Viva La Vegan!


Glenn Martin is a 25 year old Brisbane man who loves fitness, outdoors, cooking and travelling. Glenn is always looking for a new challenge and enjoys volunteering in social justice issues. He lives by the motto: Life is short, live it well. You can find him on FaceBook.

Why Vegan?
How and why did you decide to become a vegan?
My brother was constantly telling me about the ethical dilemma of eating meat but I didn't want to hear about it. I knew it was wrong but I wanted to eat it. This was at the same time I started having some blood pressure problems. I tried reducing the amount of salt and fat in my diet (reduced a lot of meat and dairy) and as a result my blood pressure improved and I started feeling better. Once I realised that I didn't need to eat meat and dairy to be healthy, it became ethical, as I couldn't justify eating it.
How long have you been vegan?
I started going vegan in May 2008 (vegetarian for a year before that). So this year will be 4 years.
What has benefited you the most from being a vegan?
I am definitely a much more positive and happy person. I feel healthier.
What does veganism mean to you?
Veganism is a way of life. It influences what I eat, what I wear, what companies I support and has made me a much more passionate and caring person.
What sort of training do you do? How often do you (need to) train?
I usually do resistance training 5 times a week, weights training 3 times and 2 short gym stick sessions. I try and do 3 hard cardio workouts a week also, trying to do combinations of kayaking, running/stair climbs/hikes, swimming etc but always looking to do walks and take the stairs at work.
Do you offer your fitness or training services to others?
Not currently but I have studied a Certificate III & IV in fitness and a Bachelor of Nursing prior.
What sports do you play?
Am starting to get into Frescoball, it's a fun Brazillian racket ball game, great for the beach and excellent for reflexes, cardio and a core workout.

Strengths, Weaknesses & Outside Influences
What do you think is the biggest misconception about vegans and how do you address this?
I have destroyed most of my friend's misconceptions that being Vegan is boring/tasteless by cooking them awesome meals. I have destroyed the misconception that you can't be healthy and excel on a vegan diet by being a positive example in fitness. The one I am tackling at the moment is that even though people know it can be done and that it's healthier and you can be happier, they still think it's all too hard. They say they could probably go vegan, but I couldn't give up my cheese or other foods. They could easily do it, they just have to change their habits.
What are you strengths as a vegan athlete?
I am more positive and have more energy. I seem to recover fast.
What is your biggest challenge?
Doing the Great Wall of China Trek in May for Youngcare, so that will be a big challenge for me to increase my fitness and endurance.
Are the non-vegans in your industry supportive or not?
Most people are very supportive.
Are your family and friends supportive of your vegan lifestyle?
They are now. There were a lot of misconceptions and jokes to start with but a lot of that has faded and there is a much brighter view on the issue.
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 think a lot of people ask how long I have been vegan for to see if it's just a phase. When I tell them almost four years they can see that it isn't a phase and that it is achievable and has great results.
Who or what motivates you?
I want to be happy and eating great healthy food and exercising helps me achieve that.
Food & Supplements
What do you eat for:
Breakfast – Bowl of Gluten Free Cereals (usually make up my own with fruits, seeds, nuts etc) with Soy Yoghurt and a drink of Soy/Rice Milk.
Lunch – Big Salad with cooked meal (rice/pasta with veggie options)
Dinner – Rice cakes with salad or peanut butter and a fruit smoothie.
Snacks (healthy & not-so healthy) – Nuts, Fruit, Raw Cheesecake, Trail Bars, Sesame Snaps, and it's dangerous if I have baked a cake, I gobble that up pretty quick (it's my weakness).

What is your favourite source of:
Protein – Tofu all the way as it’s extremely high in protein with next to no fat, salt or sugars. Tofu is very versatile. You can use in salads raw or cook up in stir-fries and as meat alternatives in meals.
Calcium – Fortified soy or rice milks, mainly because they include a large portion of your RDI in one easy hit.
Iron – Green leafy veggies. Spinach is my favourite in salads, meals and smoothies.
What foods give you the most energy?
When I eat a higher percentage of raw foods and a low amount of gluten I feel fresh, light and energised.
Do you take any supplements?
The only form of supplementation I get is fortified B12 in the Rice/Soy Milk.
What is your top tip for:
Gaining muscle – Increase your weights slowly. A good baseline would be 3 sets of an exercise, 8-12 repetitions each set, 70% of your one rep maximum.
Losing weight – 70% of weight loss is from the food you eat. Reduce highly processed foods. Go back to the basics of fresh produce. Where you can, cut back on adding sugar and oils/fats to cooking.
Maintaining weight – Find the balance right for you between what you are eating and what you are expending. Eat in tune with your exercise not out of habit/routine. If you exercise more, you eat more. If you get into a routine of eating more but stop exercising, the weight will pile on.
Improving metabolism – Resistance training will increase your lean muscle mass. Lean muscle burns more energy than fat does, hence, you will be burning more energy throughout the day.
Toning up – Best way to tone up is a combination of resistance training to increase that muscle and then cardio and eating healthy to reduce the layer of fat that is covering those beautiful muscles.
Overall Advice – Don't look for quick fixes and diet fads. They will fail just as fast – they always do, that's why we always have new diet fads. The best diet and exercise tip is to live healthy.

How do you promote veganism in your daily life?
At work I always turn up with delicious looking meals that everyone comments on and asks questions about. I try to lead by example. If I am happy, looking fit & healthy, then people notice that.
How would you suggest people get involved with what you do?
I think everyone should really take a moment to evaluate what is important in life. People try to make their lives so busy. They want an expensive house, car or material items so they have to work harder and longer to get it. They aren't happy along the way and often compromise their fitness, health and social life. I believe people should go back to the basics. Simple food, simple exercise, work less, stress less and you will find people are happier and healthier. Live in the now.
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