I turned 50 in February, 2012 and had been vegetarian for about two years. Although I had competed in drug-free bodybuilding in the past, for two years I had been focused on long-distance, open water swimming. I was in good shape, but I was not in bodybuilding shape. To mark my 50th birthday and my new, vegetarian lifestyle, I decided to enter my first bodybuilding contest in 7 years. I knew I would have to rebuild muscle that I had lost to long hours of training swims, and I had never built muscle or tried to burn fat on a vegetarian diet before, so I decided to get expert help. My wife found Derek on the internet and gave me his contact information.
I emailed Derek and we met for the first time at his Manchester studio on April 13. We discussed my age, relatively recent conversion to vegetarianism, bodybuilding and swimming background, and goals for 2012. I decided on the spot to hire Derek to train me for a contest. We made plans to begin working out together right away. Although we originally considered a contest in early August to be a possibility, we soon decided it would be best to wait until a November contest.
Derek started me on a power building program designed to build muscle, and combined that with a anabolic vegan diet. I worked out with Derek at his studio every weekday for two weeks, to get a feel for his workout style and to learn new movements that had not been part of my regimen. After the first two weeks, we met once a week (5:00 a.m. Mondays!) to review my diet and to work HARD. Derek emailed me workouts so I could do the remaining workouts on my own.
We decided I would compete on November 17, 2012 at the Mt. Rogers competition, a drug-free, polygraphed show put on by the National Gym Association in Woodbridge Virginia. I started my fat-loss diet at the end of August – 12 weeks out from the contest. At that time, I weighed 190 lbs (I am 5’10”). We continued to meet once a week, review my food intake and work hard. As the weeks progressed, we tweaked the diet, maintaining it as 100% plant-based, and adjusted my cardio to assist in fat burning. By the week before the contest I weighed 172 lbs. The last week I focused on water loss to improve muscle definition, and on contest day I weighed in at 160 lbs.
Overall, I was very happy with my presentation. I had gained considerable muscle under Derek’s training, and he had guided me to a lean physique in the end. In no way was being meatless a hindrance or an obstacle to my progress, with building muscle, with burning fat, or with retaining muscle while building fat. I maintained my strength throughout the fat loss phase of my program, and the bulk and relative lack of caloric density in plant-based foods made the restrictive diet much easier to manage. I was rarely hungry. I had been a meat eater when preparing for past contests, and subsisted largely on tuna and chicken breasts. The greater variety of veganism made for a more satisfying and certainly more healthful diet.
The results speak for themselves. I endorse Derek as a trainer, especially for those who are eager to maximize their personal fitness through regular exercise and a healthful, plant-based diet.
I never thought I was the type that would benefit from a personal trainer. As a former competitive athlete, now turned physician, I thought I knew everything I needed to know regarding proper training and a healthy diet. Boy was I wrong! Over the past year and a half Derek has taught me many different aspects of these areas which have drastically changed my life.
Unfortunately, we had to remove some really awesome transformation pics of Karen due to copyright issues.
16 Weeks Later:
I turned vegan in late 2011 for ethical and health reasons. I was also in the midst of trying to get back into shape because I’d kind of let myself go and I’m the type of guy that easily puts on body fat. I was having a bit of success because I’d known about fitness for quite a while but being vegan really put a spin on most of my conventional ideas. I was a bit lost at the start and mainly just drinking obscure vegan protein shakes a lot. I was losing faith in vegan bodybuilding but then I saw Derek and thought wow so it is possible! Then I found out this guy could be my personal trainer and it reinvented my enthusiasm for fitness. Derek really helped me out by shaping my workouts but most of all his wealth of knowledge on plant based diets. Each week my diet became cleaner! I can now say I’m a ‘whole-foods’ vegan thanks to Derek. And as you can see from my pictures I’ve had a huge success.
I thought I was enthusiastic about fitness but Derek is amazing! Whenever we have a consultation he’s always really energetic and motivational, I swear the guy is always 100% go. That kind of attitude can really pick you up and motivate you if you’ve had an off-week in the gym.