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…

Earned.

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

Read more »

1 Comment

 

How to be Happier – Lessons from the Blue Zones with Dan Buettner

EP-215

What makes people truly happy?

If you’re a regular listener to NMA Radio, you’ve heard Matt mention the book Blue Zones, by Dan Buettner, time and time again. He loves the scientific approach Dan takes to examining the healthiest communities around the world and pulling lessons from them that we can use in our own lives.

In Dan’s new book, Blue Zones of Happiness, he takes the same approach. Only, instead of looking at longevity and health, he looks at happiness by studying the world’s happiest places. And the lessons?

They aren’t the typical hacks or quick fixes we’ve come to expect. Instead, Dan suggests lifestyle shifts that could truly change the way you live for the happier.

Click the button below to listen now:

Or:

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!

Leave a Comment

 

The Surprising 3-Step Plan for Using December to Crush Your New Year’s Goals

For as long as I’ve been an adult, New Year’s has been my favorite holiday, and December my favorite month.

The two are related, of course, and this post is about the best way I’ve come up with to use them together—to create real, lasting change (even when you’ve failed many times in the past).

I’m a total sucker for the inspiration a New Year brings. But it’s not that I believe in some magical wiping clean of the slate and a chance to “start fresh” with a new resolution. We all know that’s a joke, and usually no more than a reason to delay making a change you’re scared to make.

But the silly New Year’s resolution tradition has ingrained one useful habit in me, which is to take a step back at the end of the year to assess how it went, and to take note of where I am relative to where I’d like to be.

And then, if there’s a gap, to set about on a course to close it.

So let’s not talk about New Year’s resolutions, but rather of new habits, habits designed to move you in the direction of goals that matter to you.

And from there—with the help of the legitimate, now well-charted science of habit change—we can actually say something logical about how best to use December as a springboard into your best year ever.

Read more »

4 Comments

 

Plant-Based Muscle with Robert Cheeke and Vanessa Espinoza

ep2014

Don’t think you can gain muscle on a plant-based diet? Think again.

Over the 200+ episodes of No Meat Athlete Radio, we’ve had vegan bodybuilder Robert Cheeke on to talk about training and nutrition a number of times. But rarely do we dive into what it really takes to build muscle on a vegan diet.

In today’s episode, we do just that.

Joined by Vanessa Espinoza, who co-author of the new book Plant-Based Muscle with Robert, we discuss the pros and challenges of bulking up on plants.

Click the button below to listen now:

Or:

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!

Leave a Comment

 

Two Healthy, Hearty Thanksgiving Recipes from The No Meat Athlete Cookbook

thanksgiving-recipes

This Thanksgiving will be my seventh as a vegan, and I’m happy to say that it’s no longer a big deal to not to have turkey at dinner. Honestly, though, I can’t say that it ever was.

Even before I went vegetarian, the interesting part of cooking Thanksgiving dinner was never the turkey: we knew what turkey tasted like. And it was more or less the same every year, save for the ill-fated turkey-fryer-on-the-deck experiment of 2007.

The side dishes, though? Those were the opportunity to have fun and to try new things. And other than good company, of course, they’re what stands out in my mind to distinguish one year’s Thanksgiving dinner from the next.

So since going vegan, my wife and I have never found it a big deal to just make Thanksgiving dinner—we just make a bunch of sides, new ones every year. And it works. If we’re attending somewhere else, we do the same, and just bring plenty to share. And enough that even if there’s nothing else for us at the table, we’ll be happy.

And as I always like to point out this time of year, I think that’s the best attitude to have if you’re a new vegan and you’re concerned about Thanksgiving—be happy with the abundance that you have.

It’s a time to be grateful—grateful that you have enough to fill your belly, and people you love to share it with. Even if your father-in-law is making annoying vegan jokes, even if you’re stuck eating nothing but salad and bread because that’s all there is for you, just try to keep in mind how many people in the world—right there in your town, probably—would be overjoyed to switch places with you, to have the luxury of being the vegan with only a few dishes to eat at a Thanksgiving feast (in a heated home, I should add) for a day.

And that, long as corny as it may be, is my answer to “How do you do Thanksgiving as a vegan?” 🙂

Below are two Thanksgiving-appropriate recipes from The No Meat Athlete Cookbook, which I co-wrote with Stepfanie Romine, published earlier this year. While these aren’t traditional Thanksgiving recipes per se, the flavors definitely work for a modern, plant-based (and oil-free!) interpretation. You could consider them both sides, but the stew can definitely be a main course if you’d like it to be.

And by the way, in case you’re looking for a health-focused gift for yourself or a friend, I must say The No Meat Athlete Cookbook makes a good one. Granted, I’m just a little bit biased … but lots of reviewers, and even many mainstream publications like Sports Illustrated and Outside Magazine, agree.

Enjoy the recipes, and have a happy, grateful Thanksgiving!

Read more »

4 Comments

 

Chi Running with Danny Dreyer

woman running alone in the mountains in the morning

What do you get when you cross running with tai chi? Chi Running, of course.

You’ve probably heard of Chi Running, as it has been helping runners (including Matt and me) for years. But unless you’ve really taken a dive into the philosophy, you might not know what it’s all about, and how simple changes to your form and technique can completely change the way you run.

In today’s episode, we chat with Danny Dreyer, founder of the Chi Running training philosophy, about how your running form, mind, and breath all play a role in your running performance.

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • The connection between tai chi and running.
  • Proper form techniques for injury-free running.
  • Why shoe choice matters.
  • Nose breathing when you run?
  • What it means to connect mind and body when running.

Click the button below to listen now:

Or:

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!

Leave a Comment

 

On Tough Love and Unconditional Support

Silhouette of cyclist with friend motion on sunset background

Every major life change starts with some sort of trigger. Maybe it’s a visit to the doctor or an inability to squeeze into your favorite jeans. Or in the case of Susan Lacke, a conversation with her boss, Carlos.

A boss who became one of her best friends and biggest fans as she went from self-proclaimed couch potato to Ironman and now ultramarathon finisher.

Several years ago, Susan was the original contributor to No Meat Athlete (other than Matt, of course), and through dozens of posts she chronicled not just her fitness journey, but also that epic friendship with the late Carlos Nunez. This week Susan released her new book, Life’s Too Short To Go So F*cking Slow, a tribute to the life-changing support we can give one another.

We’ve asked her to share an example of that support. An example we can all learn from.

————

To call Carlos Nunez my “cheerleader” makes me laugh out loud. Case in point: When I proudly finished my first 5K race, I texted him. His response to my finishing time: “45 minutes?! What did you do, skip?”

There was also the time I crashed my bike—it was my first time riding in shoes that clipped to the pedals, and I didn’t quite time the release of my feet correctly. I went down in the gravel, still attached to my bike, and Carlos laughed. (And laughed, and laughed…)

When Carlos, a multiple Ironman finisher, inspired me to sign up for my first Ironman despite never having done a triathlon (a journey I chronicled in the early years of No Meat Athlete), he told me it was the dumbest thing I had ever done. Even the title of my new book, Life’s Too Short To Go So F*cking Slow, is a direct quote from something he huffed just before dropping me on a bike ride where I was dragging ass.

And yet I still maintain that for almost a decade, Carlos Nunez was my cheerleader. The captain of my squad, even.

When most people think of a cheerleader, they think of someone who waves their pom-poms and effuses positivity. Though there’s certainly a time and place for that, that’s not the only way to show your support for someone. The thing I’ve learned about cheerleaders is that it’s not the positivity that matters—it’s the underlying and unconditional belief.

You see, when Carlos gave me grief for my slow 5K, he didn’t do it to mock me, but to get me to sign up for another one. He knew me well enough to know that I’m a deeply competitive person. With the right provocation, I’d not only sign up for another race, I’d go faster just to prove him wrong.

Carlos laughed when I crashed my bike, yes, but that was because I had too much pride to ask him for help understanding my newfangled shoes. After he stopped laughing, he cleaned the gravel out of my scraped knee and let me know that he wouldn’t offer advice when he saw me doing dumb things, but he would always give it if asked. As entertaining as it was when I failed, he wanted to see me succeed.

And he did want to see me succeed. So much, that he rode at my (much-slower-than-his) pace every Sunday morning so that he could coach me to my first 100-mile ride, my first mountain summit, and my first Ironman triathlon. He taught me how to pull a water bottle without stopping, how to change a bike tire, and how to pace myself during a 112-mile bike ride so I could follow it up with a 26.2-mile run.

He didn’t have to do any of those things, and yet he did them. He never once said anything resembling a “rah-rah,” and yet I knew he believed in me unconditionally, even on the days I didn’t believe in myself. If it weren’t for him, I would have quit endurance sports a long time ago.

Read more »

3 Comments

 

The Life-Changing Power of Someone Who Believes in You with Susan Lacke

ep212

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

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • The power of denial (in sport and life)
  • Picking yourself
  • From coach-potato to Ironman finisher
  • How one cigarette break changed Susan’s life
  • The major difference between triathlons and ultramarathons

Click the button below to listen now:

Or:

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!

Leave a Comment