Derek Tresize, Vegan Bodybuilder: Meat Grows Muscles and Cancer

Categories: Beet Reporter
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Derek Tresize has an unreal body. The 24-year-old has been bodybuilding on a plant-based diet for five years. This summer, he took third place in his class at the North American Natural Bodybuilding Federation competition, his second contest.

He grew up a multitalented athlete in San Diego. At age 19, he began reading the works of Dr. Joel Fuhrman (who invented the ANDI scale, which Whole Foods uses), Dr. T. Colin Campbell, and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn (whose works are the subject of the documentary Forks Over Knives, about the health benefits of a plant-based diet). His reading convinced him to convert to a vegan diet, and he says his athletic performance increased across the board. He's now the director of personal training at a gym in Richmond, Virginia; a model; a "vegangelist"; and a competitive bodybuilder.

(See yesterday's profile of Danny David, a fitness guru who trains with vegan foods.)

With a degree in biology and a plant-based nutrition certification from Cornell University, Tresize seems like a pretty scholarly dude. So I called on him to explain how bowling-ball-size biceps and organic radishes came to find a home in the same body.

derek tresize rebecca bolte.jpg
Rebecca Bolte
Tresize lifts 65 percent of his body weight with one hand.

New Times: Some people say bodybuilding works against the natural form of your body, which contradicts the image that a vegan diet works with nature. What do you think of that?
Derek Tresize: I would agree with them. [Laughs.] Bodybuilding at a competitive level is all about pushing beyond your body's natural homeostasis and natural frame and trying to put on as much muscle as you can. I would agree that that's not a natural process and probably not ideal for long-term health. You're spending tons of time breaking down and rebuilding muscle. And a lot of studies show that calorie restriction [and not overconsumption] leads to a longer life in animals.

So why the heck do you body build?
[Laughs.] I like being big and strong! It's fun to be physically impressive, and that's the entire sport of bodybuilding -- trying to become physically impressive.

But it's also a great mode of spreading awareness. It gets people's attention. If you're a big, muscular guy and you say, "Hey, I eat this diet," people are going to pay more attention to me than say, a scrawny, pale "land vegan." So it's very effective in that regard. I do consider bodybuilding as somewhat of an unhealthy sport in that you're pushing your body beyond its limits, physically. But if you're gonna do it, it makes a lot more sense to do it on a plant-based diet. I mean, if you're just packing your body constantly with animal protein, you have to be stressing your heart, stressing your kidneys, stressing your skeletal system.

How did all of this start?
I was pretty much a red-meat, chicken, and broccoli guy before, which is what you see a lot of the strength trainers doing. Then I just started learning about the negative effects of animal protein on the body, and I thought I'd give it a shot. Just from reading in Dr. Campbell's China Study, and from Dr. Fuhrman's book Eat to Live, you hear over and over the promotion of cancer, the promotion of heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, significant problems that afflict millions of people.

Heart disease and cancer both run in my family. So I tried going 30 days without touching [animal products], and I noticed right away, aside from food cravings, I felt much cleaner. That's the best word -- you feel cleaner inside. Then, after the 30 days, I went back to trying to eat those foods again, and they made me really sick. And so that was kind of a wake-up call.

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17 comments
Revend
Revend

Great sharing and i am impressed. Body building is my favorite activity. It has lot of health benefits. You have shared wonderful information. Topic is good and i like this post. Thanks for sharing. 

hildanelson
hildanelson

Enjoy free samples of the newest brands and latest products, search online for "123 Get Samples" you do not need CC.

johnwadford
johnwadford

What an idiot believing those stupid vegan biased studies.

Gregbig2
Gregbig2

I'm always amazed that people can read The China Study and come away thinking it's biased.   Campbell was a diary farmer.   I'm not sure how you can refute his findings.   The populations that consume mostly plants live longer and have less disease than populations that eat animal products, period, fact.  

Phil
Phil

Yeah John because clearly a vegan diet isn't working for him :o  Idiot.

Treesize
Treesize

Thanks John! And Dr. Campbell (author of the China Study and professor emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University) has over 40 years in the field of nutrition, over 200 peer reviewed publications, and is the most un-biased person you will ever meet.

Bodybuilder UK
Bodybuilder UK

I think they call it conditioning....well it didn't work for me....and I am fighting the corrupt system "hard" every day.....simply by showing I am healthier than when I was in my 20's, eating dairy and meat like my life depended on it (because I thought it did) yet I was always asleep back then and sluggish as hell (heart about to explode)....it's beyond criminal what is happening in the USA, UK and around the world....Africans starving and dying, yet we pile more grain into animals than ever before and throw good African grown food to waste because it doesn't look good on supermarket shelves......and all the time people are being fed more pharmaceutical products in an attempt to simply profiteer....when the answer is on our plates....as I mentioned...corrupt to the core!

German Mike
German Mike

well for sure  not for his Aging...24 ? looks like 45 !!! to me...lets wait a few more years ,if he is doing well.....before making euphoric statements here,ok ?

johnwadford
johnwadford

Well I eat a well balanced diet with meat and am extremely healthy

johnwadford
johnwadford

apparently he is biased to lie to people about what to eat. lean meat has been proven healthy.

Jim44766
Jim44766

What is your typical daily meal plan Derek? 

Wwwdesign
Wwwdesign

Hmmmm, so his face is weathered by the sun.....but his body is undeniably that of a 24 year old.....maybe we all need to stop burying our heads in the sand whilst the big corporates make more money for ill health....

Treesize
Treesize

Hi Mike! I actually usually look more youthful than in this shot - dieting down to 4% bodyfat for a contest, plus dehydrating yourself to look extra lean makes anyone's face look drawn! Plus, try holding a 120lb dumbbell for the camera without making a face...

Bodybuilder UK
Bodybuilder UK

johnwadford AKA "complete and utter ignoramus". I am a plant based from meat and dairy diet convert of over 8 years (and weighing in at 220lbs) and I can tell you Mr Wadford, that you are completely and utterly misinformed to the nth degree.I can only assume you have connection to the vile corporate underworld that seeks to undermine human health for profit, by recommendation of inappropriate foodstuffs and pharmaceutical malpractice. Profits at the expense of long term human health in accord with the 2010 report by Ban Ki Moon, living longer (drugs), but living with more concentrated levels of ill health.  

Wake up sir, engage brain, get educated, then type!

Bodybuilder UK
Bodybuilder UK

johnwadford AKA "complete and utter ignoramus". I am a plant based from meat and dairy diet convert of over 8 years (and weighing in at 220lbs) and I can tell you Mr Wadford, that your are completely and utterly misinformed to the nth degree.I can only assume you have connection to the vile corporate underworld that seeks to undermine human health for profit, by recommendation of inappropriate foodstuffs and pharmaceutical malpractice. Profits at the expense of long term human health in accord with the 2010 report by Ban Ki Moon, living longer (drugs), but living with more concentrated levels of ill health.  

Wake up sir, engage brain, get educated, then type!

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