Name: Jonathan Lewandowski
Year of Birth: 1992
Birthplace: Beeville, TX
Current Residence: Ft. Polk, LA
Sports: Weightlifting/ Bodybuilding
Deadlift 1rm- 415lbs, Squat 1rm- 415lbs, Bench Press- 300lbs TOTAL- 1130lbs
Tell us a little about yourself, what you do for a living, what hobbies / interests / passions you have
I am a United States Army Soldier my current MOS is 13F forward observer. I became a dietary vegan when I was 18. When I first started getting serious about bodybuilding I was 19 about 165lbs with maybe 11-12% BF, now I am 21 weighing 195lbs with the same 11-12% BF. I love my diet and believe it’s the best diet out there.
Why did you become vegan?
It all started with my dad getting older and developing health problems as his health was failing he strived to do something about it. My dad was fat, I mean big about 300lbs. He said he was always a big guy over 200lbs pretty much his whole life except when he was in the military. He knew he needed to start exercising since his daily job being security wasn’t very active. He started biking in form of good exercise since it was something he enjoyed. He lost 50lbs from biking alone. So at this time in his life he was around 250lbs. He hit a plateau, he couldn’t lose any more weight and was stuck for years. He started researching weightlifting and bodybuilding to give him help. He changed his diet ate only lean meat no dark meat and ate whole grains. This didn’t help either. Then one day he went on a bodybuilding website that showed some skinny old man running a marathon. He thought to himself I would like to be like that guy when I’m old. So he read about him and found out the runner was a RAW VEGAN. So my dad being the way he is tried it out, and to his surprise felt more alert and energized than ever. We would talk every week on the phone and he would update me on his weight loss. Every week he lost 2lbs until he was 165lbs. While he was doing this he shared the information with me to help me make better decisions. He sent me a book called “The China Study”. After reading most of the book I could no longer eat the same way. Before I read the book while my dad was going through his transformation I decided to become a vegetarian. I didn’t eat meat or eggs or drink milk I did however eat cheese pizza. I couldn’t give it up until after I read that book. Then at that point I made a decision not to consume any animal products whatsoever. Since then I have been doing great on my bodybuilding and overall fitness and as far as I know my health is awesome.
When and why did you become interested in fitness?
I don’t know all I can say is I love it. From the first book I read about it to the first training session I ever had it compelled me. I have always been a self-motivator and liked individual sports. So weightlifting/ bodybuilding worked for me.
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)
I don’t know if it is just me but I can eat the same thing every day all day. No matter if I have tasted it a hundred times it’s still delicious. My plan when I want to cut fat I just lower my calories and eat dark greens also I cut oils out of my diet. When I’m in bulking season I tend to eat more starch based foods.
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)
Well since I am in the Army Active duty I work out every morning mon-fri 0630-0730 or 0800. Mon- we run 5miles
Tue- we climb ropes do pull-ups, push-ups, and sit-up drills
Wed- we run 2-4miles of ½ mile sprints
Thu- we ruck march 45lbs+ for 4-12miles
Fri- 5k competition run
Along with that I weightlift.
Arms-To be done quickly!
10,12,14 barbell curl
10,8,6 cable curl
10,12,14 cable press down
3x10 Peacher curl
3x10 Tricep extension
Bench dips to failure x2
Alt. dumbbell curl to failure x2
Legs- 5x5 squat
10,8,6,6 Leg press
3x6, 3x12 calf raise
Chest-5x5 bench 1 ½ min rest between sets
10x10 bench 10sec rest between sets
10,8,6,6 incline bench
3x12 pec fly
Back- 5x5 row
10x10 row 10sec rest between sets
3x8 v-handle seated row
3x10 straight arm press down
3x12, 5x20 wide grip pull-down
Shoulders – 5x5 power press
10x10 power press 10sec rest between sets
10,8,6,6 upright row
3x10 rear delt. raise
3x12 lateral raise
3x8 seated military press
What kind of supplements do you use if any, and why?
I have used creatine and NO boosters. I try to look for the cleanest and most vegan friendly products to help give me the motivation I need in the gym.
How do people react when they find out you are vegan?
They bombard me with tons of questions and ridicule me for eating this way. Some are amazed by my size and want to give the diet a shot after meeting me, but there is so much negativity towards my diet.
What are some common misconceptions about veganism?
Protein deficiency, iron deficiency, b12 deficiency, calcium deficiency, and MUSCLE deficiency Also some people think it’s a cult or religion.
Have you had success in promoting veganism / vegetarianism to others? If so, how did you go about it?
Yes, I lead them to it by example I try not to debate my case or get into arguments. I find the best way to go about promoting it is to just live a healthy life.
What do you like best about being vegan?
I don’t know there are so many upsides to this diet.
What advice do you have for people who are just starting out with training?
Start with the basic powerlifting exercises squats, bench press, deadlift, and power press to develop good form and a strong foundation of muscle. Once you see what gets you results stick with it and always bring a pen, paper, and a watch to the gym. Record your rest times and weight lifted so you know what to beat the next time.
What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming vegan?
If you are going to do it be smart about it. Make homemade meals and eat whole foods. Your diet usually is going to be high starch low fat diet. Don’t buy into processed vegan foods those will only hinder your performance. Before you make a decision, buy recipe books and try out some of the meals see what you like and stock up on it. Cook in bulk make left overs so when you’re hungry you don’t tempt yourself to eating something you shouldn’t. It’s not going to be easy if you are living with non-vegans so try and make it as easy as possible for yourself. Let your family or whoever you are living with know the choice you are making and how much it means to you.
What do you think of veganbodybuilding.com? Has it helped or inspired you?
I think it’s a great site. Seeing that my dad and I aren’t the only ones is great motivation.