Search icon

Fitness & Health

04th Jan 2019

Vegan physique competitor describes how he gained meat-free muscle

Jack Stanyer has been a vegan bodybuilder for three years, but it hasn't held him back from success on stage. This is how he did it

Alex Roberts

It’s a myth that you can’t build muscle with a meat-free diet

Just ask Jack Stanyer, a vegan bodybuilder from Newcastle-under-Lyme. He made the decision to go vegan three years ago, but it hasn’t held him back.

In fact, Stanyer finished runner-up in the 2017 World Natural Bodybuilding Federation Championships.

He has described how he gained muscle and strength while living a vegan lifestyle. If you’ve taken up Veganuary or are just looking for an extra element of motivation, Stanyer’s journey should help.

Initial inspiration

As a kid, Stanyer was inspired to take up weightlifting by a love for superheroes and movie stars.

“The first time I ever touched weights was back in 2012 when I was 14 and living in Stoke-on-Trent.

“I have always been a massive fan of Marvel and DC Comics and superheroes such as Spiderman, Wolverine, Batman and Superman. I also used to watch films like Rocky which would always make me want to go out running and shadow boxing.”

He took up competitive bodybuilding three years ago, joining his local branch of Xercise4Less. However, 2016 heralded an even greater change – the decision to go vegan.

Vegan Bodybuilder Jack Stanyer

“I had been interested in going vegan for a long time but was too afraid due to stereotypes of losing muscle and potentially hindering my training in the gym.

“After lots of research I fully convinced myself that it was possible to reach my bodybuilding goals and be vegan at the same time. The next day I turned vegan and never looked back.”

Success on stage

Within a year, Stanyer went from no bodybuilding experience to finishing second in the 2017 World Natural Bodybuilding Federation Championships. All whilst maintaining a vegan, plant-based diet.

He initially wrote his own training programmes and diet plans, and spent a year bulking up. After this point, he took on a bodybuilding coach to help prepare for his contest.

Stanyer stuck to his training and diet plans with great consistency, proving the merits of hard work and gradual progress. It culminated in him succeeding on the bodybuilding stage.

“In a year I had gone from the biggest and strongest I had ever been, to the most shredded I had ever been.

“I’d won my regional qualifier and was the UK & International Champion. I’d done it all in one year as a vegan, which really blew my mind!”

Stanyer believes that given the right research, a vegan diet can benefit anyone looking to get in shape, train or bulk up.

Example vegan bodybuilder diet:

Meal 1:

  • 380g white potato
  • 50g green beans
  • 100g broccoli
  • 180g tofu
  • 5g Omega 3-6-9 Udo’s oil

Meal 2 (intra-workout):

  • 20g Cyclin MultiDextrin

Meal 3: (post-workout):

  • 30g MyProtein vegan blend protein shake

Meal 4:

  • 400g broccoli
  • 170g tofu
  • 50g green beans

Meal 5:

  • 400g broccoli
  • 170g tofu
  • 50g green beans

“My change in diet was met by a lot of people telling me it was a bad decision and questioning why I would even think about stopping eating meat.

“To my surprise it was a lot easier than I first anticipated and it didn’t affect my training in a negative way. I felt I lost no muscle, strength or energy. In fact I felt cleaner than ever, my sleeping pattern improved and my recovery time shortened.”

Stanyer works as a personal trainer at his local Xercise4Less, and now hopes to inspire people to start their own physical or lifestyle transformations.

Read more fitness content from JOE: