Introduction

About the Author

Allow me to tell you a little bit about myself. I’m your new best friend because I’m the guy who’s going to help you achieve the dreams even you thought were out of reach. I’ll be there to support you even when times are tough, so you’re going to want to get to know me a little better. Above all else, I’m a nice guy. That is how I prefer to be recognized first, before anything else—not as an author, a motivational speaker, a vegan bodybuilder, or a leader, but first and foremost, just a really nice guy. After all, nice guys finish first, right? If you meet someone who is nicer than I, please let me know and I’ll alter my behavior to take the title back. It is that important to me. I am authentic down to the core, and I care immensely about meaningful things in my life. I put everything on the line for what I believe in, and I allow myself to be completely transparent. Transparency is a very important aspect of my life; it is a key factor in how others get to know who I really am and what I’m all about.

I grew up on a farm in the small college town of Corvallis, Oregon with my parents, my older sister, and two younger brothers. I enjoyed childhood and spent a lot of time playing with my siblings and the farm animals we had on the 20-acre property. I even recall having a pet housefly, and I was compassionate towards all beings way back then. I was careful not to step on ants, had a soft spot for lonely or injured animals, and had the same character traits then that I have now with regard to being considerate and respectful toward everything around me. Being surrounded by the playfulness and innocence of farm animals proved to be an important factor of my childhood. Many of the animals on our farm had first names just like me, and it was at a young age I first recognized a significant connection between humans and animals that was deeper than just servant and master.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a dreamer, visualizing great achievements and being determined to reach high levels of success. I was convinced that I could discover what I was naturally good at, learn to enjoy it, and make a living out of it. Subsequently, I was also convinced that I could make a success out of something I was only satisfactory at but enjoyed immensely, if only I dedicated the time to learn to do it better. Following my heart has been the true key to my success in life. I tested my theory of having fun while succeeding at what I really loved to do, and it worked in nearly every area of interest. I have journal entries from when I was a teenager outlining some of the goals for my life that ten years later I am achieving. It is at these times I feel most content and most fulfilled knowing I did what most don’t think they will ever be able to do—actually live out a childhood dream.

My background is multifaceted and includes pursuits in health and fitness, world travel, communication, public speaking, business management, motivational lectures, leadership, writing, massage therapy, competitive bodybuilding, working with children, and event organizing. In whatever activity I am involved, lifting others up around me has always been a primary goal. When I learned how to do it effectively, my impact on my community was more significant than I could have imagined. Dedicating my life to inspiring and lifting up others has been one of the most rewarding pursuits I have ever undertaken. Inspiration is something I hope to instill in many people throughout my life. I live a life of service to the causes I care most about.

Currently, I live in Portland, Oregon, and I love it here. That’s how it should be. If you don’t love where you live, you should move or learn to love where you are. Portland has been great for me to grow as a person and develop as a business person. Based on my lifestyle, it has been the ideal place to network and increase my own reputation in the health, fitness, and personal development communities. I also have family and friends in and around Portland, which further establishes this great city as “home” for me.

I follow a plant-based diet and encourage others to do the same for optimal health and vitality, to live compassionately, and to leave less of a footprint on our Earth when we leave. I’ve been following a pure plant-based diet since 1996 and will continue with this lifestyle forever. This lifestyle forever changed my life for the better, and that is something I will never forget. It has been through my vegan diet (no animal products) and lifestyle that I have built my reputation as one of the most influential vegan athletes on the planet.

I am the founder and President of my own company (Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness–established in 2002) and the Director and Producer of the Award-Winning Documentary Vegan Fitness Built Naturally (2005) and Co-Director and Co-Producer of the documentary Vegan Brothers in Iron (scheduled to be released in 2010). I am the author of Take Action and Make it Happen – Bringing Out the Best in You and Your Personal Best, books that were written in 2008 and scheduled to be released in 2010 and 2011. I am the producer of The Robert Cheeke Show and determined to create many more innovative programs. I am a competitive bodybuilder, motivational speaker, author, actor, fitness model, event organizer, and friend to a lot of people all over the world. I’m also honorary uncle to more kids than I can keep up with, and it’s great!

At the time of this writing, I am 29 years old, single, and can often be found traveling around North America speaking at various health, wellness, vegetarian, personal development, and fitness festivals. Look for the blond guy with a big smile, muscles, and lots of enthusiasm. If that guy is flexing for the camera, dancing to hip hop music, or playing with a group of kids, it’s most likely me. Come up to me and say hi. I love meeting new people. You will also likely find me on a motivational speaking tour because that has been my new focus—speaking to Universities and other groups all over the United States. I started writing this book when I was 28 years old, and I am determined to become a best-selling author by age 30. Thank you for supporting my efforts to make this happen. I will be on a massive book tour starting in February 2010, and I would love to come to your town! Email me at [email protected], and let’s figure out a way to add your city to my book tour schedule.

My whole theme in life is to be happy, to be nice to others, and to be motivated to positively change the world in whatever way suits me. I’m determined, dedicated, and persistent. I care about cause and effect and the outcomes of actions, and I am driven to inspire and motivate others. My vision is to be right more than wrong, happy more than sad, nice more than mean, care more than being apathetic, and to live without limits. I have a great family and wonderful friends. I have had some incredible role models in my life who have impacted me in immeasurable ways and simultaneously built my character to be strong and steadfast becoming a leader in my communities.

I have an uplifting, encouraging, and inspiring story to share with as many people as I can. Thank you for taking the time to read my book. It is my sincere desire that it encourages you to be the best at something important in your life. My vision for you is to bring out the best in your life. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to inspire you. I wish you all the best along your journey. I am always here to support you. Find me on www.veganbodybuilding.com and contact me anytime. Connect with me on social media websites like Facebook and Twitter too. Just search my name and I’ll be there.

-Robert Cheeke

Introduction

The idea of vegan bodybuilding has long been perceived as an oxymoron until now. In an industry riddled with animal-derived body-enhancing supplements, a new wave of bodybuilding is emerging. For the past ten years I have been at the forefront, pioneering a different way to fuel and nourish bodybuilders while nourishing the planet at the same time.

This book is well overdue, and I am pleased to finally bring it to life and have it available to an audience that has been craving its completion for years. This complete guide to proper training and plant-based nutrition for athletes has been a decade in the making, following my career as a vegan bodybuilder over the past ten years. Of the nearly seven billion people on the planet, my name has been synonymous with vegan bodybuilding more than any other name in history. My name, my face, and my physique have been the most recognized in this industry throughout the world, and that makes it very fitting for me to deliver this book in a very unique way that is sure to motivate and inspire anyone.

I come from the unlikely background of being a skinny farm boy who grew up eating meat and selling animals at 4-H auctions to be slaughtered for food. I was born into a family who has had farming in it’s history for generations and I’m the son of farmers who both worked in a university Animal Science department. But the choices I have made and the passion that has supported them enable me to stand out in the world of vegan bodybuilding.

Many asked why I hadn’t written this book sooner. The truth is that I started a book about vegan athletics back in 2005. My life took a turn in a new direction in the middle of that year when I directed and produced the documentary Vegan Fitness Built Naturally. Immediately, as a result of that documentary, I was hired by Sequel Naturals to work for VEGA. I spent half the year traveling around the country to work at consumer wellness shows and festivals, and give talks. Writing this book took a back seat while inspiring as many people as possible through in-person interaction and training in the gym became my top priorities. When I finally returned to the project, I sat down in front of the computer and wrote over 100 pages in the first 4 days. With a decade of experience as a vegan bodybuilder, everything about this book became not only easy to write about but extremely rewarding and fulfilling.

In the spring of 2009, I finally decided to sit down and follow my own personal development advice: to take action and make it happen, to write this book about vegan bodybuilding and fitness. After listening to myself give presentations all over the country, I couldn’t sit back any longer and delay this project, especially as I was sincerely encouraging everyone I met to not delay their dreams and to take immediate action doing something meaningful in their lives. It was my turn to embrace the creation and completion of this book.

Because of the unique approach I took to incorporate some of my personal development and success strategies, this book will be the most comprehensive guide to building your body on a plant-based diet ever assembled and an ever-present source of motivation.

This book is designed to answer any question about vegan bodybuilding you could possibly have. The content addresses more than what to eat, how to train, and what supplements to take as a vegan bodybuilder; it includes far more than inspirational photos of vegan bodybuilders. The book contains 15 chapters of the most important components of successful bodybuilding on a plant-based diet: how to get sponsored by companies and make a career out of your bodybuilding hobby; ways to stay motivated and find meaning in your actions; lists of do’s and don’ts when it comes to the sport of bodybuilding; lists of products, services, and equipment that are vegan; meal programs and training programs; and how to turn your vegan bodybuilding lifestyle into extremely effective forms of activism and outreach.

Even more than vegan bodybuilding and fitness, this book is about the pursuit of excellence—making the most out of your life and contributing to the world in ways that you never imagined. It is about inspiring you to do amazing things while causing the least amount of harm and doing the most amount of good.

I chose to specifically include brand names of products that I use or recommend. I did not receive any compensation for my recommendations from any company. I am only sharing the truth as I know it from my direct experience. I share a variety of products in multiple categories of nutrition because each person responds uniquely to each product. I will list brands of equipment and supplies, as well as my favorite places to train and eat by name and location. This will be an excellent overall resource for motivation, inspiration, vegan living, bodybuilding, and ultimately helping bring out the best in you so that you can bring out the best in others. There are some repetitive themes throughout this book which is intentional by design. Philosopher Daniel Dennett, Professor at Tufts University, said in a Technology, Entertainment, and Design (TED) talk in 2008, “Every time you read it or say it you make another copy in your brain.” Professor Dennett is explaining that repetition helps with retention. Therefore, the reader benefits with sustained knowledge rather than temporary memorization.

Thank you for taking the time to care enough to support me, my ambitions for the world, and the vegan cause. Thank you for supporting the concept of Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness, for picking this book up, for reading it cover to cover, for sharing it with friends, and for providing me feedback about how I can make it better.

I wish you all the best on your journey to great strength, great health, great fulfillment, and great contribution. Welcome to the world of Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness. Take your ticket…its show time! This book will rock you hard! Whatever it is that moves you, whatever it is that drives you, go after it and make it happen today.