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Want to run an ultramarathon, but don’t think you’re ready?

You aren’t the only one…

With trail and ultra running exploding in popularity, a lot of runners dream about making the leap, but never start because it feels too out-there.

Too long. Too difficult. Too extreme.

What if we were to tell you that your ultramarathon is actually a lot closer than you think?

In today’s episode, Matt and I address the four big hangups runners have when it comes to training for an ultramarathon, and why they might not be hangups at all.

Here’s just some of what we talk about in this episode:

  • Does a 50K count as an ultramarathon?
  • The ultra mindset (and how to embrace it).
  • Do you have what it takes to endure that type of training?
  • Why you don’t need to double your fitness.
  • The ultra training time commitment.
  • Learning to run trails.

Click the button below to listen now:


If you like...

It wasn’t all that many years ago that I didn’t know what an ultramarathon was. I have a distinct memory of chatting with a friend of a friend at a party, and the exact moment he mentioned that he was training for a fifty.

Fifty… miles?

I stood there, a few months off my first marathon, the feeling of utter physical and mental exhaustion (and accomplishment) fresh in my mind. The prospect of someone running anything longer left me flabbergasted.

Yes, fifty miles. Just think about it.

But immediately after that conversation ended, I knew it was something I had to explore. And not too long after that, I registered for my first 50K race.

I’ve spent a lot of time since then explaining (and justifying it) to myself and others what it is that drove me to ultrarunning, but until recently, I didn’t even understand it myself.

30% Excited, 70% Terrified

Why someone runs an ultramarathon is deeply personal. But still, if you were to ask around on race day, I’m sure you’d hear at least a few of the go-to responses:

  • To push myself towards a new goal.
  • To do something I wasn’t sure was possible.
  • To spend time playing in the woods.
  • Because of the finish-line beer (there’s always someone who brings up the beer).

These are so common, and so impersonal, you...

When you’re on fire, you know it.

Running is all you can think about. You plan your meals, sleep, and social life around your workouts, and although those runs may be tough, they’re the best part of your day.

After each one, you feel unstoppable, and you can’t wait until tomorrow, so you can do it all again.


When you’re not on fire? When you’re not living for each run?

Well, that’s when running is hard. I’m talking really hard. It feels forced, and you know deep down that even if it looks like you’re running, you’re really just going through the motions.

As a runner, this is a dark place to be in. Not because a few bad runs are a big deal, but because as soon as running is no longer fun, it’s no longer productive. You get into a training funk, where workouts aren’t where they should be, and your mental game isn’t on point.

Runs get skipped. Workouts knocked down a notch. And race day disappoints (if you even make it to race day).

And though you may give yourself a pat on the back after you grind out a workout, you can’t help but remember all the times when you didn’t need to fight for each run — when you ran because running was all you wanted to do.

8 Ways to Break Out...

I grew up eating a diet primarily composed of “beige foods.”

You know what I’m talking about — breads, cookies, pancakes, crackers, and noodles. The kind of carb-heavy, often brown, food you can mindlessly chow on without filling up.

And to no one’s surprise, a diet like that caught up to me. After eating this way for many years, I not only began to realize I desperately needed more vegetables to round out my diet, but after extensive blood work to explore why I always felt so uncomfortable, it was clear:

I had a sensitivity to gluten.

Cue the panicked, “What on earth will I eat now?!” response.

What would breakfast be without boxed cereal, muffins, or toast with jam?

What about dinner without pasta?

Birthdays without cake? Gasp!

You may have gone through this very panic yourself. As research sheds light on how some people’s bodies react to gluten, many of those people are opting to reduce or eliminate it from their diets.

In an effort to take control of my situation, I dove head-first into research and soon discovered that gluten makes its way into the food supply not only via familiar wheat products like breads, pasta, and cereals, but it’s also hidden in a surprising number of inconspicuous foods like soups, sauces, and even candies.

But that’s the stuff you likely already know. Where people often get stuck is how to avoid all this gluten and still eat...

Resistance training can be an enigma, and many of us have heard for years that building muscle on a plant-based diet is difficult if not impossible.

But on today’s episode of NMA Radio, we chat with Marcella Torres and Derek Tresize, former competitive body builders who know what it takes to bulk up, and they do it on a completely vegan diet (and with a family!). Their resistance training philosophy has helped countless people improve their lives by getting stronger, losing weight, and staying injury-free — even as they age.

If you’re looking to build muscle, but aren’t really sure you can do it on a whole-foods, plant-based diet, check out today’s conversation with Marcella and Derek.

Here’s just some of what we talk about in this episode:

  • What vegans need to know about building muscle.
  • Do plant-based athletes need supplements to get stronger?
  • How strength training can improve your life.
  • Body-weight exercise routines… are they enough?
  • Doug’s experience using Derek and Marcella’s plan.
  • Is being sore good or bad?

Click the button below to listen now:


“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.

Resistance Training, Explained

Simply put, resistance training is free- or bodyweight exercises that make you stronger.

But more formally, resistance training is any...

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.

Click the button below to listen now:


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!

The post Are We Improving Ourselves Too Much? appeared first on No Meat Athlete.

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

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society, which are two of the primary authorities on the topic of sleep health, recommend adults get at least seven hours of sleep each night according to the best available evidence.

But as you know, with busy schedules, workout routines, kids crying out for a snuggle, and much-needed personal time, locking in seven-plus hours...

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.

Click the button below to listen now:

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...

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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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!

The post The 5 Big Keys...

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!

The post The Big Holiday Extravaganza of 2017 appeared first on No Meat Athlete.

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...

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:


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!

The post How to be Happier – Lessons from the Blue Zones with Dan Buettner appeared first on No Meat Athlete.

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.

3 Simple Forces that...

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:


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!

The post Plant-Based Muscle with Robert Cheeke and Vanessa Espinoza appeared first on No Meat Athlete.

Sometimes life can be a minefield, littered with temptation and booby traps that sabotage our best attempts to take charge of our health, eat a well-balanced plant-based diet, and live at our best. Occasionally, we can trip up and find ourselves off course.

Maybe it was the constant temptation of so many sweets over the holidays, only to find that “I’ll just have one” snowballed into a week-long sugar coma.

Or maybe it was a crazy work week, and you just couldn’t find the energy to make dinner after stumbling through the door. A few days of eating take-out turned into a few weeks, and you still aren’t cooking many meals at home.

Perhaps it’s just hard to stay motivated when your not-so-supportive significant other brings tempting food into the house, eats it right in front of you, and then makes fun of you for not trying some.

However you fall from the straight and narrow, the important thing is how you respond to it and get back on track. Good eating habits take a long time to build, but they can easily slip away, and it can be hard to regain that initial momentum and motivation.

But with the right blend of planning and support, you can get your diet back on the right path, feeling your best in no time. Even if you’re busy, struggling with...

Jeff Sanders’s ability to rise early, stay motivated, and get stuff done has long been an inspiration for the NMA Radio team.

But even for one of the best, most productive guys out there, he still needs a process of managing and evaluating what’s on his plate.

In today’s episode, Jeff shares how his philosophy has changed over the years, and how he underwent a major life shift after stress landed him in the hospital.

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • Why Jeff ended up in the ER.
  • How weekly reviews can keep you focused.
  • The advice Jeff no longer gives.
  • Focusing on the “one thing.”
  • Going big vs. small steps.

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!


Let’s face it, building muscle is hard, no matter what “diet” you follow. And supporting your athletic endeavors with a plant-based diet can be challenging too, especially if you’re new to the vegan lifestyle.

I’ve been there—desperately hoping to gain muscle and weight eating only plants. After decades of learning from personal failures and successes, I have officially cracked the code on how to truly build and sustain muscle. I’m sharing those keys to success with you today so that you too can achieve your bodybuilding and fitness goals.

When I first started my plant-based, muscle-building journey many years ago, there wasn’t much publicly available on the subject. So little, in fact, that I had to rely almost entirely on trial and error. Thankfully, over time I started to figure it out, and I grew from weighing 120 pounds in 1995 when I went vegan, to a 210-pound champion bodybuilder at my peak, built entirely by plants (and hard work in the gym).

Even if you’ve struggled with building muscle in the past (while plant-based or not), I’m confident you can bulk up when you apply the strategies, habits, foods, and exercises necessary to achieve your goals.

And it all starts with nutrition.

Understanding Your Caloric Needs

Your quest to build muscle on a plant-based diet relies on understanding your true calorie needs. Not guessing, or estimating, or assuming...

How does a classically trained French chef turn into one of the most popular vegan recipe developers on Facebook?

Ask Jean-Philippe Cyr, The Buddhist Chef. He’s made a name for himself not by whipping up thousands of mediocre recipes, but by creating carefully crafted, reliable meals, and doing so in a mindful way.

We frequently share Jean-Philippe’s recipes in the Academy and the Tribe newsletter, so when we had the chance to bring him on the podcast to discuss his food philosophy, it was a no-brainer.

In today’s episode, Jean-Philippe Cyr shares his take on maximizing flavors, mindfulness, and why it’s important to keep recipes simple in order to grow this community.

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • French flavors in vegan recipes.
  • How Buddhism and food connect.
  • Soy sauce in your tomato sauce?
  • Why simple is important.
  • Making it big on Facebook.

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!