With smouldering good looks and biceps that any man would be proud of, Alex Lenghel cuts an impressive figure - maybe that's why his Instagram account is so rapidly growing in followers. Regularly sharing his training regime and competition progress, Alex follows a plant-based diet and proves that you don't need to consume animal-based products in pursuit of a great physique.
We were delighted when Alex agreed to partner with us and allow us to support him during his 2019 competitive programme and we were keen to interview him to find out more about his vegan bodybuilding journey. You can read his interview below.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
My name is Alex Lenghel and I am 33 years old. I am from Romania but have been living in London for 2 years, working as a personal trainer.
What type of diet(s) do you follow and why?
I follow a vegan diet and lifestyle, mixed with intermittent fasting.
Up until 2016 I was eating a typical bodybuilder's diet, but my body was telling me to give up meat, so I decided to adopt a vegetarian lifestyle. I was still eating eggs and dairy because I do love the taste of cheese, but a year later I discovered that I have lactose intolerance and so I decided to give up dairy also. At the end of 2018 I was a vegetarian who was still eating eggs but I decided that, as a New Year resolution for 2019, I would become a vegan and stop eating any kind of animal products.
As a personal trainer and competitive bodybuilder I think it's important to have a good knowledge of nutrition and therefore I stay up to date with the latest research. I have discovered that animal proteins are harder to digest, slow the body down, accelerate the ageing process and they also feed the cancer cells in our body. My conclusion was that I would no longer continue eating animal products in favour of living healthier and longer.
How are you getting on with your new vegan diet?
I can honestly say that in this moment, being vegan, I feel I am in my best shape, I feel very energetic, I am stronger and healthier.
What are your current body/fitness goals?
During 2018 I achieved 1st place in two different Muscle Model competitions - as a vegetarian. I want to exceed that in 2019, competing as a vegan, to prove that anything is possible as long you work hard and dedicate yourself for your dream.
How often do you train each week? What routines do you follow?
I train a minimum 5 days a week, sometimes twice per day. My training is always varied, because our bodies have a very good memory and they are designed to reduce the amount of effort expended. By keeping it varied I am able to shock my body and keep it in a continuous cycle of progress and improvement.
What mistakes have you made in the past with your training and what do you do differently now as a result?
In the past I have followed my own routines and undertaken basic exercises. Now that I am more experienced and a qualified professional I always mix up my exercises and training routines, I also track my rest between sets, the weight I use, and overall I have a professional mindset.
What is your favourite piece of gym equipment and why?
My favourite piece of gym equipment is the cable machine. Why? Because you can do a big range of exercises without any other accessories needed.
What is the most common mistake you see people making when they’re not being trained by a PT?
Breathing technique is the most common mistake - in fact, many people make this mistake even when they are trained by a PT. This is because there are many personal trainers who are not focusing on these details enough. This is important because our bodies need oxygen for all of their functions and so, without enough oxygen, our bodies will be limited in what they can achieve.
What one piece of advice would you give someone who is looking to start a body transformation challenge?
Do not start without professional assistance. At worst you will end up getting injured, possibly seriously. At best you will end up making little or no transformation resulting in feeling demoralised and feeling like your exercise has been a waste of time.
It really is hugely important to know what you're doing and to either get the right education - or professional support - if you want to make a success of your training. That's why my motto is "Use your mind, to build your body".
What supplements do you take, why and how often?
Supplements are a huge part of my daily programme and I would not be able to achieve what I have without them. Of course, I take multi-vitamins, vegan protein and BCAAs, but I also take Guarana, Omega 3, Spirulina, L-Tyrosine and Lecithin, plus many others. I also find that pre-workout supplements help to give me an extra boost before my sessions.
What services do you offer as a PT?
As you might expect I provide the usual personal training services (programmes for weight loss, building muscles, body transformation, postural correction, flexibility training). I also run classes and produce diet plans.
My particular areas of expertise are resistance bands (elastisize) and surface free training/TRX.
About Alex Lenghel
Alex is an IAO Level 3 qualified fitness instructor & personal trainer. He also has an EQF Level 3 fitness instructor qualification from EREPs Fitness Scandinavia and he is qualified in Surface Free Training. Alex also provides Somatic and Sports Massage.