The Aethix Approach – S2 Ep2 – ZACK BELKNAP on Competitive Natural Bodybuilding as a Vegan, Plant Based Diets for Muscle, Why Go Vegan & More!

taa s2 ep02
The Aethix Approach – S2 Ep2 – ZACK BELKNAP on Competitive Natural Bodybuilding as a Vegan, Plant Based Diets for Muscle, Why Go Vegan & More!

In this episode, I have the pleasure of speaking with Zachary Belknap, a natural WNBF pro vegan bodybuilder and NASM certified personal trainer. Zack placed first in his pro-debut bodybuilding show and despite it not being his direct pursui, also has some impressive strength numbers under his belt with a 495 lb squat, 345 lb bench press and 520 lb deadlift. Zack went vegan in 2015 mainly for environmental purposes but he quickly found himself drawn to the moral aspects above all else. Switching to a vegan lifestyle was a big motivator for him to push his bodybuilding pursuits to the next level. The myth of plant based diets being inadequate for building muscle is still a pervasive theory in the general population, and Zack uses that to drive his ambitions in the sport. Zack is an extremely impressive natural bodybuilder, reaching up to a massive 220 lbs in his off-season at 5’10”, and one of the best examples of what can be achieved without PED’s on a plant based diet. His fellow competitors are almost always in shock to hear about his diet after seeing what he has achieved which is great activism in itself.

Zack can be found on Instagram at @boldbodyfitnessllc which is also the name of his personal training business and you can find info on that there. Thanks again to Zack for taking the time to come on the podcast and I hope you enjoy the episode as much as I enjoyed our chat!

If you’d rather listen on a different platform, check the show out on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, PocketCasts, PlayerFM, RadioPublic or PineCast!

00:00 – Intro to Podcast
00:45 – Intro to Zack
2:00 – Zack introduces himself
3:15 – How and why did Zack go vegan?
4:40 – When did Zack get into lifting?
6:00 – Zack is huge
8:15 – Zack trains heavy, has he ever competed in powerlifting?
10:00 – What drew Zack to competing?
12:00 – Zack’s competition history
14:00 – Zack promoting veganism through bodybuilding, using science to support plant based diets
17:00 – What does being a pro bodybuilder entail? What divisions can Zack compete in?
19:00 – What’s Zack’s training look like? Bodybuilding coaches
21:00 – Pushing to failure, progressive overload, the mistakes we made as novice lifters
25:00 – Off-season bulks, pushing bodyweight PR’s
26:00 – Progressing after years of natural bodybuilding, Alberto Nunez, seeing bodybuilding shows in person
29:00 – Was Zack worried about losing progress when he first went vegan? How did his diet change?
32:15 – Does Zack count calories/macros? Appetite changes during bulk/cut
34:15 – Bodybuilding is inherently extreme, potentially unhealthy, drugs in bodybuilding
38:00 – Four pillars of veganism, why Zack went vegan and why others should be interested in going vegan
39:15 – Zack used to be a hunter
42:00 – Animal agriculture is extremely impractical and wasteful compared to just eating plants
44:30 – Whole Food Plant Based diet can reverse atherosclerosis (plaque buildup in arteries)
46:30 – Going vegan isn’t always easy at first but it’s the right thing to do
48:00 – Antibiotic resistance due to animal agriculture and zoonotic diseases
50:00 – Different diets can result in benefits but veganism has a bigger purpose morally and environmentally
52:15 – The impracticality of free range, grass-fed meat
53:00 – Lab grown meat, would we eat it? The ethics of it
58:15 – How do other bodybuilders react to finding out Zack is vegan?
1:00:00 – What is the key to success in bodybuilding nutritionally? Plant based diet vs omnivorous diet for bodybuilding
1:05:00 – Plant based protein, being vegan is easy nowaways
1:07:30 – Transitioning from omnivorous to vegan diet for lifters
1:10:00 – Zack’s closing statement, things are getting better!
1:11:45 – Where can people find Zack and his personal training services on social media?
1:13:00 – Podcast outro

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *