Rachel Stein

Rachel SteinName: Rachel Stein

Division you will compete in: Powerlifting

Age: 35

Height: 5’7”

Weight/Competition Weight: 177/181 lb weight class

Current max lifts Bench/Squat/Deadlift: 120/280/330

City: Portland, OR

Years as a vegan: 9.5

Why you became a Vegan: I had been a vegetarian for 7 years when I started researching veganism in order to better understand my vegan friends. In the process I educated myself about the dairy and egg industry and how, as a vegetarian, I was still complicit in all the animal rights horrors I had hoped to avoid. I became vegan for the animals, but I also stay vegan for the environment and for human rights.

History Competing: I competed twice in Oregon in 2014 and hold a USPA state deadlift record. I’ll also be at the APF/AAPF Winter Classic on January 10th, and possibly the APA Spring Challenge in April, both in Clackamas, OR.

What drives you to compete: The main reason I compete is to show people that you can be physically strong as a vegan, and as a woman. I love the adrenaline of competition, but I don’t like being the center of attention. If it weren’t for my commitment to veganism and feminism I would probably be content to set my PR’s in the gym with my friends.

What do you see as the biggest advantages of being a vegan athlete: The main advantage is knowing that you are pursuing your strength and fitness goals without contributing to animal cruelty, the pollution caused by animal agriculture, or the human rights abuses that take place on commercial farms and in slaughterhouses. I didn’t compete in strength sports before becoming vegan so I can’t speak to the physical advantages.

What types of supplements if any do you use?: Protein powder (PlantFusion, Raw Fusion, and SunWarrior), creatine, and Vega Recovery Accelerator.

How would you describe your diet while preparing for a competition: I try to eat a generally healthy, high protein diet year round, and I don’t do much differently when preparing to compete. I usually start the day with a green protein smoothie, have a big salad for lunch, and dinner varies.

Favorite food in your prep diet: I love food in general, but my favorite lunch is a spinach salad with smoky tempeh and candied pecans. I’m also a big fan of tofu and buffalo soy curls.

How would you describe your training for a competition: Lifting heavy! I basically have a 12 week prep cycle that varies in intensity and has more volume in the first month, the heaviest lifts in the second month, and then slowly ramps down for competition so I’m ready to go.

Favorite exercises: Back squat. Though after hating it for a long time, bench day is moving up in the ranks! I like all my tricep accessory work too, probably because it pays off quickly.

How many hours a week do you spend training?: I spend 6-8 hours a week in the gym lifting or doing accessory work. I’ve been laying off cardio as I recover from an injury, but I hope to add it back in January. I also love to hike and backpack; it’s a great way to get in low-intensity cardio and get away from the world for a while.

Today I am most proud of: Consistently making it to the gym every day throughout my injury, and working through my mental game to get my deadlift back up close to my PR.

Personal website or blog: http://instagram.com/fistifluffs