Name: Derek Tresize
Division you will compete in: Bodybuilding
City: Richmond VA
Years as a vegan: Since 2007
Why you became a Vegan: When I first met my wife Marcella she introduced me to all the health benefits associated with a plant-based diet, and all the risks associated with animal products. Prior to that I’d never come across any of that information and frankly thought vegans must probably be scrawny and malnourished (a myth I now strive to dispel)! She gave me a few great books by Dr T Colin Campbell and Dr Fuhrman on the subject which I dove into, and being a health nut as soon as I read up on the topic I was sold!
History Competing: 2011 NPA Championships – 3rd, 2011 NANBF Washington State Championships – 3rd, 2012 OCB Bodysculpt Open – 1st, 2012 OCB Battle for Tidewater – 4th
What drives you to compete: I’ve been an athlete my whole life and love training, but being a vegan competitor is what really drives me. It gives me something to prove, a reason to show the world what I can do and to demonstrate that a plant-based diet is an asset to athletes as much as it is to your health, the environment, and to animals.
What do you see as the biggest advantages of being a vegan athlete: In the context of bodybuilding I see two big advantages. 1) It is much harder to gain bodyfat and much easier to lose it, and 2) With the sheer amount of nutrition you get from whole foods your athletic performance and recovery are given a big boost.
What types of supplements if any do you use?: My staples are multi-source raw protein powder like Plant Fusion and Sunwarrior, and some sort of caffeinated pre-workout. I also have taken creatine on and off over the years.
How would you describe your diet while preparing for a competition: My objective during a diet is to keep my meal plan as healthy and nutritious as possible while still reaching my goals, so I maintain as much whole foods as possible and limit my percentage of calories from supplements. As a contest approaches I slowly decrease my calories while trying to keep my protein intake unchanged. To do this I’ll reduce my portions of fruits, grains, nuts, and avocados the most and increase my intake of beans, tofu, tempeh and green vegetables. I try to gradually reduce my fat intake as much as possible and keep my complex carb intake as high as I can while cutting calories.
Favorite food in your prep diet: Sweet potatoes
How would you describe your training for a competition: My weight training doesn’t change much before a contest, although I do try to work in more unilateral training and more diverse exercises to encourage greater definition.
Favorite exercises: Squats, deadlifts, rows or all varieties, bench presses of all varieties, and shoulder presses. I love big, hard compound exercises and I don’t care for isolation work all that much, but it’s necessary.
How many hours a week do you spend training?: Around 10, and a lot more counting cardio as a contest approaches.
Today I am most proud of: Establishing myself as a competitive bodybuilder on a vegan diet, and spreading the word that anyone can get their best physique without consuming animal products. Also, being able to come back after several severe injuries and still make all-time bests in lifts. (Squat after meniscus tear, bench after pec tear, etc)
Personal website or blog: veganmuscleandfitness.com