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Interview with Ed Bauer: Champion Vegan Bodybuilder

Ed Bauer is a Champion Vegan Bodybuilder and owner of PlantFit Training Studio in Portland, OR. He is a Certified Personal Trainer through ACE, and NESTA, with over 2000 sessions serviced. He is a Fitness Nutrition Coach through NESTA and also holds a CrossFit Level 1 Certificate. He recently competed in the 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games Open.

Ed_Bauer

Why Vegan?
How and why did you decide to become a vegan?
When I was 15, a few of my friend's I knew through skateboarding were vegan. I could figure why people would be vegetarian, but I thought vegan sounded "extreme." After reading Diet For a New America by John Robbins and doing some soul searching, I decided that veganism was the only way to live a truly compassionate lifestyle. I haven't looked back ever since.

How long have you been vegan?
I went vegan in 1996 as a junior in High School.

What has benefited you the most from being a vegan?
Veganism has given me a sense of purpose. Encouraging others to follow a plant based diet seems to be the most profound impact I can have on people, animals, and the environment. Plus, I feel great!

What does veganism mean to you?
Veganism means living for the greater good of kindness and harmony with all living beings. It means being responsible and honest about how our actions affect others.
 
Training
What sort of training do you do?
I currently train using CrossFit methodologies as well as traditional strength and Olympic lifting principles.

How often do you (need to) train?
I train 5 or 6 days a week, 2 Power Lifting days, 1 Olympic Lifting day, and 2 or 3 CrossFit workouts

Do you offer your fitness or training services to others?
Yes, I own PlantFit Training Studio in Portland, Oregon, where I offer personal training, group classes, as well as nutritional consulting and program design, in person or online.
 
What sports do you play?
I am currently competing in the 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games Open, which is a worldwide event. One workout per week for six weeks was released. It was 7 minutes as many reps as possible of burpees. I completed 111 reps. CrossFit summarizes all components of fitness so I find this to be ideal for Cardiovascular Endurance, Stamina, Strength, Flexibility, Power, Speed, Coordination, Agility, Balance, and Accuracy.
 
Strengths, Weaknesses & Outside Influences
What do you think is the biggest misconception about vegans and how do you address this?
The biggest misconception of vegans is that they are weak and unhealthy because of some missing essential nutrients. This has been proven many times over that all nutrients can be obtained on a 100% plant based diet. As a Champion Bodybuilder turned CrossFit athlete, I break this stereotype everyday.

What are you strengths as a vegan athlete?
Better recovery between workouts, better oxygen uptake and blood flow, better assimilation of nutrients and healthier digestion.
 
What is your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge is challenging myself to always work harder. All essential nutrients including fatty acids and amino acids can be met with a varied whole foods plant based diet. Once all nutritional requirements are met, the physical challenges out there are the same across the board, vegan or not. I am stronger and faster than a lot of meat eaters, just as there are meat eaters out there stronger and faster than me. What is important is that they see they have no advantage over me because of diet. They may see that I actually have an advantage over them because of diet, and that is what changes perceptions. A big challenge for me is spreading compassion to others. Once compassion for all living creatures is in a person's heart, they will work hard to stay vegan, even if they faced any health challenges. Proper nutrition does take some practice. Just going vegan isn't enough for health. People need to do their homework, live healthy and be a good representation of what a plant based lifestyle can offer.

Are the non-vegans in your industry supportive or not?
They are once they see what I look like and what I can do.

Are your family and friends supportive of your vegan lifestyle?
Yes, my family and friends are very supportive. They see how veganism has helped shape me into the person I am today. My father eats vegan as well.

What is the most common question/comment that people ask/say when they find out that you are a vegan and how do yu respond?
"Where do you get your protein?" still comes up. I usually say something like "Tempeh, tofu, seitan, lentils, rice protein, pea protein, hemp seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, Tofurky, black beans, garbanzo beans, veggie burgers, pinto beans, peanut butter, almond butter, and walnuts. Where do you get your protein?"

Who or what motvates you?
This culture motivates me through it's continual belief that animals need to be confined, exploited, tortured, murdered, then consumed for our "well being." This ritual continues for no one's benefit except the meat and dairy industry's financial gain while animals die, our health deteriorates, and our environmental resources are depleted.

In terms of individuals that motivate me, Robert Cheeke who got me to do my first Bodybuilding Competition, Brendan Brazier, Mike Mahler, T. Colin Campbell, Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Neal Barnard, etc. All fitness and health professionals that promote the vegan lifestyle continue to motivate me and make me work harder.
 
Food & Supplements
What do you eat for:
Breakfast - Protein Shake with Vega, spinach, blueberries, rice and pea protein, and flax oil
Lunch - Veggie Sausage with broccoli, kale and a handful of mixed raw nuts
Dinner - Huge Salad with lots of veggies, beans, nuts, little dried fruit, and goddess dressing
After Dinner Dessert - Homemade protein pudding with rice and pea protein, cocoa, unsweetened almond milk, stevia, and peanut butter
Snacks (healthy & not-so healthy) - Vega Protein Bar, Organic Food Bar, hummus and veggies, nuts, dried fruit, vegan jerky, mixed bean salad, and protein shakes. I aim for some combination of protein, complex carbs and healthy fats. 

What is your favourite source of:
Protein - Tofu, black beans, and quinoa
Calcium - Leafy greens, raw nuts, and almond milk
Iron - leafy greens and beans
 
What foods give you the most energy?
My morning smoothie with Vega always gives me plenty of energy. I am also a big fan of coconut milk for Medium Chain Triglycerides.

Do you take any supplements?
I take a multi vitamin, flax oil as well as dha algal oil, glutamine, zinc, and magnesium.

Advice
What is your top tip for:
Gaining muscle - It takes big weight to make big muscles.
Losing weight - Do morning cardio and get to know intensity.
Maintaining weight - It is all about balance.
Improving metabolism - Work hard and rest just as hard. Stress kills your metabolism.

How do you promote veganism in your daily life?
I promote veganism in my daily life by working out with partners that are not vegan or vegetarian even. I also workout in four different gyms per week. When people know that I am vegan and I perform well, this sends a clear message that most likely changes their view on the issue.
 
How would you suggest people get involved with what you do?
Check out my website and let me know how I can help.
 
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