Vegan athlete, Berto Calkins is an inspirational figure in the vegan community, sharing his messages of both physical and mental health, with an emphasis on inclusivity and accessibility. Berto shows by example that you can thrive on a compassionate vegan lifestyle!
From his home in Brooklyn, New York, he shares tips on everything from food and recipes, to social justice, to health and fitness.
Berto is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Nutrition Specialist. He’s also Certified in Plant-Based Nutrition from T. Colin Campbell Center of Nutrition Studies at eCornell University.
If you follow Berto on social media (which you should!) his content promotes a lifestyle of wellness and balance. There’s no crazy diets being peddled. He enjoys a good vegan burger and fries or pizza, but he also loves a healthy smoothie or rice, beans and veggies bowl.
He’s helping bust stereotypes, all while empowering people to discover how to make veganism work for them in their personal lives. Berto shows how whole food plant-based food can help you to tap into your full athletic potential, all with a positive welcoming approach.
I’m excited to feature Berto, check out his interview below and make sure to show him some love on his socials!
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What attracted you to the vegan lifestyle?
My first experimentation with the vegan lifestyle began as a challenge. I started a new blog during that time that was dedicated to trying new things to get me out of my comfort zone. The first challenge was to go vegan for a week. I’m not sure where it stemmed from, but I was interested. I failed that challenge about four days in due to not researching enough and ultimately not eating enough, but I got interested again years later while living in California.
I slowly changed my diet over a few years while in California from pescatarian to vegetarian, but when I read an article that mentioned that it’s bad karma to consume animals, I gave up the eggs and dairy and went vegan.
Which sports & activities are you passionate about?
I’m passionate about weight lifting, running and yoga. Yoga is a newer passion of mine, but has been supporting me in my mental and physical health.
What is one of your greatest athletic moments?
One of my greatest athletic moments was when I ran 13 miles at 1am. It showed me that I was mentally strong enough for so much in life.
What goal(s) do you currently have, and how do you plan on achieving it?
My current fitness goal is to get a Yoga teacher certification. I’m actually traveling out of the United States for the first time ever to India in order to begin that journey.
What is your favorite food before activity?
I like to do yoga on an empty stomach or after consuming some type of fruit like dates or pineapple. Before lifting, I like to have pasta or overnight oats.
What is your favorite food for recovery?
My favorite recovery foods are pineapple, watermelon, a fruit juice combination or pasta.
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What/Who inspires you?
Music inspires me.
What is a random fact about you that people might not know?
I’m a huge introvert. I love being alone and listening to music.
Describe yourself with the first 3 words that come to mind.
Silly. Ambitious. Contemplative.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to go vegan?
Find your community. Be patient. “Google” vegan versions of your favorite foods. Don’t be hard on yourself if you make a mistake.
Complete this sentence: I am a Meat Free Athlete because… it supports my health without directly sacrificing animals or greatly hurting our planet.
THANK YOU Berto for sharing your inspiring story and great advice! xo