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Interview with Fawn Porter: Vegan Personal Trainer

 
Fawn Porter is the Master Trainer and Health Coach at Mean Green Personal Training.
Fawn_Porter_-_Touch
 
Why Vegan?
How and why did you decide to become a vegan?
A series of aha moments triggered by meeting a pig named Chester whilst working in an animal shelter and watching the documentary Earthlings. This saw me confront the gap between my values and deep love for all animals with my contrasting actions. From there it was a gradual transition to cruelty free and plant based options. This really evolved into a health conscious way of living for me. I recognised the health and fitness benefits that could also be obtained through a vegan lifestyle. Ultimately I’m vegan because I believe that if we can live healthy and happy lives without harming others, why wouldn’t we?

How long have you been vegan?
5 years.

What has benefited you the most from being a vegan?
It has given me a true sense of peace and harmony within, knowing now that my actions are true to my values. Also on a physical level I have never felt as light and energised, compared to feeling heavy and bloated so often when I was eating meat and dairy in particular. It proved to be much easier to keep and maintain a natural weight after dropping animal products and switching to a healthy well balanced vegan diet.

What does veganism mean to you?
Living a healthy, vibrant, abundant and ethically conscious life.

Training
What sort of training do you do?
I like to keep things balanced, playful and functional. I prefer not to do something just for fitness sake if I don’t enjoy it and keeping a balance between different modalities of training unless training for a specific sporting event.  Strength and flexibility balance is very important to me now also so I switch things up between: strength weight training at the gym (usually a split program 1-2 body parts),  power and gentle yoga forms, high intensity stair, beach or hill sprints, touch football games, calisthenic interval training at local park/beach bar gyms and spontaneous playful movement (gotta have it!) such as frisby on the beach, dancing, rock climbing, surfing etc.

How often do you (need to) train?
I think it’s important to move our bodies every day.

Do you offer your fitness or training services to others?
As a qualified personal trainer I currently have online personal training & health coaching programs coupled with plant based nutritional guidance which can be done by anyone, anywhere (www.meangreenpt.com). However I’m currently in the process of revamping and merging this into my new site www.thehealthaholic.com which will expand into many other areas within the scope of health and wellness as a whole. It will be a more personal account from myself and is aimed at expanding the way we look at our health and unleashing your inner supercharged healthaholic who is kind to themselves and kind to the world. The healthaholic’s definition of health is: a state of feeling ‘high on life’. Achieved through intoxicating nourishment, playful movement, relaxing stillness, connection with others and radical kindness. I hope to have everything up and running with this and providing plenty of free content, recipes, interviews and more in the coming months.
 
What sports do you play?
I play touch football in multiple local competitions as well as having played premiere league for my region. I love to snowboard, dance, rock climb, play social tennis and generally being a gym junkie – if you can call that a sport.

Strengths, Weaknesses & Outside Influences
What do you think is the biggest misconception about vegans and how do you address this?
That there is a mandatory dress code which involves tie dye clothing and dread locks or that you are therefore a tree hugging hippy and/or a string bean wimp. Not that there is anything wrong with anyone who chooses to hug trees, has dreads or likes a bit of colour in their wardrobe. I think a lot of the media in the past has painted this picture in the mainstream, a stereotype. I see that a lot of people can view veganism as ‘extreme’ because they’ve never known anything else except for the old ‘meat and 3 veg’ traditional way of eating. I used to subconsciously hold a similar viewpoint coming from a very meat centric diet myself.
To address these misconceptions or stereotypes I believe in simply being your true authentic self, showing up in life everyday, pursuing your purpose and taking care of your health & physical appearance. Many people I know tend to cotton on eventually to the fact that I’m vegan, whether it be through watching my food choices etc or through the grapevine. By observing your ‘normalness’ or how ‘just like them’ you are, or by seeing your above average active lifestyle, energy etc they tend to naturally come to be intrigued in why and how you came to be vegan which usually always results in fruitful conversations. Ultimately it comes down to being the change you wish to see.
 
What is your biggest challenge?
Chocolate…I don’t hide the fact that I have an insanely ravenous sweet tooth that from time to time gets the better of me. Everything in balance and moderation is my mantra though.
 
Are the non-vegans in your industry supportive or not?
Within the fitness industry there are mixed views when it comes to veganism. Throughout my formal education to become a personal trainer I noticed quite quickly that there’s little taught on nutrition, let alone plant based / vegan nutrition apart from briefly being mentioned as a diet which was ‘risky’ and/or difficult without any real detailed information with animal based protein sources being at the forefront of what was being taught and pushed as the ‘gold standard’. I also saw this same trend and misinformation being spread to clients throughout many mainstream gyms and personal training studios whilst briefly working within these environments. This ultimately lead me to pursue further education as it pertains to vegan nutrition and start my own business as a vegan specific personal trainer and health coach.
 
Are your family and friends supportive of your vegan lifestyle?
My Mum has always been very supportive given that she has practically been 90% veg herself for most of her life. In fact I used to tease her in my teenage years that she needed to eat more meat – go figure! Though not vegan herself she boasts about it to others and how proud she is of me for sticking to my guns so that has been a really nice. My father was a great animal lover but had always lived by the traditional Aussie bloke lifestyle which centred around a heavy meat based diet and drinking culture, which I believe is in large part why he’s no longer here with us today. I’m very blessed to now have some incredible people to call friends who each are very respectful and on similar paths with mostly very healthy plant based diets. There have been the odd few I’ve met along the way that upon learning I’m vegan automatically label me and put me in a box and become suddenly very defensive and almost aggressive. Sometimes the simple act of not doing something eg eating animal products implies that others eating meat are doing something wrong, which ultimately  can cause someone to feel like their actions and choices are in some way being attacked. On occasions this sometimes results in a compulsive urge to put me down, ridicule or make fun of me and my decision to not eat animal products. This usual signals that someone isn’t 100% comfortable with their position ie they do perhaps feel a gap between their actions and values, but discrediting something or someone that is highlighting this to them is easier than confronting and bridging the gap through changing their actions. Let’s face it – no one likes to be made to feel as if what they’re doing is wrong or immoral, which is why I try my best to be relatively non-confrontational on the topic and find some common ground with people. Everyone is trying to do the best they can with the resources they have.
 
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?
One of the more common comments or questions I get asked is usually along the lines of “that must be hard for you..” or “I love animals too but I couldn’t give up meat/cheese..”
 
Fawn_Porter_-_climbing_at_sissy

Food & Supplements
What do you eat for:
Breakfast:
Green smoothie (usually around 800mls) :
  • at least 3-5 green things eg kale, spinach, broccoli, cucumber, spirulina
  • pea protein isolate or sprouted raw rice or multi source protein
  • healthy fats eg chia seeds/hemp seeds/activated nuts or seeds/flax or coconut oil etc – always 1 brazil nut for daily selenium
  • fruit – half a banana for a bit of creaminess and mix it up between apple, kiwi  or berries (goji/inca/blueberries/raspberries etc)
  • superhuman boost – maca/acai
Lunch
Big ass salad, which gives you a skinny ass.  This is my never fail lunch which will include:
  • about 2cups of veggies and/or microgreen sproutsin a rainbow of colours
  • ½-1cup legumes eg chickpeas, beans, lentils (preferably sprouted or soaked and cooked from dry form) or ½ pack of toasted tempeh or 125-150g tofu
  • If legumes above I might also opt for some hemp / activated pumpkin or sunflower seeds
  • Sometimes I might opt for a little added quinoa or starchy carbs like sweet potato or pumpkin.
  • homemade dressing which might include any or all of the following: lemon juice/apple cider vinegar/miso/garlic/ginger/flax oil/tahini/dulse/nutritional yeast/herbs etc
Dinner
Salad options/nori rolls similar to lunch or tasty stir fry with some very lightly cooked or steamed veggies and legumes or tempeh/tofu.
  • Snacks (healthy & not-so healthy):
    Choc protein chia tapioca/pudding – sprouted choc brown rice protein (or a plain flavoured peap rotein with added cacao and stevia/xylitol) added to some chia ‘gel’ (1-2 Tbsp chia soak in water roughly 3 parts water to 1 part chia). Extra water added to fix protein and gel. Super quick easy and tasty!
  • Celery and hummus
  • Fruit
  • Activated nuts
  • Kale ‘boats’ – dino kale leaves with veggies & hummus/tahini/avo or toasted tempeh inside
  • Protein or raw food bar
  • Protein shake
What is your favourite source of:
Protein – legumes/nuts/seeds/tempeh and a rainbow of veggies
Calcium – dark green leafy veggies, tahini, amaranth
Iron – spinach, tempeh, quinoa

What foods give you the most energy?
Juiced fruit and veggies, heavy on the veggies
 
Do you take any supplements?
I use a protein powder – switch between a pea protein isolate or raw pea protein isolate and/or a raw brown rice or raw multisource protein.
 
Advice
What is your top tip for:
Gaining muscle – lift and move a lot of heavy things with lower reps/for shorter periods. Eat to replenish and repair. Sleep like a giant.
Losing weight – short sharp high intensity interval cardio / bootcamp/ functional circuit style training. Playful sport our in the fresh air – out in nature. Whatever you are drawn to where you can elevate  your heart rate and get a rush where at the end you feel alert with electricity in you veins (after you’ve caught your breath..!). It need not be for overly extended duration.
 
 
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