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Name: Billy Prusinowski
Year of Birth: 1984
Height: 5’10”
Weight: Off-Season 195, Competition 175
Birthplace: Syracuse, NY
Current Residence: Santa Cruz, CA
Sports: Cross Fit
Blog: www.billyprusinowski.blogspot.com

Tell us a little about yourself, what you do for a living, what hobbies / interests / passions you have
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
Kickboxing www.facebook.com/billybadasscardiokickboxing

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 year.

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 meats.

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 on.

What do you like best about being vegan?
Knowing my existence isn’t the cause of millions of animals suffering in their factory farms.

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 the course.

Do you have any other thoughts you’d like to share?

I am featured on:

My personal youtube channel:

Santa Cruz Power Fitness:

My Twitter:

For more photos along with fitness tips from BIlly Prusinowski