A VEGAN BODYBUILDING ADVENTURE IN BIKINI COMPETITION
Jacked on the Beanstalk: A Vegan Bodybuilding Adventure
By Samantha Shorkey
I never really think of myself as any kind of “inspiration” and I’m beyond flattered every time someone refers to me as one. I’m just a regular Canadian country girl who’s always had a deep love and respect for animals.
And one who just happens to spend a lot of time in the gym because I also have a deep love for staring at my rippling, plant-built muscles. I like to think I’m proof that hard work and dedication really do pay off.
I took first place in my first-ever bikini competition in June 2013.
I also won first place, for the bikini overall title and my World Naturals Bodybuilding Federation (WNBF) pro card just one year later.
And yep, I did it completely natural, on a strict vegan diet.
“I like to think being vegan enhances my life in every way except of course at family dinners and BBQs where no matter what, you’re always that ‘pain in the ass’ vegan.”
Truth be told, I haven’t actually eaten meat in almost 24 years. So I don’t really remember how I felt before I followed a plant-based diet. But I wasn’t always a healthy plant eater either.
For many years, I was a teenaged vegetarian living off of fries and salad. And it wasn’t until I learned how to eat properly balanced, whole food-based vegan meals that I was able to turn my “skinny fat” self into a lean, green vegan machine.
It’s so true that when you eat healthy, you feel healthy. And when you eat like crap, you feel like crap.
“And not to toot my own horn but I can’t help but notice how much more vibrant and youthful-looking my skin is compared to many other women my age (I’m almost 33). I also think it’s fairly easy for me to maintain a healthy weight year-round.”
And even if I fart and crap far more than the average person, my digestion runs like a well-oiled machine 24/7. Was that TMI? Did I just become less hot for saying that?
Or perhaps a little MORE hot?
So how exactly do I get “jacked on the beanstalk” and kill it on stage as a bikini competitor?
Well first off, with a lot of cardio! I try to do about 20 minutes most mornings and always like running and walking lunges on the treadmill (HIIT style), the Stairmaster, stepper machine and peddling on the exercise bike (ass always off the seat).
With the bikini competition division, there isn’t much of a “bulking” period, so I try not to get any bigger than about 140 lbs. or 15 lbs. above stage weight (I’m 5’7″).
When I’m cutting weight, my gym sessions usually entail high sets and reps i.e. four sets of 12 – 15 reps. I also do a lot of supersets so that my weight sessions are a cardio workout too (burning even more fat.) And I always switch my program every four to six weeks so my muscles never get used to the stress I put on them.
Additionally, I like to incorporate a plyometrics workout into my routine once per week. Plyometrics are an “explosive-reactive” type of jump training. I love doing box jumps except for that one time I missed the box and smashed up my shins real good.
Like most competitors, to get really cut right before a competition, I eat a ton of asparagus (a natural diuretic) and consume dandelion root (another natural diuretic.)
Diuretics help to flush out the sodium & excess fluids in between skin and muscle. Asparagus contains high levels of the amino acid asparagine, which not only helps to flush out the fluids but it helps rid the body of excess salts too. I will then cut down on water starting the day before my show.
Diet & Nutrition
Generally-speaking in terms of diet (whether training to compete or not), I get most of my protein from tempeh (fermented soy bean), tofu, beans and high quality, vegan protein powder.
I’m a big fan of brown rice protein powder because it doesn’t make me feel bloated or gassy like a lot of pea-based ones do.
Macronutrient Ratio: I try to get 50% of my daily calories from carbs, 30% from protein and 20% from fats.
My go-to starchy complex carb sources are yams, squash, white rice and oatmeal. For fats, I love almond butter, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and flax seed oil.
I also make sure to drink a minimum of two or three liters of water per day and I always give myself at least one day of rest each week.
Rest days are so important! Physical stress keeps your blood sugar levels elevated which can contribute to water retention as well as block fat burning.
Dieting in general and more specifically, bikini competition dieting is a huge challenge both physically and mentally. When you’re eating a minimum amount of calories combined with a lot of exercise, you get so hungry and crave sugary carbs like a fiend!
Being able to resist the temptation to hog out is one of the most intense, brutal tests of self-control I’ve ever had to face. It teaches you self-discipline like you wouldn’t believe! There have been times where I gave into the temptation and there have been times when I was stronger than it.
It’s important when overcoming any kind of challenge or pursuing a specific goal to find motivation and inspiration from somewhere or something. For me, it started with the animals.
I simply wanted to speak for those who couldn’t speak for themselves by dispelling the myths that vegans are scrawny and malnourished (also why I always rock vegan-inspired gear at the gym.)
Today, my motivation has grown to include the incredibly supportive vegan community.
The inspiring stories I’ve heard and kind words I’ve received over the years have been incredibly humbling and encouraging.
I really hope to always be a positive role model for veganism whilst staying true to who I am—real, honest and relatable.
“Succeeding in competitive bodybuilding definitely isn’t easy. People don’t realize that it’s so much more mental than physical and I always say, you kind of have to be a little crazy in order to live this lifestyle.”
So I guess I’m admitting to being mildly psychotic in addition to farting a lot. But have you seen my perfectly-sculpted ass cheeks?
For anyone wanting to follow my vegan adventures and learn some of my workouts and recipes, I can be found via my blog at www.JackedontheBeanstalk.com.
And be sure to check out my “Jacked on the Beanstalk: Plant-Based Fuel for Vegan Athletes” eBook.
For more ideas about plant-based diet for vegan athletes, watch this video –Best Vegan Foods For Athletes
Chris Willitts (creator of V3), is the founder and owner of Vegetarian Bodybuilding.
V3 Vegetarian Bodybuilding System is a mixture of science and author’s advice, providing users with optimal diet and exercise. This system is designed for vegans and vegetarians only.
A lot of research has been put in this program. Furthermore, a lot of professional bodybuilders and athletes tried and tested the program, praising its progressiveness and efficiency.
The program is about taking control of your own body and health according to your potential and needs. And worry not; you’ll get plenty of proteins with this system. It will boost you with energy, and you’ll feel just a strong as any carnivore would (perhaps even stronger, depending on how much you invest in your exercise). It avoids vitamins deficiency and provides you with a lot of proteins, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Instead of saying things like “I think a plant-based diet is good for athletes and bodybuilders,” the V3 Vegetarian Bodybuilding System claims “I know a plant-based diet is good for athletes and bodybuilders, and I have results to prove it.”
To find out more, visit the website at V3 Bodybuilding – Best Plant-Based Diet for Vegan Athletes
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