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Interview with Jeremy Moore: Shot Putter, Cyclist & Skater

Jeremy Moore is a long time vegan – since October 2001. In the past, he was a 320lb track and field athlete (shot put, discus, hammer) as a vegan and eventually an elite Time Trial specialist on the bike at 190lbs. For two years Jeremy was on the Philippine National Cycling Team but is now pursuing Long Track Speed Skating with plans to go back to cycling once he gets to the Winter Olympics for skating. He also has a Bachelors in Fine Arts from Virginia Commonwealth University and plans to eventually go back to being a Studio Potter and hopefully run a vegan restaurant once he’s through with my career in sports.   is a long time vegan – since October 2001 – who is always willing to speak with anyone about it. In the past, he was a 320lb track and field athlete (shot put, discus, hammer) as a vegan and eventually an elite Time Trial specialist on the bike at 190lbs. For two years Jeremy was on the Philippine National Cycling Team but is now pursuing Long Track Speed Skating with plans to go back to cycling once he gets to the Winter Olympics for skating. He also has a Bachelors in Fine Arts from Virginia Commonwealth University and plans to eventually go back to being a Studio Potter and hopefully run a vegan restaurant once he’s through with my career in sports. 

Jeremy_Moore

Why Vegan?
How and why did you decide to become a vegan?
I became vegan after volunteering at an animal shelter in Philadelphia. Being Filipino I had eaten dog meat when I was a kid. I wouldn't have done it in my teens but when I worked at the shelter I saw piles of euthanized cats and dogs and that made me think of what I was eating. Cows, pigs, chickens die for the same reasons; humans create them for our "enjoyment". I didn't want to be a part of that anymore.  

How long have you been vegan?
I went vegan in October of 2001 so over 10 years now. I was vegetarian for only 2 weeks before that.  

What has benefited you the most from being a vegan?
As an athlete, I gained a lot of strength upon becoming vegan but more than anything, I can now live with the choices I make at the dinner table.  

What does veganism mean to you?
Killing an animal for selfish reasons is the worst thing anyone can do. To me veganism is a biggest step to living without any guilt - if that's possible. I couldn't imagine an animal being tortured for years of its life, only to be part of my life for a few minutes.
  
Training
What sort of training do you do?

As an elite cyclist converted to speed skating, I'm an endurance skater which means I can still get away with riding my bike a lot in the off season along with lots of drills and weight training. In season I stick to shorter bike training sessions, along with weights and a lot of ice time.
  
How often do you (need to) train?
In the off-season I train around 25-30hrs a week - sometimes a bit more. In season the volume drops to around 22-25hrs a week but the intensity is much higher than when I was racing bikes. I could easily handle 35 hours of cycling a week but skating is much more taxing on the body.
  
Do you offer your fitness or training services to others?
I have advised many athletes on diet and general power and endurance. As a former 320lb national level shot putter I know what it takes to perform on vegan fuel for power sports. However due to injuries I decided to give bike racing a try. After a year, I got most of my weight off and a couple years after that I was winning bike races at 190lbs. I have experience on both spectrums of sport so I'm always willing to give training advice to athletes, especially young athletes or late vegan converts that my have questions with their diet.
   
Strengths, Weaknesses & Outside Influences
What do you think is the biggest misconception about vegans and how do you address this?

Obviously I get a lot of crap about losing muscle or not being able to gain any as a vegan. Well being a 320lb shot putter made it easy to prove that wasn't true. As a cyclist I spend years and years trying to loose as much muscle as possible. I was still around 190lbs when winning races, which is actually enormous for a cyclist at my level. Really losing muscle on a vegan diet is pretty difficult.  

What are you strengths as a vegan athlete?
I think the biggest thing was recovery. My resting heart rate dropped quite a bit over a couple weeks and I always felt fresher immediately after turning vegan. My personal strengths are now in sustained power rather than the peak power that I had when I was 320lbs.  

What is your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge is trying to get to the Olympics in Long Track Speed Skating. I hit an Olympic qualifying time for a cycling event five years after being over 300lbs. However my event, the 4km pursuit on the velodrome, was pulled from the Olympics so I decided to try something new. The Philippines has never had a Winter Olympian and they have very few vegans in the spotlight. The tough thing is that skating is extremely technical and putting on skates for the first time at 27 years of age is a tough thing to do when you're racing people that have been skating since they were 4.  I think I have a shot though. I still have a lot to learn but I'm there physically. I just have to lean the technical stuff.
  
Are the non-vegans in your industry supportive or not?
For the most part they are. They saw it as a bit odd at first but the first doubts they had in regards to my weight made no sense since I normally have a good 20+lbs on them. I get people asking me questions about veganism all the time, which is a good thing as I'm always eager to answer questions about veganism.   
  
Are your family and friends supportive of your vegan lifestyle?
Mostly everyone in my family is fairly supportive of my being vegan. However I do feel it’s difficult to say you support something like veganism without actually attempting to be a vegan.   

What is the most common question/comment that people ask/say when they find out that you are a vegan and how do you respond?
I get the protein question as much or more than any other vegan and the first thing I tell them is that pretty much everyone gets too much protein. This definitely includes vegans. I starved myself of protein as much as I could for years while I was cycling - rarely eating over 50g a day for years - and barely lost any weight at all despite training with a severe calorie deficit. Even with my training regiment I eat little more than 70g a day and I weight around 195lbs right now. If anything I need to cut back on my protein rather than increase it.   
  
Who or what motivates you?
Time is my number one motivator. There are so many things I can do in my life but being an athlete has a time table and I definitely have one considering I'm competing in one of the world's most technical sports but I have actually only had less than a year of actual training on the ice.      

Food & Supplements
What do you eat for:
Breakfast - typically two bowls of cereal with 1-2 bananas
Lunch - Maybe a large salad and some soup or a sandwich
Dinner - Something hot, maybe some spicy Mexican food or stir fry
Snacks (healthy & not-so healthy) - typically I snack on carrots or crackers with peanut butter or hummus. I also toss fruits down throughout the day.
  
What is your favorite source of:
Protein - nuts and seeds
Calcium - kale
Iron - probably beans  

What foods give you the most energy?
Most definitely fruits, and also sweet stuff, but only for short/high intensity training or on race day. 

Do you take any supplements?
Not really. I do consume VEGA and spirulina but nothing I take really falls into the supplement category.

Advice
What is your top tip for:

Gaining muscle
Be willing to really beat yourself up in the gym. If you aren't sore for days you aren't really lifting hard enough. Also eat. I don't believe protein is the key to building muscle - but calories are! You can't work hard enough for your body to require more muscle if you aren't eating enough carbohydrates to fuel you in the gym for more than a few hard sets. Do a lot of volume and if you have any spring in your step when you leave the gym, turn around!
  
Losing weight
Self control. Long/endurance cardio is the key if you're extremely overweight. If you need to only drop a few pounds I suggest interval training (cardio) mixed in with weights through circuit training. Also if you really want to do it 100% only eat enough to get by. Most people (not athletes) have enough muscle that they could afford to lose some, plus they mostly all have too much fat so eat just enough to get through the day without feeling really sluggish.

Maintaining weight
Stay consistent and never let anything keep you from being active. It’s very easy to get complacent with your weight loss and before you know it you're right back where you were.

Improving metabolism
Just keep working out. I've never been one to believe overweight people generally have low metabolisms compared to thin people – it’s just an excuse. Let’s say you have an overweight/lazy person and a thin/lazy person with exactly the same diet. The thin person is perceived to have a high metabolism right? Well I bet 99 out of 100 times the thin person will have a lower resting heart rate and blood pressure than the overweight person.

This is just an example but how can the thin person be burning more calories if their heart is doing far less work? It’s easy, the overweight person is storing fat as nature intended. However few animals have access to excess food 365 days a year but this is what should happen if you do eat too much every day. The overeating thin person is actually not functioning properly. Basically everyone that wants to improve their metabolism really just needs to eat less or exercise more - their metabolism isn't going anywhere.

Toning up
I think the best thing for toning is mid-rep lifts with a bit higher speed. Also cycling only seems to get most people only so far and I think running may get you a bit more toned. While I don't do it I also think the Cross-fit type of workout is a great way to get toned up.

How do you promote veganism in your daily life?
I promote veganism as much as I can by working my hardest at being the best athlete I can be. I'm a muscular vegan with a lot of vegan tattoos that I never hide so I get a lot of questions from people that would never even think of asking. However I feel my biggest impact will be in the Philippines where people spend big chunks of their money on meat because they think they need it to be healthy when I'm can eat whatever I want to eat but I chose to eat only vegetables and I'm much better off for it - and its cheaper. 

How would you suggest people get involved with what you do?
Long Track skating is pretty hard to get into. In the United States there are only two indoor rinks that have a 400m track so you've got to move to Milwaukee, WI (my location) or Salt Lake City, Utah. If you just want to be a good vegan athlete I say pick something you love to do and work hard at it. Don't be afraid to fail but be afraid of letting up because you may quit just short of success.

 

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