Name: Rachel Ngom
Year of Birth: 8/4/87
Birthplace: Wheaton, IL
Current Residence: St. Louis, MO
Sports: I played volleyball in college for the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, I am currently an online fitness coach and staying in shape myself!
Tell us a little about yourself, what you do for a living, what hobbies / interests / passions you have
Hi! My name is Rachel and I'm an online fitness coach and a business developer, as well as a full time graduate student. I have a big passion for staying fit, eating clean (and vegan!) and travelling! My favorite places to go so far have been in Africa, where I have lived in Kenya and Senegal, and ended up meeting my husband in Senegal =) There are tons of fun outdoor adventure things to do!
Why did you become vegan?
I initially became vegan for health reasons. My mother has had cancer 3 times, and all of my grandparents have died from cancer. I decided to do Melissa Costello's 30 day vegan cleanse (which is found at karmachow.com) and I was in an incredibly supportive group environment, where we all became very aware of the benefits of a vegan diet. I felt so great during that time that I just kept it up!
When and why did you become interested in fitness?
I've been interested in fitness since I was a kid. I played every sport imaginable growing up, and ended up playing volleyball competitively. I was able to compete in Italy and China, and our team won the Junior Olympics my senior year of high school. I got a full scholarship to the University of Illinois, and when I finished my volleyball career keeping up my fitness was just natural.
How would you describe your nutrition program?
It varies depending on my workout program at the time. I do count my calories and try to stay in a range for my activity levels, and I make sure to eat as many vegetables as possible!
How would you describe your training program?
It varies depending on how I'm feeling. I have suffered some pretty bad injuries from my volleyball career that have not healed, so I have to take it day by day. Some days I feel good and I'm able to go hard, others I back off and do something a bit milder. Right now I'm doing a mix of Les Mills Pump and Insanity so I'm getting a good amount of strength training and crazy cardio.
What kind of supplements do you use if any, and why?
Superfoods! I'm a big fan of Shakeology, and believe in superfoods ability to heal our body. I haven't gotten sick in over a year!
How do people react when they find out you are vegan?
Usually I get the question—“Where do you get your protein??” I take it as a great opportunity to educate others and share my passion!
What are some common misconceptions about veganism?
That we only eat grass! My husband is a meat eater and I'm trying to break him of this misconception—it takes time!
Have you had success in promoting veganism / vegetarianism to others? If so, how did you go about it?
I've gotten my parents and some of my friends to start adopting a more flexitarian diet. I have them educate themselves—through watching documentaries like Forks Over Knives and Food Matters.
What do you think the most important aspect of training is?
What do you like best about being vegan?
All of the yummy food! Also, knowing that I'm fueling my body with the best nutrition possible, and that I'm doing my part to help animals and the environment. It's a win win all the way around =)
What do you like best about being fit?
I love the feeling of pushing myself to the next level, and achieving something I didn't think I could do.
What advice do you have for people who are just starting out with training?
Don't do too much too soon—it's a recipe for disaster, and injury! Ease yourself into your program. It's better to do 20 minutes 5-6 days a week than one day of a 2 hour workout!
What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming vegan?
Educate yourself! There are so many vegans out there who load up on junk! Keep your diet as whole food plant based as possible, and eat as many greens as possible!
What motivates you in life?
Helping others push themselves and achieve success! It's a great feeling to train with someone and see them do something they didn't think they could.
What do you think of veganbodybuilding.com? Has it helped or inspired you?
I love it! It's a great resource for other vegans, and aspiring vegans! It proves that you don't have to eat meat to be in amazing physical shape.
Do you have any other thoughts you'd like to share?
I love staying in touch with other fitness minded people, so feel free to find me on facebook.