LiveWell Louisiana

Vegan Vitality

Natural Bodybuilder Ivan Blazquez packs a punch.
August 4th, 2014 by: Lianna Patch

"Every workout is always enjoyable to me," says  Ivan Blazquez, a personal trainer, bodybuilder and triathelte from Metairie, La.

Though he enjoys mixing up his movements, one element remains consistent throughout his gym sessions. “Mainly, it’s intensity,” he says. “There are different ways to reach that intensity threshold, where you’re going to make progress.”

Blazquez, an American College of Sports Medicine-certified health and fitness specialist, earned two degrees in exercise physiology from the University of New Orleans. He mainly works with clients at the uptown Jewish Community Center, but recently, he’s been investigating online-based personal training as an avenue to growing his impact. “I’m getting a lot of inquiries,” he says. “It’s kind of new to me.”

Blazquez went vegan last summer, and he emphasizes that building a strong body has less to do with eating protein than most aspiring weightlifters think. As a natural, drug-free bodybuilder, he also hopes to debunk the “steroid stigma” often associated with professional bodybuilding.

In 2010, Blazquez completed his first triathlon with a friend who loves biking. “We made a pact,” he says. “If I got a road bike, he would compete in his first bodybuilding competition.” After finishing that triathlon, the pair aimed to be the world’s first athletes to complete both a triathlon and a bodybuilding show within a 24-hour period — and in 2011, they accomplished that goal.

As a regular contributor to Vegan Health & Fitness and OnFitness magazines, Blazquez shares his fitness and nutrition expertise with a dedicated audience. He’s also co-authored several articles in sports medicine- and exercise physiology-focused publications. Get his advice at


“Success keeps me motivated — the ability to succeed,” Blazquez says. The advantages he reaps through exercise and healthy eating help inspire him, too. “The health benefits; the way it makes me feel; the way I function … It’s a lifestyle, and it’s a beautiful thing,” he says. Blazquez also ties his own success in with that of his clients. “If my clients are not reaching their goals, I’m failing,” he says.


After going vegan last summer, Blazquez has no plans to return to eating animal products. “I eat all plant-based foods,” he says. “It’s been a year — and it’s been the best decision I’ve made in my life.” Fresh fruits and vegetables, naturally, play a large part in his diet, along with beans, nuts and seeds. “Within those simple groups, there’s a variety of choices,” he says. “I never eat the same thing.”


“I think I’m helping every client reach his or her goals,” Blazquez says. “The road traveled is going to vary among clients.” A few years ago, he began working with a new client who was hoping to gain strength and lose weight — but who would sabotage his own progress by eating badly and drinking alcohol. Blazquez recommended a few books, including Eat to Live, by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. “A couple of years ago, a lightbulb kind of went off in [the client’s] head,” Blazquez says. “Now he’s just as fit as me!”

"I think I’m helping every client reach his or her goals. The road traveled is going to vary among clients."


“It’s simple,” Blazquez says. “Just start moving.” Knowing that accountability is often the key to maintaining an exercise schedule or a healthy diet, he suggests hiring a trainer if that’s the only stumbling block keeping you from getting fit. 

Personally, Blazquez hates sitting still; you’re likely to find him pounding out a set of pushups during a Saints-game commercial break. He cites scientific research showing health benefits for office workers who walk for just two minutes per hour. “As soon as you start moving, everything gets better,” he says.