Ten years ago, in my mid-twenties, I began facing a number of health problems due to a lifetime of unhealthy eating. My boyfriend (now husband) had been a decade long vegetarian and I began doing my own research about plant-based diets and whether or not they were actually healthy. I started to change my mind about things I had always believed to be true about food and health, and believed that I could cure myself through a plant-based diet. A passion for health and nutrition developed and I changed my diet pretty much overnight, beginning to follow an entirely plant-based (vegan) diet soon after. All my health problems disappeared. Living and thriving without animal products for years led me to really question how necessary they really are in the first place and why we are consuming them in the amounts we do. Over time it became ethical for me for many reasons and I became involved in various forms of activism and vegan outreach.
I remember one specific incident at a protest, where a woman was verbally attacking us and she kept commenting about our bodies and how unhealthy and” frail” we all looked because we were thin. Although I had always been athletic, I hadn’t ever realized how much people were judging my lifestyle based on my appearance. I started moving away from cardio and getting into lifting. And I found an entire community of vegan athletes and bodybuilders who were inspiring others through their healthy lifestyles, admirable physiques, and physical abilities. Although I want to be fit for myself, I also wanted to become like my idols and use my body to break some of the stereotypes people have of vegans.
Bodybuilders in particular are not always the healthiest. The standard bodybuilder diet is heavy in animal products and low in carbs is not sustainable long-term. Currently “protein” is the new marketing strategy and no one is actually aware of the effects excessive protein might have on one’s health; and most susceptible to this are athletes and competitors. However, a number of athletes in various sports are changing to plant-based diets and seeing huge advantages in their performance and recovery. Many vegan bodybuilders for example do not have “off-seasons” or experience the yo-yo dieting that is typical of competitors because they are able to easily maintain their diets year-round.
I decided to compete seeing many other vegans in my social media groups doing this. However, I had no knowledge of how to do it and I had great difficulty finding a coach who was willing to work with me. Because my health is extremely important to me, I was also unwilling to compete if at any time I felt like my health was being compromised for a trophy. I was very fortunate to find Sandi Townsend who understood what my priorities were. The competition prep experience has been life changing and nothing but positive for me because I have developed healthier habits and consistency revolving around diet and exercise that I am hoping to maintain indefinitely. And I have seen dramatic results in just the short five months that I have been working with her. I am happy to learn that my vegan prep experience has reached others and that continuously motivates me to want to improve and to continue challenging the norms.
Kim placed 1st in her masters class, 1st in her Open class and 3rd in her Novice class at her first NPC show. Kim plans to hit the stage again in October. Our goal between now and then is to continue to build her through plant based proteins and hard work!
It has been an honor coaching Kim and being creative with her Vegan lifestyle!
For information on show prep contact me via my web page or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can follow Kim on IG @cherryblossom_vegan