A CrossFitting Vegan: What Do You Talk About First?
First I want to say, this is a 100% opinion piece based on subjective feelings and thoughts. If you’re looking for fodder to either support or thrash veganism or CrossFit, you’re in the wrong place. Next I want to tell the story about why I am toying with veganism, how it has impacted me in only two weeks, and how I plan to move forward.
No matter what you think about health and wellness, if nutrition is not at the top of your to do list you’re missing a huge piece of the puzzle. You can’t out run, out WOD, out lift, or out anything a bad diet (trust me, I have tried). Now, my nutrition has always been decent to sometimes excellent. I am a CrossFit Coach and I truly believe you have to live what you preach. This is why I always do the nutrition challenges with our gym.
For me, doing the nutrition challenge is not a huge change. I usually just need to be a bit more cognizant of what I am putting in my body. This time, I was challenged by a member (Lowell) to participate in the nutrition challenge but do it as a vegan. I have never entertained being a vegan. I did not watch some “documentary” about veganism and decide this is the way for me. My favorite thing to do in the fall is hunt, so it is not some moral stand I am taking. I attached a picture of my pronghorn from last season for good measure, and I will be back out there next year. I am always up for a good challenge, though, and getting uncomfortable once in awhile.
I am two weeks into being a vegan and I actually feel great. I am not missing meat as much as I thought I would but I do have to plan out my meals a little more carefully. I can’t just grab some ground turkey and toss it on some veggies. I have to make sure I have something ready like beans, Beyond Meat, tofu, or any other vegan protein source I can find. The biggest thing for me, though, is the tangible numbers which are associated with my change
I have lost 1.3% body fat, gained 1.5 lbs of muscle mass, and gained a ½ pound of total weight. My weight is irrelevant to me. This is why we use a body scanner and not a scale when measuring success. There are other factors contributing to my success too, so I can’t tell you, “go vegan and you will see the same results!”
A few other factors: I am using the plate method to make sure I am getting a good balance in my meals. I am making sure to drink at least 80oz of water a day. I am also making sure to TRY and get 7 hours of sleep a night, I say “try”, because sometimes I miss the mark. I am also hitting three to 4 CrossFit classes a week. This comes out to being only 2% of my week spent working out. This means I am advocating a more holistic approach when it comes to health and wellness. It is not killing yourself at the gym or starving yourself out of the gym. It is finding balance in everything you do. This is something I believe and I will stand behind because it truly supports my “why.”
At one point in my life I considered myself a “semi-professional competitive amateur CrossFit athlete. “ This meant I put long hours in the gym to be just a little bit better and stronger than I am now. Here is a picture of what that looks like, I also did terrible at this workout because I thought I was more fit than I really was. At 39, my priorities have shifted and spending two to 3 hours a day working out is not my cup of tea. Now I value time. After having my son, my shift went from being the best “semi-professional competitive amateur crossfit athlete” I could be to thinking about longevity. I want to be able to take him hunting out west and be able to traverse ridge tops. And maybe he won’t want to hunt and wants to do some other physical activity. I will be damned if I will be sitting on the sidelines watching him. I will have my old ass out there participating. That is my “why” and if you don’t have one it is going to make your journey way more difficult. It is 100% ok for your “why” to be the best you can be, or maxing the new fitness test for the Army. It only has to be what makes you willing to put some effort into something.
So what is next? I am going to finish out this six weeks as a vegan and I will put my final results up, but I am not going to stay a vegan. My plan is to cycle my proteins a little more often, which is easy, because before I just had lean meats. This has shown me there are other options, maybe I alternate weeks? I am not sure yet. I am going to find what is best for me and for my goals. Long story and not short, you need to find your “why.” You NEED to focus on a holistic approach to your health and wellness, and you need to make changes if you want to see different results. Let yourself get uncomfortable for a little while and see what happens or you will never know what you can truly accomplish.
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