Today's Athlete Interview hails all the way from Chile and is the reigning Men's Physique National Champion! What a pleasure to have an Athlete of this caliber sit down and tell us a little about themselves.
KL: Tell us your name and where you are from?
My name is Gonzalo Concha, I'm 29, and I'm from Chile, South America, but i'm currently living in the Netherlands.
KL: How long have you been vegan?
I have been vegan for almost 3 years now. Before that I was vegetarian for about 7 years.
KL: Why did you Decide to become Vegan and did you find the transition difficult or easy?
I became a vegan for the animals, I watched Earthlings (documentary) and realised that I didn't want to be part of animal exploitation. After that I started to investigate more and watched cowspiracy, what the health and I was reading a lot about the topic. The transition was not too difficult for me, I started with vegetarianism first and then veganism. Now that I look back, I will tell myself to go fully vegan right away.
KL: How long have you been training for & have you been vegan that whole time?
I have been training for about 10 years now, but the last 3 (just when I became vegan) I started doing it seriously. So I have gained the majority of my muscle mass as a vegan. And last December I won the national championship in Chile as a men's physique athlete.
KL: What are some of the physical differences you felt in your training since turning vegan?
There's a lot of benefits but the ones I notice the most are:
1. More energy, I can train longer, more than one time per day and with more intensity.
2. Better recovery, the foods I eat are packed with protein, carbs and healthy fats, but also with lots of vitamins, minerals and fiber and on top of that are easy to digest. So they do not stress my body and have many nutrients that help with recovery.
KL: Did you notice any mental differences since your transition?
Yes, the firts one is peace because you are helping in many ways (reducing suffering, helping the environment and improving your health), but also more focus and a clearer mind. So you do not only improve your body but also your mental and work capacity.
KL: What would a typical day’s diet look like for you?
I eat 6 times a day most of the time, that way I'm always feeding nutrients to my body to grow. For breakfast and post workout I eat an oat bowl with soy milk, almonds, banana and another fruit. The other 4 meals have at least one legume, I like tofu(soy), peas, chickpeas, balckbeans, lentils and kidney beans. And they also have at least one cereal or potato, i like whole grain rice, whole grain pasta, quinoa, potatoes and sweet potatoes. All of them with veggies like carrots, broccoli, spinach, rucula, cauliflower, mushrooms, asparagus, etc...
KL: Do you use supplements, if so which ones?
Most of the time I only use 2. One of them is of course vitamin b12 and the other one is creatine. I prefer to get all my nutrients from real food. If I'm traveling a lot I use a vegan protein powder (pea and/or soy are the best in my opinion). And if I'm at the final stages of an extreme cut (for competing for example) I take a multivitamin and bcaas, just because I'm eating too little calories and prefer to be on the safe side with my mirco nutrients.
KL: What is your favourite vegan meal?
I love all of them but if I have to choose it will be vegan pizza with a lot of veggies, some soy "meat" and vegan CHEESE. And a vegan ice cream for dessert.
KL: What bit of advice would you give someone looking to turn vegan?
I would tell them to try it out, I'm sure, that when they see the benefits of it, they would not regret it. I would also recommend going to a vegan nutritionist to make sure you are doing it right from the beginning. It will be good for the animals, for the planet and for yourself.
Take your b12 and trust me on this, you are not going to be protein deficient.
KL: What does the future hold for you?
In a few weeks I'm moving to Munich, Germany, I want to work in a vegan restaurant or company. I also want to become an IFBB pro so I can keep showing the world that vegans can also build muscle.
KL: What is your favourite quote?
"Be the change you wish to see in the world" Mahatma Gandhi.
KL: How can people get in touch or follow you on your journey?
You can follow me on my Instagram instagram.com/gonzaloconcha to learn more about training and eating to gain muscle as a vegan and if you have any doubt send me a DM, I will be very happy to help you.
Go Vegan 🏼