: Denise Nicole
: (approx) Competition Weight 104, Off competition 110-114
: Salisbury, Maryland USA
Residence: Ocean City Maryland USA
Why did you become vegan?
My fitness pursuit began several years ago. I wanted to pursue a fit and healthy life and found better ways to feed my body and thus I began to pursue exercise. My pursuits for a healthy diet eventually lead me to a vegetarian lifestyle and finally a vegan lifestyle. I began to enjoy the benefits of healthy vegan foods also including many raw foods as part of my meals. Becoming vegan has changed my life for the better in so many ways, aside from meeting so many people with like dietary lifestyles from so many diverse backgrounds, I have enjoyed living a compassionate lifestyle knowing I am helping to lessen the amount of animal suffering. I have enjoyed more strength, less sickness, clarity of mind, and am at peace with my lifestyle choice.
I grew up in a meat eating family and ate as they did, eating all that greasy food and lived on a lot of fast food. Weight lifting and exercising was not something my family pursued. I watched them begin to become sick with headaches, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. I was told this “runs in the family” and knew I could expect the same fate as them. This was when I began to lift weights, run and adjust my diet. I did become healthier then I was, but still suffered from headaches and fatigue. One day at a routine physical, I was given the dreaded news that I too had high blood pressure and high cholesterol; I too would have a lifetime of medicine. I was shocked that after my efforts I would suffer the same fate as them. I had eliminated a lot of animal products from my diet by then, too much fat, too high in cholesterol. I had read a bit about vegetarianism and decided I would pursue it. I did and my levels came down. When I became a Vegan my levels were awesome. No medicine for me, I had beaten my perceived fate! My Vegan diet eventually pored over into the rest of my style of living. Becoming educated on the fate of animals in factory farming has changed my life forever.
*As an added update on this. Shortly after writing the above, my sister, and only sibling, who consumes a SAD (Standard America Diet) suffered from a massive brain steam stroke at the age of 39. She of course thought it would never happen to her. She is wheel chair bound and has partial paralysis. Unfortunately, she refused to change her eating habits of fast foods, high sugar and high fat foods and suffered from high blood pressure. My thoughts and prayers of course remain with her and her family. What happened to her, I am positive, would have been my future had I not changed.
When and why did you become interested in bodybuilding?
I was modeling on the side as a hobby at the time and was a “cardio queen” to stay fit for bikini type modeling. I began lifting weights and becoming serious when several people told me I should compete.
At the beginning of 2007 is when I became serious about my lifting and have now competed in several shows in the Fitness Model and Figure Divisions.
As a result of the competitions the modeling contracts began to pour in, and I now Model / Compete / Train and Tour as a career.
How would you describe your nutrition program?
Very high protein, low carb. Everyone is different. However, I found a high protein diet low in processed carbs was the best fit for me. It keeps my energy up and helps me to build and retain muscle. I do not consume any bread products or root vegetables. And rarely consume beans and legumes. I allow myself a “re-feed day” (caloric boost of healthy food), once per week unless I am 2 weeks out from a comp or shoot.
How would you describe your training program?
Constantly changing but always hard-core! I change up according to my needs at the time. I weight train 3x’s per week and do cardio 2x’s per week unless preparing for a comp. When pre-paring for a comp, approx 2 weeks out I’ll do 1 hour of steady cardio every day except on “leg day”.
The biggest challenge is remembering the last few reps, the one’s that really hurt and you are struggling with.. are the one’s that count the most! The second thing I learned was that little 2.5lb plate is the best tool I have as well as a good training log. I can keep track of my training and numbers, and use the little 2.5lb plate to increase them.
What kind of supplements do you use?
Same as most Bodybuilder’s Mainstream or Vegan. A muti-vitamin, Iron supplement and Vit C supplement. I cycle creatine now and use green tea extract to help when cutting weight for comp.
What are some common misconceptions about veganism?
Most of them! Honestly, people are floored to find out I am vegan. Apparently I do look like what their perception of a vegan is. I’ll go out to eat a few times with people, before they even realize I am vegan . They just thought I was a “health nut” when I ordered food …. Although I am that too
What do you think the most important aspect of bodybuilding is?
Consistency, patience and a very strong will. It takes all of these to make it happen. If you mess up, no worries …. Go from there. Don’t schedule a new “start date”. I see too many people who mess up and have “start dates”, such as “I’ll start again on Monday”; somehow Monday is the magic day. It doesn’t work that way. We all mess up, suck it up and move on right away!
What do you like best about being vegan?
I look and feel the best I have my entire life! There are no words that can truly describe how that feels.
What do you like best about bodybuilding?
Being the best “me” I can be. No one can move those weights for me, and the iron does not lie or forgive. Only I can do it for myself, and I get to benefit from the results of pushing myself to the limit.
What are your best muscle groups for bodybuilding and strength?
Strength: legs This is not necessarily a good thing; it takes a lot to stress them and thus takes a lot to make them build. My shoulders are my weakest, but have been the easiest to build since I can stress the muscles very easily.
What advice do you have for bodybuilders who are just starting out?
Get yourself a log and work smarter not harder. Although you push yourself hard on your training days, growth is in the recovery days! Make sure you have your eating as well as your training in check and stick to it! It takes a while to get into a routine. So don’t worry if you fall on your bottom a few times. Get right back into the game, it will come together before you know it.
What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming vegan?
Get educated on it and find a support network, which helps the transition easier. There are several forums, such as this one, who are more than happy to support and give advice to a new vegan.
What motivates you to continue to be a successful vegan bodybuilder?
Continued challenges and successes. I set goals up for myself and meet and exceed them. When I meet the next one I continue the process.
How has the website www.veganbodybuilding.com helped or inspired you?
Extreme support. The members of VBB have helped me from day 1 …. Now that I am more in the public eye, they continue to support me. By far one of the best forums online.
To contact Denise Nicole, write: firstname.lastname@example.org
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