Find out how going vegan changed this boxer's performance
Have you heard the old myth that vegans can't be sporty or athletic and that if they are, their performance will suffer? Well....here's another example of someone who has dispelled that myth! I leave you with Matt Janes, the vegan boxer!
What did you eat before you shifted to a vegan diet?
I decided to become vegan in January 2014, which is just over 2 years ago. Before that, I would try to be ‘healthy’ during the week and my meals normally consisted of something like chicken or fish with vegetables, rice, pasta, that type of thing. At weekends I would usually eat a bit more and maybe have scrambled eggs for breakfast and perhaps go out for a burger or steak or something. I wasn’t particularly keeping track of my calorie intake or nutrients and I wasn’t too worried about doing so.
How was it for you when you were a non-vegan boxer?
When I was eating meat, I would often experience sore muscles after a workout, and although my general health was OK, I would have to work hard to keep my fitness levels up and I would certainly notice a drop, if I missed a few days of training for any reason.
How long did it take you to reach your goals?
I wasn’t committed and my diet wasn’t helping me. I’d constantly adjust my goals and target weight to suit what I’d been doing that week. So quite often my weight would fluctuate by half a stone depending on whether I'd had a good or bad week. When I reached my goals I couldn't retain it for long. It wasn’t really a healthy approach to fitness.
How long did it take you to recover?
If I had a sparring session it would take a few days for me to get my energy levels up and be ready to go for another few rounds. It was the same goes for weight training.
Why did you decide to go vegan?
Initially I decided to go vegan to do a bit of a cleanse. I wanted to shed some of the Christmas and New Year pounds! However, I watched the documentary ‘Vegucated’ with my wife and we both decided to stay vegan there and then. I’ve since watched other films like ‘Cowspiracy’ and ‘Forks over Knives’ and educated myself.
I believe that too many people are either unaware of the facts regarding food production or prefer to put their head in the sand and ignore things to avoid having to change their lifestyle.
If everyone was to watch these films and see what goes on at factory farms and in slaughterhouses then I’d like to think that most people would become vegan instantly. When you consider that there’s really no requirement for us to eat meat or dairy for our health, then it should be an easy decision.
After going vegan, what did you notice as a result in terms of performance, recovery, energy levels etc?
I found that my natural body weight was easier to maintain and body fat fell away without too much difficulty. In addition to that, my energy levels have stabilised at a good level, and I can now spar several times a week on top of my usual workouts without any recovery time needed.
In terms of weight training, the muscle soreness has vanished completely and my overall performance improved massively. I’m now lifting heavier and more often as well as adding more rounds on the bags and skipping.
How quickly did you notice the impact of the shift? Was the impact positive or negative?
I noticed some differences almost immediately, whilst others, such as, recovery and energy levels, took a few weeks to kick in.
The positive impact for me has been the overall change in lifestyle. I make better decisions on meal choices and I keep track of what I’m eating and when. People ask me if i miss things like cheese and bacon - and my answer is always no, because I understand how these things are produced and I don’t even consider them to be food anymore. There are so many plant based alternatives available, that are both delicious and better for you; why would I want anything different?
Also, contrary to common beliefs, a vegan diet is not deficient in anything if you eat a good varied selection of foods.
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