CO-FOUNDER OF PLANTBUILT, THE LARGEST TEAM OF VEGAN ATHLETES IN THE WORLD
After months in the gym, I saw a female trainer who was just so strong and feminine looking, and I realized that’s what I wanted to be.
Name: Dani Taylor
City/State/Country: Haverhill, Massachusetts, USA
Type of Competing: Bodybuilding, Figure Division
Why did you form PlantBuilt? Also, please describe how you gathered the largest team of vegan athletes in the world in order to compete together to demonstrate that vegans can build muscle:
As the owners of VeganProteins.com, my fiancé, Giacomo Marchese, and I travel around the country going to vegan festivals, demonstrating our products, and promoting our store. It seemed like every city we went to had another vegan athlete who we had never heard of, with a mind-blowing physique.
As long-time vegan bodybuilding enthusiasts, we started discussing how awesome it would be to see all of these people competing together. Normally, if a vegan competes in bodybuilding, they are the only vegan there. And if they do well, people are quick to try and find reasons why they did well despite their vegan lifestyle. We realized that if several of us competed together, and all did well, it would be much harder to say that you can’t build muscle on a vegan diet. That is how Team PlantBuilt was born three years ago. Although it started as just bodybuilding, we have grown to include powerlifting, Cross Fit, and Kettle Bell sports, as well.
What is one of your personal passions outside of fitness?
That’s hard because fitness and veganism are my life now. But outside of that, my biggest passion is my family. Although my schedule is very full these days, I always try to make time to spend time with my family and be there when they need me.
What inspired you to become a vegan bodybuilder?
I grew up quite overweight, even though I became a lacto-ovo vegetarian at the age of ten. I was over 200 pounds by the age of 17, which is when I went vegan, strictly for ethical reasons, with no thoughts of health in my mind. However, as the excess weight started to fall off, it occurred to me that I had more control over my physical health than I had thought. I began actively working out and trying to be healthier.
After months in the gym, I saw a female trainer who was just so strong and feminine-looking, and I realized that’s what I wanted to be. I hired her, and she taught me how to lift weights. But when it came to diet, she had no idea how to help me, and seemed to think I would never make good progress without eating meat. That was what most trainers (and fitness enthusiasts in general) thought. I wanted to prove that just because there wasn’t widespread knowledge of it being done, that didn’t mean it couldn’t be done.
What are the health advantages?
One of the biggest health advantages that I have experienced is improved recovery. I find that I recover much faster than my non-vegan counterparts.
Sample meal plan:
My meal plan changes almost weekly, but lately, it has looked something like this:
- Breakfast: bagel with jam, seitan bacon, and a piece of fruit
- Post Workout Meal: lentil soup, baked potato, and veggie burger in a pita
- Afternoon Snack: green smoothie with Plant Fusion and berries
- Dinner: tofu, tempeh, or seitan; broccoli with vegan cheddar; and roasted yams
- Late night snack: strawberries and peanuts
What does your diet look like while preparing for a competition?
It’s very calculated, right down to the gram, and it also changes very frequently. I still get to enjoy all of the foods that I love, just less of them.
Tofu and seitan are my staples, as well as berries, lentils, peanut butter, squash, and potatoes, and lots of vegetables!
Your personal philosophy on supplements, and which ones you use:
My philosophy in the sport of bodybuilding, even natural bodybuilding, is that it is extreme. You are pushing your body to a limit that it isn’t necessarily meant to reach on its own. Is that healthy? Some would say yes, and others would say no. But I want to give my body all the support that I can throughout, and so I choose to supplement beyond my healthy diet. I use B12, Vitamin D, Creatine Monohydrate, Betaine, L-Citrulline, L-Carnitine, BCAAs, and occasionally protein powders, but not as often as you’d think.
Describe your training regimen:
Hard and heavy! Right now, I am hitting every body part hard twice per week, incorporating a variety of rep ranges to focus on both strength and hypertrophy, and occasionally power. I dead lift and squat regularly, and focus on shoulder hypertrophy over chest, so I do more shoulder presses than bench presses (because that is what they are looking for in the figure division). I don’t train abs very often, and I do sprints twice a week.
What tips can you share that have led to your success?
Be consistent. Better to take small steps and be consistent, then to make drastic changes, get overwhelmed, and quit. You have to find what works for you, and be sure to filter all the advice you will hear. Anything that sounds extreme in one direction or another is probably not the best answer. And lastly, be patient! Change doesn’t happen overnight!
Do you think plant-based fitness is a fad, or will it continue to build credibility?
I think it is building more credibility by the day, and that will only continue into the future.
To find out more about the health benefits of becoming a vegetarian bodybuilder, watch this video – Vegan Diets for Athletes! | Better Endurance and a Healthier Heart
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 – What are the Health Benefits of Becoming a Vegetarian Bodybuilder?