If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my nearly eight (eight!) years working with Matt and No Meat Athlete, it’s that community is everything.
The NMA family (including you) is the #1 driver behind everything we do. Every podcast published, every blog post or email written, and every program created.
And it makes sense. Ten years ago, when Matt started this blog, it was knowledge and community he was looking for.
It was the No Meat Athlete tribe that gave me confidence to train for a marathon on a vegetarian diet, and led me to go vegan. The rest of the team too…
Esther (customer service), Susan (social media), Andrew (editor), Will (Pulse leader), and Matt Tullman (strategic partner) all started as readers and community members first, then joined the team. We owe a lot to this site, not just professionally, but in our own fitness and nutrition journeys.
And every single day, this community continues to grow in both numbers and interests.
We’re podcast listeners, blog readers, NMA shirt wearers, and Academy members. We’re runners, bodybuilders, yogis, and cyclists. We’re long-time vegans and people just beginning to dip their toes in the vegetarian waters.
There’s no single type of No Meat Athlete. But instead, a tribe of hundreds of thousands of plant-based badasses, each with his or her own story and goals.
That’s why — on the 10th anniversary of No Meat Athlete — it’s my honor to write this post, and highlight some of the amazing achievements going on around this community.
Because trust me when I say those achievements are inspiring.
Have a look…
Meet Super Triathlete, Terry Hagio
Terry is known in the NMA Pulse group as one of our super members because she brings such joy and enthusiasm to the feed. Vegetarian for over 20 years and vegan for the past 8, Terry has been showing the world what she can do on a plant-based diet.
Most recently, she has gotten into triathlons.
“I think I love triathlons so much because I hate the pressure of team sports — having someone else rely on me for a win stresses me out just thinking about it! But I do love the camaraderie of teams, and I feel like the triathlon community is one big team.”
Something extra rad about Terry is that she also moderates the San Diego No Meat Athlete running group! “I love engaging with the vegan communities I live in! And being able to help vegans connect makes me super happy! Any chance I get to help bring people together is great, but adding fitness to the mix is even better! Most of my best friends I’ve met through fitness!”
Speaking of the NMA running groups…
Run with Austin’s Finest
No Meat Athlete Austin is easily one of the most active NMA Running groups and can be spotted all over town, like in the photo above, at Raven’s Regale, where they stopped for some post-run baked goods.
Or at a New Years polar plunge at Barton Springs. Brr.
As for the running, they try to mix it up and offer shorter runs in the three-mile range, and longer five-mile runs for those that want it.
Best of all, it’s not just the two weekly events that bring them together.
“Because of this group, many of us hang out outside of NMA because we’re that close of friends now,” says the group’s leader, Paige Bockhorn.
Or Oklahoma City’s Crew
If you think the NMA Running groups just run, then wait to you hear what they’re doing in Oklahoma City.
“One of the best things we’ve done as a group was when we all took a camping trip to the Ouachita mountains! We hiked 10 miles together through the beautiful mountains and had a blast. We also do get-togethers like group potlucks and road trips to VegFests in other states,” says group leader Cristina Basile.
Their motto is “all levels of running and vegging are welcome!” and that welcoming approach means that the friendships grow quickly.
“We try to get together once a week for a run. When we’re not running, we are hanging out and eating delicious vegan food or having a beer together. I’ve been friends with some of them for well over three years now! I would not have met the lovely people I know today had it not been for this group.”
Then There’s Dean, Photographer, Runner, and Vegan
Dean is a videographer/photographer for a band in the UK called The Vamps, and when he joined the Pulse community back in December, he considered himself a “Newborn Vegan.”
With supportive vegetarian and vegan coworkers and a girlfriend who eats mostly plant-based, the transition to a plant-based lifestyle was a smooth one for Dean. “I’ve been vegan since December… Before that I was vegetarian, but not for that long, around six weeks I think.” His lifestyle change has already led to some real benefits.
“To get from 110 kgs [242 lbs] to 73 kgs [160 lbs] in six months without dieting, but by starting a new lifestyle, one that not only benefits myself but people around me and the world is pretty meaningful, and I’m quite proud I’ve managed to stick to it…”
And Cheryl, Who Completely Changed Her Life in Just Three Months
Cheryl Willsie’s impetus for her transition to the plant-based diet was pretty clear: She was living in New Zealand for a year, working with a community based mental health team when she reached a turning point:
“I woke up one Sunday morning after having too many drinks with friends feeling terrible physically and emotionally. It was like a lightbulb went off in my brain, and I realized that I needed to make some serious changes in my life if I was going to make it through the year so far away from the people I loved.”
Cheryl’s small but quick steps from omnivore to pescatarian to vegetarian to vegan took three months, and she hasn’t looked back. “When I moved back to Canada in November 2017, I had lost over 30 lbs and felt better than I ever had in my life!”
Of course, along with a change in diet came a change in exercise as Cheryl pursued running to help her get into shape, and knocked out her first half marathon in 2:00:11 (speedy!) using NMA’s Half Marathon Roadmap.
And Finally, the Baltimore Group
Considering Matt is from the suburbs of Baltimore, I think this group holds a special place in his heart.
Let’s let Lauren Shafer, the group’s leader, introduce the Baltimore crew:
“This group started in 2014 as strangers and has grown into many friendships and even one love connection! I started this group with plenty of runner friends and a few vegan/vegetarian friends, but very little overlap among those friends.”
Lauren began to promote the group on Facebook and to other vegan groups like Baltimore Vegan Drinks, who gave her the opportunity to share about NMA at their events. And over time, the group grew into a plant-based powerhouse, competing as a group at different local races, visiting the Burleigh Manor animal sanctuary, and socializing not just a runs, but all over town.
Lauren adds, “We’re not done growing yet! We have new folks attending nearly every run, even the rainy and cold ones.”
This is Just the Beginning
We may be 10 years in, but I believe that when it comes to the No Meat Athlete community, this is just the beginning.
You will continue to challenge the world by proving what’s possible on a plant-based diet. And new and long-time members just like you will continue to shape and grow No Meat Athlete into so much more than just a website.
We can’t wait to see what you accomplish.