Vegan athlete interview: Tsuki Harris

November 16, 2017

Vegan Athlete interview: Tsuki H

As part of Vegan Month, I bring you interviews with actual (as in permanent!) vegans in strength and physique sports.

Today: Tsuki “H” Harris, a natural bodybuilder who has competed with drug-tested federations in both Figure and Physique/Women’s bodybuilding. Tsuki has won regional shows and placed top 5 in Britain. She’s also a Personal Trainer and group fitness instructor – so her vegan diet needs to fuel plenty of activity beyond the gym. (Tsuki’s nickname is the Duracell Bunny for good reason!)

Tsuki is supported by Creative Nature Superfoods for vegan treats and staples like cacao, hemp seeds, and her favourite bars (see below).

Find Tsuki on Instagram here.

The Fit Writer: How long have you been vegan, and what prompted you to go vegan?

Tsuki:

I have been vegan for about four years, but had been a vegetarian for a long time before then (since I was about six years old). What prompted me? When I started competing in bodybuilding, I followed the advice of PTs who were more experienced than I was (in terms of competing), and this meant I was relying heavily on foods like eggs and cottage cheese and whey etc. But my gut wasn’t too happy. I already ate raw and dairy free chocolate, didn’t drink milk, was trying vegan protein powders. So I thought I’d give full veganism a go. As I was almost there, a few vegan buddies inspired me to try too. I did miss the odd Nando’s halloumi (and the efficiency of an egg for protein), but noticed positive changes in my body. It also made me rethink some of those prep foods we all tend to use – the sugar free ‘calorie free’ gums and syrups, etc.

TFW: As a vegan athlete, do you find fuelling training/recovery/muscle gain challenging on a vegan diet?

Tsuki:

Personally I find it a challenge to eat enough when I’m not in competition prep. And that has nothing to do with being vegan! My active group fitness job means I need to eat a hell of a lot to gain any size. I can get away with a lot of carbs in my diet, and my body uses that energy very efficiently for what I do. I actually feel my recovery is a lot faster than it used to be, perhaps because of the anti inflammatory properties of this diet choice.

TFW: Can you tell me some of your go-to vegan foods or meals for pre/post training?

Tsuki:

When I started out as a vegan, I was taking supplements and hunting down protein powders then I realised how expensive that was getting (and wondered does it actually work anyway?) So now I just eat food! I only really use protein shakes when I need to bump up my protein without too many excess calories. For pre workout, I normally have something carb based like a bagel and nut butter, or porridge with random stuff thrown in. Post workout I eat a snack bar until I can get out of the gym and eat. Off-season I eat a lot of these peanut protein bars from Creative Nature – they’re yummy! If I’ve got prepared food with me, it’s normally rice or potato plus some protein like lentil or chickpeas and some veggies. It’s about creating a good balance of foods.

TFW: Do you eat to macros, and if so how easy is this to do as a vegan?

Tsuki:

>I do and I don’t. When I compete, I try to stick to macros so I can monitor my weight loss (ish). It helps me be sure that I’m not missing out on anything important. But normally I just focus on calories, and on make sure I’m getting enough for my active job and my workouts. I’m normally around 55% carbs (this is pretty easy to hit as a vegan). The protein is simple too, but I do have to put a bit more thought in to balance it all out with carbs and fats.

TFW: Have you noticed any changes between competing as a vegetarian and as a vegan?

Tsuki:

I competeed for my first two years as a non vegan. I then swapped from Figure to Physique, as I got a lot leaner in the off season and competitive season. I wonder if it was partly the diet? I find dieting easier now, because I diet on more carbs and on more food in general. I’m mentally more excited about my food, as I have variety rather than the standard chicken broccoli and rice. Dieting doesn’t have to be that way!

TFW: What’s the one thing you wish meat-eating athletes knew about life as a vegan athlete?

Tsuki:

It has to be the old “but where do you get your protein from?” line! I’m sure others get this a lot too. I wish people knew that we don’t just eat leaves – but nor are we all living off processed ‘fake meat’. I’m actually allergic to soya, and wouldn’t touch processed fake stuff anyway. We eat the same food as them – rice, potatoes, veggies and sauces and spices. It’s just that instead of the meat, we have chickpeas or lentils etc. You can thrive on this diet AND maintain muscle. As long as you eat well, eat enough and train properly of course!

Thanks for speaking to me about veganism and bodybuilding, Tsuki! Follow Tsuki on Instagram here, and her sponsors Creative Nature here.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist with 13 years experience in writing content and direct response copy for the fitness industry. Get in touch via Facebook, by sending a message here.

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Interviewed For “She Lifts” (Grab Your Copy – Promo Price)

September 22, 2016

My week kicked off with an exciting interview at 9am on Monday. This time, I was the one talking, not listening, as someone else asked me the questions…
she lifts discount promo code
My buddy Mike Samuels of Heavy Lifting Healthy Living asked me to be part of his new “She Lifts” project.

Are you a lady wot lifts? (If you’re reading my blog, there’s something like a 92.7% chance you are….)

Or a lady wot wonders about lifting, but isn’t sure what to do… how to get started… or how to REALLY get stronger and leaner (not “big and bulky”)?

Then take a look at this gem from Mike and Jason (Maxwell, of JMax Fitness – Mike’s co-author on the project). She Lifts is on special promo offer til Friday 23rd Sept It’s an incredible digital training resource for women who want to lift heavy, build muscle, and lose fat.

Here’s what you get

** 7 breakthrough lifting programmes written for women.

** Easy to follow program for building muscle, strength, and losing fat (no “bulking up”, I promise!)

** Templates for training 2, 3, 4, and 5 x week

** Programmes for women who are beginners, intermediate, and advanced.

** It’s all digital, so you can upload the programmes and videos your phone (or print out if you want)

The entire thing is on sale til END OF TOMORROW
Grab it now before the price goes up

For my video interview, I chatted with Mike about

The biggest myths surrounding female training, and strength training in particular.
(Hint – mine was about competing!)

Why women should include strength work in their programs?

My top 5 tips for women who want to get started with weight training.

My best advice re nutrition? Plus my approach.
(Hint – it involves potatoes 😉 )

The biggest difference between how women/men should train and diet?
(Do you even think there is one?)

Whether I prefer powerlifting or bodybuilding… And if I think they are compatible.

My advice for women looking to compete (in bodybuilding and powerlifting)…

So to get all that ^^^ plus the actual PRACTICAL and USEFUL bits of “She Lifts” 😉 like all those training programmes, videos, and lifting guidance to get you to your goals – take a look. The link for She Lifts is here. Tell Mike I sent you.

PS You also get bonuses like the “She Lifts” Glute Specialisation Guide
PPS Plus that video of me haha – not sure that’s a selling point! You do however get to see what I look and sound like at 9am on a Monday before a coffee…

Interviewed For “She Lifts” (Grab Your Copy – Promo Price) is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


My UK Health Radio Interview: Bodybuilding and Channel Swimming

July 3, 2016

nicola joyce interview uk health radio bodybuilding

Does ANYBODY like the sound of their own voice? I don’t. It won’t surprise you that I’m far more comfortable being interviewed in print

…but UK Health Radio managed to persuade me to go on their Fitness Hour Show to big up the sport of drug-free bodybuilding. I’ll take any opportunity to talk about it people who might not know about the sport. So… here I am! In all my “I sound like a 5-year-old” glory.

You can listen again to it via this link >> Nicola Joyce bodybuilder interview on UK Health Radio

(I’m the opening interview on the show – it’s just after the first song – at around 5 minutes in)

As predicted, I went off-piste… here are a few of the topics the interview covers:

– My background in Channel swimming
– What goes through your brain when you’re swimming the Channel?
– What are the skills you need to be a Channel swimmer?
– Is swimming the Channel scary?
– How and why did I make the transition from swimming to bodybuilding?
– Can anyone get involved in bodybuilding?
– Is age a barrier in physique and strength sports… or a bonus?
– What are the different categories and types of bodybuilding?
– Is bodybuilding healthy or not?
– How can a bodybuilding lifestyle benefit our health?
– Why is lifting weights and eating like a bodybuilder healthy (even if you don’t compete)?
– What does “clean eating” really mean? Is it always a good thing?
– Healthy lifestyle improvements vs extremes of diet and exercise
– Advice for anyone wanting to get into bodybuilding

Hope you enjoy the interview. If you think it would be interesting or useful to anyone you know, please do share.

Nicola Joyce UK Health Radio Interview: Bodybuilding and Channel Swimming is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


I’m on a podcast (… so now you can hear what I sound like… !)

August 18, 2014

Screen shot 2014-08-18 at 17.37.57

Check my riddims! Not only am I blogging twice in the same day (!) but I’ve been interviewed on a podcast.

(Fun fact: “Be on a podcast” was one of my goals for the year. TICK!)

The lovely Katie Bulmer-Cooke interviewed me for her podcast – you can listen to the episode (number 7 I believe) here or directly on Katie’s website.

If you like it, share it!

Here’s what you’ll find out by listening to my interview:

– why fitpros and fitness businesses need to create more content
– how to reuse every single bit of content you produce
– the sporting challenge which kicked down the door and started my freelance writing career
– why your writing is part of your brand
– how to deal with awkward situations like… um… interviewing an Olympic athlete whilst they’re taking an ice bath
– how to find something to blog out within 30 seconds (it’s so easy!)
– why I think of myself as “a little dog” (did I really say that? I’m so weird)
– what I sound like when I guffaw at my own jokes

Thanks for the interview, Katie! x 🙂

I’m on a podcast (… so now you can hear what I sound like… !) is a post from the Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


Pumping iron with Maggie Philbin

July 25, 2011

(Edited – you can now listen to the interviews via this link) I’m at 00:27:01, 00:47:11, 01:14:35, 02:18:07 (<— with added thefitdog-barking sounds!) and 02:44:00 (<–featuring the word "she-hulk"!)

Did you grow up in the 1980s? If you did, chances are you remember watching “Tomorrow’s World” with a curious mixture of fascination and fear (or maybe that was just me), and kind of loving presenter Maggie Philbin.

Well, today I got to pump iron with Maggie Philbin. Isn’t life strange? I just go with it.

After my bodybuilding comp, I sent a press release out to local papers. The Wokingham Times ran the story, and a researcher at our local BBC radio station picked up on it. During the breakfast show, there are six slots (two every hour) during which time the studio talks to their roving reporter (Maggie) to see which local freak weirdo interesting individual she’s with that day. Today, Maggie’s “interesting individual” was me. 😉

I hope I was interesting! It’s a bit hard to tell whether or not you’re answering questions lucidly at 7am particularly when it’s a live broadcast.

Regardless of how the interviews turned out, I had a great time. Maggie, soundman Adam (probably not his official title but he was the techy dude who did all the audio and signal stuff) and I started off at the gym, where we ran through some of my back session (I had Maggie doing pull ups and bent-over rows).

Then we came back to my house where we chatted nutrition, tanning and routines. I even showed her a lat-spread pose and her reaction was classic! “You just seem to….grow!” she said – which is exactly the reaction we want, of course!

If I can find a way to link to the interviews, I will. Did you listen in and hear any of them? What did you think?

Pumping iron with Maggie Philbin is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


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