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Name: Gary Martin
Age: 25
Height: 6ft
Weight: 191 lbs
Birthplace: Scotland
Sports: Strength training

Why did you become vegan?
I was first made aware of the reality of factory farming listening to bands like Propagandhi and Rise Against. My best friend sent me the link to Earthlings, after which we both went vegetarian in late 2006. As time went on I couldn't justify cutting out meat, but not dairy and eggs as well. Mid 2008, a guy trying out for my band turned out to be vegan, and told me how easy it was, a week later I made the switch!

When and why did you become interested in fitness?

April 2010 I stumbled across this website, veganbodybuilding.com. I thought wow! I saw Robert Cheeke's transformation pictures and others in the profile section. I spent hours reading on the website, then other websites. Next thing I know I'm doing bodyweight exercises, I've ordered a cheap dumbbell set, I'm making my first nutrition plan!

I wanted to get big. I wanted to get into bodybuilding. I read online that it's best to start with a good strength foundation with compound exercises and I came across the Stronglifts website. Next thing I know I've ordered 100kg Olympic barbell set, a bench and a power rack. June 8th 2009 I started my first weight program.

How would you describe your nutrition program?
Typically about 4000-5000kcal a day, example;
Breakfast - Muesli + Soy Milk, Fruit, Protein Shake
Lunch - Hummus Sandwiches, Fruit, Protein Shake
Dinner - Quinoa + Kidney Beans + Veg Sauce, Steamed Kale

How would you describe your training program?
Always been based around compound lifts. I followed the Stronglifts strength training program for nearly a year, Jim Wendler's 5/3/1 for about 9 months. Then joined a weighlifting club and followed a powerlifting program for a while and done some open competitions. I now train at my work (Strength Shop UK) and incorporate strongman training as follows;

Monday - Squat/Overhead Pressing
Wednesday - Squat/Deadlift/Bench Press
Friday - Strongman Events

What kind of supplements do you use if any, and why?
For sport - protein powders (rice and pea normally) and creatine (just monohydrate, the cheap stuff!). For general health I take multivitamin/D/B12 and some omega oils every day.

What are some common misconceptions about veganism?
That you can't build muscle without meat. There's no protein in plant foods. That all vegans are skinny and unhealthy. I'm surprised at the pure volume of people that make these claims without knowing anything about nutrition or even their own diets. I use this as a driving force in my workouts and motivation to stay consistent.

What do you think the most important aspect of fitness is?
Consistency. It's easy to say you work out 4 days a week and eat X amount of calories a day or whatever, but to actually do this when you're feeling sub-par or stressed or tired requires commitment. You can't test a diet or workout plan unless you're consistent with it, and results lack if you don't. This is definitely my strongest point.

What do you like best about being fit?
Increased strength, better sleep quality, more waking hours, excellent immune system, improved mood, stress reduction, more confidence.

What advice do you have for vegan athletes who are just starting out?
For fellow skinny guys - train hard, eat harder. If you're not adding weight weekly you need to eat more. Any program that revolves around hard compound lifts and low reps are good. Squats/deadlifts/press/bench press/pullups/dips/rows are all winners.

What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming vegan?
If you don't know any vegans, join an online community. Ease your way into the transition, change an ingredient or 2 at a time, then a meal until everything's changed over. Your body will probably feel a difference within the first couple of weeks; it's the same for any dietary change you make.

What motivates you in life?

Being a vegan, I find it doesn't matter how you answer the common questions/comments like "where do you get your protein?", "you need meat!", "aren't you deficient in ____?" - People already have their mind made up. I find visual results do change people's view on veganism - healthier skin, larger muscles, more strength, seeing more energy in you.

How has the website www.veganbodybuilding.com helped or inspired you?
The website veganbodybuilding.com is the site that got it started for me. The profiles on here and before/after pictures on the forums motivate me every single day. As I workout myself at home, the forums on here have provided an invaluable resource for advice on exercise technique and nutrition. I also keep my workout log on the forums, which is handy because a lot of my friends provide me with daily support, enthusiasm and pointers to reach my best!