“YOU HAVE TO CHEAT! I’m talking about doing cheat reps. It seems that real growth comes from sacrificing form, just a little, to get those last few reps.”
Name: Antjuane Sims
Occupation: Health and Fitness Educator
City/State/Country: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Height: 5′ 6″
Type: Crossfit (current focus), bodybuilding
Q: Tell us about the path that led Antjuane Sims to vegan bodybuilding?
I started getting bored with chicken, from purchase to preparation. The texture began to bother me, too.
I didn’t look forward to eating another chicken meal. Besides, meat is way more expensive than vegetables. So instead of chicken, I figured I would change it up a little by eating turkey, goat, and bison.
I got bored eating them, and those products were just as expensive, not to mention I experienced the same uncomfortable stomach issues.
More than purchasing and prepping, I began to notice how my stomach would react when I ate those meat products.
My stomach would get warm inside, and sometimes, I felt like the meat wasn’t breaking down completely.
“Although there is no argument that the smell and taste of meat is good, the fact is, it doesn’t digest well in our system.”
I wanted to make a change.
At the same time, my friend was beginning to experiment with juicing.
I didn’t think I would get enough calories by juicing, but I decided to eliminate meat from my diet and add in the carbs.
A major part of this decision had to do with the many documentaries I watched regarding the effects of meat on our cellular health.
After watching those documentaries, I was convinced that my performance would greatly improve if I eliminated meat from my diet, because my cellular health would improve.
I decided to conduct an experiment on myself before sharing my decision with others.
“I didn’t have bodybuilding in mind when I made the decision to go meatless, but I did want to have better internal health and improved performance in my workouts.”
As a result, I’ve noticed that my strength has increased and my recovery time has improved. My body feels cleaner on the inside. Making the decision to go meatless did become a bit of a challenge when I finally factored bodybuilding into the equation.
The challenge was what to eat in order to maintain my size or even to put on muscle. Over these past few years, I have been able to slowly figure out what works best for me.
However, in the initial stages of my transition, it was pretty difficult because I didn’t know which foods would be beneficial in achieving my goals. Although I’m still learning, I’ve primarily been eating more complex carbohydrates for size and super foods for nutrients and energy.
Q: Ideal meal plan for putting on muscle:
As I continue to learn, it appears that one of the best things to do is eat complex carbohydrates:
- Sweet potatoes
- Brown pastas
- White potatoes
- Black rice
- Red rice
- Brown rice
- Wild rice
These are my staple superfoods:
- Chia seeds
- Flax seeds
- Black seed
- Goji berries
I’m still learning, too. It’s best to choose foods that you like. In other words, choose what tastes good to you. Usually, the difficulty is with breakfast. For me, I have a smoothie and half cup of cooked buckwheat for breakfast.
In my smoothie, I use:
- Two cups of organic rice milk, or any other nut milk
- 1 frozen banana
- Hemp protein powder
- 2 tablespoons of goji berries
- Teaspoon of black seed
- Teaspoon of turmeric
- Half a stick of cinnamon
- Tablespoon of sunflower seed butter
- Couple of ice cubes
In my cooked buckwheat, I put:
- 3 dates
- 1 tablespoon of sunflower seed butter
- 2 tablespoons of mixed nuts
- Powdered cinnamon
Again, find out what you like to eat, and have that for breakfast.
Some people feel the need to have breakfast food for breakfast, while others can eat lunch and dinner foods for breakfast.
If you are fine with eating lunch and dinner foods for breakfast, then have a sweet potato or yam for breakfast. Add mixed nuts, cinnamon, and kale or chard or spinach or any other green leafy vegetable.
You can also have polenta with kale or spinach or any other leafy green for breakfast, too.
If you are a fan of tofu, you can easily make a tofu scramble for breakfast with whole wheat toast.
“The bottom line is to find out what non-animal based foods you like, and eat from that list.”
It also helps to go online to read various recipes to give you ideas of what to prepare and what foods to eat.
“I don’t think it’s important to eat every three hours as we’ve been taught, but I do believe you should eat when you’re hungry.”
Remember, keep it simple. When you try to overcomplicate it, it becomes overwhelming and you can become easily discouraged. Lastly, don’t be afraid to eat those complex carbohydrates!
Q: Philosophy on supplements:
I believe if one has a nutritional deficiency, it’s a good idea to take quality vegan supplements. For me, that includes creatine and B12. With so many options on the market, you really have to do your homework. I would suggest to stay away from any capsules that are coated with magnesium stearate, as this could be toxic to the digestive system.
Other than that, research the options and find out which ones work best for you. However, by sticking as close to whole food nutrition as possible, you will consume plenty of vitamins and minerals for your body’s needs.
Q: Describe your training regimen:
Working out is an interesting topic. What may work for me may not work for you. Ultimately, when you work out, you want to be focused, intense, and have a purpose.
“Personally, I change my workout almost every time I train.”
Here’s what that means: the next time I train a certain muscle group, I’ll either do more reps, less reps, change the angle, tempo, etc.
“I even change the amount of time I rest in between sets. The number of reps I perform varies from eight to 20.”
Sometimes I even do 50 reps, depending on my workout program.
I suggest starting with the basic/ traditional muscle group combinations. Those would be chest with triceps, back with biceps, legs with shoulders.
That makes a three-times-a-week workout program.
If you’re looking to put on muscle, make sure the wait is heavy enough where you can only do between eight and 12 repetitions per set. Do a minimum of three sets per muscle group, and try doing four different exercises for the major muscle groups, i.e. chest, back, legs, and shoulders.
For the smaller muscle groups, you can do two sets with higher repetitions, such as 10 to 12. Currently, that is the way I’m training. However, I’m separating my shoulders and legs, so I’m working out four days a week instead of three.
When I work out, I use a slow tempo when I lower the weight. I go for a four-second count in the negative. I have a workout manual, including photos, that I will be releasing later this year with more detailed instruction and explanation of how to get back to the basics of exercise.
Q: What part of your daily routine is the most consistent and has helped you the most?
The most consistent part of my daily routine is prayer. I start the day and end the day with prayer. Acknowledging the one who has given me life, food, protection, and the ability to help others is priority.
If I don’t pray for strength and guidance from the Lord, it’s as if I’m telling Him I can do this on my own, and I know I can’t. It also gives me the opportunity to petition for the well-being of others, as well as ask for His protection over them.
Q: What have you changed your mind about in the past 10 years?
I’ve realized that it’s important to follow your passion. My mind has changed from following/building others’ dreams to fulfilling mine. It doesn’t matter what area of interest; find what interests you and go for it.
I believe more people would be happy if they did something that they were passionate about, instead of doing something just because they have to pay the bills. Pray for guidance, and follow your calling. We all have a purpose, we all have talent, so find yours and go for it!
Q: Fun fact most people don’t know about Antjuane Sims?
I had my very first victorious Muay Thai fight match in Thailand versus a local Thai fighter. That was one of my most incredible traveling experiences as well. Thai people are incredibly warm, kind, and hospitable.
In fact, my favorite food is Thai food. When I was there, I thoroughly enjoyed all the food I ate. One of the benefits of living in LA is that there are plenty of Thai food restaurants. It’s great to have so many options.
Q: What three pearls of wisdom would you tell your 18-year-old self?
I would tell myself that I don’t have to have the answer for everything or have to do everything. It’s okay to say, “I don’t know” and “I need help.”
I believe as teenagers, we tend to think we have all the answers to everything in life. The “shocking” reality is that we don’t. Also, as an athletic teenager, I felt that I didn’t need any help in carrying out physical tasks. I felt that if I was strong enough to do it, I could do it on my own.
“At this stage in my life, I know that it’s okay not to know something and it’s okay to ask for help.”
Another would be to be friendly even to people who are mean to you or mistreat you. Fighting fire with fire is not always the best solution. Kindness quenches fire.
Q: How much sleep do you get? How do you relax?
This is my area of defeat. I don’t sleep enough. Sometimes I get between four to six hours of sleep. There are times, though, when I get a good seven, but that hasn’t been too often lately. I relax by laying down during the day if I get a chance. I call that my recovery session.
Q: What tips can you share that have led to your success in bodybuilding?
YOU HAVE TO CHEAT! I’m talking about doing cheat reps. It seems that real growth comes from sacrificing form, just a little, to get those last few reps.
Having a training partner is great! They can help you cheat with better form. In life, it’s the opposite. Cheating is a no go. Again, having a quality character that is shaped by the discipline of committing to a workout program, overcoming the obstacle of giving up, focusing in on getting the job done, and helping others in the process can all be gained from working out.
Q: Where do you think vegan bodybuilding is going in the future?
I believe that door is opening. I’m excited to see the attention “healthy eating” is getting, and I believe more people will adopt that lifestyle. I can see it making an impression on non-vegan bodybuilders once they gain the proper understanding and education. It took me a while to wrap my head around it, but knowledge is power.