LATHAM, N.Y. -- A Latham fitness trainer is training to show off his strength on the national stage.
The instructor will be competing in the Raw/Unequipped National Powerlifting Championships in July.
Many say that if you want to get "big," you need to eat meat. But Derek Gelato has become one of the strongest men in the country contrary to that popular belief.
Gelato, of Fitness Together in Latham, has been a competitive powerlifter for the last six and a half years. He gave up eating meat more than three years ago.
“I gave up meat because I felt like I was an advocator or proponent of the treatment of those animals,” he said.
But he’s still preparing for his competition in Denver by making sure he eats enough protein.
“I primarily eat tofu,” he said. “I still eat eggs, and then I have protein shakes – one or two a day.”
Gelato works out three to four time a week for about three hours a day, which he said is another key component to his regimen.
Some have questioned whether he’s taking a shortcut to perform at a high level by not eating meat. But the USA Powerlifting Federation New York drug tests each of its competitors.
However, Gelato said even if the federation didn’t screen its athletes, performance enhancing drugs would go against everything he stands for.
"A big part of what I’m trying to do is show that without meat, with fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and without anything excessive, that you can thrive,” he said. “And you can be amongst the top, not just in the country, but in the world.”
Gelato hopes he makes it in the top five of the Raw/Unequipped National Powerlifting Championships.