This weekend the largest collection of vegan muscle Europe has ever seen will soon descend on London.
On Saturday 22nd October at the Olympia exhibition-centre some of the world's greatest vegan bodybuilders and powerlifters will be gathered under one roof to answer questions on nutrition and building muscle on a plant-based diet.
Whilst most bodybuilders still live on a diet of meat and eggs, these new wave of muscle men and women are challenging the meat-eating stereotype...and are showing consumption of animal products is completely unnecessary.
The plant-powered bodybuilders, who abstain from meat and dairy and swear by the power of a vegan diet, will be available to answer questions on vegan nutrition and becoming fit, strong and healthy. And these guys certainly don’t seem to be lacking in protein.
The Q&A panel, taking place during VegFest UK is scheduled for 2pm and will also be live-streamed at http://facebook.com/riseofthevegan. Last year VegFest experienced record numbers, with over 15,000 people attending over the weekend. Have a question you want answered? Send your question to firstname.lastname@example.org and it will be read out.
The following expert panelists will be answering your questions:
Nimai Delgado (IFBB Pro Bodybuilder)
Nimai, a natural, vegan professional bodybuilder and online fitness & nutritional coach is flying in from California. Raised from birth on a vegetarian diet and has never consumed any meat or fish. In his early twenties Nimai decided to transition to a plant based diet after he recognised the unethical exploitation of animals for human convenience. Nimai uses his social media and professional platforms to enlighten thousands about the benefits of plant-based lifestyles. He has quickly risen through the ranks of the bodybuilding world while disproving common misconceptions about veganism. What started as a personal mission has transformed into an endless effort of educating and helping the masses realise you can have big muscles and a bigger heart.
Before / After
Stephen (@veganbodybuilding on Instagram) is a bodybuilder, powerlifter and founder of RiseOfTheVegan.com. Having been lacto-vegetarian since birth he has never consumed meat, fish or eggs and eliminated milk products four years ago after learning the ethics behind dairy production. With a deadlift record of 250kg Stephen is on a mission to prove you can build strength and an ripped physique without consuming any animal products.
Jon has a following of over 100k subscribers to his YouTube channel where he shows how he lives, eats and trains. His aim is to make the vegan lifestyle attractive to the mainstream public by showing how fun it can be whilst also building an optimal physique. Jon will be flying in from Barcelona to join the panel.
After being diagnosed with brain and bone cancer 33 years ago Pat refused treatment and set out self-treating through drastic changes in nutrition and exercise. She adopted a vegan diet and took up bodybuilding and powerlifting - first winning the British Champion title in deadlifting, and later winning the World Champion title several times - most recently at an incredible 70 years of age.
Karl, who has been training under former UK’s strongest woman and fellow vegan Josie Du Plessis, recently won the WABBA Amateur Grand Prix, and will now be competing to win the Mr Universe title in November. Karl is flying in from the Isle of Man.
After growing up on a farm around animals Robert switched to a vegan diet when he was 15 and has now been vegan for 21 years, winning multiple bodybuilding championships during that time. Robert tours the world giving lectures on vegan bodybuilding and fitness. Robert is flying in from Arizona, USA to join the panel.
These athletes are working hard to challenge the common misconceptions that "you need meat to be strong". And it seems attitudes about plant-powered athletes are finally changing in the mainstream. Arnold Schwarzenegger for example, recently told the world to eat less meat. Arnold’s call for less meat was part of the environmental summit COP21, and when asked whether or not meat was required to build muscle he replied, “luckily we know that you can get your protein source from many different ways, you can get it through vegetables if you are a vegetarian…I have seen many body builders that are vegetarian and they get strong and healthy.”
Obtaining protein from plants isn’t as much work as it might sound - a study found that on average vegans typically consume 70% more protein than is needed in a day.
And vegan bodybuilders see no shortage - with foods like seitan (a completely vegan food with meaty texture packing a whopping 76g of protein per 100g serving) as well as legumes and nuts.
One major advantage muscle-building vegans have is consuming a diet completely free of oestrogen. Cow’s milk - typically taken from a pregnant cow - is loaded full of hormones, including oestrogen, which has been shown in several scientific studies to lower testosterone, the hormone which promotes muscle growth. A study showed that within one hour of consuming cow’s milk the participant’s oestrogen levels went up significantly and testosterone levels dropped significantly. Completely avoiding cow’s milk ensures vegans maintain normal testosterone levels.
Apart from the other negative health implications associated with eating meat we have seen in the news recently, meat also contains estrogen and other hormones and is also completely avoided on a vegan diet.
When it comes to recovering from intense gym workouts vegan bodybuilders may also may have the edge - typically the foods they consume are much more nutrient-dense and richer in antioxidants than a typical bodybuilding diet - a perfect remedy for quick recovery.
Patrik Baboumian, Germany’s strongest man, set multiple world records on a vegan diet and stated:
"I got heavier, I got stronger, I won the European championship title in powerlifting, I broke three world records so everything was going perfect ... my blood pressure went down, and my recovery time was so much faster so I could train more."
The lean green lifting machine decided to use his success to raise awareness about veganism, and how it could help save the planet's environment.
"We have areas in the world where there is not enough food for people and I think it's obscene to use all these resources we have to produce something your body doesn't actually need," says Baboumian.
According to the United Nations' World Food Program there are almost 800 million people going hungry in the world today, yet livestock alone are given enough grain to feed 3.5 billion people.
But for vegans, the environmental and health benefits are simply a great bonus. The main consideration is the ethical wellbeing of animals; who they refuse to see as simple commodities that can be used and abused at our whim.
And it seems people are catching on - Veganism is certainly on the rise, growing by over 261% in last decade with over half a million people now following a vegan lifestyle in Britain.
The Vegan Muscle Q&A is taking place at VegFest UK during the Athlete's Summit.
Other notable vegan athletes giving talks this year are:
Andy Ramage - Former professional footballer
Fiona Oakes - Marathon runner with 3 world records
Peter Ebdon - World Champion snooker player
Christine Vardaros - Professional international cyclist
David Smith MBE - Team GB Rowing Gold Medalist
Kate Strong - World Champion triathlete
Omowale Adewale - Champion boxer and kickboxer
Dave Sheahan - Triathlete
Mick Walker - Cyclist
Tim Shieff - World Freerunning Champion & American Ninja Warrior Winner
Darren Spindler - Record setting marathon runner
Georgie Spindler - Pro Fitness Competitor
Deni Kirkova - Miss Galaxy Universe 2016
More details can be found on the VegFest 2016 website: http://london.vegfest.co.uk
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