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Confessions of a Bikini Pro

Apr 3, 2020

In this episode, host Celeste Rains-Turk interviews competitive surfer turned plant-based chef, gym owner, posing coach, and IFBB Pro Natalie Matthews. Often known as her online persona FitVeganChef, Natalie has graced not only the professional bodybuilding stage but started her own YouTube channel allowing viewers to see her delicious vegan dishes. Natalie is determined to show the world the power of building muscle and staying competitive with a plant-based lifestyle. 
Celeste kicks off this week’s episode by asking Natalie listener-requested questions. Natalie begins with her journey of becoming vegan and gives insight on her favorite vegan high protein recipes. She speaks to listeners who are nervous for show day and how to overcome the struggle with lower-carb plant options.

She also explains her health issues and how her vegan diet cured her hypoglycemia and other health ailments. Finally, Natalie gives recommendations on how to meet your micronutrient requirements and supplementing appropriately in caloric deficits.
Natalie opens up about her shoulder injuries and how she believes being vegan has helped her recovery process. She explains how her and coach, Paul Revelia, have worked together to find a maintainable prep diet and how she continues to show physique athletes that being vegan is possible during a low-carb fat loss phase.

Natalie talks about how finding her creative outlet in being a certified raw vegan pastry chef and becoming a top cake decorator guided her to finding recipes that were healthy and delicious.
Celeste asks Natalie about her business endeavors with her Active Duty husband of ten years.  Natalie gives credit to her husband for introducing her to a plant-based bodybuilding lifestyle. She explains about what goes into filming videos for YouTube and how establishing their gym has brought them even closer. Natalie walks us through her regular working day starting at 5am with classes at her gym, Forward Functional Fitness, to 7pm where she works with her posing clients.  
Natalie gives credit to her competitive surfing years to her success as a professional bodybuilder. She explains that having a great foundation, discipline, patience, and taking recovering seriously is how she gracefully transitioned between the sports. Natalie tells viewers to not be afraid to step off stage to build muscle, eating more, and focusing on quality training sessions in order to bring a fuller package on stage.
Finally, Natalie and Celeste discuss sticking with goals during travel and the importance of planning, writing down your dreams, and being organized for success. She explains that her online personal, FitVeganChef, is a concoction of her proudest life accomplishments.
Natalie’s inspiring story is proof of the American Dream coming true!


Episode Time Stamps:
[2:12] Stage Ritual
[3:32] Natalie’s views on creatine and supplement cycling
[5:50] Natalie’s favorite vegan protein sources and recipes
[11:08] Thoughts on soy products, dealing with lower macros, weighing tofu
[16:26] Natalie’s vegan journey, transformation, and dealing with critics
[20:31] Recommendation on meeting nutrient needs/vitamins on vegan diet
[23:00] Natalie’s favorite shoulder, glute, and hamstring exercises
[26:40] Benefits of being a vegan as a physique athlete
[31:20] Finding your best tan, hair, makeup, and suit for show day
[34:42] Working with your husband/Filming videos for YouTube, owning a gym
[40:53] How Natalie met her husband/moving from Puerto Rico
[42:44] Transition from competitive surfer to professional bodybuilder/taking time off stage
[47:55] Staying on top of goals during traveling
[50:01] Setting realistic goals
[51:38] Natalie’s cook book/favorite recipes
[54:04] Being a certified raw vegan pastry chef/finding creative outlets
[58:31] Natalie’s best advice to amateur and future pro competitors