A vegan bikini competitor has proven you don’t need to eat meat to be able to successfully compete in the bodybuilding world.
Alice Nguyen, 35, from Sydney, competed against world champions in the infamous Arnold Classic Stage, one of the most prestigious bodybuilding shows in the world.
Despite what some may think about the vegan diet, Alice, who is studying a Postgraduate Diploma in Animal Biochemical Medicine, was able to place third in her category.
‘I want to show people it is possible to be competitive while thriving on plants because I’ve had many people tell me otherwise in the past,’ she told news.com.au.
Alice has shared her journey on Instagram as well, sharing the ups and downs of competing, no matter your diet.
‘Even if this wasn’t my best prep to date, with too many all-nighters, deadlines to meet, exams to complete, a business to run, and a long haul flight doesn’t help either! But I am owning it, there is no one to blame but myself,’ she wrote.
‘I could have chosen to pull out knowing it wasn’t my 100 per cent. But I knew that as long as I did the best I could with my circumstances, I would be okay and now I couldn’t be happier with the outcome.’
Alice went vegan seven years ago for her health but now she said she is vegan for a variety of ethical reasons.
When it comes to competing, the student said she is particularly motivated by her ability to share her vegan message on an international platform.
This isn’t the first time she’s stepped on the stage as she started taking part in the competitions in 2015.
She has since become the first vegan in Australia to attain the International Federation of Bodybuilding Elite Pro Status.
In September 2018, she claimed four gold medals in one day, coming in first place for NSW and Australia in the novice and open bikini category.
Six months later at the IFBB Australasian Championships, she won first place in both Opens and Masters for bikini earning her Elite Pro Status.
‘It was an incredibly competitive international line up with seven athletes in the final overall comparisons!’ She wrote on Instagram.
‘I was nervous but knew no matter the outcome, I was already so so proud to have finally made it to this infamous stage with so much prestigious history!’
Despite what many may say, Alice said she feels great following a plant-based diet which has helped her look after her physique and her health while trying to juggle her competitions.
On a daily basis she pays attention to her micro and macronutrients and avoids processed foods, instead reaching for natural foods such as fruit and vegetables, tempeh, lentils and tofu.
Alice has learnt that this diet helps her recover better, reduce inflammation and is pivotal for a healthy gut and immune system.
This is completely different to the strict meat-filled program her former strength coach once had her on.
She would often be consuming teak, turkey, fish, nuts, kangaroo, and only one cup of veggies with each meal alongside a variety of supplement gelatine capsules.
‘The program created results — but I felt so congested from all the animals I had to consume. That was when I began to inquire about switching to a vegan diet,’ she told the publication.
Her coach refused to train her if she was vegan as he couldn’t believe she would be able to build muscle, but Alice proved him wrong as she is now healthier than ever before.
‘I choose to do this as my form of activism: to show you can thrive on plants, and create the physique you desire without contributing to the suffering of a sentient being,’ she said.