I’m originally from San Diego, CA where I spent all my free time in athletic pursuits from organized sports to martial arts to surfing and kayaking. I took up weightlifting in early high school and this love of weight training carried me naturally into bodybuilding as my physique developed. I also realized early on that I have a contagious enthusiasm in the gym: I can’t wait to get everyone around me as excited as I am about fitness. I have become increasingly passionate about health and, through my research in biology and physiology, I am awed by the amazing intricacy of all aspects of life coming together so that it may thrive. This is why a holistic approach to health is the only approach that makes sense to me and the only way that will guarantee phenomenal and lifelong results.When I met my wife Marcella nine years ago and began educating myself about veganism and reading the works of Dr. Campbell, Dr. Fuhrman, and many others I saw the scientific literature regarding the detriments of animal product consumption firsthand and knew there was no going back. I have since been spreading the word and striving to lead by example using fitness and bodybuilding as a means to demonstrate the amazing health benefits of a whole foods plant-based diet.
In addition to being an columnist, blogger, coauthor of The Vegan Muscle and Fitness Guide to Bodybuilding Competitions, and fitness model, I offer personal training both in an online and in person setting at our studio in Richmond, Virginia. Online I work with clients in groups, one-on-one, for bodybuilding contest preparation, and via customized meal plans and workout routines. Descriptions of each type of training, prices, links and contact forms can be found at www.veganmuscleandfitness.com.
Areas of Expertise: Bodybuilding, Bulking, Calisthenics, Cleansing, Flexible Dieting, Nutrition, Toning, Weight Gain, Weight Loss
Services: Consulting, Meal Planning, Personal Training, Coaching
Credentials: ACE Certified, AED, American Red Cross, Champion Bodybuilder, CPR, American Red Cross, Personal Trainer, Plant-based Nutrition, eCornell, Professional Athlete
Availability: In person, Online
When I first met my wife she introduced me to all the health benefits associated with a plant-based diet, and all the risks associated with animal products. Prior to that I’d never come across any of that information and frankly thought vegans must be scrawny and malnourished, (yes, I was one of those guys!). She gave me a few great books on the subject which I dove into and, being a health nut, as soon as I read up on the topic I was sold! Since becoming vegan in 2007, I've learned of all the other ways that what we eat impacts the world such as environmental degradation, global food shortages, and of course the treatment of animals.
When I decided to give veganism a shot I was doing it only to be healthier, and I thought I would still indulge in animal products occasionally. After being vegan for only a matter of weeks, though, any attempt at eating meat or dairy again resulted in terrible stomach pain, and I found that my taste for those foods I used to love was gone and they became completely unappealing.
My wife, Marcella, and I have donated funds to several animal shelters, and we've worked with a local animal sanctuary and our SPCA, as volunteers or vendors. My favorite event was leading the warm up for a 5k! We really appreciate the people out there who work directly with animals in shelters and sanctuaries, and we plan on staying involved with them in the future. Marcella and I both will go out of our way to help animals whenever we can. On numerous occasions we've pulled our car over to pick up a lost dog before it could wander into traffic, (and thankfully each time we were able to get them home safely), and just a few days ago I spotted a sparrow with its foot stuck in a drain and was able to free it. I know many of our friends are the same way - when we see a situation where we can help an animal, we do so. I think that sort of reaction is a natural one, and the indifference that most of the general population exhibits is a result of a lifetime of ethical disassociation. I used to be the same way, and honestly being vegan has made me much more empathetic.
Advice I would give to someone considering becoming vegan: I would tell them to try it immediately! With the growing population of vegans out there, information on how to make an easy transition has never been more accessible. I would also ask them what reservations they had about veganism. These are generally concern about food options, what other people will think, or not eating a balanced diet, all of which are very easily overcome. When you compare them with the reasons to go vegan - like reducing the suffering of animals, reducing your impact on the environment, and dramatically improving your long term health - the decision is really a foregone conclusion.