It’s a rainy afternoon in May up in Vancouver BC. One of my favorite things in the world is walking around a city when it is raining as the city has a distinct sound and feel to it when people are driving through wet streets, sloshing around puddles or shaking the rain off their umbrella before they go inside a store or place of business. Canada, being my favorite place on the planet, means this is the best kind of walk. Now this particular trip was for my run in the 2014 BMO Vancouver Marathon, which as it stands, was my last run before moving on to new ventures. The day before the race however, I had a mission: deliver the goods to one Samantha Shorkey.
What were these goods? Well, one is unmentionable due to shipping restrictions but the other was an item that will forever have proven my worth as a friend to this Ontario-born Vegan competitor: A Vegan German Chocolate Cookie Sandwich. At the time Samantha did not know of this as it was a brand new cheat item. The time before at the BC Vegfest I brought her a vegan brownie which I still hail as the “greatest brownie a vegan can ever consume”. But there she was, rain boots and all, waiting for the unmentionable and probably slightly illegal item which wasn’t drugs if you were wondering. And then the transaction was made. Later on, the freak out happened which started a chain of investigative work to track down where she could get this. Alberta? Nope. Austin? Not yet. I’m pretty sure that unless Samantha treks to Seattle, it’ll be a bit before this is located.
Thankfully, this obsessive urge to locate said Cookie Sandwich is one of the driving forces behind Samantha’s stellar training programs for upcoming shows, like in Austin, Texas in June. As well as a mindset to become the best possible her in the process. But one thing you might not know other than the pretty face you’ve seen in pictures from shows or shoots is a grand sense of humility and to not take herself so seriously. Samantha is a fun person, and it’s reflected in how she approaches the stage and the people who know her well. But don’t let that fool you for a Dagobah second. She trains like a beast and exhibits world class discipline in her diet leading up to any show she’s done. Knowing full well, that at the end, a Vegan Cookie Sandwich could be on it’s way.
MMF: We’re going to avoid some of the standard questions. First off, you’re an admitted nerd and we’ve all seen the on-stage Star Wars pic, Yoda I do believe. So if you have to spend all day watching a movie marathon, what are you nerding out to? Star Wars? Or are there other things in your nerdiness we don’t know about yet?
SHORKEY: Yes! I’m really glad you’re asking me this because I just finished watching the final episode of my latest TV obsession: Spartacus the series! This show first aired back in 2011 but I only discovered it recently thanks to Netflicks. Yes, I’m a big sci-fi Star Wars nerd but I also love me a good fantasy flick from the days of Roman warriors. This series has everything I could possibly want in a show: twisted plots, epic battles, hot/jacked scantily-clad men and so much sex and nudity. It’s literally GLADIATOR PORN! Doesn’t get much better than that! So yeah, I definitely just finished a Spartacus marathon, watching the entire series in about five days.
I haven’t done a Star Wars marathon in a while. But I really should in preparation for the new one that’s coming out.
MMF: Many people have seen your e-Book you put out a while ago. When did you know you wanted to take being Vegan beyond “just being” to “being a well-known personality” in the community? Do you feel being Vegan brings that responsibility?
SHORKEY: Well first off, thanks for the ego boost, Dru! Am I really considered a “well-known personality” in the vegan community? **Head grows bigger** I’ll take it! I’m really just a regular, ol’ vegan chick who has a blog (just like everyone else on Earth.) That being said, I’m always super flattered and incredibly touched when people say they dig me. And that’s precisely why I continue to write about my life and experiences and share it with the world.
I don’t think being vegan means it’s my responsibility to put myself “out there” necessarily. I think for me, I’ve just always been a bit of an attention-seeker and an ego-maniac. Plus having studied Journalism, competing as a vegan gave me something to write about during those anti-social months of prep. When I first started my competition training back in 2012, it was really hard to find information on a vegan bikini competitor’s diet hence why I wrote my “Jacked on the Beanstalk” eBook in the first place. And seeing how big vegan bodybuilding has grown in the last couple of years, it’s been really cool connecting with other vegans on a similar journey and helping them in their efforts however I can.
MMF: When you prepped for your first big win on stage, what did you find were the easiest things to do, and the most challenging to get ready for it?
SHORKEY: Easiest = workouts. Hardest = diet. With any show prep, I could spend five straight hours lifting weights, no problem. But eating nothing but asparagus and protein powder for months and never feeling full—well, that BLOWS. I love to eat. And I have a horrible sweet tooth as you know from giving me that heavenly vegan cookie sandwich from Whole Foods last year. (Sidenote: you scored major friend points with that one, Dru!!) So yes, to deprive myself of desserts and treats during a prep is pure & utter hell. Thank God for weekly cheat meals. And it does get easier over time I guess. What the hell am I talking about? No it doesn’t. Dieting sucks. Cardio also sucks. But I have grown to not mind it as much as I used to.
Truth be told, every prep is different. There are a lot of factors that come into play. My first prep was probably the easiest because I gave myself a good eight months to get ready for it. It’s the shows you have to crash diet for and do hours upon hours of cardio in the last few weeks that are the worst. And I’ve been there too. Not fun. But yeah, I’ll always say that diet is the hardest part of getting stage-ready. And having no social life
MMF: I give you a $20 iTunes card to load your gym iPod up. What bands are you going to buy for tunes?
SHORKEY: Ooh fun question! Well since this interview is for “Metal Made Fitness” I’ll list the heavier bands I always listen to at the gym. Leg day always = metal day.
Here goes the “leg day” metal bands in alphabetical order straight from the iPod of “well-known vegan personality” Samantha Shorkey (quote: Metal Made Fitness.)
Alice in Chains, Behemoth, Cannibal Corpse, Disturbed, Down, Faith No More, Godsmack, Iron Maiden, L7, Lamb of God, Marilyn Manson, Metallica, Ministry, Rammstein, Rob Zombie, Six Feet Under, Static X & White Zombie.
MMF: You’ve been to Texas and all over the states, and many places up in the True North…where is the best joint you’ve had a plant based meal at?
SHORKEY: Hmmm, that’s tough. I’m a sucker for pizza and Mellow Mushroom in Austin, Texas has the best vegan pizza I’ve ever had. Far from gluten-free, it has the doughiest, thickest crust ever and you can get tofu AND Daiya cheese on it! In fact, they have several vegan pizzas to choose from AND calzones AND a tempeh hoagie! Mmmmmmmm Mellow Mushroom… I want some now!
If we’re talking “healthy” plant-based meals, I’d have to choose my fave sushi joint of all time in good ol’ Vancouver, BC: Shizenya! All of their ingredients are fresh and local. The sushi is all brown rice and you can even get vegan miso soup there! Shizenya’s tofu salad is also awesome but WARNING: it has a black sesame seed dressing so I don’t recommend ordering this if you’re on a first date.
MMF: When training, and from being a certified ACE trainer, I’m guessing you put a lot of your programs together. What are you doing right now to get ready for future shows in the weight room?
SHORKEY: I’m lifting as heavy as humanly possible! I’m 14 weeks out from my pro show debut so I’m not doing a ton of cardio at the moment. I’m saving my energy for my weights sessions so I can lift like a savage beast! This prep, I’ve been really focused on building up my glutes and hamstrings so I’ve been squatting and lunging more than anyone should ever have to. Especially since I LOATHE squats. But I’m getting her done and busting my ass (quite literally!) I now suffer from high hamstring tendinitis from dead lifting too much weight! So now my evening routine also entails me rubbing squash and lacrosse balls all over my ass. True story!
The hardest thing for me is actually not letting my abs get too defined. The judges don’t want bikini girls to have six-packs so I can’t work my abs as much as I’d like to. Hashtag Firstworldproblems…
MMF: Give us a roundup on what the rest of 2015 looks like. What shows or projects do you have in the works?
SHORKEY: Good question! I wish I knew! Well I guess I know some stuff. As I mentioned earlier, I’m now prepping for my big pro show debut in Austin, Texas on June 6th. And yes, Mellow Mushroom will definitely be consumed in copious amounts immediately afterwards. I’ll be joining the rest of the PlantBuilt team there so I’m excited to see everyone again and of course, kick some more ass 😉
I’ve been doing a lot of moving around this year too, starting in Vancouver then spent three months in Calgary, Alberta. Now I’m living in Ontario and am moving to Texas in a couple of months! They call me the vegan drifter.
I’m also working on a new eBook but can’t give away too much info on that just yet. I’m hoping to release it this summer. In the meantime, lots of blog posts as usual via http://www.JackedontheBeanstalk.com.
This year I’ve kind of just kept things low-key and I’m loving it. It’s been my best competition prep yet and I’m really excited for my pro show debut.
You can follow Samantha’s training exploits on her blog at
which you should because it’s one of our favorites.