only alkaline ionised water. Avoid processed foods majority of the time as mentioned
How would you describe your training program?
I exercise 6 days a week. Over the years it has varied in terms of what I do depending on what I am training for. These days (apart from off season) I train for triathlon so lots of cycling(both spinbike and road), running (treadmill and road) and swimming (open water only) as well as resistance training a few times a week and lots of yoga and flexibility work daily.
For cardio it is a mixture of HIIT interval type training and steady paced workouts as needs to be both for triathlon training. And for resistance usually intense like supersets or tri sets or circuit style. I do a lot of bodyweight exercises too.
What I actually do in each session will depend on what stage of the triathlon season I am at.
What kind of supplements do you use if any, and why?
I only use 3 supplements that are organic and natural and vegan — sevenpoint2 greens, shake and recovery — http://www.sevenpoint2.com/formula4success
How do people react when they find out you are vegan?
Nowadays because of the circles I am in there is not too much shock or negative reaction. When I first went vegan I got a lot of negativity and shock. But I just deal with it through education and awareness. I let people make their own informed decisions
What are some common misconceptions about veganism?
can't get enough protein. Cant build muscle. Athletes shouldnt'be vegan. Vegans are skinny weak and unhealthy. It is just a fad and cult. It is just propaganda and sensationalism.
Have you had success in promoting veganism / vegetarianism to others? If so, how did you go about it?
Yes. As a high performance coach with a global audience I am blessed to have the ability to spread the awareness around the world. Through Go Vegan Grow which I founded we educate and motivate people to adopt a plant based lifestyle. I and we have been instrumental in hundreds of people around the world changing to a plant based vegan lifestyle.. Also through webinars and our show The Go Vegan Grow Interview (had Robert Cheeke on a recent show) and offline events and our social media campaigns we are having a growing influence.
So I have success by raising awareness and education. These are the tools
What do you think the most important aspect of training is?
Recovery. Training is the stimulation. Nutrition and sleep are the recovery. You can train all you want but if not getting adequate recovery it is a waste of time and energy
What do you like best about being vegan?
How it makes me feel. So much energy. And as an athlete the incredible performance and recovery benefits I have experienced. I have never experienced better in my lifestyle. Also now with such awareness of what really goes on with food and food industry I feel good that I can impact peoples lives as well as those of animals and also the planet
What do you like best about being fit?
There is no better feeling than being able to do what you want and feeling energetic and vibrant and alert. It impacts all areas of life
What advice do you have for people who are just starting out with training?
Create a consistent routine. Don't jump in too fast. Start with a realistic target like 20 mins x 3 days a week. The key is creating a habit. And engage in activities you enjoy. Never do anyhting you actually hate.
What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming vegan?
Again make little steps in right direction. Don't run before you can walk. Start having more plant based meals replacing some meat based ones. Start educating yourself importantly reading books and watching videos and movies and follow the work of the most prominent leaders in the movement. Create new habits
What motivates you in life?
To make a difference in people's lives. Leave a legacy and to have done my little bit to make a difference
What do you think of veganbodybuilding.com? Has it helped or inspired you?
It is just fantastic and we are blessed to have this resource. It has inspired and educated me as it has done for thousands around the world. It gives a reference point too to show proof re vegan athletes of all kinds of discplines and sports