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Name: Maria Silva
Year of Birth: 15/11/1982
Height: 1,75 cm
Weight: 55 kg
Birthplace: Catania (Sicily)
Current Residence: Milano
Sports: Body Building, Swimming, Functional training

Tell us a little about yourself, what you do for a living, what hobbies / interests / passions you have
My name is Maria Silva, I'm 29 years old, I live and work in Milan, but I come from Sicily. Since I was a child I was always active, and passionate about what I did, I really enjoyed applying myself to all kinds of things. My passion is sport in all its forms, water aerobics with weights initially, and then pilates and functional training, as well as weight-training. I love reading, travelling, theater, music, spirituality and Zen philosophy, along with all that is vegan, and anything which helps to unite a veg world.

Why did you become vegan?
Because life for me is love in all its forms. Whatever happens is good or not because depending on whether there is love or not. Respectively, nothing depends on the outside, by others or by chance, only from the mind of one who loves.

When and why did you become interested in fitness?
I did 12 years of dance from when I was 5 years old, and then devoted my time to weight-lifting, fitness and body building. Now I train as a bikini athlete. I have become a personal trainer and I studied nursing at University, and I'm currently working in the surgical ward.

How would you describe your nutrition program?
My diet consists of lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, vegetable proteins such as legumes, tofu and soy. I give preference to raw foods rather than cooked because they maintain their nutritional properties. I eat several times a day and I try to drink enough. Often I allow myself some chocolate cake that I love too!

How would you describe your training program?
I train with weights 2 times a week, to allow my body to recover naturally. One or two days a week I also do swimming, running or functional training, and once a week I do pilates.

What kind of supplements do you use if any, and why?
I do not use supplements, my diet is varied and rich in natural foods, I do not feel the need to add to it. The best supplement to a diet is recovery and rest.

How do people react when they find out you are vegan?
Most people ask me where I get my protein. In fact, our body acidifies with a high proportion of protein. Also fruit, vegetables and plants contain sufficient proportions of protein, good enough not just for everyday people, but also for those serious about sport. Just reach a certain caloric intake. Other people ask me the reason for this choice, the others remains silent and just gives me compliments!

What are some common misconceptions about veganism?
An example is protein. which people bring up too often. We need aminoacids, not just protein, and vegetables already contain such split protein forms. Another misconception is that the scarcity of iron and vitamin B12 in the vegan diet, in fact plants actually contain the right amount that is necessary to the body. We must think in terms of biochemical transformations and substitutions. Just think of the bull and the horse that eat only grass.

Have you had success in promoting veganism / vegetarianism to others? If so, how did you go about it?
Of course, I recommend books that have helped me to understand more about the vegan diet, and friends and acquaintances are also aware of my success with this lifestyle.

What do you think the most important aspect of training is?
You have to train hard. You must destroy the muscle, boost strength, beyond yourself. Then rest and recover in order to allow growth and therefore muscle definition.

What do you like best about being vegan?
I am able to be stronger in the gym, more joyful, emotionally, and with a better health without contributing to the killing of any living being.

What do you like best about being fit?
Sport strengthens your person, your character, it's a proof of life. If you can stand fatigue and resistance, you are more able to overcome the hardships that life poses.

What advice do you have for people who are just starting out with training?
Do not give up if at first you're tired or you do not see big results. Only persistence and determination will reward you.

What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming vegan?
It’s the same. The body has to detoxify and adapt to the new diet, and any ups and downs are part of the transition.

What motivates you in life?
I thank every single moment. If I’m here, if I’m alive, if I can move, this gives me the strength to go ahead and enjoy everything I do.

What do you think of veganbodybuilding.com? Has it helped or inspired you?
This is a great site. It helped me a lot in motivation and broke down misconceptions in sport, so It helped me combine veganism and bodybuilding.

Do you have any other thoughts you’d like to share?
I love life, sport and animals… Go vegan now!!!!