“…my mother started to eat clean whole vegetarian foods and exercise. She regained her full health and is in remission to this day.”
Name: Zoe Feuerstein
Birthplace: Seattle, Wa
Current Residence: Issaquah, Wa
Sport: Vegan Bikini Bodybuilding Competitor
Q: Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a certified personal trainer with a specialization in athletic conditioning and nutrition for the average person to the athlete.
My hobbies include getting my sweat on, cooking, writing, and reading up on the latest training science and behavioral science. Recently I was awarded Unanimous 1st Placing @ Vancouver Natural USA Championship 2015.
I have a HUGE passion in life for helping people make transformations to their body, mind, and spirit. I see each client as a whole person and I connect on a deep level. My passion for training began when my mom became seriously ill with lupus. Doctors told my family that my mom was going to die from this illness.
As a result of visiting a naturopath, my mother started to eat clean whole vegetarian foods and exercise. She regained her full health and is in remission to this day.
It was this powerful example of how focussing on your health can turn your life around. That spurred my passion to become more than a personal trainer, but a supporter, an advocate, an example, and an expert in helping others change their lives via plant-based diet and exercise.
Q: Why did you decide to try a plant-based diet?
I started my plant-based lifestyle at three years-old. I had a favorite toy chicken and when my mom told me that chicken nuggets were made out of real chickens I never had meat again.
My upbringing instilled a deep sense of empathy for others and that’s why I’m 100 percent vegetarian and 80 percent vegan.
Q: How did you become interested in bikini bodybuilding competitions?
As I said above, I’m passionate about fitness and creating positive change in my own. I’ve see the power of it my whole life.
“It has saved myself, and others, from downward turns in life such as addiction, depression, and loss of joy.”
I decided to compete because I liked the idea of having a goal that would test my limits physically, mentally, and expand my knowledge on training and nutrition. I was inspired by Layne Norton and his clients, such as Femme Fittale.
I was introduced to them when friends at my local gym suggest that I compete. I loved that it connected me with others in the industry and pushed me to be my own personal best.
Q: What exercises would you choose if you could only do three?
- Incline Bench Press
Q: How would you describe your nutrition program?
Because I’m a National Level BodyBuilding Bikini Competitor my diet varies between on (fat cutting) and off (muscle building).
All year I try to avoid:
- Processed sugars
- Corn syrup
- High amounts of processed carbs
All year I try to eat:
- Fiber via lots of fresh veggies
- Low GI fruits and whole grains
- Lean proteins at each meal
- Small doses of quality fats throughout the day
- Spices for flavor instead of excessive oils and fats
- I eat more carbs, fruits, and fats
- I don’t track my portions and listen to body as I slowly build up my portion sizes
- I replace most grains with greens and up my protein.
Q: What does your daily meal plan look like off-season/muscle building?
I aim for 130 grams of protein per day, 200-300 grams of carbs, three servings of fat, and three liters of water per day. I take a multivitamin, omega 3’s, and 25 grams of fast digesting protein powder for post-workout.
- Breakfast: Oatmeal, protein powder, berries, and chai seeds.
- Lunch: 1/3 cup tofu or a block of tempeh with 1-2 cups whole grains and greens.
- Dinner: 1/3 cup tofu or a block of tempeh with 1-2 cups whole grains and greens.
Q: What kind of supplements do you use?
- Quest protein bars (plant-based) for food emergencies
- MRM Veggie Elite or Raw Fusion Protein Power (mornings and post-workout)
- Omega 3s for my skin, nails, and joints (also to help lose belly fat)
- Vitamin B and multivitamin
Q: How do people react when they find out you are vegetarian?
They say, “No, Way?! How do you get your protein, I can tell that you do, but how ?”, and “You should eat meat it’s holding you back from being as good of an athlete.”
Q: What are some common misconceptions about vegetarianism?
The most common one is that were all rigid, judging, weak, unhealthy, and void of any athletic ability.
People think that we just eat vegetables and grass. They can’t imagine that we enjoy many restaurants and have more energy than our meat loving friends.
Q: What advice do you have for people who are just starting out with training?
“Get a quality trainer or coach, even if you can only afford it for a short amount of time it’s worth ever penny.”
Even one session with a quality trainer will save you months of pointless efforts in your diet and nutrition. I always ask people, if you had a sink to fix, but never fixed a sink before, would you try to fix it yourself or hire a professional to help?
Q: What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming vegetarian?
“Go on Amazon.com and buy some of the highest rated cookbooks. Start cooking a few vegan meals a week, soon you’ll have a variety that you love.”
Then the switch is easy. Also learn how to cook legumes, tofu, and tempeh ASAP, these will be your staple proteins.