The Vegan CrossFit Story

A quick search of the ol’ Google machine will turn up a few results for “CrossFit” and “vegan”; however, the most common content one will find upon completing this search is the very relatable meme below.

Unfortunately, I am not a philosophizer, so I cannot answer such a question that tears at my moral fabric. What I can say is that for the past 2+ years, I have primarily subsisted on a vegan diet.

Now before I go further, please note that the only thing to tempt me away from my vegan ways the past 1.5 years at the gym has been Jason Sellers’s smoked brisket. On said occasions, a morsel of smoky goodness may have made its way into my mouth 😉 However, seeing that such an occasion occurs only about once a year, it’s safe to say that most of my intake comes from plants. Another quick search on the ol’ Google machine for “vegan” and “weightlifting” will yield a lot of results… primarily, results that talk about how your arms will fall off from the lack of protein, or how you’ll start to sprout leaves out the top of your head. While I am not a nutritionist, I can safely say that these things have not happened. In addition, I don’t believe I am scientifically qualified to discuss macros, BCAAs, amino acids, or other things a nutritionist may talk about when recommending a meal plan. I can, however, discuss my experience on said diet, how it affects my athletic ability, and how you might be able to incorporate some more plant- friendly meals into your life.

For context, when I started my journey at Locomotion a year and a half ago, I weighed a wispy 155#. After a year and a half of doing CrossFit, and eating all of the plants, I am up to 176# (the InBody scanner wasn’t around back when I started, so we are going to assume all of these gainzzz are pure muscle). Now, keep in mind, that is with training 2-3 days of week rather consistently. However, just as important as the training frequency/intensity, is the fuel that went into those training efforts.

Below is a general summary of a typical weekly menu on a vegan diet, all of which are recipes I’ve made multiple times and enjoyed:

Breakfast: French Vanilla Almond Granola w/ Ripple milk
Lunch: Leftovers from the dinners below
Dinner: 1) Spicy Chickpea Veggie Burgers
2) Sushi Power Bowls
3) Garlic Pasta w/ Cajun Cauliflower
4) Chickpea Power Bowl
5) Pesto Zucchini and Corn Salad
Extras: Mixed berry and banana smoothie w/ VeganSmart Plant Protein and creatine (everyday),
Roots hummus, Stacy’s Pita Chips

Do note that some of the recipes above may call for dairy or another animal product; however, I usually substitute these with a plant-based alternative, which in my opinion, is even better sometimes. Most of the dinner recipes above take less than an hour to make, which is an added benefit after WODing for an hour in the afternoon after work. From a recovery and general feeling standpoint, I’ve found that cutting meat intake for myself makes me feel less sluggish after meals, even when eating 2-3 helpings of whatever meal I’ve made. In addition, my blood pressure has been consistently lower, even when compared to my running days in high school.

Lastly, I’ve been able to stave off injury while lifting weights, which may be more related to our excellent coaching at Locomotion Fitness than diet alone. Nonetheless, I figured I’d mention it in case anyone was scared of any injury risk simply by cutting out the meats and animal products. There are also numerous weightlifters, professional athletes, and even CrossFitters out there who have adopted a plant-based diet, all without sacrificing athletic performance (see Jeremy Reijnders, MMA fighter Nate Diaz, Venus Williams, and more!). From my experience, planning out meals in advance is a huge help in making sure you aren’t eating raw carrots and broccoli every day and night, which is likely where you get the switching to vegan diet horror stories on the Internet.

All in all, I’m happy to have made the switch away from animal-based products. There are numerous health benefits out there that one can find with a simple Google machine search. Do remember that Oreos are vegan and any dietary choice/plan can be turned into an healthy one. I am not a nutritionist and do not feel qualified enough to discuss the pros and cons of dietary choices, especially for those with specific diet and weight management goals in mind. However, I do hope this post inspires you to consider introducing more plants into your life. When I started on this dietary journey, I would start by doing 1 day a week of no meat, which quickly became 2 days, then 3, and then no meat altogether. The jump to a full vegan diet took another year or so,
as cutting out dairy was the most difficult. However, there are numerous dairy product alternatives that are really really good, which makes the switch all the easier. I wish everyone the best and hope this helps on all of our fitness journeys.

Lastly, should you decide to make the switch to being vegan, and you continue with CrossFit, please let me know which thing you end up telling people first. Cheers, and happy eating!

Written by: Locomotion Member – Tyler Sgro, 2019

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