Jaclyn is a triplet, floral designer and a National Physique Committee (NPC) figure athlete. She is extremely passionate about health and fitness and was actually going to become a personal trainer before becoming a floral designer in 2007. Some of her floral work can be seen on my blog The Skinny Vase. Jaclyn got into competing at the age of 19 after battling an eating disorder for a couple years. She sought out competing as a way to become healthier, learn to eat and gain strength back - mentally and physically - all in a healthy manner. Currently, Jaclyn’s boyfriend Nick Tumminello is her trainer and her nutrition coach is Claudia Lailhacar.
How and why did you decide to become a vegan?
I made the final cut to stop eating animal products forever after crying over a slice of pizza, because I knew deep down by eating the cheese I was contributing to animal cruelty. I no longer wanted to associate myself and my lifestyle with cruel behaviors.
How long have you been vegan?
I've been vegan since June 2013.
What has benefited you the most from being a vegan?
My mind is clearer, my heart is happy and my health continues to soar by feeding my body with plant-based foods.
What does veganism mean to you?
Veganism is a way of life. For me, it means not contributing to the pain and suffering of animals or other beings. Veganism means living compassionately.
What sort of training do you do?
How often do you (need to) train?
4-5 times a week
Do you offer your fitness or training services to others?
No. I am not a personal trainer.
What sports do you play?
I am an NPC (National Physique Committee) Figure Athlete.
Strengths, Weaknesses & Outside Influences
What do you think is the biggest misconception about vegans and how do you address this?
You need animal protein to gain muscle and animals were put here for us to eat so we can survive. I can't tell you how ridiculous this sounds so without getting into a heated debate with others, I tell them I'm perfectly healthy - all my blood test results prove this and I'm proof a body can be built on plant-based foods.
What are you strengths as a vegan athlete?
My strengths continue to go up in the gym through weight training almost every time I train. I also believe I can run better than before when I was a meat eater, because I am feeding my body with the nutrient dense foods and no animal flesh to slow me down.
What is your biggest challenge?
Being better than I was the day before.
Are the non-vegans in your industry supportive or not?
Once someone in this industry finds out I am vegan they are surprised. Those who are not supportive I tend to weed them out of my life because I have no room for negativity.
Are your family and friends supportive of your vegan lifestyle?
Let's just say they are slowly coming around. At first, it was a big struggle and no one understood why I refused to eat animal products no matter how many times I would give them my reasons. My friends are used to it and become amazed when I tell them I too can eat pizza and nachos - mine just have different ingredients!
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've had people ask, "So does that mean no cheese or fish?" My response is anything that came from an animal I do not eat. When I show others photos of my physique, they are shocked but it is true a body can be built and run on plants.
Who or what motivates you?
I admire all athletes, people who are determined, set goals and chase after them. I am motived by all the vegan athletes from Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness - their posts, photos and support motivates me to be better. I am also motivated when I hear that I am an inspiration to others to become healthier.
Food & Supplements
What do you eat for:
Breakfast - Oats, protein powder, berries & coconut oil
Lunch - Tofu, veggies, any type of carbohydrate eg sweet potato or rice.
Dinner - Lentils with nutritional yeast and veggies.
Snacks (healthy & not-so healthy) - Healthy : Chia Seed Pudding. Not-So Health: Raw Vegan Chocolate Mousse Pie. Note: My diet varies every couple weeks, on and off season of competition preperation.
What is your favourite source of:
Protein - Lentils
Calcium - Soybeans
Iron - Pumpkin Seeds
What foods give you the most energy?
Bananas mixed with protein powder, berries and peanut butter before training.
Do you take any supplements?
I consume a plant based protein powder and try to consume vitamins and minerals through whole foods. I don't like to think of myself as a "pill popper!"
What is your top tip for:
Gaining muscle - Lift heavy weights.
Losing weight - Lift heavy weights, stop being a cardio bunny or like a hamster on a wheel.
Maintaining weight - Eat wholesome foods, have a splurge meal if you want and stop depriving yourself.
Improving metabolism - Interval training, gain muscle, add a cup of green tea with a meal or two and eat breakfast.
Toning up - Lift heavy weights.
How do you promote veganism in your daily life?
Inform others of the benefits of a vegan diet, the downside of where your food actually comes from and I share what works for ME. I'm proud to be vegan but I also try not to preach my beliefs and put them on others as if my way of life is better than someone else. Lastly, share the love! If I choose to make a yummy treat, I'll bring to work and share or give a copy of Vegan Health & Fitness to a friend so they can learn about my lifestyle.
How would you suggest people get involved with what you do?
Check out Vegan Health and Fitness online and purchase the magazine. Connect and look up other vegans, athletes, activists or health enthusiasts. Don't be scared to approach a vegan and ask questions.
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