SBS-Sponsored athlete Kenneth Williams is a Professional Vegan Bodybuilder, as well as a personal trainer, financial advisor, and model. He and his wife, Evelyn, also help to promote healthy living and eating through their company Vegan Muscle Power. They offer guidance in strengthening the mind, body, and spirit through a holistic approach.
Kenneth spoke to me briefly about his background with, and approach towards bodybuilding, and their goals for Vegan Muscle Power.
Erin: How and when did you get interested in bodybuilding?
Kenneth: I have used weight lifting in my daily exercise regimen for at least 15 years but it was three years ago that I began bodybuilding and training to compete. While working at Marin YMCA, I met several people that mentioned I had great symmetry and would do quite well if I was in bodybuilding. I met Linden King while working as a personal trainer and he was the first to mention bodybuilding. Gary Bester, a fellow-trainer, also mentioned my symmetry and potential if I were to ever enter the field of bodybuilding. The third person I met was Sean Scott, a professional natural bodybuilder that I first read about in an article in the Marin Independent Journal. He was a personal trainer at Gold's Gym in Corte Madera, CA and we started talking about natural bodybuilding and again, he mentioned my chances of being a great bodybuilder.
Erin: How do you retain sponsorship, and/ or is there sponsorship you would like to have?
Kenneth: I retain sponsorship through continued performance and competitions. As long as I am training and show proof that I am at the gym working out, I am able to retain sponsorship. Keeping sponsors updated on my training and ability to perform is a
priority. With the help of my wife, Evelyn, I keep in contact with each of my sponsors and send them photos.
I would like further sponsorship and endorsement from nutrition and dietary supplementation companies, sports apparel companies, and natural/organic food companies.
Erin: What sparked your interest for a vegan lifestyle?
Kenneth: I always felt drawn to the Vegan alternative dietary lifestyle. My thoughts and feelings were Vegan-oriented even before I began living the vegan lifestyle. Before I became vegan, I did not like the way my body felt and I felt incomplete. I wanted to cure myself of any pain, suffering and hopelessness that comes along with dealing in today's world. I found a solution in veganism and I see the world differently--I have more compassion.
Erin: How do you promote your business Vegan Muscle Power?
Kenneth: In Vegan Muscle Power (VMP), we rely on the internet as our main tool to reach the local communities as well as the world. We also send packages to companies telling them of Vegan Muscle Power and our interest in possibly developing a working relationship.
Every time I compete, I am represented by VMP and I am the featured athlete.
Erin: Do you find it is possible to get all of the nutrients and protein you need as an athlete? Do you take supplements?
Kenneth: I found it easy to get all the nutrients and protein I need as an athlete with help from my vegan wife, Evelyn. Through reading books and other nutritional sources, I am able to obtain all of the needed supplementation. As a vegan, I rely on soy protein powders, soy products, and vegetables and needed essential omega-3 fatty acids from products such as hemp seeds (Manitoba Harvest). I also take Earthrise Spirulina, vitamins and minerals from whole foods.
Erin: Do you think it is possible for endurance athletes, such as cyclists, to be vegan and successful on the world-class level?
Kenneth: Yes. If you do a little research you will find that several Olympic athletes are vegan, included some cyclists.
Erin: Are there differences you have noticed in your performance because of your diet?
Kenneth: I am now more energized. I sleep a lot better and my rest has definitely improved. I am able to build stronger muscle and over-all my body feels great. I am better able to obtain the muscle shape, tone, and size needed to compete successfully.
Erin: Do you feel the commitment to being vegan is worth the payoff?
Kenneth: My health is worth the payoff. Knowing my immune system is just as strong as my muscle is something worth striving for. My wife and I literally have a healthy relationship that is as innovative and resourceful as our vegan diet.
Erin: What are your future goals as a bodybuilder, and for your company?
Kenneth: My goal as a bodybuilder is winning 'Mr. Olympia' of the Natural Bodybuilding world. For our VMP Company, Evelyn and I plan to found a 'Holistic Fitness Center/Club' that includes focus on health, nutrition and exercise/fitness. We also want to include a VMP restaurant within the facility itself