Viva La Vegan!

Yolanda Presswood is a 37 year old stay at home/homeschooling mom with a teenage son and a pre-teen daughter. She’s been married to the love of her life for over 18 years. Yolanda has 2 puppies and 3 cats. She loves the beach, writes children’s stories, and is obsessed with clouds and the sky. Fitness has always been a part of her life in one way or another but it wasn’t until Yolanda turned 35 that she started her full-force journey into living the life she had only been dreaming about. As an ISSA certified fitness trainer, she is looking into her biggest ambition of opening her own gym. Yolanda wants people to know that some say you can’t, some say you shouldn’t, and some say you won’t, but she’s here to tell you that you CAN, you SHOULD, and you WILL - if you have the will! Motivate others, inspire from your heart, and live life alive and with compassion with every single breath that you take.


Why Vegan?
How and why did you decide to become a vegan?
I was a lacto-ovo vegetarian from the age of 16-19 and vegan for a short time at 19, then omnivore. After reading Dr.Michelle Schoffro cookbook "The Ultimate ph Solution," my husband and I knew animal flesh/products had no place in our holistic healthy lifestyle. I like to say I returned to what I’ve always known is right. As we became further educated on the lifestyle, it became clearer to us that it was not only for health, but for compassion.

How long have you been vegan?
Over 3 years

What has benefited you the most from being a vegan?
Handsdown is that I’ve healed myself of hormone imbalance. I used to have severe Pre-menstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), insomnia, depression, rage, discontent, heavy periods with headaches and vertigo. I am happy to say I no longer deal with ANY of it - best thing ever! 

What does veganism mean to you?
It means love, means compassion, means thought, and freedom.

What sort of training do you do?
Bodybuilding/weight lifting is my most favorite training. A very close second is aerobic fitness training. I love sprinting and HIIT training for agility, endurance and strength. 

How often do you (need to) train?
I need to train daily as it’s what allows me as a mother to have an energy outlet. I train 5-6 days per week.

Do you offer your fitness or training services to others?
As an ISSA CFT and with a passion to motivate, inspire, and help others reach their personal fitness and health goes, yes. 

What sports do you play?
I don’t play any sports other than what’s mentioned above.

Strengths, Weaknesses & Outside Influences
What do you think is the biggest misconception about vegans and how do you address this?
I think the obvious misconception about vegans is that we’re protein deficient and therefore weak. I address this by showing that you CAN build strong muscles with a compassionate lifestyle. Another funny one is that we secretly desire to eat meat like bacon. I don’t address this, I just giggle. 

What are you strengths as a vegan athlete?
My strengths as a vegan athlete are that I’m ambitious, I work hard, I push myself, I give myself grace, and I love everyday no matter if its a good day or a bad one.

What is your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge is having so many ambitions all at one time and being so detailed and organized. Sometimes I have to remind myself its ok to fly by the seat of my pants. Its ok not to have all the dots and slashes. Just live life and be joyful.
Are the non-vegans in your industry supportive or not?
Yes. I have many non-vegan supporters. My sponsors Clark's Nutritional Centers and Natural Foods Market, Starkie Sowers of Stark Nutraceuticals, and Kevin and Michelle Steadman of TRUElicious whole food bars, and my competition team Team Dream Quest,  are some of my biggest supporters!

Are your family and friends supportive of your vegan lifestyle?
Yes. My family and friends are very supportive of my choice to live compassionately.

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? 
The most common question/comment I get is “OMG! You don’t eat meat - Isn’t that hard?” “How do you build muscle without meat?” and “I can’t give up meat but good for you.” I respond by letting them know that being a vegan is actually easier than eating animal flesh. I don’t have to worry about keeping my chicken cold or my stomach aching from too much whey protein. I inform them that everything contains protein and that instead of eating chicken, I eat tofu or tempeh. I have no problem building or maintaining muscle without the senseless slaughtering of a defenseless animal. I sometimes point to my bicep.

Who or what motivates you?
This might sound conceited but I’m one of the most grateful and humble people you will ever meet. "Who has been forgiven much, loves much." I am my best motivator.  Although when I see photos of some of my favorite athletes or get challenged by something someone says that I can’t do, that also motivates me. My children are another huge motivator for me. Knowing that they are watching for how I respond to situations, how I’m determined, and I never give up. I want them to know whatever they can dream, they can achieve.


Food & Supplements
What do you eat for:
Breakfast - Oats, berries, coconut oil, and protein powder.
Lunch - Tofu with BBQ sauce, veggies, and yams with coconut oil.
Dinner - Tempeh, veggies and avocado.
Snacks (healthy & not-so healthy) - My favorite snack is almond butter right off the spoon with a few chocolate chips. I also love a pink lady apple with some mixed raw nuts or protein chia pudding. 
What is your favourite source of:

Protein - PlantFusion chocolate, Vega One, Tofu, and Tempeh.
Calcium - Greens
Iron - Greens
What foods give you the most energy?
I love a smoothie with a ton of greens and fruit for natural energy.

Do you take any supplements?
Yes. Stark Nutraceuticals BCAAS and REDUCE, Jarrow Formulas B12.

What is your top tip for:
Gaining muscle - Eat your carbs and focus your protein!
Losing weight - Expend more calories than you take in. DONT spend your life on a cardio machine and lift those weights.
Maintaining weight - Eat well, be well, stay well.
Improving metabolism - Drink water first thing in the morning, add in some cayenne and lemon juice. Eat within the first hour upon waking. Eat 6 small meals a day.
Toning up – Lift, lift, lift! Eat clean, real food.
How do you promote veganism in your daily life?
Social media, in my gym, at my sponsor store, by supporting cruelty free companies as a consumer, and whenever someone asks.
How would you suggest people get involved with what you do?
They can go to my website, look me up on FaceBook, or follow me on Twitter.


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