Monday, June 17, 2024

Plant Based Muscles – Meeting Vegan Steve Pilot

Time for a journey to a new you? Steve Pilot points you in the right direction

My daughter has a large following on social media. I write for print and online magazines. We both get around town a lot, to opening parties, social gatherings, and other events in Bangkok, and we meet many people, some of whom we choose to ‘follow’ or ‘like’ on various platforms. And some of the people we meet online become friends in real life.

One such is Steve Pilot


I ‘met’ Steve through a mutual friend, John Flano, a towering giant of a guy who is a popular actor and ‘extra’ in Thailand, on TV and in movies. Also a sideline of Steve Pilot’s. Steve requested to friend me, which I was happy to agree to, as I found his profile intriguing. We were online friends for about eighteen months before we recently met in person, during the second mini lockdown in Bangkok due to a fresh outbreak of Covid infections in a province next to Bangkok, Samut Sakhon. The closure of some businesses, and the visible slowdown in the city had given us all a little more free time, and I am happy to say I took advantage of this free time to meet up with Steve.

Steve Pilot in MARTINS cafe
Steve Pilot in MARTINS cafe

Although not a giant of a guy, as is our mutual friend John, Steve Pilot is also an imposing figure. He exudes vitality and confidence, and with his neatly tended beard, moustache and carefully styled hair he looks like a well-heeled ‘hipster’ about town. But only a small glimpse into his profile and photo gallery shows you more. Much more. This guy is ripped! He has the chiseled body of an Olympic weightlifter at his peak. This has led to his becoming a brand ambassador for Reebok Thailand, and he has also been featured on the front page of the widely read Muscle and Fitness glossy magazine.

After a few texts to each other a couple of weeks ago, we arranged to meet in January, at a place I, my daughter, and my girlfriend opened in June 2020, MARTIN’S English Café, near BTS Ari, on Ari Soi 1.
We sat down at the front of the café, and started to chat. People who have chosen to live in a country other than that of their birth are often curious as to how long their contemporaries have lived there. One of the first questions upon meeting a new acquaintance is often, ‘How long have you been here?’ … I told Steve that I had arrived in 1988, and had soon decided that it was a place I wanted to stay in, and learn more about. I am still here, and still learning. Steve then told me that he had arrived at Don Muang airport 20 years ago, and within two weeks had come to the same decision as myself, “It felt like home right away”, said Steve. Steve is a likeable and friendly guy who you immediately warm to. His passion for life and his chosen way in it draws you in, and I wanted to know more. Over the next hour or so I certainly did.

Steve’s journey was not to be the same as my own. While Thailand did indeed become his base, he still had a lot of wanderlust and curiosity about other places and cultures to get out of his system. He set about an expedition to explore the world, and became a seasoned world traveler, visiting five continents, and many countries, some of which destinations were documented in a TV documentary. In a hiatus from his world travels Steve found the time to gain a degree in sports science from his native Germany, and he is also a certified food nutritionist.

Steve Pilot has always been a teetotaler, and he turned vegan a few years ago, although he did tell me that before eschewing animal and dairy products he had enjoyed the odd burger or two, along with a nice ice-cream.

Nowadays Steve is a personal and group trainer, an author, and public speaker about fitness regimes, alongside personalized diet plans that he designs for his clients. He said that now more than ever it is important to keep fit and healthy, with an immune system that is optimized to be the best that it can be.
Steve started to tell me about his life’s journey, ‘I’ve visited over 80 countries worldwide and gained a wide range of experiences, cultural exchanges, and have discovered diverse methods of training. I have become an expert in performing on a plant-based diet. Ten years ago I decided to turn vegan and since then my life has changed immeasurably in many different ways. My sleep and recovery have improved, whilst my strength and performance has increased.

The Naysayers

Everyone told me it was impossible to build muscle on a plant-based diet. I was determined to prove them wrong. I started to educate myself on vegan nutrition and created my own training program’.
You only need to meet Steve once to see how successful at this he has been. He exudes confidence, and the enthusiasm he has for the philosophy, exercise regime and diet he has developed is infectious. Even for this chap who thinks that good exercise is a walk or bicycle ride to the pub to meet friends, and a walk or bicycle ride back home. Or a taxi should more than a couple of glasses of wine have been consumed. Steve’s passion for his subject has made me think twice about my own somewhat sedentary lifestyle.

I asked Steve about his diet, and told him I thought I was a ‘meatarian’ as I have always preferred meat-based dishes to vegetable-based products. Rather than admonishing me he said he totally understood, and explained that when people train with him he does not expect them to change their eating habits just because it has (clearly) worked so well for him. But he did say that he asks people to lend an ear, to keep an open mind and to try some of the diet suggestions that he will design personally for them.

As well as personal training Steve also runs group sessions Most of his group classes focus on strength and conditioning. He explained that all individuals have a different fitness level. Depending on the group classes and the levels of fitness, he can suggest movements to suit the individual. Sometimes, all it takes is a small modification to the exercise, and Steve said that even in his group training sessions he gives a deal of personal attention to the needs of all the members needs and goals in his classes.
Steve begins by evaluating his student’s current food intake, their weight, their muscle mass, and he tests their fitness level. Then he moves on to the most important part – setting realistic and achievable fitness goals.

He told me he loves working with people and sharing his knowledge. He derives great pleasure from helping people feel as amazing about themselves and their lives as he does about his own. Steve says that his life choices have not only made him feel better about himself, but he has also become a better person to those around him. After his adoption of a life of compassion … for the planet, for the animals, as well as for mankind.

Steve asked me to pass on a message to people who might be looking for a change in their lifestyle, “My motivation comes from the sheer love and feeling of satisfaction I get out of training, in any shape or form, morning, noon or night. I set myself manageable and realistic goals and I have taught myself to believe that I can do anything I want if I really put my mind to it, and I challenge myself with every training session. Being consistent is a necessity for progression, and without it motivation simply dies.
Looking back at my past life and seeing the amazing changes that have taken place mentally and physically makes me proud that I listened to that little voice inside my head that told me to change. I have built a life more satisfying than I had ever dreamed of, and I am telling you from experience that you can do the same. During your time with me, I will try to convey to you knowledge you can take forward and make use of, long after we stop training together.

I have always wanted to inspire and motivate others to work on their body and mindset. My mission is simple: To positively influence people’s lives … whether that be through sharing my fitness journey, my business, my diet suggestions, or my spirituality. I would hope that my friends and students realize, as I did, that it is oneself, and only oneself, that can create the life of one’s dreams.”
Will I be seeing you at one of Steve’s classes? Hope so!


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Robin Westley Martin
Robin Westley Martin
Living in Thailand and Southeast Asia for over 30 years. Robin first worked as News Editor for Business in Thailand magazine, before moving on to edit and write for the Thai Airways domestic inflight magazine, and also Hotel & Travel, amongst others. He continues to work in Southeast Asia and Thailand as a freelance writer or editor for several magazines, covering a wide range of genres.

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