A Behind the Scenes Look at No Meat Athlete

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According to Google, the average lifespan of a blog is just 100 days — just over three months from conception to giving up.

And honestly, it’s not surprising. Having created my own blog, and now having worked with Matt at No Meat Athlete for over six years, I know that maintaining a site people actually want to read is more of a marathon than a Color Run.

Content takes time to do right, communities grow slowly, and finding a way to be compensated for the massive amounts of time and effort…

Well that’s an entirely different subject.

So it’s somewhat of a plant-based miracle that — after beginning as a little side project for Matt to document his journey of going vegetarian and qualifying for Boston — No Meat Athlete has flourished for nearly 10 years…

Thanks in large part to you, our tribe of readers and supporters who believe in what we’re doing here.

I know that if I hadn’t discovered No Meat Athlete when I first went vegetarian, I wouldn’t have had the confidence I did to keep training, and ultimately might never have gone vegan.

You might feel the same way.

But No Meat Athlete looks a lot different than it did 10 years ago (actually, the site itself doesn’t look all that different… but spoiler! An updated site is dropping very, very soon).

What started as Matt’s daily food and lifestyle journal — not sure he’d be thrilled with me calling it that, but hey, I’m the one writing this post 😉 — now consists of a team of seven, a weekly podcast, two published books, countless nutrition and fitness resources, and a community of hundreds of thousands of plant-based athletes.

Instead of just one guy posting on a blog and sharing it with his friends, NMA has grown into a team of people all focused on a single mission: supporting a growing community of plant-based athletes as they set big goals and accomplish amazing things.

How cool is that?

And we have a lot going on. To give you a quick idea of what the current No Meat Athlete looks like, here’s a peek at what was going on today, Thursday, November 15th:

  • Esther, who you may know as our customer service guru, is working with Matt’s wife Erin to finalize inventory and setup for a brand new line of shirts.
  • Will is working with the community of Academy members, Pulse, and writing this week’s Pulse newsletter.
  • Susan is keeping our social media channels active, and nudging Matt and I to do more things like our recent Instagram AMA.
  • Lead Editor Andrew is editing this very post (or is about to be, anyway 😉
  • Our partner in Health Made Simple, Sid, is hosting a live Q&A for everyone participating in the first Health Made Simple Challenge, which wraps up this week — great job guys!
  • Matt Tullman, No Meat Athlete’s business advisor, just had a baby! My best guess is that he’s cleaning up spit-up or trying desperately to figure out which position will keep the baby asleep long enough for him to drink a smoothie.
  • Matt Frazier, who we all know and love, is working on a few big announcements coming your way over the next week or two.
  • Aside from this post, I’m focused on our fifth annual Fitness and Nutrition Bundle, set to release next week.

And I’m pretty sure we’re all trying to get in a run, swim, or ride today…

team

(That’s Esther, Matt Frazier, Susan, Will, Andrew, me, and Matt Tullman.)

But that skips over the biggest driver behind No Meat Athlete:

You, the community. The people really out there showing the world what plant-based badasses can accomplish.

For that, we can’t thank you enough.

In a reflection on nearly 10 years of No Meat Athlete, Matt and I wanted to do something a little different on the podcast. This week we take a trip down memory lane and explore the history of No Meat Athlete and how it has become what it is today.

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I failed at two 50 milers. Here’s how those failures turned me into a badass.

Autumn Aspen Grove - A unpaved hiking trail, curving through a d

In the moment, I was absolutely convinced that quitting was the right decision. There was no way I was going to go on.

And nobody would fault me for dropping if they knew the battle that was raging in my mind. The first 20 miles of the Gnaw Bone 50-miler had chewed me up, and I knew this wasn’t going to be my day.

It felt good to quit. I was at peace with failing.

But that all ended when I couldn’t get an Oreo.

As soon as I told the aid station volunteer that I was dropping, she tore the race bib from my shorts, stamped a giant DNF on my forehead (at least that’s what it felt like), and told me to go sit down.

No, I couldn’t have an Oreo from the table. Not even one. The aid station food was for runners, and at this point, I was no longer one of them.

For the days, weeks, and months following that DNF, I couldn’t get it out of my head.

I had failed.

I wore that DNF around with me everywhere I went.

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The No Meat Athlete Community in Action

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It’s election day in the U.S. (speaking of which, if you haven’t already, go vote!), and right about now your inbox is probably filled with last minute campaign notifications and news alerts.

So we thought we’d do something a little different…

I was looking back through the archives, and we haven’t posted a community update since April of 2013.

2013! A lot has changed since then…

In April of 2013, no one had yet suffered through What Does a Fox Say, we were still using the iPhone 4, and NMA Radio was only on episode 10.

Can you imagine all the marathons, triathlons, ultramarathons, and delicious plant-based treats this tribe has finished in the past five and a half years?

As a team member here at NMA, I’m lucky enough to see firsthand some of what this community is up to. From posts on our Facebook page, Pulse members sending out updates, or people just reaching out via email or Twitter to share their latest accomplishments, I’m constantly blown away by your stories.

But recently we haven’t done a very good job of sharing those amazing stories from other NMAs with you.

For example, did you hear about Terry Hagio, jumping her way into a finish at the Soldier Field 10 miler?

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Couch Potato to Triathlete: The Life-Changing Power of Someone Who Believes in You with Susan Lacke

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Have you ever taken a life-changing smoke break? NMA’s own Susan Lacke has, when her old boss, Carlos, convinced her to start working out with him.

Twenty months later, she was running her first Ironman triathlon, writing for NMA, and launching a new career. And it was Carlos’s never-wavering support that she believes made it all possible.

In today’s replay episode, we speak with Susan about triathlons, epic friendships, her book Life’s Too Short To Go So F*cking Slow, and the power of supporting someone through their goals.

Female instructor leads boot camp class in power yoga pose high

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Fiber, Gift Boxes, and the Four Rules of Healthy Eating with Sid Garza-Hillman

Freshh green salad with spinach,arugula,romane and lettuce

When you invite Sid Garza-Hillman, certified nutritionist and author of Approaching the Natural, onto your podcast, you never know where the conversation may lead. It could be cold showers, or even not showering at all…

Or in the case of today’s episode, poop. Well, more specifically, fiber (and the effects it has on your body).

See, it all started with a post Sid wrote earlier this week on the only healthy eating rules you ever need to follow. In it, he shared four rules, or guidelines, that if followed, will almost guarantee you’re eating a healthy, well-balanced diet.

Four remarkably simple and easy-to-understand rules.

So in today’s episode, we brought him on to discuss these rules in more detail, and of course to address the stinky question I’m sure I wasn’t alone in asking…

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The Only 4 Healthy Eating Rules You Ever Need to Follow

colorful buddha bowl with grilled tofu and dragon fruit

When it comes to nutrition… we know a lot.

Yet, despite what we know, we’re getting fatter, weaker, and sicker.

With all of the information right at our fingertips — books, blogs, podcasts, etc. — why are we still struggling so much with nutrition?

If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’ve asked yourself a version of that same question…

Why do I feel unhealthy?

Why don’t I have the energy I want?

Why can’t I maintain my ideal body weight?

The answer is not about knowing enough, but rather doing enough. All that knowledge — and the endless information making you think you need to learn more — ends up becoming a distraction from the doing.

When all you really need to follow is a few simple rules.

What You Could Know vs. What You Need to Know

A large part of my focus is helping people discover the difference between what they could know versus what they need to know.

Because in pretty much every instance, what you need to know about healthy eating to actually start eating healthily (in a lasting, long-term way) is way less than what you could know.

For example, as a speaker, author, and plant-based nutritionist I know a bunch. It’s my job to know.

But at the same time… as a 49-year-old father, husband, ultramarathoner, what I need to know is only a very small fraction of that information.

This is what led me to boil all of it down to four simple rules. Rules that streamline all the major could-knows into four easy to follow and understand need-to-knows.

Follow only these (and apply some common sense), and you’ll get the results you want. Not because you have all the knowledge, but because you you’re actually taking action on what matters.

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The Most Important Food Lesson I’ve Learned in a Decade of No Meat Athlete

Vibrant ingredients for healthy diet

When I first started on this journey, nearly ten years ago (!), it was the advice in Michael Pollan’s classic In Defense of Food that really called out to me, and still does today:

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

In time, that became synonymous with the simpler advice to “just eat whole plants.” On a whole-food, plant-based diet, the “not too much” part becomes almost redundant.

As advice goes, it’s hard improve on that.

But last night, as I was chopping some broccoli to make dinner for myself and my kids (my wife, Erin, is away visiting family), I was reminded once again of another distinction I’ve learned along the way, a crucial one that made it all click.

While “eat whole plants” is the what to eat, what I had to discover for myself was the how.

It’s what removes almost every last bit of stress from the process of eating and planning meals, and, for me, makes Pollan’s advice sustainable.

Last night, broccoli was a main course, and it was simple. It was what we had in the fridge, so I just steamed until just slightly crunchy, and served with a little whole-wheat pasta (no sauce) and some chickpeas on the side.

Until writing this blog post, it didn’t occur to me that what I served and ate was a grain, a green, and a bean, my favorite formula for a quick, healthy meal.

Actually, it barely occurred to me to call this a “meal.”

What did occur to me was that those were foods we had on hand — and that this “meal” was something I could throw together fast, fast enough to get a fantasy football lineup in before the Sunday night game started.

I still feel a tinge of guilt about meals like this (not the gambling, though!). More so when I serve them to the kids. It’s not that they don’t taste good — honestly, my kids much prefer simple flavors and textures like these to complex meals with rich sauces and lots of spice. (And if you’re a parent, I don’t need to tell you that less stress at meal time = win. Trust me, food being interesting for me is the least of my concerns.)

So why the guilt?

It’s that I still forget what I discovered back in 2013, driving across the country on my DIY book tour for No Meat Athlete.

And that is this:

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Vote: New NMA Shirt Designs

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A few weeks ago we put out a call to the community for new No Meat Athlete shirt designs. And let me just say…

Wow! Just wow.

We received nearly 50 amazing designs, each with their own creative take on what it means to be a No Meat Athlete.

(Have we told you how much we love you lately? Well, we do. We really do.)

The designs were so good we couldn’t choose a winner ourselves. So we’re asking for your help:

Will you vote for your favorite design for our next NMA shirt release?

Update: Keep in mind that the new designs will not replace the standard logo shirts. They aren’t going anywhere! Our goal is to continue adding to the designs already available so you can find the perfect shirt to fit your style.

The Contestants

As a team, we narrowed it down to three contenders for this first round. Now you have a chance to pick your favorite. Based on the results, we’ll select a winner for an upcoming release.

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