Adrian Robinson isn't your typical personal trainer. The New York City-based fitness expert may have more than a dozen years of training experience under his belt, along with stints at The Sports Club/LA and Reebok Sports Club, but there's one thing that sets him apart—his diet. Robinson is 100 percent vegan, which is "atypical" for his profession, he said.
"I always hear, 'You don't eat meat, how are you muscular!'" Robinson revealed to The Feast. But plants can take nitrogen in the air and break down the molecules to form amino acids, he explained. "Basically, any animal we eat for a source of protein is recycled plant protein," he added.
So yes, it's possible to follow a vegan diet and still build a buff body, according to Robinson. Here's what he typically eats every day to stay lean and mean.
Robinson usually starts his days with oatmeal with cinnamon, nutmeg, ground flax seeds (which are high in omega-3 fatty acids), and chia seeds, which help him feel satiated and adds a little extra protein. His other go-to breakfast of choice is avocado toast, again with flax and chia seeds, and a sprinkle of pink Himalayan sea salt, which he says is "a bit of a pick-me-up for the adrenal gland."
For lunch, Robinson usually picks up a salad from Sweetgreen, a fast casual salad chain with locations in NYC, Los Angeles, and other cities around the country. "I customize mine with arugula, spinach, wild rice, chickpeas, sweet potato, carrots, spicy broccoli, [and] mushrooms with medium lime cilantro dressing," he says. "It's an easy way for a vegan vegetarian (since 1991) to get in a bunch of vitamins and minerals."
"For dinner, I make my own black bean burgers with black beans, quinoa, chunky salsa, bread crumbs, and spices," Robinson details. He grinds all the ingredients together, forms the mixture into patties, then brushes them lightly with olive oil to encourage browning. He bakes them on a Silpat-lined baking sheet (to prevent sticking) in a 400 degree F oven for 20 minutes, then tucks the patties into a sprout wrap. He adds some kale—"high in potassium, which counters the effects of sodium by decreasing blood pressure"—and Bragg liquid amino, which is "saltier than soy sauce but [has] less sodium than a piece of cheese," he claims.
"Making my own burger drastically reduces my sodium intake compared to frozen burgers," says Robinson, who has a history of high blood pressure and diabetes in his family.
And while he cuts back on sugar in his diet, he does allow himself a weekly indulgence. "I do my best to avoid processed foods, but I do treat myself to a sweet once a week," he admits.
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