Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
Hi! My name is Dani Taylor. I am 33 years old and live in Haverhill Massachusetts. I am the owner of Vegan Proteins, and online vegan coaching company along with my husband Giacomo Marchese.
I grew up very overweight and lost a total of 90 pounds in 18 months by going vegan and learning how to lift weights. Combined, these two things have changed my life.
I spend the majority of my time either training others or training myself, but when I have free time, I like to spend it with my niece and nephew.
Describe a typical day of training
I am a competitive natural bodybuilder in the figure category, so my training changes whether I am in preparation for a competition or if I am in the off-season.
In prep, my primary goal is to maintain my muscle mass while getting as lean as possible. I’m currently in off-season after a year long prep in 2018. Now my goal is to gain as much muscle mass as I naturally can while staying in a healthy body fat range, around 21%.
I lift weights five days a week for about an hour and a half and hit every body part twice. I lift in a variety of rep ranges from four reps all the way up to 20, aiming to progress over time or “beat my book”.
Outside of walking for leisure, I do not do formal cardio in the off-season, but in prep it can get up to two hours a day.
How do you keep going and push harder?
There have definitely been times where my motivation has been low. It is during these times that I really rely on the discipline that I have built to carry me.
Because my nutrition, training, recovery and sleep are all such ingrained habits, even when I don’t really “feel like it”, I am still able to accomplish a lot because the habits are second nature to me now.
Also, during desperate times, I have a motivational playlist on YouTube that I use — but that is for emergencies only!
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Right now, I am thoroughly enjoying some of the freedoms that the off-season provides me, such as vacations and date nights with my husband. I am getting stronger every week and that is a wonderful feeling.
Going forward, I am hoping to continue to grow my coaching business and bring on some new coaches. I am also gearing up to support Giacomo through HIS bodybuilding prep so he can be as successful as possible, just like he was for me next year. My next year competing will likely be in 2021!
How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
Sleep is everything to me. I make it a priority to get eight hours a night as often as possible. I also work hard to manage my stress by getting outside daily and getting some fresh air. I take time to spend it with my family.
As a full time entrepreneur and competitive bodybuilder, I have found that you HAVE to build in down time, or it won’t happen. So it is very important to me to not let it slide.
I have only had a couple of major injuries in my training career. One was a sprained ankle, and I just found ways to train around it while it healed. The other injury was much more complicated. It was frozen shoulder – a phenomenon that happens for no known reason where your shoulder locks up and is nearly immobile for 1-3 years. I had to modify my training quite a bit around this.
I also received cortisone shots under x-ray to help them heal more quickly.
How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
I follow a fully vegan diet and have for 17 years. As long as it is vegan, it is fair game to me! Currently I am aiming to eat in a slight caloric surplus in an effort to gain muscle, so my calories are around 2300 per day.
When I am in prep, they can get as low as 1100 per day, but it’s always vegan. At the end of prep you are running on sheer will power and desire to succeed. You don’t want to look back at your prep and think “I could have adhered better” so I do not ever have cheat meals.
At regularly scheduled intervals, however I will have meticulously planned refeed days where calories my go up to maintenance. I also consume at least 150g protein a day year-round from fully plant based sources such as seitan, tempeh, and tofu.
As far as supplements, there are a few that I swear by. I take any generic creatine monohydrate religiously. I also take a Pure Vegan b12, Vegan D3, and Testa Omega 3s in the form of micro-algae oil daily.
What has inspired and motivated you?
The stereotype that vegans cannot build muscle or be competitive is my main motivation. The number of people who have told me that I cannot every hope to build muscle as a vegan is VERY high, so it always feels really awesome to win a show against people who most likely are not vegan.
If that gets people to consider giving up or limiting their animal consumption, that feels like a huge win to me. But I am not the only one doing this. I have so many friends doing the exact same thing and they inspire me daily as well.
Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
DO WHAT YOU SAY YOU’RE GOING TO DO! Seriously, that’s so simple but it’s so important.
Whether it’s your family relationships, money management, your fitness or making your bed – if you say you’re going to do something and you don’t do it, you just teach yourself that you’re not someone to trust; that your word isn’t believable.
Every time you keep your word, you become more powerful and THAT is the path to success.
Are you taking on clients right now?
Yes, I am currently taking on clients. I am often fully booked but typically have a spot open up every month or so. I am also taking people into our fat loss course so people can learn exactly what to do to lose weight in a healthy and sustainable manner.
I think that in order to see REAL, long lasting change – not just a temporary result – people need about year of learning how to plan their lives for their goals better. But even just 12 weeks can really change someone’s habits.
If it is a best fit we are happy to invite you to join our team and be your coach. And even if our roster is completely full, we have other services that we can offer you that will help you reach your fitness goals.
You can apply for a spot on our roster here.