Name: Ryan Nelson
Nickname: Big Nelly
Year of Birth: 5-19-1988
Birthplace: Sheridan, WY
Current Residence: Minneapolis, MN
Sports: Previously Football/ Currently Bodybuilding
Personal Best Deadlift: 605lbs
Facebook: NPC Bodybuilder Ryan
Nelson & Alpha Fitness
Tell us a little about yourself, what you do for a living, what hobbies / interests / passions you have
Well, let's see, I've been a fitness junkie since I was a young boy and since May of 2012 I've been an independent personal trainer. I absolutely love my job! I hesitate to even call it a job, but rather a source of income. I'm a very easy-going guy, yet very passionate & high energy. I am 100% practice what I preach. I take pride in having a relentless work ethic, preparing delicious vegan food, and exploring outdoors.
Why did you become vegan?
I'm a pretty open minded guy. It didn't take much more then then a couple documentaries and the ole' lady switching to a vegan diet to persuade me to take the plunge. I like to say the day after Thanksgiving 2012 I went cold turkey vegan haha. Looking back on it now it's one of the best things I've ever done in my life! Not only has it benefited my health, but also opened up so many new avenues of life from amazing people, great business opportunities, and a respect for all living beings.
When and why did you become interested in fitness?
May, 1999 is when I first became interested in fitness. 2 older guys that I looked up to, coincidently both named Ryan were great athletes. I saw how the weight room benefited both of them. I was addicted!
How would you describe your nutrition program?
100% of the time I am a gluten free vegan. I will eat basmati rice occasionally, but other then that I am a gluten free, grain free, vegan. In most cases I buy local and organic. Some of my favorite foods include sweet potatoes, garbanzo beans, lentils, split peas, squash, buckwheat, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, avocados, strawberries, raspberries, apples, bananas, kale, spinach, sprouts & red pepper. In the offseason when I'm trying to gain size I will eat between 5,000-6,000 calories a day. When cutting my calories range from 1,750-2,500.
Breakfast: Apple, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almond butter, and flax milk.
Post workout: Protein shake
Snack: Buckwheat pancakes or buckwheat omelets.
Lunch: Big green salad with lentil veggie soup.
Snack: Banana & almond butter.
Post workout: Protein shake
Dinner: Homemade buckwheat pizza.
Snack: Chia pudding.
How would you describe your training program?
I workout 5-7 days a week. In the morning I do 15-25 mins of medium to high intensity intervals incline treadmill. I follow that with 20-30 minutes of various ab exercises. In the evening I come back and spend 1 1/2 - 2 1/2 hours on my big muscle groups. My style is one of a kind with influence from athletics, powerlifting, and bodybuilding. My reps range from 1-20 depending on the movement and muscle group.
What kind of supplements do you use if any, and why?
I incorporate a variety of different plant based proteins including brown rice, hemp, and pea. I've found that creatine monohydrate helps me build solid dense muscle mass. Also, I'm a stronger believer in a high quality liquid vitamin D-3 and B-12. The D-3 is especially important if you live in the North, where there is far less sun light.
How do people react when they find out you are vegan?
Major freak out 99.9% of the time. Usually followed by where do you get your protein haha.
What are some common misconceptions about veganism?
1. Vegans are skinny and malnourished
2. Vegans are hippies and tree-hugger
3. Vegans know nothing about nutrition
4. Vegans hate non-vegans
5. Vegans feel they are superior to non-vegans
Have you had success in promoting veganism / vegetarianism to others? If so, how did you go about it?
Ya. Everyone is always very interested. A lot of friends have either went vegan or incorporated more plant based products into their diets. I back my nutrition talks by example. It never hurts to feed them some off the hook vegan grub either.
What do you think the most important aspect of training is?
A relentless grind and passion to succeed rep after rep, set after set, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. Along with spot on form and nutrition.
What do you like best about being vegan?
That no living beings have to suffer because of me.
What do you like best about being fit?
Being super hero strong and shredded!
What advice do you have for people who are just starting out with training?
Talk to as many professionals as you can and stick to the basics. Form > weight!
What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming vegan?
Do plenty of research before you start. The internet and social media are great resources.
What motivates you in life?
Success motivates me. I love a challenge and proving that I can do something that someone else thinks is beyond me.
What do you think of veganbodybuilding.com? Has it helped or inspired you?
It's a valuable resource for vegans and people inspiring to become vegan.
Do you have any other thoughts you’d like to share?
When you take "can't" out of your dictionary you'll find you CAN!