FEATUREJillian Salomone’s story 

HCF: What made you decide you needed to change your life?

“I was leading a very unhealthy lifestyle and became 25 lbs overweight. At the time, I was consuming a lot of animal products (meat, eggs, fish & dairy).  I was tired of not feeling good both physically and mentally; I knew a change needed to be made. In April 2013, I decided to put my unhealthy lifestyle behind me and do a 3-day juice cleanse. I completed the 3 days and felt amazing! After my 3 day juice cleanse, I felt so light and had such great energy that I decided to clean up my diet for good and never eat meat again! For the next 6 months, I adopted a vegetarian lifestyle and slowly transitioned into a vegan diet. By October 2013, I became 100% plant-based and never looked back!”

HCF: what steps did you take to improve your life?

“My journey to becoming healthy and fit began in August 2012. At that time, I made a big decision to start living a sober life. After making the decision to live a sober life, my healthy decisions were like a domino effect. I quit smoking, I began running every day and doing yoga 4-5 times a week! I ditched the meat products, joined a gym to start lifting, and slowly started the transition to a vegan diet.  I wanted to challenge myself even further and I committed to enter a bodybuilding competition. I chose to compete in the bikini division and trained for it on a fully plant-based diet! My decision to compete was completely out of my comfort zone, however, I wanted to push myself to the next level.  As I researched bodybuilding coaches, nearly everyone I came across said that it was not possible to train for a competition without consuming meat, eggs, fish, whey protein, etc. For me, it was a frustrating uphill battle, however, I refused to give in. I did not want to accept what society was telling me. Deep down I knew it was possible to compete as a fully plant-based athlete. Just in the nick of time, I found my coach, Dani Taylor! Led by Dani, I jumped right into the vegan lifestyle and started training for my first ever bikini competition in October 2013. I’ve been vegan ever since!”

HCF: what motivates you to keep on this path?

“I am motivated to spread awareness. There are so many people sick and suffering from diseases, many of these diseases are directly related to their diets. As a society, the way we treat animals, and the suffering that it causes is horrible and unnecessary. I want to prove to others that you can live a fit healthy life, and build muscle all while on a plant-based diet.”

HCF: what are you most proud of going thru this journey?

“I am most proud of myself for not giving into everyone who told me it wasn’t possible. I’m proud that I stuck to it and made it happen. I’m proud that I no longer contribute to the horrible deaths of these poor animals. I’m proud of those close to me who have transitioned to a vegan lifestyle and have since witnessed serious health benefits because of it. Lastly, I am proud to be part of my team, PlantBuilt, to have made so many friends, who can spread the word on such a bigger platform all over the world!”

HCF: what futures goals do you have?

“My future goals are to continue to compete in bodybuilding competitions. I am determined to continue to spread knowledge and shed light on a vegan lifestyle. I plan on launching my personal training and plant-based nutrition business full time in 2016. The focus is to help people who are looking to make the transition to a plant-based lifestyle.”

HCF: If you could share any advice or words of encouragement what would they be?

“Follow what you know is right in your heart.  Live a compassionate, healthy, & fit lifestyle.”

HCF: Where can people get in touch with you? (contact info, social media sites)

Email: jillianleighfitness@gmail.com

Website: jillianleighfitness.com

Instagram: jillianleighfitness

Facebook: Jillian Salomone

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