The 15-Minute, Strength-Building Bodyweight Routine for Plant-Based Athletes

Getting back to basics with pushups

“No pain, no gain.”

That’s what strength, or resistance training is all about: big pains, big gains, and giant muscular men, straining and grimacing as they lift heavy weights.


Not so much.

As personal trainers, former competitive bodybuilders, and plant-based nutrition bloggers, who have worked with hundreds of clients, we’ve heard time and time again that resistance training is…

… too complicated.

… too intimidating.

… too “meat-head.”

We’re here to tell you that body- and free-weight training is a lot less complicated than you think. It goes way beyond massive muscles and sweaty grunting in the gym, and it’s not just for the young and lean looking to show off in a bathing suit.

Anyone can do it, and everyone should do it.

Regardless of age, gender, or gym access, everyone can see benefits from resistance training, since consistent training can help you add muscle, lose weight, reduce common aches and pains, and prevent injury. And you can do all that while eating a plant-based diet.

In this post, we’ll give you some background that will motivate you to get started, and provide a simple, beginner-friendly 15-minute routine that even the busiest individual can find time for and benefit from.

No equipment, gym membership, or tickets to the gun show required.

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Are We Improving Ourselves Too Much?

Self-improvement together. Women meditation class

It’s no secret that we like self-improvement strategies here at NMA Radio. We often talk about the value in setting big goals and how to create habits that help with performance and productivity.

But is there a price to pay for constant personal development?

After reading a recent article on the pitfalls of the self-improvement craze in the New Yorker, and following it up with a few not-so-hip-on habit and life-hacking books, Matt has found himself asking a burning question: Is focusing on self-improvement even a good thing at all?

In today’s episode, we try to answer that question.

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How to Not Suck at Sleep: 5 Simple Tips for Catching More Z’s

Modern bedroom design, Double bed

Yeah, yeah. We all know sleep is pretty important. But there’s a pretty big disconnect between our understanding that sleep is important and the actual practice of sleeping well.

In fact, lack of sleep is an epidemic. The CDC estimates that one-third of Americans — over 100 million people — don’t get enough sleep. That’s a problem; having adequate and quality sleep is paramount to overall health (and ability to function).

I mean think about it…

How many times this week have you yawned your way through a work meeting or class?

Or suffered your way through a workout, feeling groggy and low on energy?

We suck at sleep, and it’s affecting our health.

Sleeping fewer than seven hours a day is linked with a higher risk for developing heart disease and plenty of other health issues that plague our nation. Not to mention, sleep is critical for athletic recovery, proper metabolism, and overall mood.

Clearly we need to change something. But how?

Why Sleep is so Important

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Supplements for Vegans: What do You Need? (Replay)

Vegetables on shelf in supermarket

It’s a compelling story, and an easy one to buy into: that with a diet so rich in micronutrients as a whole food, plant-based one is, we don’t need to supplement much.

That all we need is Vitamin B12, and the power of plants will take care of the rest.

Well, I’ll give you that this diet is pretty incredible … every month, new research backs this up. But at the same time, the research is shedding more and more light on what might be missing from even the most well-rounded plant-based diets.

In this episode of replay NMA Radio, I sit down with my friend and Lightdrop co-founder Matt Tullman — a big thinker whose “30 by 30” goal is to help the plant-based diet reach 30% of the population by the year 2030 — to talk in-depth about which nutrients vegans really need to think about, perhaps even consider supplementing with, to maximize long-term health.

Matt and I agree that the best advertisement for the vegan movement is millions of strong, thriving vegans, and I hope listening to this interview will help you become (or remain!) one of them.

black painted wood

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Eat Plant-Strong: 2 Hearty Vegan Recipes from the New Engine 2 Cookbook


As much as I hate to admit it, that old joke about vegans at a dinner party is kind of true…

We love talking about our food. But if you spend enough time around vegans and vegetarians, you’ll find out that it’s not all just kale and almond milk.

You’ll likely find out that we love to learn about our food and about how what we eat affects the world around us.

But it’s not just talking… we love to eat that food, too.

And no, it’s not that we’re so deprived of calories that we can’t get enough — it’s that we find so much joy and pleasure in the food we eat that we can’t help but go back for a second serving. (With the added benefit of knowing what we’re eating is typically healthy and that no animals were harmed in the making of our new favorite meal.)

Cooking Meals You’ll Want to Share

Along with that love of food comes a deep desire to share our favorite meals and recipes with friends and family, whether they happen to be vegan or not.

So when a fellow vegan comes out with a new cookbook, for me, it’s almost like Christmas. I can’t wait to see a new perspective on how to combine fresh fruits and veggies to create an entirely new dish (or take on a dish) that I’d never considered.

That’s how I felt when I heard about Rip Esselstyn’s new book, The Engine 2 Cookbook, which he wrote with his sister Jane, a nurse, researcher, and recipe developer. Rip is a long-time friend of NMA, so when news got out about his book, we wanted to do what we could to help spread the word.

This cookbook is a follow-up to Rip’s New York Times best seller, The Engine 2 Diet, which he published in 2009. Because of the success of his first book, and the work of his farther, Dr. Caldwell Essylstein, Rip is one of the most well-known advocates for a whole-food, planted-based diet, which he refers to as “plant-strong.” From his years as a professional triathlete to being a firefighter in Austin, Texas, Esselstyn has been an inspiring example of how to thrive on a plant-based diet.

Rip and Jane were also guests on a recent episode of NMA Radio, where they shared more about the Engine 2 Diet philosophy and story. Check it out here:

In The Engine 2 Cookbook, Rip and Jane share a ton of recipes that you’ll definitely enjoy on your own, but you’ll also be exciting to share with your family and friends. I’ll get the ball rolling by sharing a few of my favorite recipes below: Two-Handed Sloppy Joes and DeBoom’s Ironman Cherry Chili (which includes a bonus roasted red pepper recipe!). Both recipes take an old favorite and add a little twist to make them seem new again!

Perfect for enjoying around a table full of loved ones.

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The 5 Big Keys to Habit Change

hand writes with a pen in a notebook

This time of year, whether you set official resolutions or not, you’re likely thinking about the good and bad habits you developed in 2017. And more importantly, how to set better habits this year.

We talk a lot about the dos and don’ts of habit change here at No Meat Athlete, but when it boils down to it, there are really just five keys to creating successful habits. It’s no secret that many attempts at new health and fitness habits fail in just a few weeks. But if you follow these five keys – or rules – you’ll get on the path to success and stay there.

In today’s episode, we share a clip from an Academy seminar, where Matt outlines those keys to creating habits that stick and provides real-life examples from his own successes (and failures) to help you put these rules into action.

Click the button below to listen now:


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The Big Holiday Extravaganza of 2017

Christmas flat lay

One of my favorite episodes each year is our big, epic, vegan holiday extravaganza, when Matt and I discuss our wish lists and favorite seasonal films, and share what we plan to cook and drink over the holidays.

Here’s 2015’s and 2016’s.

This year, things are a little different. With Matt and his family traveling to Spain for the holiday, the conversation shifted towards traditions, travel, and dealing with family expectations.

But don’t you worry, Matt still shares his (ridiculous, if you ask me) Christmas movie list.

So light up the fire, pour yourself a Christmas beer, and enjoy this year’s holiday celebration.

Click the button below to listen now:


Join the Tribe and support No Meat Athlete Radio.

If you like what we do at NMA Radio, we’d greatly appreciate it if you’d leave us a rating and review on iTunes. Thank you!

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12 Monthly Nutrition and Health Challenges to Thrive in 2018

Freshly harvested vegetables

Each new year, just after the clock strikes midnight, we’re given a golden opportunity to turn the page on one year, and start writing the story of the next.

To set resolutions, and tackle the health, nutrition, and fitness goals that plagued us for the last 12 months. It’s beautiful, if you ask me.

The only problem? Health and nutrition goals like that goals that stick and make a lasting change take work.

There are a lot of blogs out there that promise quick fixes through hacks or other shortcuts, when what you really need is real, lasting change. And the cold, hard, nobody-wants-to-hear-it truth about achieving your health and fitness goals is that it ain’t easy.

Which, if you haven’t figured it out already, is why most people’s health goals and new year’s resolutions fail (often before they even get started).

But your 2018 goals?

Those will be different.

Those will be… magical. No no, that’s not right. No mythical magic here…

Those will be…


Sexy, it is not. But in truth an earned goal is far superior than one handed down with magic (if there actually is such a thing).

And to earn those healthy goals, I can’t think of any better way than making small-step-style progress through monthly goals. Small challenges that will make hard-to-get-started health goals easier, manageable, fun, and most importantly, successful.

12 Monthly Health and Nutrition Challenges for 2018

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