Tag Archives: vegan bodybuilding

JON HINDS – Plant Strong Gym Owner


“Train like a Gorilla, Eat like a Gorilla, Chill like a Gorilla”

I first learned of Jon Hinds through the T. Colin Campbell newsletter which I subscribe to.  Jon founded the Monkey Bar Gymnasium and has had a very successful career (Don’t you love the quote above from his website!).  He is a former NBA strength and conditioning coach and is currently a consultant for both the NFL and NBA.  Jon trained Darryl Strawberry (New York Yankees), Glen Braggs (Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals), Charles Smith (New York Knicks), Anfernee Hardaway (Phoenix Suns), Eric Davis (St. Louis Cardinals), Lucious Harris (New Jersey Nets) and members of the L.A. Clippers.

Personally Jon has achieved some amazing feats:

  • Gold Medallist in the 2000 Pan American Games – Brazilian Jiu-jitsu
  • Gold Medallist in the 2001 Rickson Gracie World Championships – Brazilian Jiu-jitsu

In an interview with Bodybuilding.com (click HERE for the interview in it’s entirety), Jon explained his nutrition philosophy:

For nutrition, I use a simple plan called the “Hand Plan”. The “Hand Plan” follows simple portion control with a plant based diet. Most people love to eat meat, or believe that you need to eat meat to keep or gain muscle, but I am trying to do and teach what is most healthy for the body and the environment and eating animal products is not the way.

We suggest people eat 90% or more plant based foods. This has proven extremely effective for burning fat as we average 17 pounds of fat loss and 5 pounds of muscle gain in the first 60 days of Monkey Bar Gymnasium training and nutrition.

The “Hand Plan” is simple: eat portion sizes that are as big as your open hand, keeping the majority of the plate or bowl green foods. Keep plenty of nuts, seeds and legumes in your intake as well.

Click on the link and enjoy the video where Jon explains what led him to eat a plant-based diet and what he has learned.

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Filed under Althletics, Education, Exercise, Fat, Protein, Vegan, Vegetarian, Video, Weight Issues

ROBERT CHEEKE on Working Hard

I recently purchased a copy of Robert Cheeke’s book, Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness.  The essay below comes from the book.

I have to say that this is one of the most inspiring essays I have read in a long time.  It really made me think.  We are so fortunate to live where we do and have the opportunities we have, yet so many people complain about how hard we work…but do we?

Increase Your Work Ethic to Create Your Own Results
By Robert Cheeke
June 23, 2009

I believe the term “hard work” gets thrown around way too loosely and way too carelessly in our society. Every day people walk around describing “hard work” as if they actually think they have some sort of comprehension of what that means. Every day people think that working 40 hours a week is “hard” and that creating time in their schedule to peel themselves away from the television or their TV dinner to exercise is “hard work.” The truth is, most people in our culture have no idea what it means to work hard or to believe in something so much that they’ll dedicate their life to it and do what it takes to accomplish it. Most people don’t truly commit to something that is exceptional or outstanding and work excruciatingly hard at it every day. Most people simply don’t have it in them. You can blame it on society; you can blame it on culture; you can blame it on lifestyle and conveniences or traditions; but I choose to blame it on the individual. Average people don’t work hard unless they are forced to by necessity. It takes effort, work, and time, and most people are not interested in investing any of those things as long as they have their 40-hour per week jobs, television programs, fast food, and partner or family to share this time with. Average people don’t want to change anymore than they have to because they’ve put in their eight hours for the day and they’re ready to kick back, rest their feet, and relax. Sure, people still complain that they don’t have enough money to pay bills, improve healthcare, support their children better, enhance their lifestyles, and bring more fulfillment to their lives; but they’re not willing to work hard to change. It’s just too much to ask. Average people would rather become obese or get sick before they’d ever think about starting an exercise program, following a sound nutrition program, or applying themselves more in areas such as work or relationships.

What makes me any different? The only thing that makes me any different than anyone else in this society when it comes to hard work is the fact that I am aware of how lazy we are and I’ve chosen to do something about it. That’s it. That’s the only thing that separates me and other hard-working people from those who don’t work hard in our society. We simply took the time to acknowledge it and conclude that being lazy isn’t the right thing to do, that there is so much more to life than just getting by. We realized that the world is a wonderful place with endless opportunities to succeed and to contribute in monumental ways, and we realized that the road to success is paved in hard work day in and day out in all aspects of life. We also came to the realization that hard work doesn’t mean boring or unfulfilling work. Some of the greatest times of my life resulted from working harder than anyone else and putting in 15-hour days doing truly meaningful things in my life. We’re also fully aware that there are plenty of people in all parts of the world who work way harder than we do and don’t have the privileges we have, the opportunities we have, the tools and resources that we have, or the support that we have. Billions work from dawn to dusk to simply survive; others seem to not even try; others work hard to thrive. Where do you fall among these groups?

The first step in embracing a new work ethic is to let go of ego and accept the fact that you really don’t work very hard. When I came to the conclusion that I was lazy, selfish, had poor time management, made bad decisions, and didn’t care very much about what I was doing, I realized I was just like everyone else and I needed to make a change immediately. I made a change and became successful immediately, found immediate meaning in the hard work I was doing, and found it to be enjoyable, fulfilling, and rewarding. Most of us just aren’t willing to work any harder than we are now. If we can change our way of thinking to understand how to work hard and understand why it is important to work hard, we can do incredible things with our lives and that is what life should be about.

Here are some tips to improve your work ethic:

-Get rid of your television. It distracts you from doing productive and meaningful things in your life and eats up an incredible amount of time.

-Determine what you love to do the most and spend more time doing it.

-Find true meaning in your life and pursue it with passion.

-Reduce the time you spend on the Internet.

-Observe the work ethic of the people who are the most successful in any given industry.

-Observe the work ethic of those who rely on their work ethic to survive.

-Learn how to manage your time effectively and efficiently.

-Set specific work ethic goals.

-Understand how investment of effort leads directly to the attainment of goals.

-Really believe in what it is you are doing. Belief will automatically improve motivation and work ethic.

For more information about Robert Cheeke and to visit the website he created click here.

Top Image courtesy of betterlivingshow.org
Bottom image courtesy of help-lose-weight.co

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Filed under Althletics, Education, General Vegan, Vegan, Vegetarian

GUEST BLOG – Vegan Protein by Giacomo Marchese


Today’s Guest Blog is by Giacomo Marchese of VeganProteins.com.  Giacomo has been a fitness enthusiast for the past 17 years.  He competed and placed in both 2002 and 2008 with the INBF (International Natural Bodybuilding Federation).  Other activities he enjoys include cycling, running, snowboarding, tennis, racquetball and most other racquet sports. 

Shortly after his first competition, Giacomo transitioned to a vegan diet for health and wellness reasons.  Through this period of time he was able to increase his strength and size while training on a plant based diet.  He also tried a raw diet for three years and competed raw in 2008.

After embracing the ethical side of eating responsibly for his body, he has dedicated time and effort towards showing others what is possible on a cruelty free diet. 

Jimi Sitko, Robert Cheeke, Giacomo Marchese

Currently, Giacomo is working on a documentary, Vegan Brothers in Iron, which dispells the myths of veganism and muscle building (to be released in the coming year or sooner).  He is also currently blogging a P90x training journal (workout, nutrition, transformation pictures) where the recommended meal plans have been modified to be suitable for a vegan lifestyle:  Vegan P90x blog

You can support him by checking out the plant based supplements they carry at www.veganproteins.com.


by Giacomo Marchese

Really, you’re a vegan? Wow! But where do you get your protein from? And a bodybuilder on top of that… that’s really amazing – I can’t believe it…

Is the idea really that far fetched that a vegan can partake in bodybuilding just as efficiently as a typical bodybuilder who eats exorbitant amounts of protein from meat and dairy products? Hardly! We’re living proof! And an in-depth documentary which shows just how it’s done is in the works as we continue to prepare for a competition in April, 2009.

Consider that the most powerful animals on the planet: the bull, elephant, giraffe, rhino, hippo, etc., are all herbivores. Also consider that the biggest dinosaurs, the ones who outlived the others, were herbivores.

Have you ever heard of a person who is ‘protein’ deficient, other than in third world countries where they do not have access to nutrient rich foods – or food in general – on a daily basis? No. Vegans are in no way threatened by protein deficiency. If we ate nothing but wheat, oatmeal, or potatoes, we would easily take in more than enough protein.

Nutritional facts from the USDA National Nutritional Database:

(Amount of calories from protein.)

  • Watercress 84%, Mushrooms 56%, Spinach 50%, Sprouts 35+%
  • Kidney Beans 58%, Navy Beans 37%, Soybeans 35%
  • Wheat Germ 26%, Rye 18%, Oatmeal 17%, Peanuts 18%
  • Pumpkin Seeds 18%, Sunflower Seeds 16%, Cantaloupes 10%, Peaches 9%, Oranges 8%

WOW – that’s just from straight up WHOLE FOODS! Could mother nature actually have satisfied our needs for survival without having to instill suffering on our furry, feathered, and finned friends? Can’t be.

Now that that’s settled, let’s take this one step further: What if one were to feel compelled to take in a presumably much larger than required amount of protein for a healthy functioning body and did not care to consume it in a supplementary fashion? The average Joe, for example, who just wants to go to his local grocer and pick up something, perhaps processed, to enjoy and whip up right quick?

There’s soy and gluten products. You can easily purchase these as viable substitutes for any animal product out there. Faux meat, wheat meat, or grain meat is easily found at many regular grocery stores and health food stores around the country.

Wheat Gluten, Tofu, and other soy or grain products can pack a mean punch when it comes to protein content. Tempeh (fermented brown rice) isn’t even processed, it’s cultured!

(Amount of calories from protein.)

  • Hi Protein Tofu (Wildwood / Trader Joes, etc): 28%
  • Tofurky Italian ‘sausage’: 41%
  • Seitan (wheat gluten): 41%
  • Tempeh: 38.5%

From the point of view of an amateur bodybuilder, I’m trying my best to get my protein in convenient form, without carrying around full meals. I’m talking about supplementation with protein powders. With the mass appeal of ‘whey’ and ‘casein’ powders, which are derived from dairy, you’d think that they are the only true sources of high protein shakes. People are amazed to learn that so many other options exist. That’s because Vegan Protein Powders are simply overshadowed by the insurmountable figures spent on blanketing the entire market with advertising, marketing, research, and promotion of whey and casein based protein powders.

As a matter of fact, whey, casein, and egg protein powders are the only three options if you choose to stick with animal protein powders exclusively, and all three pale in comparison, on a micronutrient level, to the majority of the Vegan protein powders listed below:

(Amount of calories from protein.)

Animal Based Protein Powders:

  • Whey, Casein, Egg: 95 – 100%

Vegan Protein Powders:

  • Soy Protein: 95%
  • Pea Protein: 93%
  • Bio Fermented Brown Rice Protein: 92%
  • Brown Rice Protein: 80%
  • Chlorella: 80%
  • Buckwheat Protein: 80%
  • *Spirulina: 54%
  • Hemp Protein: 45%

And there’s more, but you get the picture.

*In additon to being vegan, these protein based powders are raw and unprocessed

Whether you are a Vegan or a Raw Foodist, you can see, you will get your fill of protein. If you’re a bodybuilder and you indulge in the theory of excessively high protein intake and caloric deficit, you can do it. It’s actually far more efficient, and healthier as vegan foods have zero cholesterol, for you to use vegan protein powdders because many of these vegan sources are micronutrient powerhouses. Spirulina and Chlorella, for example, are superfoods. One serving of either equates to 35 servings of vegetables in regards to vitamin and mineral content. Even small amounts will benefit you immensely!

Where do I get most of my protein from? Sprouts, nuts and seeds. Protein supplementation? Spirulina and Sun Warrior (bio fermented brown rice) both of which I offer to you on this site. In the future, VeganProteins.com will offer many of these other supplementary options as well, but for now why not take advantage of my two favorite sources? It’s not so bad being a raw food vegan, now is it?

As for the marketing hype out there and the 8 essential amino acid discussion — don’t fall for it. The Vegan supplement sources and Vegan food sources contain all 10 of the 20 essential amino acids that your body cannot produce itself. And for the ones that don’t, it’s not like you need to have all 10 at every meal. Do you really think that you need everything all at once every meal or your diet will be unbalanced? The human body is amazingly efficient, it takes up everything you’ve eaten daily, or even over the course of a couple of days, and knows what to do. That theory of “complete” protein or food combinations by the otherwise groundbreaking book in the 70s “Diet for a Small Planet” was a theory. Even the author herself, Francis Lappe wrote in her revised edition that current science indicates that you don’t have to combine foods, like beans and rice, to get a complete protein. The body will do the work for you.


Filed under Althletics, Education, General Vegan, Guest Blog, Protein, Vegan, Vegetarian

GUEST BLOG – Kristen Suzanne on Protein Powder

 Today we have another guest post by Kristen Suzanne of Kristen’s Raw.  Overall I like to have my diet consist of whole foods, but I do have a place in my diet for raw vegan (soy-free) protein powders.  Here is what Kristen has to say about the issue…

Protein powders get mixed reviews from people. There are some people who don’t care for protein powders because they say they’re a “fractionated food” (i.e., not a whole food). There are other people, however, like me, who are grateful they exist. Some raw peeps love them because they want more protein in their diets to support their intense exercise regime (such as my husband, Greg, and Robert Cheeke vegan bodybuilder). Other people, like me, love them when pregnant or breastfeeding for that easy extra protein. But, that’s not the only reason I like them…

When I’m eating an all raw diet (breastfeeding, pregnant, or not), I find that there are times that I want something to eat that is not high carb or high fat. A lot of raw foods are either one of those two options. Sure, I could gnaw on some plain romaine or cucumbers, but it’s not going to really fill me up or fill this unique need I’m describing. I’m talking about those times that I feel a need for something substantial and filling, but that is not high fat (there goes nuts) or high carb (sorry, fruit). I’m not sure if you’ve ever experienced that when eating all raw, but it’s something that happens to me from time to time. So, how do I handle it? I drink a protein shake. And, it’s exactly what I need!

Now, I realize that some people just have a hard time getting into protein drinks, even if they are interested, because of the chalkiness or the flavor. And, for those times that I mentioned above where I wanted something that was not high fat or high carb…. a protein shake that was simply water and protein powder was just what I needed. That probably isn’t appealing to many. But you know what? I actually love it. I’m over the chalkiness (of course, I’ve been drinking protein shakes for some 20 years now because they were a big part of my bodybuilding regimen). I’m used to them, have been for a long time. But then something more profound happened… now I even crave the stuff sometimes. I know, weird, huh? Craving a (plain) protein shake? Just the powder and water shaken up? Yes! Once I realized that it indeed filled a physical need for me, it mentally satisfied me. It also filled me up, which is great for people watching calories. It gave me the perfect solution to keeping my diet raw without eating more carbs or fat when that wasn’t what my body was calling for.

A smart trick is finding a protein powder that you like. I did a comprehensive review on protein powders here (be sure to check it out!). I also wrote about my husband’s Protein Grenades to give you some more ideas. I find that the protein powder I love and rely on the most now is Sun Warrior’s Chocolate protein powder. It seems they’ve improved their protein powder just recently and it tastes even better. 🙂

If you’re one of those people who can’t imagine drinking just protein powder mixed with water, try some of the following suggestions to see if they help:

1) Blend the powder with water and ice or…
2) Shake the powder up with really cold water. I find that when the shake is really cold, I enjoy it more. If the water from your tap isn’t cold enough, and you don’t want to use ice, then make the shake in advance and put it in your refrigerator to get cold before drinking it.
3) Add pizazz to it. I love adding 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon to mine. Sometimes I add nutmeg, too. Raw vanilla powder is fun, as are other flavors like almond extract or orange extract. (The other day I used peppermint extract!) Add cayenne and give your circulation a boost! Get creative and diversify so they’re not always the same… you can even get extra wild and add garam masala or fenugreek or curry powder. This will keep it exciting.
4) Add extra water. My whole family drinks Sun Warrior’s Chocolate (mom, husband, my brother, and myself). My mom likes hers with more water and she enjoys each sip of it as she takes her time drinking it. I tend to make mine thicker and drink it faster.
5) Mix it with raw coconut water or raw almond milk for variety.

Before I realized that protein shakes were a perfect solution, I used to sit there and think, “I’m hungry. No, I don’t want a bunch of nuts. No, I don’t feel like sugar from fruits. No, I need something more than a huge bowl of plain romaine. I think cooked black beans or lentils would do the trick but I want to keep it raw right now. Hmmm….” That’s when I decided to just drink a protein shake one night because I was out of options. Well, it worked. I was full and satisfied. I was excited because it was a way for me to stick to the raw diet and be happy without filling up on foods I wasn’t in the mood for.

Do you drink protein powders? If so, what are your favorites and what is your regimen?

Photo courtesy of Kristen Suzanne



Filed under Education, Guest Blog, Protein, Raw, Vegan, Vegetarian