Hello, Everyone! Today I have a real treat for you…a guest post! Mattie Hernandez Horsley from Mattie’s Raw Fitness Beauty is sharing her experience at the recent Austin Naturally Fit Super Show. Enjoy!
Vegan & Bodybuilding…Is it really an Oxymoron???
On July 26 and 27, the city of Austin and the Naturally Fit Super Show were taken over by 15 Vegan competitors as they took the stage to prove that muscle can definitely be built on a vegan diet. The Plant Built Muscle Team was started in 2012 by Giacomo Marchese and Dani Taylor in order to bring Vegan Athletes together to compete in one location and to make a statement about the vegan lifestyle. Their vision came to fruition as the 15 competitors placed in 5 out of the 7 categories in the competition. The overall male and female winners were both from the Plant Built Muscle Team. It was really exciting to watch all the vegan muscle on stage and to see the victories at the end of the show.
I participated in the event as a spectator and supporter of the team. After meeting many of these athletes on Facebook and hearing about this show that was going to take place close to where I live, I made plans to attend this history making event. I was privileged to be able to be behind the scenes and hang out with the team as they prepared and competed over the weekend. I was able to observe the preparations prior to the competition and also talk to a few of the athletes about their diets and how they trained for the show. As far as diet , some of the most popular foods I observed them eating were things such as sweet potato, tofu, brown rice cakes, almond butter, grapefruit, and green smoothies. The athletes were limiting their water intake in order to get the shredded look [from dehydration]. After 2 days of competition, the winners were announced and the vegan athletes took many of the top spots. One of the things I found interesting was when the announcer would state which competitors were part of the vegan team…there were many! I believe the vegan team had the biggest fan support there as well; you could hear loud cheers every time a vegan competitor went on stage. Another highlight of the weekend was the opportunity to finally meet Robert Cheek, author of Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness and owner of the veganbodybuilding.com website. Robert has been travelling for years spreading the word on vegan bodybuilding, and he has been a great voice for promoting the vegan lifestyle.
Each competitor had their unique style of training and diet. For the females, the average calorie intake was from 1600-1800 with a special diet closer to competition in order the decrease body fat. Some athletes used supplements and others chose not to use them. Plant Fusion was a sponsor for the team, so the athletes were provided with Plant Fusion Protein powder to help them in their training. As far as the length of training to prepare for the show, some trained for many months, and one competitor only had 12 weeks to train. Many of the athletes hired trainers, nutritionist, and posing coaches while others did it all on their own. Regardless of training style and diet, the competitors came together in the end to rock the stage and show off their plant built muscle.
Although the show was very exciting to watch, the best part was after the competition was over. Immediately after all the winners were announced, the entire team came back to the veganproteins.com and Plant Fusion booths where vegan cupcakes and cheesecake were waiting for them from Capital City Bakery (a local vegan bakery). I was able to get a taste of the cupcakes, and they were so delicious and moist, it was like heaven in your mouth. It was entertaining to watch the athletes pig out on the vegan goodies as people walked by the booth in shock as they watched these athletes slam down these vegan sweets. That evening we all headed out to Arlo’s Food Truck to enjoy their famous vegan bacon cheeseburgers. There were so many of us that they had to shut down because they ran out of food. From the food truck, we then ventured over to Sweet Rituals Ice Cream shop, where we indulged in vegan ice cream and waffle cones. I observed one of the competitors eat five scoops of ice cream and two waffle cones, while another athlete ate an ice cream sundae, two scoops of ice cream and a brownie. It was amazing to see how much food these athletes could put away. I could only manage one scoop of ice cream and a waffle cone. I guess after many months on a strict competition diet, these athletes deserved a pig-out session.
This event was a great experience for me as a fitness professional in a field that has been controlled mainly by “meat eaters.” It was great to see vegan athletes begin to take their place in the competitive world of bodybuilding. The vision of Giacomo and Dani is to grow the Plant Built Muscle Team to include other competitive sports until vegan athletes begin to take over. They have stated they will begin the application process in September for any vegan athletes interested in competing next year.
Overall, my weekend experience was something I will always remember. It was a start of many great things to come for vegan athletes. These 15 athletes set the standard of greatness for all upcoming vegan athletes to follow.
As the athletes stated, “The only thing they killed was the stage!”
Trisha & Mindy
Dani & Clients
Vegan Ice Cream Treats After the Show
Pam & the Guys