I’ve followed Claire for a long time on social media and been a big fan of hers as I used to participate in kickboxing/Muay Thai years ago and was about to start competing just before we moved to Australia; I just loved it so it’s great to see another woman taking this path. Not only that but Claire is a great example of a fit, healthy, active vegan athlete who motivates others through her amazing achievements in the ring.
How long have you been vegan?
I’ve been vegan for nearly a year and a half, prior to that I was vegetarian for 7 years.
What made you decide to become vegan?
When I learnt about the atrocities occurring in the animal agricultural industry, especially through factory farming, I began to stop eating meat. I was working at a deli at the time and didn’t know how to cook for myself so it was a bit of a challenge but knew it was the right thing to do so I stuck with it. I continued to educate myself about the entire industry and discovered how cruel and unnecessary it was to eat and use animal products. I also learnt about the detrimental effects on the environment (thanks Cowspiracy) and realised going vegan was one important step to reducing my environmental impact. As my training and fighting got more serious I began to research into plant based diets for athletic performance and found out about how this diet could also speed up my recovery, help me gain lean muscle and improve my overall fitness. On top of all this my housemate at the time was vegan and her cooking was amazing so this really inspired me also. I began to learn how to cook delicious, nutritious vegan foods and grew to love cooking. With all these factors aligning, once I made the choice it was easy.
What differences have you noticed with your training or lifestyle?
I train hard, twice a day 6 days a week and I also fit in work, study and volunteering. A plant based diet has helped me maintain the energy needed for all of these. I’ve definitely put on size in the form of lean muscle and have gotten stronger in the last year. My fight style has a high work rate and this diet has really supported my fitness in the ring. Also, eating whole food plant based diet means I can eat heaps and still stay within my fight weight range. I love eating so this is a definite bonus!
Tell us about your chosen sport and training. What does it involve?
I’m a Muaythai fighter. Muaythai is the “art of 8 limbs” meaning we use 8 weapons to fight our opponents; elbows, knees, kicks and punches. It’s high contact, technical and exciting fighting. We aim to stop or KO our opponents, or at least out score them by landing strong, flush attacks.
How often do you train?
I train 6 days a week, morning and evening if I am preparing for a fight.
Tell us about some of your achievements to date?
My fight record is 17 fights, 15wins, 3 TKO’s. I currently hold the state WMC title and Australian WMC title. My next goal is the Oceania title!
How do family and friends react to your vegan lifestyle?
I feel very lucky within my circle of friends, family and work colleagues. I live in Northern Melbourne and work in what I would consider the vegan hub of Melbourne so I feel well supported in my choices. I have heaps of vegan or vego friends and those that eat meat are happy to accommodate and cook my awesome vegan food. My family was initially not supportive only because Mum wasn’t sure what she would cook me but they are fine now. Both are aware of the animal cruelty and although they eat meat are sympathetic to the cause (i.e. they only eat free range, organic). In fact there’s heaps of vego’s at my gym too, including other top fighters and the head trainer so I am in good company. I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve never been attacked for veganism; if that happens though I feel well equipped to fight back.
How do you promote your vegan lifestyle?
I like to lead by example, by being fit, strong, healthy and achieving in the ring. I feel like this puts me in a good place to promote veganism. I educate people when they ask and cook yum vegan food for people at any opportunity! I’m not aggressive in my views as I find that people get turned off by this. I use my Instagram page particularly to promote a healthy vegan lifestyle.
What do you eat in a typical day?
A typical day would start with a green smoothie with lots of fruit, protein powder and avocado or hemp seeds. I have nuts and dates for a snack or a homemade bliss ball. For lunch I’d have brown rice, mixed beans and salad. Afternoon snack would be something carby like a muesli bar, ‘Complete Cookie’ or banana. Another protein shake after training then a hot dinner like tempeh curry packed with veggies and quinoa.
What is your favourite food or recipe?
My diet is really varied, I’m up for most foods! When I’m going out for food I like Japanese, Vietnamese, Ethiopian, Indian and Lebanese. Home cooking from my housemate or mum is always a winner too.
Do you take any supplements?
I take BCAA’s, some Iron pills if I’m training hard, plus electrolytes during training.
What advice would you give to people thinking of going vegan?
Do your research. Learn about the industry from the animal welfare, environmental and health perspectives. It’s important to be educated and this will keep you motivated in the face of distractions and temptations. Learn how to eat a complete and nutritious vegan diet and practice cooking some new meals. For me I transitioned slowly as I found this to be more sustainable way to make change. Also a good idea is to link in with vegan Facebook groups or Instagram pages and get inspired by all the great vegan food, fashion and cosmetics out there. These pages can also be a great form of support and there are ones for women, for students, for blokes, for mums, athletes, beauty buffs, fashionista’s – there’s something for every-one .The Vegan Easy Challenge is a good place to start too. You are welcome to have a chat with me also if you have any questions!
What events or other exciting things do you have planned in the next 12 months?
I’m hoping to head to America next year! My goal also is to fight for the WMC (World Muaythai Council) Oceania title. There’s some strong fighters from New Zealand who I would like to match.
What do you do outside of your sport/training for fun?
I’m a bit of nerd and I love learning, about lots of things really; politics, philosophy, sport, psychology, history, sociology… I’m always reading, listening to podcasts and watching doco’s. I’m happiest being in nature, going for a run on some beautiful trails, hiking or camping. Whenever I have spare money I go travelling overseas; I love exploring new cultures and places, new foods and getting outside of my comfort zone.
Who are your biggest motivators in life?
I don’t have one idol. I suppose I look up to a lot of people for different reasons! I admire people who are fearless in their compassion and stand up for just causes. I admire people who break a mold. I’m inspired by female fighters all around the world; there is heaps of talent out there and the sport is growing so quickly for women. It’s great to be part of it.
If you would like to follow Claire on social media (very inspirational) head on over to the following links:
Facebook: Claire “Fury” Foreman
Thank you so much Claire. Keep an eye out on the blog every Fitness Friday for more vegan athletes.