Chris Ballester is an Aussie who is a great representation of the future of vegetarian bodybuilding. And by that I mean he looks muscular, and more importantly, he looks vibrantly healthy.

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Chris Ballester Fitness

My shape has improved drastically since becoming vegetarian. So for me I can honestly say the advantages have been putting on lean muscle mass and having a lot less fat around the midsection.

Being vegetarian is the way of the future for many reasons. It might take awhile, but I think we will see many more vegetarian athletes in the years to come.

Name: Chris Ballester
City/State/Country: Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
Age: 28
Height: 5’9″ (175cm)
Type of competing: Fitness model
Weight/Competition Weight*: 163lbs (74kg)

*I have only recently started competing. I did not diet for my first comp as it was a spur of the moment decision to enter. As such I pretty much maintain this weight/shape year round at this stage.

chris-ballester-vegetarian-bodybuilder-fitness

When and why did you become a vegetarian?

In 2010 I started to transition to vegetarian, by slowly cutting out meat and then fish from my diet. Growing up as a heavy meat eater I found this approach worked for me. I eventually became a vegetarian on 2 January 2013 and haven’t looked back.

I became vegetarian because I’ve always loved animals and I don’t want to hurt/kill them. I was brought up eating animals like most people, so I thought it was normal when I was younger; however you get to a point in life where you have to make your own path, and decide for yourself what you believe is right… I think that goes for anything in life. I could never hurt an animal so I definitely couldn’t eat them. That’s my way of thinking now… I can’t just ignore/pretend that I don’t know about the suffering. I had to take responsibility for my own actions and align my behavior to my ethics.

When and why did you start to compete?

I have only just recently started competing as a friend of mine was competing so I thought I would give it a go. However I plan on competing more in future. I love being able to promote a vegetarian diet through my example rather than preaching to people etc.

Advantages of being a vegetarian?

My shape has improved drastically since becoming vegetarian. So for me I can honestly say the advantages have been putting on lean muscle mass and having a lot less fat around the midsection. I never had a six pack when I ate meat and I’ve been training for many years. Everyone knows you can’t get a six pack without a good diet!

I think being vegetarian has also given me a drive to try to succeed as I feel in a way I’m viewed as the underdog and I have something to prove.

People are usually surprised when I tell them I’m vegetarian. People I meet including friends and family are always quite interested and supportive, which is great.

chris-ballester-vegetarian-bodybuilder-transformation

Describe your diet while preparing for a competition:

I tend to stick to the same diet pretty much all year round at the moment. I don’t really bulk or cut as such I prefer to stay in a maintainable condition. I like maintain my shape and be healthy and not go to extremes.

I do make adjustments as I learn more etc. However I would generally lower my carb intake if I felt I needed to improve my shape for a comp or photos etc.

Favorite food in your prep diet:

I really enjoy quorn products for dinners and cashews for snacks. I also don’t mind the odd protein bar to help with my sweet tooth and bananas after I train. This is same off season.

Describe your diet off season:

Generally I eat a high protein diet like a typical gym goer, however I try to limit most of my carb intake to breakfast and after I train, so I can stay fairly lean all year round.

Supplements?

I take protein powder (whey and rice protein), BCAAs and Glutamine for breakfast, before I train and also after I train. These are my top 3 supplements I would recommend for anyone to consider including vegetarians/non-vegetarians. I find these help me to recover so I can train most days.

Describe your training for a competition (favorite exercises, weekly training schedule, etc):

  • Monday – Basketball (social competition) for cardio
  • Tuesday – Chest/abs
  • Wednesday – Legs
  • Thursday – Rest day or light cardio
  • Friday – High intensity interval training/weights (30 minute session)
  • Saturday – Back/abs
  • Sunday – Shoulder/arms

My sessions are usually around 45 minutes to an hour maximum. My favorite exercises at the moment are hanging leg raises (abs) and dumbbell bench (chest).

Describe your training off season (favorite exercises, weekly training schedule, etc):

I do change things up from time to time, but generally I am fairly consistent with my training all year round.

Thoughts on the future of vegetarian bodybuilding?

I honestly think that it will only get more popular as time goes on. Being vegetarian is the way of the future for many reasons. It might take awhile, but I think we will see many more vegetarian athletes in the years to come.

Any advice or tips for those thinking about becoming a plant-eating warrior?

You should definitely do it. You will feel great, both physically and mentally. I’m now in the best physical condition of my life, by far! There are also so many options to choose from with regard to protein etc and types of food that you won’t miss out on anything. My other advice would be let your body/actions do the talking.

Always happy to help with any specific queries.

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Chris Ballester Fitness

Source: http://www.vegetarianbodybuilding.com/fitness-model-lean-muscle-gai...;

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