As vegans, we’ve all heard the question, “Where do you get your protein?” Well, not only do we know the answer to that question, we know that there are plenty of athletes out there who do amazingly well with the vegan lifestyle!
I had the opportunity to chat with Personal Trainer Greg Sher, who runs “I Kill Fat” in New York City. My good friend Lois Eastlund (whom I also interviewed for Chic Vegan a few months ago) became a client after hearing him speak at The NYC Vegetarian Festival this year. I like a guy who would rather kill fat, than animals, so it is my pleasure to introduce him to you.
Chic Vegan – How long have you been vegan and how/why did you become vegan?
Greg Sher – I’ve been plant-based since March 29th, 2010. Passover, of all things happens to be my vegan anniversary. I went vegan because I always loved animals. Even though I adopted a vegan lifestyle for ethical reasons, a by-product happened to be feeling physically awesome and mentally clear which was a nice surprise.
CV – What inspired you to create your business? Why become a fitness trainer?
GS – I originally became a personal trainer because I knew the only way I’d be psyched to roll out of bed in the morning was if my job entailed helping people. I just feel like helping people truly gives me a purpose in life. I started my own business as an independent personal trainer so I wouldn’t have to answer to anyone. Being your own boss is pretty sweet!
CV – What are your strengths as a vegan athlete?
GS – I’d say recovery time. Since going plant-based in 2010, my recovery time in between workouts is very short. This leads to more workouts throughout the week. Also, having long-lasting natural energy from the food I eat.
CV – What is your biggest challenge?
GS – I’d say my biggest challenge is mentally dealing with the world around me that isn’t vegan. It’s certainly not my protein intake!
CV – What is your fitness philosophy?
GS – Eat cleaner, move more.
CV – Describe your personal style. I’m a stylist, I have to ask! 😉
GS – I guess I have 3 main “styles” (if you want to call them that).
1. Work style – Clad in Nike or Under Armour gear when training clients and teaching classes.
2. Hanging out style – Macbeth shoes, jeans, and a band t-shirt.
3. Smart casual – Novacas shoes, Chino Banana Republic pants, Michael Kors or Calvin Klein shirt.
What are your thoughts on these looks? I watch a lot of Fashion Police, but I still need all the help I can get.
CV – Really, Fashion Police! I love that show, it’s hysterical. You certainly have a good sense of your own style. As long as you’re not wearing your workout clothes anywhere but the gym, I think you’re good!
When people learn that you are vegan, what do they usually ask you and what is your response?
GS – Usually, the response is “oh, that’s cool, cool” while nodding their head in agreement as if to say “that’s not weird to me.” For the most part everyone I meet is cool about my beliefs. Of course there are the occasional knuckleheads who try to argue that “animals are meant to serve humans” (someone actually said this to me once).
CV – What type of clients do you take on? Do you have a favorite success story?
GS – Anyone who is willing to consistently work towards their fitness goals is an ideal client for me. In the 5 years I’ve been training I’ve had the pleasure of working with all walks of life.
As far as success stories, I have a few clients that stand out in my mind. One was a woman in her 70’s who came to me with 3 broken bones in her pelvis. Our first session consisted of mat work. She was on her back the whole time due to the fact that standing or walking caused her a great deal of pain. Within two months she was doing full range squats, interval training on the treadmill, and full body movements like Walkouts.
Those types of clients and success stories really put wind in my sails.
CV – Do others in your industry disagree with your views on a vegan diet?
GS – If there’s one industry that is anti vegan, it’s the personal training industry. I overhear trainers tell their clients to buy fish oil, eat eggs, spend their hard-earned cash on bottles of ridiculous supplements that you can only get at GNC . . . . It drives me nuts!
I’m just happy that I’ve been able to reach dozens of people with the message that adopting a plant-based lifestyle is the healthiest option for them!
CV – What is your favorite indulgence?
GS – This would have to be Lula’s Sweet Apothecary down on 6th street, between Avenues A and B. Greatest ice cream I’ve ever had in my life! I’m also a huge fan of Rescue Chocolate (peanut butter pitbull flavor to be exact).
CV – Walk me through a day in your life.
GS – Wake up with the sun, head out the door and train my morning clients. When the morning rush is over I work out myself for at least an hour. If I’m lucky I have a little break during the day so I can come home, work on my business a little bit and hang out with my cats. I’m usually booked solid from about 5pm to 9pm. I get home soon after my last client, hang out with my wife, then go to sleep so I can do it all over again the following day.
CV – What vegan product could you not live without?
GS – Plant Fusion protein powder, Nutiva hemp protein, Gardein, Avalon Organics face wash . . . . But, with that being said, I’m sure I’d get by as long as I still had Almond Butter.
CV – In your wildest dreams, what will your life look like in 5 years?
GS – Personal training has been a great avenue for me to help people. In 5 years from now I will most likely be doing this, or something that is an extension of personal training.
CV – What advice would you give to someone wanting to be a vegan entrepreneur?
GS – You already have your niche. That’s a huge head start. Now you know where and who to market to. Be prepared for the work load. When you’re your own boss you never have a day off. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it is a lot of work. Don’t get discouraged by your mistakes, learn from them. Don’t be shy to ask for help and advice. Don’t get comfortable. Think big. And above all else, keep the PMA!
Greg filled me in – (PMA – Positive Mental Attitude), which is something he definitely lives by. If you’d like to know more about Greg or contact him, see him in action here: I Kill Fat video and read here:
Greg Sher, Founder of I Kill Fat Manhattan Personal Training, Manhattan Personal Training has been a personal trainer in NYC for over 5 years (and vegan for 4!).
Offering custom resistance training programs, nutritional guidance, and convenience to his clients, Greg’s mission is to make training as efficient and fun as possible. Download his new eBook: How Not To Be A Junk Food Vegan, and catch Greg speak at The Seed this year!