Name: Christian Garcia
Year of Birth: September 21, 1992
Weight: 154 lbs.
Current Residence: Santa Cruz, California
Sports: Competitive Bodybuilding
Social Media: Instagram: @cgadventure, Twitter: @Chri_Gari, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/christian.garcia.921
(all of the above are optional, if you don’t want to share social media or your contact details, it’s entirely up to you!)
Tell us a little about yourself, what you do for a living, what hobbies / interests / passions you have:
At the moment, I am a full-time student, single dad (to two pups), part-time freelance writer, competitive bodybuilder, and member of Team PlantBuilt. I spend a lot of time in the gym (training for competitions), out and about running/sprinting with my dogs, cooking in the kitchen, writing recipes, and watching movies/television shows.
Why did you become vegan?
Initially, I became vegan (May 1, 2012) for health reasons after watching Forks Over Knives. It wasn’t until about a year later that I was exposed to the grim reality of the animal-based industries (whether it is for food or clothing). Once I was exposed to that, the conviction behind my veganism increased ten-fold. I had always been an animal lover, but it wasn’t until I adopted a full-on, activist lifestyle that I truly gained a true appreciation for the animals- the ones who cannot speak for themselves.
When and why did you become interested in fitness?
I have always been a health/fitness-oriented individual, but it wasn’t until I saw Team PlantBuilt compete in 2013 that I set my sights on becoming a competitive bodybuilder and a true example of what a compassionate lifestyle can do for one’s body and for the lives of many. I immediately started training for what I believed would lead me into bodybuilding. I don’t do this fitness stuff for my own vanity or ego anymore; I do it for the animals.
How would you describe your nutrition program?
(please give some examples of the type of meals or food you focus on, things you avoid, or if possible, give a breakdown of what you typically eat each day, so people can understand specifically what you do)
Depending on where I am in my season, I am either super high on carbs (500+ daily) or when it comes closer to contest-prep crunch time, I gradually taper off my carbs (never below 225 or so). I am comfortable eating soy, as it is NOT what many make it out to be, gluten, etc. My daily diet primarily consists of tofu, TVP, seitan, lentils, grains, veggies, oats, tubers (sweet potatoes, mainly), beans, protein supplements, seeds, nuts, etc. During my reefed days, I get to have cereals and pancakes, too. Eating vegan food is pretty tasty. My coach sets my up with different meal plans depending on my progress, so it is hard to list what I eat on a day-to-day basis.
How would you describe your training program?
(What do you typically do to work out, how many days, what exercises/movements, what kind of reps and sets do you do, and anything else unique to you)
When I am strength training during off-season and trying to gain size, I typically do lower reps and higher weight. When I am cutting down, I begin doing higher-volume workouts with as much weight as I can tolerate with the higher reps. I do cardio (fasted, steady-state, or HIIT) when I am at a certain point in my training. I typically keep sprintervals (sprint intervals) to twice a week, as they’re great for muscle training. When I am all carbed-up, I love doing weighted pull-ups, bench press, deadlifts, front squats, stiff-leg deadlifts, rows, and a bunch of other exercises (mainly compound exercises).
What kind of supplements do you use if any, and why?
I take Deva multi-vitamin (as everyone should take one, vegan or not), creatine monohydrate, L-glutamine, BCAAs, Clean Machine’s Cell Block 80, WarriorForce health supplements, different protein powders (PlantFusion, Vega, Rawfusion, etc.), Vega pre-workout, and beetroot powder. Yeah, a killer physique can be crafted without supplements, but I choose to use them due to a convenience factor, a cost-effective means of full and well-rounded nourishment, as well as for expedited, healthy muscle recovery.
How do people react when they find out you are vegan?
People have actually taken quite well to me living a vegan lifestyle. When I was smaller in size, I’d get all sorts of scrutiny and criticism for being skinny. Once I actually started lifting, I stopped getting scrutiny and criticism and started receiving questions about advice, tips, and tricks regarding a vegan lifestyle and training. People admire what I do because I am good at it (good coaching, dedication, and commitment can take you far).
What are some common misconceptions about veganism?
Vegans are typically seen as small, unable to build muscle (or have difficulties doing so), hippies, frail, vitamin/nutrient/protein deficient, less masculine (for guys, in my personal experience), too compassionate/caring/sensitive, etc. However, it is quite the contrary. Vegan competitors, athletes and us bodybuilders are a growing breed (both in numbers and in physical size).
Have you had success in promoting veganism / vegetarianism to others? If so, how did you go about it?
I have had success in promoting veganism. I have led by example. I have directly influenced two people to go vegan, and as a result, one of those people has influenced another to go vegan. Also, as a member of Team PlantBuilt, I compete alongside other vegan bodybuilders, powerlifters, and CrossFitters to promote veganism to demonstrate that no one has to die in order to become a bigger, better, and healthier individual. We compete every year to do this.
What do you think the most important aspect of training is?
Remember why you’re doing whatever it is you’re doing. Set your goals and keep to them. For me, it’s the animals. Even when I don’t want to work out, I remember that it’s not about what I want; it’s about what the animals want: the right to live. I am an active vessel for voiceless.
What do you like best about being vegan?
I get to save lives! I love being able to wake up and go to bed every day knowing that I did my absolute best to inflict little or no harm upon anyone living being. I have a clean conscience and cleaner hands. The health and fitness aspects of the vegan lifestyle are a definite plus, too. I also can access my superpowers sometimes.
What do you like best about being fit?
I feel and look great. I am able to demonstrate the vegan lifestyle in the best light possible. It is also influential to those seeking a healthier and more active lifestyle. Leading by example is what I do best, especially for veganism.
What advice do you have for people who are just starting out with training?
Consistency is key and so is form. No, changes won’t happen immediately, but they will happen, given you have a plan set out for you. No one ever said that everything worth doing was easy. Actually, anything worth doing often comes with a price (time, energy, commitment, etc.). Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results right away. It’s a time game.
What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming vegan?
Know in your heart that it is the single-most compassionate, kindest, and best thing you can do for the animals, the planet, and for yourself. Put your conscience before your palate. Essentially, the tastes you’ve come to enjoy are all based on perception and your taste buds’ ability to adapt to a change in taste. And most importantly, in order to continue living, you don’t have to stop someone else’s need and desire to live. You CAN live without animal products.
What motivates you in life?
In life, knowing that I do my absolute best to inflict the least amount of harm on anyone or anything Also, seeing happiness in the lives of others motivates me. I am an extremely empathetic and vicarious person; I feed off of the emotions of others. That’s why seeing everyone happy means a great deal to me…because I feel happy, literally. I also find ways to generate motivation in the littlest of ways. Oh, and food definitely motivates me in life.
What do you think of veganbodybuilding.com? Has it helped or inspired you?
Veganbodybuilding.com was one of my first resources for competition training. I found the advice people gave extremely beneficial. I have gotten to know Robert Cheeke on a personal basis and he is what set this train in motion. So glad he started this.
Do you have any other thoughts you’d like to share?
Ultimately, things are what you make them out to be. I choose to put animals before myself so that my sights are always clear and set. For others, they may choose to put themselves before the animals and that sometimes distorts people’s goals.