Vegan Lifestyle and Sustainable Habits – Interview with Patria Yancey-Siakumi

patria yancey

Welcome back to another episode of the John Barker fitness podcast. Today's guest is an online coach who also lives a vegan lifestyle and is looking forward to her next upcoming bikini competition. Welcome to the show Patria Yancey-Siakumi.


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Episode Transcript

John: Welcome back to another episode of the John Barker fitness podcast. Before I jump into introducing this guest, I just want to introduce you to Jawzrcise, which works over 57 muscles through a repeated biting motion. You simply place it in your mouth and start repping. Each bite is a rep. If you're looking to slim tone and tighten your face and neck, do a few burnout sessions where you rep until you simply can't anymore. If you want to see a full review of Jawzrcise, go check out my YouTube video, which is in the link in the show notes now onto our guest. Today's guest is an online coach who also lives a vegan lifestyle and is looking forward to her next upcoming bikini competition. Welcome to the show Patria Yancey-Siakumi. I appreciate you coming on to the show. Thank you very much for taking this time out to join me today. So I want to go ahead and get started and just kind of open up with a little intro, maybe give us a little story of who you are, what you do, and kinda your, your background as far as fitness and just kind of your life story is concerned.

Patria: Yeah, so I guess like I kind of have always been into fitness. Like I was a wannabe athlete in high school. I played a little basketball. I ran cross country. I was never really good at either of those, but I obviously tried. Then in college, totally gave up on sports and just did my own thing. And then as a young adult, kind of like let myself go a little bit, but I was always trying to live a healthy lifestyle but never really was successful at that. And I ate a lot of fast food even like struggled and battled with an eating disorder for a couple of years and have overcome that and, you know, work through those struggles daily. Yeah. So finally, I think it was just a couple years ago that I decided, cause people would kind of turn to me for like fitness help.

Patria: And I think it's only because the community that I'm a part of, they're like not very fitness minded. And so I always seem to be the leader of the pack in the fitness department. So I decided to just become a personal trainer. I studied to get my personal training certificate from NASA and then from there started in the online coaching world. Also around the same time I converted to veganism. I know some people think it's a lifestyle. I kind of view it as a religion almost because you know, you have to be like really committed to it too, like a follow through with that, that style of living. And so in my, my coaching practice, I normally just take on mostly online clients and help them live and create a healthy, sustainable lifestyle through plant based nutrition and fitness. And that's kind of like what I do in a nutshell.

Patria: I just help people pretty much eat more plants and incorporate more plant based foods into their diet so I can live out my vegan lifestyle and my fitness life. And my husband does it as well. We're both, we actually both decided to take on bodybuilding. So that's something that's new to us this last year. And I went from being completely overweight to you know, competing in physique competition. So it's really exciting and I'm, I'm training for my next competition next year as well in the bikini division. So I'm really excited about that. But that's pretty much me in a nutshell.

John: Well, perfect. I like that you have a lot of things that you've covered in there ranging from your high school experiences, whether it's basketball, cross country, and, and recognizing certain things that you enjoy. Now you mentioned that you have some competitions coming up or you have a competition coming up, but between you and your husband, are you both competing as well or just kind of, you more than him?

Patria: So my husband hasn't competed yet, but he put my hands on it. So we're both physique competitors. And yeah, he'll be competing in the VC physique division as well. I think classic physique for men, but we're planning on competing next year in 2020. So we're giving ourselves time to like build and he's also newly navigating vegan life as well as a bodybuilder. So that's kind of challenging as well because vegan bodybuilders are kind of like our own group of people. We're, we're kind of different from the rest of the world.

John: Yeah, it's definitely a different, a different type of, of, I guess, lifestyle than, than you'd typically see from like a regular just fitting macros versus other, other diets. It's a very, and it's interesting because there are several reasons why someone would want to choose to live a vegan lifestyle, whether it's for ethical reasons and we talked about this a little bit earlier, or if it's just simply whether it's digestive or, or a practice that, you know, someone may just prefer to live that. And, and I think we had talked a little bit about, like, for me example, I don't practice veganism. I, I, you know, it's not something that I personally have chosen. But you had mentioned earlier that someone can simple, we just increased the amount of plant based food products that they eat. So what would you say the benefit would be of, of doing that? Right? If someone's just gonna reduce but maybe not go completely into a vegan lifestyle?

Patria: Yeah, so actually it's really interesting because I feel like I kind of took that route because I feel like a lot, I mean, veganism from is like at its core is moral and ethical like towards the animals and the environment and some people do it for health. But mostly I would say that if you do it for health reasons, you're more plant based than vegan. And there's some controversy within like the vegan community over these issues. But the way I see it, a lot of, like a lot of people who do it for ethical reasons just like cut out meat and dairy like overnight. Whereas there's like other people who do it more for health and they just start incorporating more plants into their diet because I believe that you could even be considered more plant based and still have meat occasionally if you're not.

Patria: Because if you're not an ethical vegan then you know, having eating meat sparingly is, is still better for you than centering your whole meal around meat, which is what we tend to do in the like standard American diet is just like meat, meat, meat, meat, meat. And then we barely eat vegetables and barely eat fruits and barely eat whole grains. And so I think that just like having more of that focus of like eating like whole whole foods, like plant based foods that, that ultimately like increasing the amount of whole foods that you eat that are plant-based is just going to be better for you on so many different levels. Like it'll help like decrease your risk for like heart disease, cancer. I mean there's like other, the list goes on diabetes even. But, and also for me, I, I actually have seen it help me perform better as an athlete, which is quite interesting.

Patria: I feel like I used to marathon, I was a marathon runner before. I guess I left that part out. I used to run marathons and, or like train for marathons and I always had like so much inflammation in my body and I just thought, Oh, I'm just being really hard on my body. Like this is normal. And it's funny because today I I work part time as a nanny and I was chasing after the I'm teaching a five year old how to ride a bike and he started picking up, he started going really fast so I had to start running and I was running with him for like a mile. Like we were on a trail. We weren't really far and I was like, wow, like I feel like I don't run anymore. I absolutely do not run anymore. But that was so easy for me. Like it was so easy. And I really do attribute that to eating a more plant based diet because like you're decreasing that inflammation in your body and like recovery time is just better. So like my muscle, even when I lift, like my muscles don't hurt as much because I used to body, I used to weight lift like years ago before I became vegan and I was always in pain and I don't feel that anymore.

John: So that's, and I like how when you changed that over, you noticed that you felt the difference in performance and, and it's, it's interesting how small things can make a big difference in that. And I guess it's not even really a small thing now, especially when it comes to adapting to that kind of a lifestyle. So you mentioned that your husband is relatively new to it and is that, is there a reason why he decided to join you? Was it more because he wanted to support you or what, what's kind of the basis of that?

Patria: Well, his PO, if he listens to this, he'll probably tell me per se, but I kind of like, we're newlyweds, so we've only been married for coming up on four months now. And that was my deal breaker. I said, I'm not going to marry you until you come. And so a month before we got married, he, he's actually new to America too. So when he came to America a month before we got married, he committed to this lifestyle and he hasn't been perfect at it, which is understandable. And I like, I totally understand because I, hello, I just went through that like a couple of years ago and it's hard. It's hard for anyone to change your lifestyle, whatever you've been doing and however you've been eating and the habits you've created for like your whole life. It's really hard to break those overnight. And so for him he's just you know, I think we have kind of like those comfort foods, like I call them transition foods because like, they're more processed vegan foods.

Patria: Like you can get you, I mean, Oreos are vegan, like everything. I mean you can get junk food that's vegan, like I can make V I actually, we had pizza tonight for dinner, so I'm like, we had vegan pizza and so like I, I would make him some of those comfort foods so that he could still feel like, like he doesn't feel hungry or deprived because he, he feels like he's eating me because we're eating like mock meats or you know, like we're eating, you know, veggie burgers and things like that. Things that look like me, but they're not, they're, they're plant-based. So it's for him, he's, he's doing well in that transition because we're eating those transition foods now. Eventually the goal is to eat less of those and more like whole foods. But in the meantime, like it's, it's good. Like those are good transition foods to eat when you're considering any new lifestyle.

Patria: You also have to consider like sustainability and you, you can't just jump from eating junk food all the time. And eating me all the time to eating salad is all the time. Like that's just not, that's not sustainable. And that's why people actually like fail when they try a vegan diet or when they try to do this because they're going so extreme from one end to the other. And it's hard. You gotta you gotta take baby steps sometimes. So, and I mean some people don't need baby steps, but other people do. I know I needed baby.

John: And I think that applies with a lot of things too. And baby steps are usually a good way to go because you don't want to shock yourself into, you know, changing course too quickly or you know, saying that this isn't gonna work or maybe feeling like you're, you're not going to be able to do it or that you're incapable. Right. And I, I think that ties in really well with something that, that we talked about a little bit earlier is about what your, your philosophy is or your thought process is when it comes to being able to achieve things in life. Right? So, I don't know if you want to share your thoughts on being able to accomplish things and, and what really you think is the main thing that kind of prevents people from doing that.

Patria: Yeah. You know, it's really, it's really funny because as I look back on my life, like I think one of, one of the biggest struggles that I've always had is just like knowing that I should do something or that I like really want to do something and just not doing it. And I think we all, we all struggle with that, right? Like for me, being vegan, that I was a long process. I was vegetarian off and on for years before I ever became vegan, but for years I already knew I needed to become vegan. It's the same like I was overweight for so long and so unhealthy and I would eat fast food all the time. And I knew I wanted to change and change and I knew I needed to change. But like just getting in that right mindset I think is like, I think the biggest thing that holds us back is just it's our mentality.

Patria: And I think that that goes with, with everything. Like sometimes we focused so much on, on changing the, the behavior that we want to change that we never actually change it because the real root of our problem is actually in our mind and it's with our mindset. And I feel like once I started getting into my head, and even, even even with becoming vegan, like transition foods are so important because you have to consider your mentality and how you think towards food and you have to like be patient with yourself and, and work with your mentality. I know for the longest time the thought of ever giving up cheese because pizza is my favorite food. Like I couldn't wrap my head around that. Like that was the thing that was holding me back. Like I, I just can't think in absolutes, but slowly I started to like try vegan cheese and I was like, Oh, okay.

Patria: Like I can do this. Like, you know, so I think it's, it's just watching your mentality around things and like switching your mindset. And I, I mean, I think we all, like, we all have things that hold us back. Like we have the idea that, you know, I can't do this. Like you have limiting beliefs. Like, Oh, I, I can't change my, my lifestyle because I've always eaten way or I've always been overweight or like, Oh, I, I've never had the body of my dreams, so how can I ever achieve it? And I think so many of us like struggle so much with that mindset that it just makes our goals seem so unattainable and, and really hard to achieve. And I think for me, the way that I've been able to overcome and accomplish the things that I want to accomplish is not just by doing the things, but it's, it's working on my mindset and I listen to personal development every day, like the things that I'm struggling with because we all have our own personal struggles and things that are holding us back.

Patria: But I, I listen to YouTube videos, podcasts, like everything, read books. Just so that I can fix what's going on in that in my head so that I can move forward and do the things that that I want to do. Because ultimately we all have things holding us back like, and especially with health and fitness. I think that that's like a big one. Like a lot of us grew up in homes where we didn't eat well. We, we were raised not having good habits. Like for me, I was raised in a home where we ate meat and potatoes, a little bit of vegetables and normally they were canned vegetables. Like my lunches consist of all processed foods. Like I had Lunchables and like just junk, like, and I packed my lunch. Like I was a latch key kid. I was responsible for my own foods and I just, I ate junk a lot.

Patria: And so it's hard to like change those things over time and you just keep telling yourself, well, I've always eaten this way. I've always been this way. I'll never be disciplined enough to fix that. But you can like, you absolutely can. You just have to believe in yourself and, and fix your mind mindset around those things and then you'll be able to accomplish anything. Like you'll be able to conquer the world because hello, we're humans, like we were made to do hard things. Like people overcome struggles every day. They do hard things everyday. Like that's how we're made.

John: That's awesome. And I think just having that mindset is extremely powerful because there's a lot of things that can actually prevent us from reaching certain goals. For example, a debilitating, you know, accident that could completely change the way that someone's life is. It's just seems surprising to me that the mental aspect is honestly probably one of the hardest things to overcome. Yet once you do, there's so much power. And I'm going to kind of put you on the spot here because you mentioned that you do audio books, YouTube and podcasts. So just off the top of your head, if you can think of either a person or a certain book or a podcast or something that you feel has impacted you the most what would you kind of share with this audience to recommend to go check it out?

Patria: Okay. I have like a list of my alone long. One of my favorite ones is the compound effect by Darren Hardy. I really, really love this book because I started listening to it from like, one of my business mentors was like, yeah, you should start listening to this, but there are so many points in that book that can apply to so many aspects of your life. And he actually touches on some of them. And like, it's not just a business book, like it talks about health and fitness in there as well. And the things that he shares in there. I, I apply into my daily life. The like he basically says like not everyone should go and listen to him, think you can like listen to it on YouTube per friend or something. There's lots of, I mean, or you can get it from your library.

Patria: But that was like one of my favorite audio books because he talked so much about how the small things that you do on a regular basis, like they compound over time, whether for good or for bad. So if you do the same bad behaviors, like even though it's something so small, maybe it's eating 200 extra calories that you're not burning every day. If you just do that every day, 200 extra calories, like it's not gonna make a significant difference today or tomorrow or the next day, but maybe six months from now you're going to be 30 pounds heavier. Like it happened over time and you're like, what happened? And I think we've all been in situations like that with in so many different aspects of our lives, like we overeat or we're just not taking care of problems that we have in our life. And then the affects of those compound over time, just from our, our habit of not taking care of those things.

Patria: And then he talks about the opposite of, of if you just start doing small little things every day, that's going to compound over time too in that if you just cut out 200 calories every day from your regular diet that you've been eating, that six months from now you're going to be 30 pounds lighter. And like it's, it's really cool to just think that like small little things can, can make a big difference in a big impact in your life. So that one for sure for sure is like my absolute favorite. Like that was my favorite book to listen to because I feel like the principles can apply to so many different aspects of your life.

John: That's awesome. Thank you. Thank you for sharing that. I'm glad you let me put you on the spot like that. I, I found that it is on audible so I added it to my list. And it's funny that you mentioned calories because I think I'm kind of the person that it's not, I'm, no, I'm gonna eat consistently 200 over. It's, it's either I'm within like, you know, a 20 calorie margin of my goal or I'm like 3000 calories over. Like I don't think I'm one of the people

Patria: That is me some days I I work in extremes like that as well. So I, I do feel you on that. I'm either, I'm either all or nothing about a lot of things in my life, but I have noticed that because I, I feel like I've been extreme in the past, but I noticed what is really sustainable and that like I said, that that is like the focus of what I do is like, okay, help people create a lifestyle that's sustainable. Like that makes sense for them. And like for me, that comes like the most successful workout plan or the most successful nutrition plan is not going to be something extreme, like a diet that's so extreme and so restrictive. Like you can't sustain that. And so that's why I like that focus of just do small little things every day because all that adds up and I that that a sustainable, like if you like, like it's not about here's a meal plan and follow this for the rest of your life, but it's like, here's some tools and, and do these and, and work on these things every single day. And over time you will build up and you will be able to do these things on your own and you, you won't need to rely on somebody else to, to tell you what to eat or, or how to exercise because you'll learn those things and you'll know because you're doing them constantly every day and you're growing as a person because you're just being consistent.

Patria: And I, I've notice that I have been so inconsistent throughout my life that when I, when I listened to that book, I was like, yeah, this is what's missing from my life. It's that, that steady flow of being consistent with the things that I know that I need to be doing. And, yeah, so I do have days where I'm 3000 calories over, but for the most part I stay that [inaudible] pace all the way all the way through.

John: Well, and I'm glad I'm not the only one. And it's nice because I know myself and I know that sometimes I might want to do that and that's it. There's nothing, I don't think there's anything wrong with that, especially because if I watch, you know, people looking at the scale of one day to the next, it's going to freak them out because you know that bump happens, right? But if I look at my, my weight over like a three month period, it goes the direction that I'm wanting. And so things like that, you just, you have to be aware and like I said, like, well I guess, like you said, has to be sustainable, right? It's not going to be so restrictive that you're going to, you know, shoot yourself in the foot later. But I want to ask you to kinda take this a direction of, you talk a lot about being sustainable and having it be something that you can keep going longer term. When it comes to nutrition specifically, how do you help your clients or what are some tips to help them make things that are sustainable, right? Whether it's a meal plan or a certain way of thinking. I guess what are some tips and tricks to help make nutrition be more of a friendly thing for your clients and have that be sustainable?

Patria: Yeah, so actually like I take more of like a flexible, a flexible dieting approach. Like I just feel like, you know, if I'm telling someone like the amount of like veggies and things that they should be doing now mind do, everyone's at a different place, right? Like I don't really work with athletes like that are like macro counting and are like so strict with like what they're doing. Most of my clients are like just looking to live a healthier lifestyle and a lot of them are trying to transition to a more plant based lifestyle as well. And so how I approached that is just like help them find the like healthier replacement for the foods that they're already, that they're already eating. Even if they're, if they're a meat meter and they want to transition to a vegan lifestyle, then I'll like we talk about how much, like how many servings of a protein or, or, you know, different or whole grains or different fruits, vegetables, all this that they could be having.

Patria: And then they pick from a list what they're going to eat to satisfy those different portions and those different food groups. And so to me that true sustainability, because you're going to have access to different foods at different, during different seasons and during different times and at different points in your life. So it's really about just helping see where people are at already and then building off of what they already have. Like what does your meal look like? And once you see what foods they like and what, what foods they eat, you can, can help them like figure out their nutrition and, and how they should be eating from that baseline. And you know, you can see the habits of like what they're cooking or like, are they cooking with a lot of oil, are they cool? Like how much? And like once they start being aware of those portions and seeing like, Oh, okay, well I'm eating like five portions of rice just for dinner. Like I don't think I should be doing that. Like that's too much. So I mean, I like, I meet them where they're at and just like help build and start incorporating more, you know, healthier foods into their diet from, from that baseline. So it's, it's really different for every person.

John: That's awesome. I like that personal approach because you really can't just do a one size fits all. And I think that's something that comes up over and over again within several of these episodes. Now I'd like to see kind of where people can, can find you. Right. So you, you said you do a lot of your coaching online. So I guess where can people most, I guess appropriately reach out to you, whether that's on Instagram and your website? I'll go ahead and give us some of that so that we can know where to find you.

Patria: Yeah, so I, I, I really feel like the best place to find me is on Instagram. My IG handle is patriapower. And I, I really feel like that's the best place to find me. I'm also on Facebook. Patria Yancey-Siakumi. I'm really diligent about requiring to my to my messages in messenger and my DMS in IgG. I try to reply to all of them within 24 to 48 hours. So really like those are the best place. You can also email So that's another place to find me.

John: Well that's perfect. That's, that's good. So people can reach out to you. Now, do you do, do, in terms of your training and coaching, is it mostly a monthly package or like, you know, blocks of time? How do you kind of set up some programs, you don't have to go into all the details, but what's kind of your main strategy in, in doing that with your clients?

Patria: Yeah, so generally what, what I do is I actually run transformation challenges every month. So the first Monday of every month we're having a new challenge. That's when I take on all of my new clients within that month. And I have a group that I add them to and when they sign up, they sign up for a year with me. So they have access to me for the whole year. So they'll have access to all of my online groups. And then I have a special app that I use that they'll have access to. And they basically got me for the entire year for that, like bulk price. And then I also offer like other supplements and things that, that they can use as well. But yeah, that's pretty much how I set up my coaching.

John: I kind of want to wrap this up with one more thing and we may have touched a little bit on it before, but if you could leave one message to the community, what would that one message be?

Patria: I feel like we've talked about so much good stuff already. I guess like the main message that I want to share is that that you can do it. Like you can live a healthy lifestyle, you can create a healthy, sustainable lifestyle. Like you can create the life of your dreams, you can do anything that you want, that you put your mind to. And whatever obstacles are standing in your way, like you can overcome them. And I, I just love that about humans, that we just have this power within us to shine and progress and develop and grow over time. I just love that about us. Like we all started as little babies, not walking, not talking, and now we grow into adults and we have all that power within us to accomplish anything that we want to achieve. Like if you want to lose weight, if you want to have a healthier diet, if you just want to be more active and have more energy, like you can have those things, they're well within your reach if you just put your mind to it and make it happen for yourself and, and reach out to somebody if you need that extra help.

Patria: So that's my, my message.

John: That is really a valuable message because we can really accomplish anything we put our minds to. And I think that last part is really key too, because if we can be humble enough to ask for help when we need it, we're going to be able to accomplish much more. And that goes both asking for help and also giving help. I had a recent podcast with the team flex and, and Ryan was saying that that's basically one of the biggest things that he preaches is helping others. So I think that that's a really good message that you shared. And if we can all just do that and just fight for what we want and be able to reach out for help when we need it, we're going to be able to achieve so much more.

Patria: Yeah, I love that. I, I feel like asking for help is one of my weaknesses. So I understand when my potential clients that aren't asking for help, I'm like, Oh, just give them a nudge. Because I see them watching all my content and commenting and I know that they need my help. They're just afraid to ask and then I'll ask them and they're like, Oh my gosh, I'm so grateful you asked me. And I'm like, yeah, that's our flaw. As humans we need help and we, we don't want to ask for it. But yeah, I like, I really love that we need to be more willing to help other people and more willing to ask for help when we need it because yeah, we need each other as humans. I even, I learned that, well, you know when I started coaching I never, I mean I had a personal trainer before but I, you know, it was never really consistent.

Patria: Like I never worked with anyone consistently and it wasn't until I became a coach that I was like, Oh no, like every human kind of needs somebody to help them and it's always so hard to do it all by yourself. And that's actually why I became a coach cause I saw so many people just needed that help and they needed that support. And if I could just offer them some support, like great, like let me provide some tools for you to help you be successful because yeah, that I can go a long way, just one person there to guide you and help you on your journey. So

John: Yeah, absolutely. And that's a really great way to wrap this up and I appreciate your time. This has been really fun for me and I think that there's going to be a lot that the audience pulls from this and, and hopefully implements in their own life. And I just want to say thank you for taking that time out of your schedule and I think that this has been really great and I appreciate it.

Patria: Yeah, thank you so much for having me. This has been a good experience for me as well, so I appreciate it.

John: Thank you everyone for listening. I hope you enjoyed the show as much as I did interviewing Patria. Feel free to reach out to her through Instagram or through her email, which will be in the show notes below. Again, check out the most recent YouTube video, which is also in the show notes. If you have not subscribed, make sure you subscribe to this podcast and share this episode with your family and friends. Thank you for listening and we'll see on the next episode.

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