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Name: Manny Escalante Jr 
Age:  30 
Height: 5’ 3”  
Weight: 135 pounds 
Birthplace: San Jose, Costa Rica 
Current Residence: La Verne, California
Sports: Endurance Sports, Weight Lifting, water sports, and anything I can get my 2 dogs to do with me. 

Why did you become vegan?
I did an internet search based on “why vegan”. After reading about the way animals are treated and the damage done to our environment, my mind was made up. My research began on a Tuesday night, and after 30 minutes I knew there was no choice but to become vegan. I have been vegan ever since that evening. 

When and why did you become interested in fitness?
I was graduating with a degree in Sports Medicine and was extremely out of shape. My brother encouraged me to get fit since I was going to be a health and fitness professional. I made little changes at first, and now live for (and make my living with) exercise and health. 

How would you describe your nutrition program?
Very tasty thanks to a wife who is an aspiring cook and loves to experiment. We eat a lot of veggies with varying protein sources. Tons of fruit, pea and hemp protein, tempeh, hummus, and some tofu. We try to be very clean (limited processed foods) with a lot of organic foods and much variety. My weakness is beer, (vegan) ice cream, and tortilla chips.  

How would you describe your training program?
Like with our food, we like to experiment. I train very high intensity and shorter duration. I do intervals, and weight lifting that typically involves full body. When racing I follow a self created structured plan with some long runs, some speed work, and some easy days. I train 5-7 days per week.  

What kind of supplements do you use if any, and why?
Multivitamin to ensure adequate nutrients and eliminate deficiencies. When lifting heavy I use creatine and glutamine to help maintain muscle mass. I use protein powders since it is an easy way to get good calories into my day.  

What are some common misconceptions about veganism?
That it is unhealthy. That it is a fad and people will quickly grow out of it and go back to eating ‘normal’. That it is not good for athletes. 

What do you think the most important aspect of fitness is?
Enjoying the journey, spreading the message, and making the most out of everyday. 

What do you like best about being vegan?
Having a clean conscience and knowing that my choices are making a difference. Serving as a reference for others who may have questions or are interested also.  

What do you like best about being fit?
They way I feel, the way I look, the confidence it provides, and the freedom it gives to take on challenges.  

What are your strengths as an athlete?
Staying committed and accomplishing my goals. 

What advice do you have for vegan athletes who are just starting out?
Talk to others who were in your shoes once. Educate yourself and be prepared to educate others. Stay strong, and stay committed.  

What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming vegan?
You are not weird, you are not alone, you will not be unhealthy. Welcome to a community of compassionate, awakened individuals.  

What motivates you to continue to be a successful vegan athlete?
To prove the nay-sayers wrong and to motivate others to join our team. Hopefully people will be able to talk about a vegan athlete instead of a person who went vegan and got sick. 

How has the website www.veganbodybuilding.com helped or inspired you?
Kept the fire alive by seeing others who are just like me. It gives me a chance to express myself, and to ask questions of others. This site rocks and should be at the top of any athletes list! 

Is there anything else you would like to add about your vegan fitness lifestyle?
Thanks for reading. Contact me with any questions about endurance training, weight lifting, injury prevention or injury rehab. Manny.escalante@gmail.com or 909.241.4032.