I'm really stoked to be doing this interview! Jason is part of Team Plantbuilt, and along with Sara, Crystal, Kelly, Mike, and myself is part of the powerlifting crew on the team, or as we like to be known as - the misfits of Team Plantbuilt! There is a special bond that powerlifters share and it's created when you do your first meet and establish your first legit total, the iron bug fangs have injected their poison and you become part of an elite fraternity of other like-minded individuals who understand things like iron, chalk, and ammonia. Regardless of each other's backgrounds, powerlifters just "get" each other because we are all walking the same path.

Meeting Jason was no different, we hit it off right away and had a great time-often at the expense of our bodybuilder teammates-at our competition in Austin, TX this past July. On top of everything this was Jason's first powerlifting meet, whereas I've been involved in the sport, both competing and coaching, since 2003. Getting to see him go 8 for 9, hit personal records in the squat and deadlift, and put up his first total was beyond awesome, I felt like a proud older brother watching him make a big entrance into this crazy and somewhat demented sport!

What you will quickly notice about Jason is that he is incredibly humble, while his own progress is important, what matters most to him is helping his teammates and giving back all while supporting the collective mission of those of us on Team Plantbuilt which is to help animal welfare organizations and promote the health and performance benefits of a vegan diet.

I hope you enjoy this interview and get ready to see more from Jason as he has come on board Plant-Based Performance and will be a contributing author to our next book!
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Jason setting up a squat at the 2014 Naturally Fit Games in Austin, TX. Photo by Donovan Jenkins.
Scott Shetler
Tell us a little about yourself.

Jason Morris
I currently own and operate Iron Ethos: Fitness Community in Portland OR, and am a member of the PlantBuilt Powerlifting team. I am a student of public health sciences, NAFC Certified Trainer, and Kinetic Integrations student.  I’ve been a personal trainer for the last 5 years and a gym rat for the last 18 years, and enjoy the opportunity to learn from my peers whenever I can.

SS
When and why did you become vegan?
 

JM
I became a vegan  2006, on a journey to get my health and wellness in check.  I was 255 lbs after weighing 195 only 2 years prior, and I was contemplating a juice cleanse.  At the same time I had made friends with a girl named Amanda who had been vegan.  We spent some days talking about veganism, and it sounded like a great idea rather than depriving whole foods from my body.  One month later I felt amazing and stuck with it.  I will admit there were a few times in that first year that social pressures that led me astray.   That being said… its never been a struggle to be vegan.

SS
What led you to powerlifting?  


JM
After several bouts with attempting to do body building and facing injuries (bike wrecks, falling down stairs…) I got tired of rebuilding strength after cutting weight.  Lifting as heavy as I relatively can has always been enjoyable, so it  seemed like the best next step.

SS
What do you enjoy most about the sport of powerlifting?


JM
The work put into it, the journey of facing your demons and getting under the weight.  On meet day though… I just have a blast watching everyone giving it all they got.  To me it's not a competition, but a coming together of like minds that just pick shit up and set it down.  No ego, just camaraderie.

SS
How does being plant-based benefit your training?


JM
While not an empirical study… I’ve noticed I just recover faster that I used to… which is funny because i’m no longer in my 20’s….

SS
What are your best competition lifts?  Gym Lifts?


JM
451 dead lift, 363 squat, 215 bench Gym lifts are a 350 Squat, 250 bench, 440 deadlift or 435 2 inch deficit deadlift.

SS
What is your favorite lift to train?  


JM
Dead lifts or heavy rows.

SS
Why is it important for people to consider a plant-based lifestyle?


JM
That its just that.  Its a lifestyle.  Prior to, you’ve lived your life one way, and you’re conditioned to behaving differently.   You have to keep trying to succeed at it.  It takes supportive community, nutritional education, and patience.

SS
How did you become involved with Team Plantbuilt?  
 

JM
Portland VegFest 2012, Giacomo, Dani, Robert, Ed Bauer, and Myself were eating pizza (yeah pizza and bodybuilders….who’d have thought).  I asked a question, how can we make a community with all of us Vegan trainers/athletes to help spread the word of compassionate strength? Through discussions that would continue in Portland and across the U.S. via Facebook, the team was cultivated by a collective far and wide.  I missed the first years competition due to breaking my foot, but I was a huge cheerleader for my friends.

SS
What is your favorite healthy vegan meal?  


JM
Seriously just a huge salad of cabbage and other veggies, black beans, balsamic vinegar, and tofu/tempeh/or a tofurky bratwurst.

SS
What is your favorite vegan cheat food?  


JM
Chocolate cake with Scott Shetler, or specialty ordered Pizza waved in Giacomo’s face, then eaten on a deck in a hotel overlooking the River in Austin.
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The only photo proof that exists of Scott, Matt, and Jason's involvement in the alleged "Pizza-gate 2014" although Strongest Hearts claims to have video of the event.... Stay tuned!
SS
What inspires you to train and compete?

JM
My gym members, and teammates inspire me to compete.  I’m fairly shy, and modest so it helps that I have their support.  I’m inspired to train as a health outlet, and from time to time by people who think vegans can’t lift their own bodyweight.

SS
What does your current training plan look like?


JM
I squat 2 days a week, bench 2 days a week, and Deadlift once a week.  Accessory movements include Back, Shoulder and Tricep movements, as well as Single leg press movements, and weighted planks.

SS
You and I had quite a bit of fun at the expense of our bodybuilding teammates during the Plantbuilt week in Austin, TX - allegedly some cookies and a pizza or two were involved. Care to comment?


JM
Clearly I didn’t read your interview questions from top to bottom before answering them….   You can be like mr. olympia stranded in the desert without food or nutritious water….or be the incredible hulk with a sense of humor? You decide.

SS
If we stole your iPod, or music player of choice, what would the five most frequently played songs be?


JM
  1. Busta Rhymes, “ Gimmee Some More “
  2. Nas , “NY State of Mind”
  3. WU Tang Clan “ Its Yours”
  4. Shelter Red “ Errand of Mercy “
  5. Leaving The Scene “28:06:42:12”

SS
Can I get a ride to Whole Foods man?


JM
Be in the lobby at 8 am, I got you!

SS
What does the future hold for you?


JM
Ripping heavy shit off the floor, hustling, learning, and building opportunities with my fellow Vegan athletes.

SS
Rumor has it you recently got some new ink. Details man, details.


JM
Well after several failed attempts at getting a tattoo in Austin with my friends Sasha, Matt, Kelly and Sara (something about smashing cupcakes, or a hashtag tattoo)  I arrived back in Portland on my birthday with no new ink.  To my surprise, my Portland gym family had chipped in and purchase me a tattoo with Jason Graham of Grizzly Tattoo here in Portland.

Hidden under the flowers, and buffalo is an old butterfly.  Who will be missed by many…  
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Tattoo by Jason Graham (unfinished).
SS
Where can readers go online to learn more about you? 

JM
www.ironethospdx.com, instagram: IronEthos or Jmorris.fitness, the Plantbuilt website, or one of a couple documentaries created by Strongest Hearts.

SS
Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?


JM
Whether its fitness, or veganism… its a lifestyle.  Its a commitment you’re making.  If you fall, pick yourself back up, surround yourself with people who support your goals. Love yourself, and offer other beings the compassion they deserve (or more).

SS
Thanks for taking the time to do this interview, I really appreciate it!


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I hope you enjoyed this interview with Jason and look for more from Team Plantbuilt and other awesome vegan athletes and enthusiasts soon! Also, our second book is currently being put together. Just like our first book, 100% of book sales revenue will be donated to an animal welfare organization of our choice. If you haven't gotten a copy, or download, of the first Plant-Based Performance book, click here! By doing so you will be helping us support Mercy For Animals, thank you!

-Scott