Veganism, Training and the 80-20


As a kid, I always wanted to be big. Arnold big! So going to the gym was a given and it’s wonderful when you see those size results coming. However, somehow I got the notion that if you’re working hard in the gym, then you can eat whatever you want. I abused this notion wholesale. I would eat every kind of fast food and work it off just as fast. After a long while I found out, this approach really doesn’t work!

Working out Right

I then found an amazing personal trainer who got me incredible results, the kind of results that people notice when you walk into a room. At this stage I was still eating meat, but a “good diet” that a dietitian recommended. With the excellent personal trainer and the ‘good diet’, I was seeing phenomenal results, but the regime was crazy intense. I was going to gym six times a week, eating strictly and gaining the muscle and the pain.

When it came time to do a Battle Rush obstacle course, I nailed it! I excelled at the event, but it was absolute murder! I never realized running five kilometers could be that hard. The amount of mental effort required to do the running and obstacle courses was tremendous now that I think of it.

Shortly thereafter, I stopped working out because it was becoming too much effort for diminishing returns.

Plant Based Diets improve Physical Performance

About a year after that I went vegan. Like the vast majority of vegans, I did it for altruistic reasons. Personally when I found out that Veganism could solve the climate crisis, I went Vegan the next day – no questions asked.

I didn’t really consider my health, or how I was going to find food, or even what people would say. I simply chose to go vegan and that was it. And the results were incredible by doing absolutely nothing. I was amazed that my body returned to looking lean like teenagers just by getting rid of all animal based products. Doing a 5 kilometer run after that was a breeze. While running I could actually look around and enjoy the scenery. Going for a run could actually be enjoyable!

The interesting thing with this path, is that you start seeing changes real quick when you go Vegan. I got leaner, I dropped five kilograms and I felt lighter and significantly better. Inside of three weeks, my stomach went flat like an ironing board. I was like “Hallelujah, I’m never going to gym ever again!!” That’s what I felt like, and that is exactly what I did. For three years I gave up any kind of exercise because Veganism keeps you lean and healthy. Suffice, to say, this was me overdoing things yet again.

Just because Veganism keeps you in exceptionally good health, it doesn’t mean that you should abuse it and skip exercise. And after those three years I could feel my clothes get a little tighter even though I was still soundly healthy and lean.

Push Harder

I started running and swimming again recently because I feel the need to; because John Joseph motivated me; because I watched The Game Changers; and because my trousers got And you know what; the physical performance gains on a Plant Based Diet are astounding! You heal faster, your body endures longer, you can push harder, and you hardly ever need to tap into your mental effort to do all of this. I love being strenuously active, without hating every second of it. I love how I can enter the zone and then I’m tempted to see how much harder I can go. I love exerting myself to the point that my lungs are burning and it feels like my legs could give out. I love that I got the option to push my mind because I want to, not because I have to.

Triathlete, Hard Rocker and Awesome Vegan
Powered by Plants

80-20 Principle

I went from working out a lot and not eating well at all, to working out all the time and eating ‘right’, to eating right and working out a fair amount. This last approach works the best! Eighty percent is eating is right(plant based whole foods), and twenty percent is being very active. And one hundred percent is being vegan!

With this combination I finally enjoy running, and swimming and pushing weights. Personally, I have found that without the training, I notice I’m not getting the most out of the plant based diet, and without a doubt if I am training and not on a plant based diet then I’m wasting my time training.


It’s so fantastic to know that I can push my body hard when I want to. I really wish I could have started life as a vegan. I think the enjoyment levels would have been higher. But no matter, in the here and the now, I feel so much better than I used to. It’s empowering to think that my performance is powered by plants.

Photo by Victor Freitas on Unsplash


One response to “Veganism, Training and the 80-20”

  1. Taking on a Leadership Role : Lessons learned as a Toastmaster Treasurer Part 1 – Jae Subramoney Avatar

    […] For a long time I’ve seen this principle everywhere. Especially now as as a leader. You can read one of my previous posts about it here. […]


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