Raw Vegan Fitness Competitor Rachel Godwin

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Many fitness competitors would be afraid to go vegan for fear that it would cause them to lose muscle and affect their performance. What would you say to them? How did going vegan affect you?
I had the same fears. I was worried that I wouldn’t get enough protein and that I would lose all the muscle I had worked so hard to put on. I have learned most people are getting an excess of protein and that our bodies only really need about 10%, which is relatively easy to get on a plant based diet. Even oats and strawberries have protein (even though it’s minimal). I was able to put on four pounds of lean muscle mass in a year as a raw vegan. I haven’t lost any strength or muscle since eating a plant based diet and the few people that do lose muscle is usually caused by not consuming enough calories and not from a lack of protein. Have the courage to try new things regardless of what industry standards say is the “right” way.

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What made you decide to go raw vegan? What differences did you notice? What would you say to a fitness competitor who is afraid of eating fruit for fear of fat gain?

I wanted to become vegan for health reasons and because I have a deep love for animals. When I asked myself if I could kill the animals I had been consuming the answer was always, No. I wanted to go raw vegan because I love fruit! I always hated cutting out fruit for contest prep and constantly craved it.  When I read the 80/10/10 Diet book that was recommended to me by other raw vegan athletes I thought, “I can do this.” The book gives you meals based on the season to help keep cost down.  The most significant change I noticed almost immediately was my energy level.  My skin is better, I sleep better, my digestion is better, I’m never bloated and I’m saving animals! Fruit doesn’t make you fat but cookies, chips, over eating and excuses will always pack on the pounds!

  What do you use for salad dressing? How many grams of protein do you eat in a day? What percentage of your calories comes from fat each day?

Sometimes I don’t use any salad dressing but when I do I love using BRAGGS Aminos with fresh lime juice, apple cider vinegar and garlic. I also use pureed fruit, or baby food fruit and veggies on occasion.

  Do you pay attention to the glycemic index when choosing fruits? Do you ever eat bananas or dates? If not, why not?

I try to eat a variety of fruits depending on the season and as long as it fits into my macros I don’t worry much about the glycemic index. I like including pineapple and mangoes into my diet but limit my portions because I can easily over eat them. I do however, stick to eating fruit for my first three meals of the day and post workout only. I eat bananas on occasion during off season, once a week or so. They are quick, easy and tasty but I found it harder to cut for a show when I consume bananas. I am not a big fan of dates. They are too sweet and sugary for my taste buds.

 Is the quinoa that you eat in the morning raw (sprouted) or cooked? What amount do you eat of it since it’s a pretty high calorie food? (I am referring to what Rachel says she eats in a typical day which is this:

(Source: http://veganbodybuilding.com/?page=bio_godwin)

I eat 80-90% raw; more so in the warm months and less in the winter months. My meals typically look like this:

Breakfast: 1 melon (summer)
Oats or quinoa with hemp powder, goji berries, and cinnamon (winter)

Snack: 2 Cups of Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or blackberries

Lunch: Mangoes, Pineapple, papaya or apples

Snack: Grapes, oranges or apples

Dinner: Giant spinach and kale salad with mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, avocado (summer)
Veggie stir fry or veggie soup (winter)

I use a 1/4 Cup sprouted quinoa or ½ cup raw Oats. That is roughly around the same amount of calories except quinoa has more protein. I prefer the red or the black quinoa over the white because it has a nuttier flavor. It is very filling and great with cinnamon and a little Stevia.

Off season how many calories do you eat? Pre-contest? Have you ever used a device to track how many calories a day you burn? Do you know how many? What caloric deficit would you recommend for losing body fat pre-contest?

I eat between 1400-1800 calories off season. For contest prep I cycle my calories each day ranging from 1250-1700. I use myfitnesspal.com app on my phone to track my food and calories consumed and I use my Polar watch and heart rate monitor to track my calories burned. I burn anywhere between 350-800 calories during a workout depending on duration and type.
I do a specific calculation on each person I work with using their age, weight, height, activity level, goals, etc. to determine what caloric deficit that person needs. There is a not a magic number every person should follow.

 How many minutes a day of cardio do you do off season? pre-contest? How much of it is HIIT?

Off season I keep cardio to two to three times a week, 30-40 minutes. I increase cardio during competition prep to 4-5 days a week, 45 minutes. The majority of my cardio is HIIT workouts including hill sprints, stadium stair sprints, combination of mountain climbers, split squat jumps, ball slams, ice skaters, etc. I try to do as much jumping as my knees can handle.

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 You have some pretty amazing transformation photos on the site of the gym where you train. Could you tell us about your favorite transformation story?

My favorite stories are about the changes that happen on the inside and how healthy food choices rub off on client’s friends and families. I’ve had a client who lost 60 lbs and no longer needed to take her diabetes medication. I had another woman who did a transformation for her wedding. She lost over 30 pounds and stopped needing her anti-depressant medication. Others have the energy and mobility to now keep up with their children.

 How can people follow your career or contact you?

Social Media: Instragram: @rachelgodwinfitness, Facebook: RachelLinneaGodwin, Email: RachelGodwinFitness@gmail.com

Name: Rachel Godwin
Year of birth: 1979
Height: 5’5”
Weight: 128lbs
Birthplace: Kansas City, Mo
Current Residence: Kansas City, MO
Sports: Fitness modeling, dance, WBFF fitness competitor
Instragram: @rachelgodwinfitness
Facebook: RachelLinneaGodwin
Website(s): RachelGodwin.com
E-mail: RachelGodwinFitness@gmail.com  (Source: www.veganbodybuilding.com)

rachel godwin sky blue workout

 Do you ever share the plant-based solution with your clients? How have they responded? What is the best approach you have found to bring it up? Do your plant-based clients get better results than those not plant-based?

I live in the Midwest so there are not as many vegans and/or plant based eaters as other parts of the country. Some clients come to me specifically because I eat a planted based diet and others to just get in shape.  I would say they have similar results on paper in regards to body fat loss but more benefits when it comes to overall health. I try not to force my beliefs onto anyone but instead answer questions and educate. The more knowledge someone has the better decisions they are going to make. I love sharing vegan recipes with people to show them how easy and tasty it can be.

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