Meet Tobias, the Vegan CrossFit Trainer
I am so chuffed about meeting Tobias Sjösten. He's a certified CrossFit Trainer who went from eating lots of meat every week, to being vegan. He's fit, healthy and enjoys the emotional and physical benefits that being vegan brings. Find out about how he began to enjoy training, the impact that going vegan had on him and his tips for those who are hesitating about going vegan.
What did you eat before you shifted to a vegan diet?
I used to eat many kilos of meat per week. However, since 2010 I've gradually shifted from eating meat to being a full-blown vegan activist.
You are a CrossFit L1 trainer, what does this mean?
CrossFit is a training philosophy and regimen. Being a CrossFit trainer means I know how to help people get fit using extremely efficient methods. I can teach complicated movements, like the olympic lifts and gymnastics, as well as, demonstrating how to stay safe while pushing yourself to your absolute limit.
How did you feel about being a CrossFit trainer for you before you went vegan?
I was actually already a vegan when I started doing CrossFit. However, it's been interesting to notice how much my physical performance has changed generally, after going vegan. If anything I feel more energised and I've been able to more than match, the progress of my fellow non-vegans.
How long did it take you to reach this level of physical fitness?
I'm thankful that I've achieved the goal of making fitness a natural part of my life. Now I look forward to (most of) my sessions and I pretty much eat healthy by default. It took me some time though – maybe a year and a half – and for me, it depended on two things:
- I found training that I actually enjoyed: CrossFit and brazilian jiu-jitsu.
- I started training for performance rather than aesthetics.
It was very hard for me to train day after day just to look good. What worked for me was, swapping that for meeting up with friends, doing something fun, and seeing myself becoming strong and fast. That was an incredibly powerful combination!
Why did you decide to go vegan?
It's been quite a journey. I've always felt there was something wrong with how we treat animals, but it was hard to reconcile that with having been indoctrinated with a "we're on top of the food chain" and "we're meant to eat meat" attitude.
My first step was to cut out meat from factory farmed animals and only eat hunted animals. Realising that this change actually led to me to never really eating meat in practice, I decided to try and cut it all out. It suddenly just felt unnecessary to demand someone give up their life, when I'd discovered I was perfectly fine without meat.
Finally, learning about the disgusting, cold-hearted practices of the egg and dairy industries made it impossible for me to continue to eat their products.
How quickly did you notice the impact of shifting to a vegan diet? Was this impact positive or negative?
The main difference for me was that I finally felt consistent with my morals. I could honestly and plainly say that "animal abuse is wrong" without having to throw in any qualifiers like "unless it's food" or "but some farms treat their animals well". This change has been huge for me.
Do you have any tips for those who are hesitating in making the shift to a vegan diet?
If you're holding up going vegan because you're afraid you'll die from protein deficiency  – don't. There's absolutely nothing preventing an athlete from thriving on a vegan diet. My own experience shows this, and all the top level athletes going vegan confirms it , and last but not least, science backs it up . We need more strong men and women standing up for what's right!
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