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Name: Miriam V. Burns (Mir Burns)
Year of Birth: 1977
Height: 5’2
Weight: 113
Birthplace: Miami, FL
Current Residence: Tampa, FL
Sports: Figure competitor

Tell us a little about yourself, what you do for a living, what hobbies / interests / passions you have.
I turned 35 in February of this year and decided to do my first figure competition. So in June, I competed in the Tampa Bay Classic and Figure Universe in Miami. I placed 4 th in Tampa and 6th in Miami. So I’ve decided to continue competing. I’m taking a year off to bulk and train in order to place better next year.

Why did you become vegan?
At first it was because I just got tired of eating chicken, and I would just eat the salads, fruits, or veggies. Then I realized that there was such a thing as a vegan diet. I started reading up on it, and was so overwhelmed at how healthy and good for you a vegan diet is. Plus, I started seeing foods differently. What first was a mild curiosity turned into a lifestyle change for me. It started with reading Alicia Silverstone’s “The Kind Diet”, then Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s “The 30- Day Vegan Challenge” and “The Vegan Table”, and Kim Barnouin’s “Skinny Bitch Ultimate Everyday Cookbook.”

When and why did you become interested in fitness?
I’ve been active my whole life. I’ve been working out since I was 20, and used to be a personal trainer. After years of thinking about competing, it took turning 35 to finally make me do it. I thought “hey, if I don’t do it now, I’m never going to do it.”

How would you describe your nutrition program?
Quite honestly, I follow Robert Cheeke’s Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness, which introduced me to Brendan Brazier’s Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life. For weekly meal planning, I follow those two books, but also use recipes from Lindsay S. Nixon’s The Happy Herbivore and Everyday Happy Herbivore.

How would you describe your training program?
I train 5 days a week, breaking down shoulders, legs, back and biceps, and chest and triceps. I also incorporate HIIT and sprints.

What are some common misconceptions about veganism?
Common misconceptions about veganism are that you can’t bulk up being a vegan, you can’t be a bodybuilder (or in my case a figure competitor), and you don’t get enough protein being a vegan.

What advice do you have for people who are just starting out with veganism or training?
Give it time. Like everything that is worth it, it takes time and dedication to make it work.

Do you have any other thoughts you’d like to share?
Being a vegan is not just changing your diet; it’s changing your lifestyle.