Name: Robert Cheeke
Title: President of Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness
(www.veganbodybuilding.com)
Age: 26 years old (born March 2, 1980)
Birth place:  Corvallis, Oregon
Current Residence: Corvallis, Oregon
Vegan: 10 years
Bodybuilding: 6 years

Growing up in Oregon, I lived on a farm and had many farm
animals as pets. I always had a love and appreciation for animals
and from an earlyage, I was concerned about their well-being.
However, it wasn't until Dec. 8, 1995 that I decided to give up  
consuming meat. My older sister, Tanya, was organizing Animal
Rights Week at my high school. I decided out of respect for her (a
vegan since the age of 15) that I would becomea vegetarian for
the week. I attended lectures, listened to speakers, read literature
about animal cruelty and watched videos about factory farms and
animal testing, and that week of becoming vegetarian has lasted
for the past ten years.  Ten months after becoming vegetarian, I
became vegan. Ironically, two years after giving up animal
products, it was me who organiz
ed Animal Rights Week at my high
school in Corvallis, OR.
I also became active in an environmental awareness group at school called "Students for Peace through Global
Responsibilities (SPGR). I was active in promoting veganism for a long time, and I still am through my fitness
company. I have been able to promote vegan bodybuilding on a worldwide stage through articles in major
magazines, TV appearances, my vegan fitness movie, and my through my website.  I love being vegan and knowing
that I am having a positive impact on the environment and society. I have more energy than most people I know and
I very rarely ever suffer from any illnesses or fatigue. I eat a vast array of natural and organic foods that keep my
body fat percentage low, protein intake high, energy levels high, keep my bones strong, and
allow me to put on quality muscle. I believe that an animal-free diet is one of the best things you can do for your
health, and the well-being of our environment.

In 2000 I started taking weight lifting seriously and competed in the2000 Body-for-LIFE challenge.

In 2002 I started my business Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness (www.veganbodybuilding.com) in hopes to become well
known in the fitness industry and promote veganism on a world-wide level.

Vegan Nutrition:
The bulk of my diet consists of fruits in the
morning; protein sources such as nuts, protein
drinks and bars for snacks; green vegetables,
beans, tofu and other protein and calorie-rich
foods for lunch, and a variety of fruits,
vegetables, beans, legumes, and grains for
dinner.  A typical meal for dinner may include a
lentil soup with chopped of veggies, steamed
or raw broccoli, tofu, and brown rice.  
Potatoes, tempeh, beans, and nuts are also
staples of my diet and are often consumed
around dinnertime.  I typically just drink water
before and after meals but for dinner I may
include soy milk, almond milk, or natural fruit
juice. I focus on eating every 3 hours to stay in
an anabolic state with a positive nitrogen
balance for maintaining and building muscle.  
Taking in nutrients every 2-3 hours ensures
that your muscles will always be fueled and
nourished, providing the best opportunity for growth and achieving desired results.  Eating every 3 hours may
sound challenging but if you prepare your foods for the day in advance, it is really quite simple.  You don't have to
eat an entire meal, just take in protein, carbohydrates and fats every 3 hours and it will add up to a sum of
calories that will not only maintain muscle but build muscle, combined with a weight-training or exercise program.  
Drinking water every two to three hours will also keep you well hydrated, assist with processing of protein foods,
and will help you accumulate a gallon a day which is a minimum goal for most bodybuilders.

What kind of supplements and protein powder do you take?

As a vegan bodybuilder I've used a bunch of different supplements in the past.  I am a natural bodybuilder and
have never taken any harmful substances, just natural supplements, mostly vitamin-based.  I don't believe
supplements are necessary, but they do seem to assist with bodybuilding progress.  Over the years I have used
soy protein powders, multivitamins, specific amino acids such as L-Glutamine for muscle recovery, Vitamins C, E,
and B-12, flax oil, evening primrose oil, and a number of other natural vitamins, minerals and nutrition
supplements.  Currently, I am using hemp protein as my main source of supplements.  I am specifically using a
brand called Vega (www.myvega.com) , a vegan meal replacement, containing much more than just protein.  It
contains a  vast array of vitamins and minerals, maca, chlorella, and nutrients for energy and recovery.  Vega
comes in powder and bars of 3 flavors (natural, chocolate, berry).  I use both the powder and the bars, and berry
is my favorite flavor.

Give us a little bit of your weekly work out schedule in the gym.

1 Week Sample Training Program
Day 1 - Chest and Biceps
Chest Flat bench dumbbell press
1x12, 1x10, 1x8
Decline barbell bench press
1x12, 1x10, 1x8
Incline barbell bench press
1x12, 1x10, 1x8
Cable cross-overs
1x12, 1x10, 1x8
Biceps
Barbell bicep curls
1x12, 1x10, 1x8
Alternating Hammer curls
1x12, 1x10, 1x8
Concentration curls
1x12, 1x10, 1x8
Day 2 Back and Abs
Back
Chin-ups 1x12, 1x10, 1x8
T-bar rows 1x12, 1x10, 1x8
Deadlifts 1x12, 1x10, 1x8
Cable rows 1x12, 1x10, 1x8
Abs
Hanging leg raises 1x20, 1x20, 1x20
Rope pull-downs 1x20, 1x20, 1x20
front and side crunches 1x20, 1x20, 1x20
Day 3 REST
Day 4 Shoulders and Triceps
Shoulders
Dumbbell Lateral Raises 1x12, 1x10, 1x8
Behind neck Seated Military Press 1x12, 1x10, 1x8
Over-head Dumbell shoulder press 1x12, 1x10, 1x8
Front cable or dumbbell raises 1x12, 1x10, 1x8
Triceps
Rope triceps pull-downs 1x12, 1x10, 1x8
Skull crushers (french press) 1x12, 1x10, 1x8
Dumbell kickbacks 1x12, 1x10, 1x8
If time permits Dips 1x12, 1x10, 1x8
Day 5 LEGS
Leg extensions 1x12, 1x10, 1x8
Squats 1x12, 1x10, 1x8...if time permits go up to 5 sets (two
more 1x8)
Leg press 1x12, 1x10, 1x8
Hack squat 1x12, 1x10, 1x8
Lying Hamstring curl 1x12, 1x10, 1x8
Standing calf raises 1x20, 1x15, 1x12
Day 6 REST (cardio such as basketball)
Day 7 REST
This is just a sample week.  Exercises change all the time and  sometimes I focus on more reps, fewer reps, and
alter the number of total sets too.  I've been known to do up to 8 or 10 sets of leg press when I'm doing a pyramid
session that day. I typically don't like to spend more than four days in one week weight training.  I train pretty hard
for 60-90 minutes and want to allow my muscles time to recover.  Rest is very important. When it comes to
training, more is not necessarily better.  If that were the case, we'd train all day long.  Our bodies need a break to
recover and grow, and ultimately, improve.

What food works best for recovery and energy?

The best foods for energy are carbohydrates.  Simple carbohydrates will provide energy quickly, while others like
complex carbohydrates will act as a fuel source for sustained energy. Within about an hour before training I will
eat fruits such as bananas, oranges, apples and grapes.  Fruit tends to digest within about 30 minutes so I don't
feel full, but energized at the gym.  Hours before the gym I may eat vegetables and grains for prolonged energy
that will carry over into my workout.  For recovery, I think amino acids and protein are very important.  The
amino acid L-Glutamine is the most important for recovery and I supplement with that as well as take in a protein
shake and protein-rich foods, such as beans, tofu, nuts, protein bars, or a big green salad with spinach, broccoli,
chickpeas, and seeds. Carbohydrates and fats are also important for recovery and those are included in my
protein smoothie, via supplements or, in most cases, occur naturally in the whole foods I eat after workouts.

How do you get your vitamin B-12?


I supplement with B-12 and eat a variety of foods that are fortified with vitamin B-12, such as soymilk, tofu,
smoothies and energy bars.  Only very little is required so it does not seem to be a problem to find good sources
via supplementation.



 

Interview with Robert Cheeke
President of Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness