Justin Morgan’s story
HCF: What made you decide you needed to change your life?
“A lot of people become vegans and vegetarians because they have a deep love and connection to animals. This is not me. I did not feel a connection to animals, but at the same time, I didn’t want to kill them either. After being a vegan for a couple of years my wife and I took our kids to a petting zoo and I actually did feel like I had an emotional connection to the animals that I was petting. Not that I would feel that way with every animal, because some animals are just jerks, but the cows, especially at the petting zoo, just loved me. I loved them too. For that one day, I was known as the cow whisperer.
As a lifter, I started out in my parents’ garage just a few years ago in May 2012. I had brief stints of going to the gym before that, but never really seemed to stick with it. For the first 9 months of lifting, I just went and had a lower body day and an upper body day every week. So I only lifted two times a week for most of that first year. After I got a gym membership I really started to explore more progressive methods and concepts of lifting.”
HCF: What steps did you take to improve your life?
“After becoming a vegan I had to consider what vegans eat. I could have just quite easily traded out meats, cheeses, etc for vegan fake meats and cheeses which would have likely been healthier than what I was consuming previously, though I most certainly wouldn’t call that healthy. Not every food I eat is health food. I don’t drink Dark chocolate almond milk for instance because it’s health, I drink it because it tastes good. It isn’t a horrible food to eat, but I most certainly isn’t as healthy as it’s whole food counterpart almonds. Having said all that the best change I’ve made to improve my quality of life is to rely primarily on whole foods. So I eat fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts/seeds. Whole grains currently being my primary calorie source with legumes and fruit following closely behind. Fruits have been a major source of calories for me in the past.”
HCF: What motivates you to keep on this path?
“I love being vegan. I am saddened and feel pity for people that devalue life to the extent that consuming animal flesh is just a matter of preference to them. in terms of being a (competitive) lifter and strongman competitor, I am motivated by all my haters… Seriously, everyone that’s ever said, “imagine how strong you would be if you ate meat,” has ignited a fire in me to train smarter, and to never miss a planned training session. I feel that being a vegan makes me stronger because I compete with the desire to inspire others to not think of meat as foods that make them strong, but instead to think of protecting the life of the innocent animals as what makes them strong.
As a lifter, I have competitive goals and aspirations. Some of those are just lifts that I want to accomplish. For 2014 I wanted to deadlift 500 lbs, and I did. I also have certain competitions that I would like to qualify for in the upcoming years.”
HCF: What are you most proud of going thru this journey?
“Many of the people that are close to me have tried becoming a vegan or vegetarian at some point, even if only for a short time. Some of my church family has attempted to at least go meatless. My wife and I host church activities at our home, and even though I never asked anyone to not bring meat into my house, they make meatless dishes out of respect for me which I appreciate.
As a strongman, I’ve loaded a 290-pound atlas stone many times to the platform in my strongman gym. But the very first time I did it, I went to war with the stone. I probably spent almost 30 seconds fighting that stone on to the platform, and I had other guys behind me yelling and getting excited. That’s probably my proudest moment as a lifter. Not that I completed the lift, but that I had my friends behind me.”
HCF: What futures goals do you have?
“As a lifter, I’ll be competing with the Plantbuilt powerlifting team in Austin, TX in June this year (2015), and of course, I have goals to make good lifts and compete at my very best for that. But beyond that, I would like to win my counties strongman competition in 2016, and qualify and compete in the Arnold classic as a powerlifter in 2017.”
HCF: If you could share any advice or words of encouragement what would they be?
“Set goals for yourself, and hold yourself to the highest caliber. I never compare myself to the guy down the street or the people at a local competition. I compare myself to the top lifters in the world. I’m too old, have too many kids, too many responsibilities, etc…but I still hold myself in all those areas to the high caliber that I can in each area.
And hopefully, I’ll find way’s to do things that nobody else has done before.”
HCF: Where can people get in touch with you?
Facebook: Justin Morgan