Jehina Malik, vegan bodybuilder

Jehina has been competing in bodybuilding since age 19 and is now recognised as an accomplished competitor with an impressive physique.

In 2013 she won first place in women’s physique and first overall at the NPC Eastern USA Bodybuilding Championship.  In 2014 at her first international show, Team Universe, she was awarded a Pro Card by IFBB.  This made history as she was the first ever bodybuilder who has been vegan since birth to receive it.  This prestigious accolade remains her favourite milestone in her career, and by 2019 she had competed three times as an IFBB Pro Physique competitor.

Veganism is something central to her beliefs and compromising at times such as when travelling are not an option for her.  Although unlike many other vegan athletes, Jehina did not transition to veganism as she was born into a vegan family.

“Being raised vegan was second nature for me and my five other siblings as being vegan was the only way of life we knew of” Jehina told Great Vegan Athletes.  “We always had a garden in our back yard which we ate lots of fresh veggies daily.  My parents would buy fresh soybeans and tofu from China town as back then it was pure and not GMO like it is today.” 

“I never was curious or wanted to change my life style as animals in my opinion were not meant to be eaten, animals never been a food choice to me. What motivates me to continue being vegan is proving to the world that you can be strong and healthy without eating animals.  I’m living proof!”

As living proof, Jehina is a fantastic example.  She’s the first ever IFBB Pro Physique competitor and has derived everything from plants.

Vegan-powered

Comfort with veganism and never making the change from animal-based diets may be why Jehina eats a lot of variety and doesn’t have many single foods that she eats a lot of.

“I eat in moderation but I have a tendency to eat a lot of nuts, of which cashews are my weakness. And different meals made from lentils are so good.”

Unsurprisingly Jehina trains hard to maintain her impressive physique.  A large part of her programme is centred on “going hard in the gym with my resistance training”, with light cardio and swimming on rest days.

While views have changed, Jehina is still unusual as a vegan bodybuilder.  Her coach is not vegan and urges her to train hard as a vegan, while others look on with interest at what she’s achieved.  “Other people I train love the fact that I’m vegan and what I’ve accomplished and I’ve been told by many that I help inspire them.”

She‘s also noticed that times have changed. 

“It’s 2019 now and don’t think anyone has looked at vegan as a big issue.”

She hopes to take things to the next stage and qualify for Olympia, making history as the first vegan from birth to compete there. 

2019 will be a tougher year. Jehina was on foot when she was hit by a car, closely avoiding instant death.

“It still hasn’t been a year since I finished physical therapy” she says.  “My choice was a double surgery or physical therapy. I’ve overcome many challenges since then….That day was the scariest day of my life as I could have lost my life instantly if it wasn’t for the higher being above.”

It meant that after competing in 2017, she took 2018 off and 2019 is her comeback year.  We’ll be watching closely and bringing you the good news.

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