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Sunday
Nov282010

Book Review: Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness by Robert Cheeke

As someone who has tried or experimented with almost every nutritional "philosophy" out there, I was instantly intrigued by Robert Cheeke and his story.

Robert Cheeke is possibly the most successful all-vegan bodybuilder in the industry.  I stumbled across him when researching for a previous article and found his approach to nutrition confusing (at first).

What was confusing, is that most bodybuilding teachings are based upon animal protein staples like steak, chicken, and eggs.  The standard stereotype for a vegan would be someone thin and weak in appearance, and hardly capable of the strenuous physical activity that bodybuilding requires.  I had read about quite a few vegan long distance runners and triathletes like Brendan Brazier,but had yet to learn of a vegan able to handle his business in the weight room. By one look at his photos, Robert Cheeke is a living contradiction of those stereotypes.

Thankfully, in-addition to his website and numerous interviews online, Robert authored a book outlining his life's path that has brought him to where he is today.  He takes the reader on a walk through his childhood growing up in a rural Corvallis, Oregon (home of the Oregon State Beavers) and his exposure to animals.  Robert does a nice job of explaining why he value animals as passionately as he does.

No bodybuilding book would be complete without the requisite chapters on structuring your workouts and a glimpse into how to train, and Robert's book certainly fills the requirement there.

To me, what is truly worth reading is the detail with which Robert outlines his nutrition and just how he fuels himself every day.  Robert does a great job of proactively answering the standard question posed to vegan athletes "Where do you get your protein???"  Robert provides several charts and outlines of protein content in his dietary staples like beans, tempeh, quinoa, tofu, seeds, and of course leafy green vegetables.

What is important about this book, is that it is not a "vegan book", full of propaganda and preachy chapters.  It is a bodybuilding/workout book written by an author who happens to be vegan.  If you are a hardcore vegan, or even if you are the sort of person who cannot live without a juicy steak or chicken breast everyday (I'm somewhere in the middle of the continuum) - I would definitely recommend Robert's book.

I believe that regardless of your eating habits or nutritional beliefs, it's important to continue to educate yourself on alternative philosophies, if for no other reason than to strengthen what you already know.  I would highly recommend Robert Cheeke's book, which is well-written and thorough, yet even-handed at the same time.  You can find the book for purchase through Amazon.com as well as here.

 Robert also maintains a heavy social media presence and is active on Twitter, and seems more than happy to help share what he has learned with those eager to learn.