Interview with Anthony Mann: Vegan Bodybuilder & Trainer
Written by Leigh-Chantelle
Created Thursday, 22 August 2013
Anthony Mann is a fully qualified personal trainer, a vegan bodybuilder and he is very passionate about fitness and boxing. He believes anyone can achieve their goals with hard work and guidance, whatever your fitness background.
How and why did you decide to become a vegan?
I became vegan after being a vegetarian for a few years at 15 years old because of my brother Keith Mann
who opened my eyes to the suffering of animals.
How long have you been vegan?
I've been vegan for over 23 years.
What has benefited you the most from being a vegan?
Knowing I'm not eating animals or contributing to the plight against them.
What does veganism mean to you?
Veganism means everything to me - proving at 45 years I can be as good physically as a meat eater.
What sort of training do you do?
I weight train 4-5 times a week on different muscle groups. I'm also a personal trainer so I run with clients as and when needed from 2 miles to training clients up to 22 miles for marathon training. I sometimes box or spar 1-2 times a week.
How often do you (need to) train?
4-5 times a week.
Do you offer your fitness or training services to others?
Strengths, Weaknesses & Outside Influences
What do you think is the biggest misconception about vegans and how do you address this?
That we don’t get enough protein - my answer is to train with me, look at me, that shuts them up.
What are your strengths as a vegan athlete?
I wouldn't say I have particular strengths as such, I'm just me but I can hold my own against any meat eater whatever their age.
What is your biggest challenge?
Finding clean, healthy, high-protein food if I'm out and about so often I have to carry food with me.
Are the non-vegans in your industry supportive or not?
Some people don't understand why I don't consume animals etc. I had a recent comment from a personal trainer in the gym I train at - I'd just had 3 months off with disc and nerve damage so lost over a stone - was “So are you going to eat meat now to help you put weight on?” I was flabbergasted at his ignorance.
Are your family and friends supportive of your vegan lifestyle?
Family and friends either say nothing or love to comment about how nice meat is etc. I used to get angry but now I'm quite calm and either ignore it or try to educate them.
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?
The main question is “What do you eat?” and “Why are you vegan?” Both easy answers: anything that hasn't being murdered and because I care and don't think it's right to eat animals.
Who or what motivates you?
I am self-motivated. I strive to try to look good, be fit and prove people wrong. Plus with fitness being my job it's important to me as well from a work perspective.
Food & Supplements
What do you eat for:
Breakfast – oats, banana protein shake
Lunch - brown rice, sweet potato, spaghetti with tofu, veg mince, mock duck, soya chunks, plus asparagus, broccoli, peas.
Dinner - mixed beans tofu salad, Shephard’s pie plus green veg. Oats cinnamon, protein shake. Tempeh stir fry with brown rice, lentils, chick peas, mixed with vegetables and any food from lunch.
Snacks (healthy & not-so healthy) - rice cakes with peanut butter, homemade protein oat bars, banana, apples, vegan yoghurt, oat cakes, celery, weetabix, mixed nuts, blueberries, Homemade apple pie and soya custard.
What is your favorite source of:
Protein - tempeh, tofu
Calcium - soya milk, broccoli
Iron - spinach
Do you take any supplements?
B vitamins, Vitamin C, Zinc
What is your top tip for:
Gaining muscle – eat, eat, eat, and lift heavy weights.
Losing weight - train 4-5 days a week at a minimum of 30 minutes per day, varying the workouts. Eat three small main meals and two snacks aiming for approx 1200 calories.
Maintaining weight - don't lose sight of your diet - keep training intensely, avoid sugar, but have a cheat day.
Improving metabolism - eat small and often and don't find excuses not to train.
Toning up - don't avoid the weights as some women do thinking they will get big muscles, but in turn ,the more muscle you have the more calories you will burn. Combine that with a sensible diet and a good cardio routine, variety is the key and avoiding alcohol or cut right back. Drink lots of water and avoid salt.
How do you promote veganism in your daily life?
I don't really promote it as I found preaching got me nowhere. I just use my physique as my tool. Most people are scared of change and think eating meat and dairy are important for nutrition and calcium without realising what is in our food, so if asked, I just educate and try to advise on how to eat for what they want.
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