Robert Cheeke - Bodybuilding
Hometown: Corvallis, OR
Current Residence: Portland, OR
Elite since: 2001
Date of Birth: March 2, 1980
Favorite fruits: Cherries and Blueberries
Favorite veggie: Potatoes
1. Why did you choose to stop eating animal products? When?
Growing up in Oregon, I lived on a farm and had many farm animals as pets. I always had a love and appreciation for animals and from an early age, I was concerned about their well-being. However, it wasn't until Dec. 8, 1995 that I decided to give up consuming meat. My older sister, Tanya, was organizing Animal Rights Week at my high school. I decided out of respect for her (a vegan since the age of 15) that I would become a vegetarian for the week. I attended lectures, listened to speakers, read literature about animal cruelty and watched videos about factory farms and animal testing, and that week of becoming vegetarian has lasted for the past seven years.
2. What has been your experience as a vegan athlete? Have you noticed any performance or health benefits or problems?
I have been vegan for nearly ten years and a successful athlete over this decade of compassionate athletics. Believe it or not, but I always wanted to be big and muscular when I was younger and in high school and never attained desired results when I ate meat. Of course we have to take into consideration the fact that I was only 15 years old when I stopped consuming meat, but when I switched to a vegan diet, all of sudden I started gaining muscle and weight. It may not make sense, based on the image and reputation vegans have of being weak and skinny, but I gained amazing amounts of muscle over the years that I have been vegan and involved in a weight-training program.
3. Have teammates and other athletes been supportive or critical?
Throughout high school I played five different sports and had many teammates and coaches who I enjoyed working with. I definitely had more supportive teammates than those critical of my diet and lifestyle. One of my best friends in high school was also a vegan athlete and was one of the best at his sport in the state of Oregon. I was never the best in the state at any of the sports I played, but I was well above average in most of them and quite fast when it came to running. I was one of the best all around athletes in my high school of over 1,000 students and was probably ranked #7 in the school in long distance running before my bodybuilding years.
4. A brief history of athletic career
I played five sports in high school, but after high school I began my serious bodybuilding career in the year 2000. Previously my best sport was long distance running so I chose to go from one end of the spectrum all the way to the other. I trained and prepared for my first bodybuilding competition in 2001. I became well known in America and other parts of the world as a vegan bodybuilder, due to exposure in various fitness and bodybuilding magazines. In 2003 I competed in a heavyweight bodybuilding competition and placed 4th. I continue to train and inspire others, as a successful vegan bodybuilder.
5. Most memorable results or achievements
Some of my most memorable athletic achievements have nothing to do with bodybuilding. One is playing in, and winning an international soccer game against Panama. Another is defeating two Olympic runners in a 5,000 meter race in 1999. Another one might seem silly but took lots of discipline was performing push-ups and sit-ups in 839 consecutive days. In bodybuilding, it is performing on stage as a vegan bodybuilder in a heavyweight class. Another in bodybuilding is meeting bodybuilding legend Arnold Schwarzenegger. The last one is creating Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness, a company I founded in 2002.
6. Why did you join PRO-Activist Team?
I was invited to join this group of vegan athletes by Bradley Saul. I joined and contributed articles and photos to the OrganicAthlete website to be a part of a group of pro-active, forward thinking, like-minded successful vegan athletes. I look forward to using this experience to influence other up-and-coming vegan athletes, supporting them on their journey to personal enrichment and achievement of goals.