Posted by Kayla Thompson on Wednesday, January 16, 2013
NATURAL NAUGHTIES INTERVIEW
Luke T Evolvedstrength
1. Bachelor of Arts in Communication
2. Australia Strength Performance Level 3 Mindset/ Strength and Conditioning Coach (http://www.trainasp.com.au/index.php/our-team/luke-tan/)
3. Poliquin certified Bio signature practitioner
4. Poliquin International Certification Program (PICP) State level Strength and Conditioning Coach
5. Australian Board of Neuro Linguistic programming (ABNLP) Accredited Master NLP Life/ Mindset coach
6. ABNLP Accredited Master Ericksonian Hypnotherapist
7. Certicate III/ IV in Fitness
Tell me about your journey..
I am a vegan bodybuilder, strength and conditioning coach and NLP Mindset/Life coach. I was born in Singapore and have been based in Melbourne for the past 13 years. With each day, I am just trying my best to live by my manifesto 'to make a difference '. Whether it is to my clients, friends, loved ones or all other sentient beings, my goal is to inspire people to believe in themselves, to follow their heart, to know that there is always a way. To always focus on solutions rather than problems.
How long have you been vegan?
Almost a year now and Ioving the journey so far. Being in the industry where trainers are having a high protein, low carb diet (I used to be one myself), I absolutely love going against the flow. Sitting in my corner having my tofu and veg, my salads, fruits, dates and my high calorie/carb shakes (each shake is approx 1200 calories).
Why did you decide to become a vegan?
My wife was a vegan before me and through her I started understanding more about the movement. The turning point was when Shana, a friend of mine introduced me to 'Earthlings'. After watching that film I had a renewed perspective towards the movement. How our day to day choices have such an impact on our planet and all its inhabitants. A typical western diet is simply not sustainable for our ever-growing population. Imagine if China and India decided to adopt our western diet and increased their demand for animal based products. We would probably need more land for grazing and cultivating crops for animal feed, more factory farms to cater for the ever-growing demand. We would probably need another planet to do all of that!
I read a book written by Robert Cheeke 'Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness ' and realised that it was actually possible to be a vegan and bodybuild. There were many athletes all across the globe thriving on a vegan diet. Through the book the message was clear. The best way to increase awareness is to spread a positive message and lead by example.
How do you feel on a vegan diet?
Being a heavy meat eater before (I used to consume up to 1kg of meat a day), I realise that I have to increase my volume of food that I consume. Currently, I adopt a high carb, low fat approach, always ensuring that I hit my protein goals each day (approx 130g of protein a day). Being 'carbed up ' means that I have an abundant source of energy.
I remember during the first couple of months I started, my wife came up with the brilliant idea of going for a run (she was an ex professional short track speed skater representing Canada). Hating cardio and only doing it only when I was trying to drop bodyfat/lean down, I decided to give it ago. 8km later, I felt so energised from the run and didn 't feel like it was much of an effort at all!
What I 've found since becoming vegan, I am dropping bodyfat and putting on muscle much easier doing half the work I used to do (I used to train 4-5 times a week, do High Intensity Interval Training (HITT) 2-3 times a week). I used to binge on raw macadamias as it was my only pleasure and always crave 'crap ' carbohydrates like chocolate, ice cream, cakes and would have them during my 'cheat meal' only to feel stuffed and guilty afterwards. Since my glycogen stores are always full (from rice, dates, bananas, fruits etc.), I do not crave these 'treats' anymore.
Everytime I am hungry, I will just go to the supermarket or green grocer to get some fruits to fill me up (I love mangoes). On a high protein low carb diet, I used to hesitate eating fruits thinking that there were muchmany sugars in them.
Have you found it hard to maintain and build muscle?
Not at all. It has been a great journey so far and through trial and error, I am fine tuning what's optimal for my body type. I do not find it hard to build muscle as long as I hit my protein and caloric intake goals (I consume approximately 130grams of protein a day, 4000 calories revolving around raw, wholefoods, grains). I am still discovering and researching what's optimal for my body type. Though what I've realised that since being a vegan, getting leaner and dropping bodyfat is a lot easier.
Do you feel a vegan diet includes a range of nutrients?
Sure it does. I feel like in this day and age, we try and compartmentalsze everything into it's nuts and bolts through supplementation, all the way through treating a specific symptom of an illness without addressing the source of the problem (eg: emotional/ physical stress, intolerances, poor nutrition). Organic, whole, natural food works as a synergy of macro and micronutrients that your body needs. 2 of the foods I have a lot of are kale and bananas. Kale is rich in Vitamins A,C,K and betacarotene. Bananas are high in potassium, Vitamin B6, carbohydrates and fibre.
Being a vegan, my diet is high in carbohydrates providing me a great source of energy for training. The large amount of fibre in my diet helps with my body 's digestion and detoxification process. The key to a good clean diet is to limit processed, 'artificial ' products. If it has along list of ingredients that you can't comprehend or if it's masked with words like 'from concentrate', 'natural flavourings/colourings', do not eat it!
Do you eat much raw food?
I try and eat as much raw food as possible; organic vegetables/ fruits used in salads, dates, raw nuts. Most of my calories come from raw foods. My breakfast shake (consisting of bananas, dates, raw pea protein, cacao) is what starts my day before my first client. From time to time, I love raw treats such as vegan 'cheese' cakes, macaroons and my usual protein 'ice cream ' (made from whipped frozen bananas, vanilla bean, rice/pea protein, dates).
Any tips for people who want to transition to a vegan diet?
1. Buy a cookbook, research online for recipes, be open to different foods & ideas
2. Opt for gluten free
3. Focus on whole, natural and unprocessed foods as much as you can
4. Keep your caloric intake up (one of the main reasons why people fail on a vegetarian/vegan diet) by eating calorie dense foods (eg: sweet potatoes, nuts, bananas, dates, rice, etc.)
5. Eat a large variety of foods
6. If you are wanting to put on excess muscle, hit your protein goal through various plant sources (e.g.: Legumes, tofu, tempeh, rice/pea protein isolate).
- Everyone's goal is different but how I calculate mine (for maintainence):
1.5 x (bodyweight) 86kg = 129grams of protein a day
Sample Meal day
Meal 1 - around 5.15am: Banana protein shake 1
Meal 2 - around 8am: Banana protein shake 2
Meal 3 - Around 11 am - (I pack lunch and consume the same thing throughout the day): Mixed bean tofu salad made with kale, spinach, lettuce, carrots, corn with a citrus dressing)
Meal 4 - Around 1 pm - Mixed tofu bean salad
Meal 5 - Around 3pm, Pre/Intra workout workout: 2 bananas, 3 dates, approx 40 grams of Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
Meal 6 - Around 4 pm, Post workout: Rice/ Pea protein shake with dextrose powder, glutamine, glycine (to bring my cortisol down - cortisol is a stress hormone)
Meal 7 - Around 5.30pm Tofu Bean salad
Meal 8 - Around 8pm - Rice and Vege stirfry of some sort
Sample Training day
I periodise my training and depending on the phase I am in; it could be hypertrophy (growth) or strength phase, I may work an upper body/arms/legs program (which I design for myself) on that day. Varying rest breaks, sets/reps etc. I keep my workout to a maximum of 1 hr.
I am still trialling different approaches to my nutrition to see what works best. At the end of the day, I believe that you are your own best nutritionist. There are many roads/paths that you can take to reach your desired 'destination'. It is through exploring these different routes that helps you understand what works or does not work for you.
My goal is to compete as a Vegan Bodybuilder in the near future. Stay tuned :)
For A Raw Vegan Protein Option visit www.heavy-weight.com.au and mention Natural Naughties
For Raw Food recipes order
Nourish - Raw Food Recipes for Athletes
Lifestyle E-book - Raw food recipes