Name: Billy Prusinowski
Year of Birth: 1984
Weight: Off-Season 195, Competition 175
Birthplace: Syracuse, NY
Current Residence: Santa Cruz, CA
Sports: Cross Fit
Tell us a little about yourself, what you do for a living, what hobbies / interests / passions
8th Grade Social Studies and Language Arts Teacher in Watsonville, California. I have my own
Boot Camp and Personal Training Business called Herbivore Athletics that I do when I’m not
teaching, and also run a wildly popular Santa Cruz fitness class called Billy Bad Ass Cardio
Why did you become vegan?
Earth Crisis was a band from my hometown of Syracuse, NY that inspired generations
of youth to go straight edge and vegan to better themselves, their planet and the lives of
animals. I began to listen to them and Propagandhi with several friends around 2000 and
over ten of us went vegan and straight edge to celebrate our newly-borne convictions that
When and why did you become interested in fitness?
I lived in Portland, OR in 2006 and 2007 while I was doing animal rights activism full-time,
learning about VeganBodybuilding.com from NWVegFest and other people in the area and
decided it would be fun to have weightlifting as a hobby, since I didn’t party and get drunk
like some of the other activists I was close with. LoPrinzi’s Gym was on my street and their
owner, Sam Hill, inspired me to develop a serious routine that lasted for years. I moved
to Santa Cruz in 2009 and got my first real job as a personal trainer at Gold’s Gym Santa
Cruz, which helped me develop a following and now my own personal training business
which I run with no affiliation to any gym any longer.
How would you describe your nutrition program?
To prep for competition, I followed a 12 week program set up by Ed Bauer, champion
vegan bodybuilder also from my homestate of New York, but now operating his fitness business in Portland, OR. www.edbauerfit.com Otherwise, I’m a 3,000-4,000 calorie per day strict vegan, heavy on supplements and mock
How would you describe your training program?
I have been doing CrossFit for over a year, but chose to follow a strict bodybuilding routine
for six months while I trained for the San Jose NPC Men’s Physique Competition in July
2012. Currently I am teaching cardio kickboxing (working out while I do it), CrossFitting
two days a week and bodybuilding two days a week.
What kind of supplements do you use if any, and why?
Met-Rx Creatine, Glutamine and Carnitine, Vega Pre-Workout Energizer and
Performance Protein, Gaspari Nutrition Viridex Natural Testosterone Enhancer, Chia
Seeds, Flax Oil
How do people react when they find out you are vegan?
I don’t dress the part of an “activist” or “animal rights advocate” anymore, so they are very
surprised. Santa Cruz has a lot of vegans and vegetarians, but they all “dress the part.” People
ask how I have muscle tone or then “why?” since they realize I am very normal like them, and
they can frankly ask me that question whereas they might not be able to ask an edgy-looking
punkish activist the same candid question with comfort.
What are some common misconceptions about veganism?
That you have to look like a vegan to be a vegan! I “looked like a vegan” for ten years, but
as I became part of the teaching profession and interact with many adults on a professional
level or via my website, I chose to mainstream my image. Now a lot of people don’t think
I’m a real vegan because I look like an everyday guy.
Have you had success in promoting veganism / vegetarianism to others? If so, how did you
go about it?
Currently I am holding bi-weekly “Healthy Hangouts” after my Billy’s Boot Camps and
Billy Bad Ass Cardio Kickboxing classes, where up to 20 of my class members have come
and enjoyed entirely vegan meals together, and have had amazing success promoting the
lifestyle and information about vegan cooking through these gatherings. All of my old
punk and hardcore shirts are now gym shirts, so a lot of them have slogans about veganism
printed on them and conversations happen on the gym floor a lot of the time. I’ve been
vegan so long that it’s very easy to talk about.
What do you think the most important aspect of training is?
Keeping your hormones balanced. That is the all-encompassing umbrella which then
includes your sleep (melatonin flood), your emotional balance the following day (serotonin
and dopamine), your food-timing (leptin), your muscle-output (testosterone), and on and
What do you like best about being vegan?
Knowing my existence isn’t the cause of millions of animals suffering in their factory
What do you like best about being fit?
Compliments and questions from people wanting to achieve what I’ve achieved. I love
being a role model and trying my best to put others on the same course.
What advice do you have for people who are just starting out with training?
Follow the Gradual Process approach (Mike Mahler’s theory) and don’t rush things. You
are developing a lifestyle, not a vacation-week physique that disappears.
What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming vegan?
Find a support network. People-watch at a health food store or vegetarian-friendly
restaurant and get to know other vegans. It’s so much easier when you’re not alone.
What motivates you in life?
The idea that I will help generations of children with becoming lifelong critical thinkers and
that I can inspire children or adults to live healthy lifestyles just by living my own positive life
(acting positive, looking good, having a muscular physique, eating broccoli and seitan out of
reusable containers everyday rather than ordering fast-food).
What do you think of veganbodybuilding.com? Has it helped or inspired you?
It’s been a great community to meet other people in our movement. This past year it
hooked me up with the CrossFit Vegans and Vegetarians Facebook Group which is an
INCREDIBLE support for all of us resisting the paleo-cults at our boxes. When I was
considering skipping this year’s competition, I also thought, “Well I’ll never make it onto
veganbodybuilding.com if I don’t have professional stage pictures!” So that helped me stay
Do you have any other thoughts you’d like to share?
I am featured on:
My personal youtube channel:
Santa Cruz Power Fitness:
For more photos along with fitness tips from BIlly Prusinowski