London vegan festival 2003
athletes muscle in...
(L to R Pete, Rochelle, Joni, Billy, Robbie & Phil)
At the 2003 Vegan Festival was a strange new stall amongst the throng of food stalls, alternative therapies, shoes, clothes & make up. Vegan Bodybuilding had arrived!
Setting up we got the odd stare from the other stall holders as out came sets of hand grippers, tubs of soya protein, booklets on vegan strength training & of course Billie's famous chocolate cake!
Within minutes we were flooded by crowds of interested punters snatching flyers, crushing (or more accurately TRYING to crush) our grippers & generally lapping up every scrap of info they could about this strange new phenomenon. In fact, three times that day we had to go & reprint leaflets as the demand was so high we ran out!
To many it was a strange, new idea. A big, strong vegan???? They were so used to the idea of the pencil necked, pale, frail looking vegan, that the idea was almost a revelation!
We made many new friends that day at the Vegan Festival, & hopefully convinced a few to give some form of strength training a go, & met several strength athletes who'd made the effort to come to the festival especially to hang out with us iron heads & jaw with a few like-minded souls.
Pat held two fantastic talks during the event & held her audience spellbound as she filled their heads with the facts about how to eat healthily & important food facts that ALL vegans should take onboard.
There were many stories from the day that could be related, but I think Joni has the most telling one:
a meateater who was dragged to the fair by his vegan girlfriend came to the stall saying "I have always said to my GF that one cannot be strong and vegan, but I guess you guys are going to prove me wrong" I gave him the CoC gripper #1 (the easiest of the 3 we'd brought) and said "close this".
He goes "I've been rockclimbing [all] my life and have a very strong grip", he tries and tries but cannot quite close it. I took it off his hand and snapped it together (while faking an impression that it was easy as closing a newspaper).
After that he went on and on about how willing he is to accept how wrong he was and how he is going to tell his GF that he was totally wrong, hehehehe. Cool guy
If we can convince an ardent meat eater that it's possible to be vegan & strong, then it just shows you that things are changing very fast & the idea of the vegan strength athlete is becoming a reality. It's now up to us to go out & PROVE that strength, health & veganism should all be part of the goal of any aspiring strength athlete.