Name: Deborah Nasmyth
Year of Birth: 1980
Weight: 125 - 145
Birthplace: Nelson, BC, Canada
Current Residence: Nelson, BC, Canada
Sports: Figure bodybuilding
Photo credits: Adam Lockwood
Tell us a little about yourself, what you do for a living, what hobbies / interests / passions you have.
I am a piano teacher and own a music school in Nelson. I know, its not really a macho muscle or fitness type profession. Nobody would ever imagine that there's a totally ripped piano teacher out there. I'm also a residential landlord.
I’d say my only passion is animal rights, but other interests include primitive cartooning and competitive figure bodybuilding.
Why did you become vegan?
I became vegan in 2008 after 20 years of vivid disturbing nightmares of animals being killed. I don't know of any one event that caused the nightmares, I was just a kid becoming aware of what happens in the real world.
When and why did you become interested in fitness?
I failed the physical education classes when I was young in school. I hated sports. Hated moving. Hated myself. In 2005, at age 25, I was having a bad year and started going to the gym purely to burn off rage after a bad relationship and get myself tired enough to fall asleep at night so I wouldn't cry all night long. The fantastic physique and health benefits were unimportant byproducts of my hard workouts. I just wanted to sleep.
The serious bodybuilding started a few years later, when the wife of a friend of mine - who thought we were having an affair - came over to verbally attack me and at one point grabbed my arm, held it out, shook it, and declared I wasn't his body type of preference. I then told her something important about her body type which I'm sure I'm not allowed to say on this website... but that for me was a turning point and I decided I couldn't have any more old ladies shaking my arm and declaring me scrawny. NOBODY dares shake my arms now!
How would you describe your nutrition program?
Typical bodybuilders diet. Eating every 2 hours. Lots of protein throughout the day. I don't know how to cook so my diet is pretty basic and its purpose is to fuel me, not for enjoyment. I do chart my macros (carb/protein/fat/calories) every day. And take Vega whole food optimizer to cover vitamins and minerals.
How would you describe your training program?
Definitely intense. Last year I was at the gym 316 days. 2 workouts a day almost every day. (Sometimes 3!). Over 600 hours I'm sure. It helps that my music school is across the street from the gym.
What are some common misconceptions about veganism?
What I find frustrating is the number of people who assume I’m malnourished and I must not be getting enough of this or that in my diet.
How do people react when they find out you are vegan?
Usually their eyebrows go up, then they ask how I get protein in my diet. Then they assume I'm malnourished and lecture me on B-12. Its pretty annoying. Do I look malnourished? One friend of mine recently said he was "intrigued by the idea that a vegan might actually be healthy." Some people outright mock me to my face and tell me to go eat some meat, thinking it's a funny joke, and that really bothers me. Online I occasionally get hate mail for being vegan from people who read my public profiles and my dietary views. And just this week in the local newspaper there was an anonymous slam against "vegetarian (vegan) hippy girls who have animal-friendly lifestyles that suck". This kind of stuff motivates me to promote veganism more aggressively.
What are some common misconceptions about veganism?
That only skinny hippies are vegan. Vegans are weak and malnourished. That it's a silly fad and not a serious diet.
What do you think the most important aspect of training is?
Daily commitment and intensity. 99% of people who go to the gym don't make any noticeable difference to their physique because they don't understand these 2 principles. Diet is also critical.
What do you like best about being vegan?
Other than peace of mind and self respect. I'd have to say I love being the underdog and being part of a specialty group of people. As an adult I am exactly the person my childhood self would have wanted me to become. (And way more cool than I predicted I'd turn out to be)
What do you like best about being fit?
That I never need to call guys to help me lift heavy stuff . I can do my own chain sawing, lift sheets of plywood over my head, move rocks that are hundreds of pounds. I love the practical uses of being strong!
What advice do you have for people who are just starting out with training?
The daily commitment and intensity are key. If you slack on either one you're wasting your time. But also...your success will be 50% dependent on your diet and macro ratios.
What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming vegan?
Every meal that you delay is costing an innocent creature its life. Be prepared for an intense learning curve. The 4 food groups of the 1950's are far outdated. Initially there will be some sacrifices of foods you like, but before long it will all be worth it.
What do you think of veganbodybuilding.com? Has it helped or inspired you?
I had no idea anything like this existed until a year ago. Finding like-minded people was amazing. I've made friends, gotten great advice, found a place to vent frustrations... perfect for a mountain girl in a small town that isn't very vegan friendly.