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Interview with Jared Palermo: Vegan Sports Enthusiast

Jared Palermo has been working out on and off his entire life through playing sports. In the last few years, he has become more serious with recreational weight lifting. Jared helps out with Motive Company, a Vegan Straight edge clothing company based out of Upstate New York. He is also currently in pursuit of working on a TV show, Alternative Explorers.

Jared_PalermoPhoto by Melissa Schwartz for vGuys

Why Vegan?
Why not Vegan is the real question?!
 
How and why did you decide to become a vegan?
I became vegan after being vegetarian for 2 years and seeing that while I was vegetarian, I was sort of living hypocrisy. I would not eat meat, but yet I would still purchase shoes that were made of leather or suede, or eat candy that had gelatin in it. After consuming more than my fair share of dairy in the form of cheese I realized I was even more unhealthy, as well as contributing to an industry that I do not see as right. 
 
How long have you been vegan?
It’s been over 5 years now since I went vegan and I would not change my decision.
 
What has benefited you the most from being a vegan?
I feel so much healthier and connected to the environment around me.
 
What does veganism mean to you?
Veganism to me means a few things: 1) Not contributing to the murder, rape, and exploitation of living beings that feel the pain of these injustices and tortures.  2) It is a healthier lifestyle that has less impact on our environment. 3) Does not allow one to be fooled by big industry into believing that an animal’s sole purpose is to be abused and consumed.

Training
What sort of training do you do?
Weight lifting and Cardio.

How often do you (need to) train?
I tend to try and train at least twice a week. My body tends to require a fair amount of recovery time. I am fortunate that when I am at the gym I am there for 2+ hours and that I have the body type that gains muscle fairly easily.
 
Do you offer your fitness or training services to others?
I do not currently offer my services to anyone; I am not a licensed fitness trainer. However, I will never turn down helping someone who asks for help or someone I see who may need some friendly advice.

What sports do you play?
I currently snowboard, skateboard, ride my bike, train, Karate, and weight lift. I used to play soccer, track and field, and baseball.

Strengths, Weaknesses & Outside Influences
What do you think is the biggest misconception about vegans and how do you address this?
The biggest misconception is that vegans are malnourished, weak, and cannot gain muscle size. I try to be a living example to prove these people wrong.
 
What are you strengths as a vegan athlete?
I feel that because I am vegan I have a better energy level and my strength is 100% natural.
 
What is your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge is my recovery time after lifting heavy weights. My body has had its fair share of injuries that I have acquired over the years from playing sports so young and so much.

Are the non-vegans in your industry supportive or not?
Many of my friends are supportive of my lifestyle - they know how passionate I am about what I believe in and live. So I think they are impressed at times to see the gains I’ve made from working out.

Are your family and friends supportive of your vegan lifestyle?
Yes, my family and friends are supportive of being vegan. Often times my immediate and extended family members are searching for new vegan recipes to try to get my approval of whether they taste good or not. Some of them have also become more aware of animal right issues and have altered their diets in response to it.
 
What is the most common question/comment that people ask/say when they find out that you are a vegan and how do you respond?
I think the most common question that is asked is “What do you eat?” or “Where do you get your protein from?” I simply just tell them I eat vegan food and get what I need from that. I then continue to inform them where they can buy vegan food and that I gain most of my protein from soy-based products or from beans etc.

Who or what motivates you?
I motivate myself, along with staying vegan for the animals. As well as helping out with Doug DeFriest and Linwood Bingham at Motive Company. A friend of mine, Ed Bauer is an absolute machine when it comes to Vegan Body Building and Fitness. Robert Cheeke has done wonders in bringing Vegan Body Building and Fitness to the mainstream. Those two guys as well as anyone else who is involved in the fight for animal rights and veganism are my motivators.

Food & Supplements
Disclaimer: I do not have the most healthy eating habits.
What do you eat for:
Breakfast: I was never much of a breakfast eater. When I do I will have tofu scramble, toast, or skip breakfast foods and have an early lunch which will either be a vegan burger, vegan chicken wings, vegan pizza, French fries, vegan chicken tenders, vegan nachos, vegan mac ‘n’ cheese, vegan BLT or sandwich etc.
Lunch: See breakfast foods above
Dinner: Tofu, stir fry, vegan chili, vegan tacos, vegan chicken breast, vegan chicken or eggplant parm salad, Burritos, soup etc.
Snacks (healthy & not-so healthy):
Potato chips, candy, wheat thins and salsa, vegan ice cream, iced tea, Soda.

What is your favourite source of:
Protein
: Soy or Beans
Calcium: Soy Milk & Multivitamin
Iron: Broccoli & Multivitamin

What foods give you the most energy?
Vegetables do, even though (as weird as this may sound) I am not the biggest vegetable fan when they are just by themselves.  Vegetables provide a higher amount of energy and nutrients. Fruit is also a good energy source as well. 
 
Do you take any supplements?
I take a multivitamin. I have been debating taking Vegan protein powder, but have not done so yet.

Advice
What is your top tip for:

Gaining muscle
Take in a lot of calories and lift heavy weights, with low reps.

Losing weight
Watch your calorie intake, and do cardio and light weights at high reps.
 
Maintaining weight
Finding a calorie range that is suitable for you. Do weights and cardio that you are comfortable with and just stay level when doing them. If you don’t want to gain more muscle, then don’t lift heavier weights that will cause your muscles to grow. If you don’t want to lose where you are now, then don’t go below the weights and cardio time that you are maintaining now.

Improving metabolism
I am no professional with diets and fitness training like I mentioned previously, but to improve metabolism eating 5-6 smaller meals a day will help keep your metabolism working, as well as doing cardio and exercise.
 
Toning up
I am not very toned, because I go for more of the lift heavy to gain mass type of working out. For toning up, it’s all about the foods you eat and the cardio and exercises you do. You want to burn the fat and unwanted calories to get the definition.

How do you promote veganism in your daily life?
I am always willing to talk to someone and have an intelligent conversation of why I live the lifestyle that I do. I do not talk down to people or force my views onto them - even though I’d love the world to be vegan. You have to be realistic and not so confrontational - at least for me I have found the most success that way. The more that I talk to someone on an equal level and explain the truths and benefits of veganism the more accepting those people are. I used to have co-workers who would come into work the next day and be more aware of what they were consuming and were cutting down on certain things after we had conversations the day before or earlier in the week. I know personally I don’t want someone forcing upon me that I shouldn’t be vegan, so the approach of civil communication has really proven beneficial for me. The more that people see how I conduct myself living this way and am easy to get along with, the more people have made efforts in the right direction.
 
How would you suggest people get involved with what you do?
Do your research; there are countless books, people, and organizations out there to help you. There is even a little thing called the Internet that can be a great start to get your feet wet into an amazing lifestyle. As I like to say. GO VEGAN and STAY VEGAN.
 
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