Name: Ricardo "Mad Dog" Moreira
Weight: 160 lbs, fight at 145 lbs
Birthplace: San Francisco, CA
Current Residence: San Francisco
Sports: Professional Mixed Martial Arts
Why did you become vegan?
I've always loved animals, and I am a life long martial artist. Within the martial arts, there are many codes of conduct, one of which is to respect all forms of life. Veganism goes hand in hand with true martial arts training.
When and why did you become interested in fitness?
I was actually obese as a teenager. Although I was rather active I had poor nutritional knowledge and came from a household full of heavy set people. I just got tired of the way society treated me for my size and began learning about nutrition as well as switching my workouts from Karate training to Muay Thai training (kickboxing).
How would you describe your nutrition program?
I consume about 3 thousand calories a day, spread out over 5-6 decent sized meals. I avoid most high glycemic carbs. I take in a lot of protein coming from tofu and meat substitutes. Unlike most other vegans I avoid fruits and juices.
How would you describe your training program?
I train 3 hours a day, six days a week. I don't lift any weights. I rely on bodyweight exercises to maintain strength. The bulk of my training revolves around kickboxing drills, pad work, bag work, and jiu jitsu training.
What kind of supplements do you use if any, and why?
I use Vega as a MRP, it also adds to my overal protein intake. I take a multi vitamin and a B complex to make sure I am getting everything I need, especially B12.
What are some common misconceptions about veganism?
The biggest one is going vegan will result in becoming weak and extremely thin. Basically people often go vegan for ethical reasons. They have very little nutritional knowledge when doing this, so they end up eating way too few calories. Often times their calories come from salads, fruit, and veggies.Plus a lot of vegans don't workout. If someone trains hard, eats enough, and rests enough they are going to grow. It doesn't matter if their protein is animal based or plant based.
What do you think the most important aspect of fitness is?
Consistency. If you're not moving foward you're going nowhere. It's important to train on a regular basis, this will keep you fit as well as allow you to improve.
What do you like best about being vegan?
My energy levels are a lot higher than they were when I was a vegetarian. I feel healthier and more in tune with all life around me.
What do you like best about being fit?
Being fit helps me out in my day to day life. Gives me the ability to endure what most others can't.
What are your strengths as an athlete?
Being a professional MMA fighter does give me a bit of an edge over most other athletes due to the nature of our training. Within my sport my attribute is speed. Followed by some pretty good stamina.
What advice do you have for vegan athletes who are just starting out?
Learn as much as you can about nutrition and keep your training sport specific. Never stop studying and absorbing new information. Your journey towards self perfection is a never ending one.
What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming vegan?
Read up on nutrition, and get familiar with all the reasons people should be vegan. Be prepared to verbally explain why you don't consume animal products and refer to vegan athletes when people make the claim that vegans can't perfom as well as others.
What motivates you to continue to be a successful vegan athlete?
I am fighter, a modern day warrior. My purpose in life is to protect all other forms of life no matter the cost. After all, who can protect the weak from the strong? The strongest... That's why I train, that's why I fight.
How has the website www.veganbodybuilding.com helped or inspired you?
It's great, it shows that vegans can be successful in various forms of athletics. It breaks stereotypes and is an awesome source of information for all athletes.
Is there anything else you would like to add about your vegan fitness lifestyle?
"Go Vegan and no body gets hurt!"