Yes, you can be a vegan bodybuilder – just ask Torre Washington
Does the word “bodybuilder” make you think of someone cracking 15 eggs into a smoothie or gnawing on steamed chicken breast? IFBB Pro Torre Washington – the Rastafarian, vegan bodybuilder – is happy to contradict the stereotype.
“The three main misconceptions about veganism when it comes to bodybuilding is that one, you're not going to gain size as a vegan because your protein is incomplete. Number two, you're going to lose muscle because you won't be able to get in the amount of protein you need. Number three, you won't be as strong.”
The strongest animals on the earth are herbivores, like the gorilla. Even go back to the dinosaurs. The herbivores were the biggest and strongest.”
You only need to look at Torre to know that all three are off the mark, but he believes that many people think if they just up their protein (think of the aforementioned egg-shakes and meat-heavy meal prepping), their muscles will magically grow.
“When I went into bodybuilding, I didn't think of the concept, 'I need to eat more protein'. I thought, 'I'll just need to train more intensely.' Lift more weights. Have a plan. Then it happened. It wasn't me saying, ‘Oh man, I need to complicate this and worry about where am I getting my nutrition from’. I just ate more, and I just trained more intensely. One thing people tend to not do is their training. When I watch their training, then I know where we have the problem,” he laughs.
Animal-loving Torre once dreamed of becoming a vet, but when he heard the course would take eight years, he studied engineering instead. It might seem a long way from bodybuilding, but Torre uses his engineering training to help approach each training session uniquely.
“That whole technical background that I've gained from engineering, I use to design a program for each person's body, based on their lifestyle,” he explains. “It's not cookie cutter, like, ‘All right, you take this because this one worked on him’. No, Matt is going to work differently from Adam, because their metabolism is different, their lifestyle is different, and how they exist is different.”
Torre’s Centr workouts reflect this philosophy, with full-gym workouts and at-home modifications, compound and isolation exercises, and sessions targeting different muscle groups, for example chest and back, or legs and core.
Torre is aware that there may be many people keen to try a plant-based lifestyle, or even a few meat-free days each week, but sweat about losing their gains. Don’t worry, he’s got an answer for that, too. “The strongest animals on the earth are herbivores, like the gorilla. Even going back to the dinosaurs, the herbivores were the biggest and strongest." Then he adds, as only a true animal-lover can, “they were the most peaceful, too.”
MUSCLE-BUILDING • MEDITATION
Vegan bodybuilder Torre Washington is a championship-winning IFBB Pro and NASM Certified Coach in physique. Having followed his dream of sculpting a body like the comic book superheroes he grew up idolizing, Torre is our resident muscle-building expert, offering tutorials, full-gym workouts and at-home alternatives to ensure you don’t miss a muscle.
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