Hi, I’m Damon! Currently, I’m at Studying at The University of Akron for business management and minoring in nutrition. I have a deep passion for learning how to make things work as efficiently and effectively as possible! This translates directly into my work, training, and of course, dieting.
How long have you been interested in fitness and a vegan diet? What led you into it?
I have been incredibly passionate about fitness since I was a child!
I’d have to thank my dad for that more than anything else. we would watch movies together every single night we got to spend time with each other: I remember seeing "Rocky IV" and "The Terminator" and I would look at all of these big muscular guys and I wanted to look just like them!
I started weight training during my sophomore year of high school and fell in love with going to the gym.
I didn’t get into veganism until my junior year of high school, around 2015.
I saw Morrissey live and he played slaughterhouse footage for all of the audience to see. It was absolutely mind-blowing to me that the “food” I would regularly eat was actually treated so poorly and battered so viciously.
After that, I started researching if I could be vegan and a powerlifter/cross-country runner. I looked into plant-based nutrition and found lots of help from Dr. Neal Barnard and Caldwell Esselstyn.After knowing that I could do it, I put my plan in practice, I stopped eating all animal products cold-turkey (no pun intended) from the end of 2015 until the present day and have never looked back.
What essential tips do you have for athletes moving to 100% plant-based?
There are two things I feel like are the absolute MOST essential tips I could offer.
1. Make sure you’re getting enough calories to sustain your exercise!!!
I made a big mistake of just eating until I was full and eating a lot of fruits and vegetables.
You should incorporate a wide variety of colorful fruits and veggies, but when starting out I would recommend looking at the calorie content of foods and making sure you’re incorporating some calorie-dense foods to nourish your body and help everything run smoothly.
2. Do NOT be afraid to add in supplements! They’re not just for vegans! everyone has times where they have gaps in their diets that may need supplements. I have a morning routine where I take my supplements before breakfast just to make sure I’m getting everything my body needs to run smoothly and at the highest level possible to kickstart my day!
Where do you get your protein?
I get my protein from a wide variety of sources! I love experimenting with food and I’ll try anything once or twice, A lot of traditionally middle-eastern foods are high in protein! Couscous, quinoa, and lentils are great staples to have, but things like soy-beans, tofu and having lots of whole grains also helps me reach my protein goals.
Even though I aim for a high amount of whole-foods, I’m still one to have protein bars and shakes aswell! There’s nothing wrong in my eyes with making sure you are adequately and wholly nourishing your body.
What is your favorite bodybuilding workout?
My bodybuilding workouts vary depending on what my goals are! Currently, I’m preparing to compete in a show in late may, So I’m focusing a lot on growing my legs and Chest. I absolutely LOVE training arms and shoulders, my over-the-top favorite workout for chest is one I saw from an IFBB Pro Seth Feroce a few years back, a lot of focus is on feeling the movements and being in-tune with your body, which is something my body resonates well with!
What does VEGAN ATHLETE mean to you?
To me being a Vegan Athlete is more than just being someone who’s vegan and trains for their sport, it feels like Vegan athletes are working harder than ever to disprove the stereotype that vegans are weak and fragile or protein deficient.
Instead of thinking that we need steak, eggs, and bacon to be makin’ gains we’re showing them that we’re able to power through obstacles with plants and compassion.