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[Transformations] Robert Cheeke: Vegan Body Builder

Robert Cheeke celebrated his 26th year of eating a fully plant-based diet and realized he was feeling at the peak of his health and fitness. "I'm in the best shape I've ever been in, at 41 years old," says the vegan bodybuilder.   

Cheeke is devoting his life to helping others feel the same way. He has written a book with runner Matt Frazier and interviewed 60 other vegan athletes who share their tips for eating healthy, building strong, lean, muscle mass, and training at peak performance–all on a vegan diet. 

Cheeke says he has learned more by talking to other athletes who share their plant-based diet and training secrets and now he wants other people to benefit from all this wisdom including how to get adequate protein on a vegan diet. "You don't need to eat meat to be strong."

When Cheeke first cut out meat and dairy as a teenager he did it to support his sister, who organized an animal rights week at their high school. He recalls his life being completely different then. His body was skinny, lean, built more like a runner, completely the opposite of his current frame, which is closer to the Hulk: Robert carries 220 pounds on his 6-foot frame, and as a bodybuilder, he intentionally bulked up his muscular physique to put on 70 pounds over the first 8 years, which he says should put to rest any doubts about the ability to build muscle on a vegan diet. He has added another 30 pounds since he retired from competitive bodybuilding to reach his all-time biggest frame. 

His best secret? Cheeke doesn't take any supplements, aside from Vitamin B-12, and fills up on clean protein from plants, like beans, oats, lentils, and (added those other sources to show more variety of what I really eat) sweet potatoes.