Name: Chad Byers
Division you will compete in: Fit Model and Men’s Physique
Weight: 200 lbs
Years as a vegan: 2
Why you became a Vegan: I became vegan after reading the China Study and becoming aware of the health benefits of eating a whole food plant-based diet as well as the correlations between cancer and eating animal products. I have always been health conscious, but as soon as I learned that I was not eating as healthy as I could then I adopted a plant-based lifestyle.
History Competing: I competed in my first competition in 2012 at the Naturally Fit Super Show and won First Place in the Fit Model Class.
What drives you to compete: I am driven by my desire to promote a cruelty free, environmentally friendly and healthy alternative to the Standard American Diet and to show that it is possible to be healthy and fit following a plant-based diet.
What do you see as the biggest advantages of being a vegan athlete: Since adopting a plant-based diet I have seen improvements in my strength, endurance and recovery time.
What types of supplements if any do you use?: Until about January 2013 I was using plant-based protein supplements such as brown rice, pea and hemp. Since then I have discontinued the use of any protein supplements and now get 100% of my protein from whole plant-based foods.
How would you describe your diet while preparing for a competition: My diet stays the same year round. The majority of my foods are raw fruits and vegetables, although I do eat some beans, quinoa and nuts/seeds. In addition, everyday I drink at least 32 oz of fresh green juice. My overall macronutrient breakdown is 75-80% carbohydrates, 10-12% protein and 10% fat.
How would you describe your training for a competition: I like to stay lean year round, which means that my training and diet remains pretty consistent also. I strength train every other day with conditioning in between. In my workouts I focus on getting a total body workout every time I train with 3-4 compound multi-joint lifts such as squat, deadlift, bench press, weighted pullups, weighted dips and overhead press with heavy weight for 5 reps. I will usually add in a metabolic resistance day in between my heavy days where the focus is on greater volume, higher reps (12-15) and minimal rest between sets and exercises.
Favorite exercises: Deadlift, weighted dips and squats
How many hours a week do you spend training?: 6
Today I am most proud of: I am most proud of my gym, Beyond Fit, in Austin, TX. I opened last year with only 2 vegan members and slowly have attracted more vegans and have been able to help other members transition to a plant-based diet. I now have over 15 members that are vegan. My goal is to have 100% of my membership be plant-based.
Personal website or blog: www.beyondfitaustin.com