Vegan Bodybuilding and Fitness

Title: Vegan Bodybuilding and Fitness

Author: Robert Cheeke

Year: 2010

Publisher: Healthy Living Publications

Synopsis: Information and advice is given on how to succeed in bodybuilding on a plant-based diet.

Review: In all my 27 years of training in strength and bodybuilding, I have never read a book about bodybuilding written from a vegan’s perspective. So before reading the book, I scanned through its 300 pages to look at the photographs and pick up snippets of information about vegan author Robert Cheeke. It’s evident that Cheeke is a very committed bodybuilder. The photographs show he has a solid structure with a great pair of muscular arms. I’m equally impressed with the photos of Cheeke with bodybuilding legends Bill Pearl and Jay Cutler.

Robert opens the book with a warm introduction about himself and proceeds to talk about the best reasons to be vegan. He establishes a positive tone right from the start and I instantly found this guy likeable. Robert’s book is packed with nutrition information and the more you read, the more you realise that vegans’ food choices aren’t as limited as you may have been led to believe. Robert gives us sufficient facts on plant foods that can supply us with the necessary macronutrients and micronutrients. He states that vegans frequently get asked where they get their protein from; this question is effectively (and finally!) answered in an entire chapter devoted to vegan protein sources.

Meal plan examples are provided and the programmes for mass building, fat burning and pre-contest are easy to follow. Robert even gets a bit more specific and suggests meal programmes for bodybuilders following raw food diets and allergen-free diets. A sample nutrition journal is given too.
The training information in this book is sound. Robert lists 12 of the most effective bodybuilding exercises in chapter 7 and he wisely ranks squats and deadlifts in first and second position respectively. Near the end of the book, a nice selection of exercises are listed for each major muscle group. Cheeke briefly mentions some of the heaviest lifts he has achieved in the gym, for example, 900lbs leg presses and 300lbs squats. These are weights that could certainly challenge plenty of meat-eating bodybuilders!

This book isn’t simply limited to training and nutrition information. Robert gives us advice on marketing yourself, getting sponsored, recovery methods and getting involved in vegan activism. He also recommends places to buy gym equipment and clothing which are vegan friendly.​

One of the features I liked about the book was Robert’s Top 10 tips at the end of each chapter which pleasingly summarised the chapter. Another characteristic of the book that I liked was the large number of bodybuilders and sports people that Robert mentions throughout. This led me to research these people and I felt very inspired by their achievements.

Summary: Vegan Bodybuilding and Fitness is a fantastic piece of work. It is the product of thorough research and Cheeke’s genuine experience of living as a vegan bodybuilder. He has demonstrated that humans can build significant amounts of muscle and strength on a plant-based diet. As a non-vegan (who sometimes eats vegan meals and uses vegan supplements), I learnt a tremendous amount from this highly informative book and it has motivated me to bring more vegan choices into my own eating and training. The sport of bodybuilding needs more books like this.

Book rating: 9.5/10

Favourite chapter:

  • Chapter 3 “ How to create a successful nutrition program”

Favourite quote:

  • “Don’t just go the extra mile, go the extra ten miles because down the road it will pay off in amazing ways.”​

Find out more about Robert Cheeke on his bristling Facebook page and you can find out more about his book and order it via Amazon

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