Being a long distance runner myself, I’ve been a big fan of Australian ultra-marathon runner Vlad Ixel for a while as are many of my running friends. Some are even lucky enough to have had the opportunity to run and train with him in Perth. Vlad has won so many races and loves to walk (or run!) his talk and show people how fit and active you can be on a healthy, vegan diet. I hope he really inspires you.
How long have you been vegan?
I have been vegan for 4 years now.
What made you decide to become vegan?
I wanted to recover faster from runs and after doing some research I came across a plant based diet. I thought after eating animal products every single day for 25 years I could give a vegan diet a try for two weeks and if I didn’t feel better I would go back to my old diet. That 2 week trial has been going for 4 years and now that I know there is a lot more to a vegan diet than just my own good I will never go back to eating or using any animal products.
What differences have you noticed with your training or lifestyle?
Training wise, I would recover much faster and could train harder the next day, which has made a big difference to my running and my results.
Lifestyle wise everything has improved from my sleep to energy levels to smelling less and having healthier skin. Even if it wasn’t just about the animals going on a plant based diet has so many benefits that I’m surprised that half of the world is not vegan to tell you the truth.
Tell us about your chosen sport and training. What does it involve?
I’m an ultra marathon runner and I race any distance from 5k to 100k on road or trails. My training involves a minimum of about a half marathon every single day. I also do yoga and strength work every single day.
How often do you train?
Seven days a week, about 4-6 hours a day.
Tell us about some of your achievements to date?
I’m ranked 25th in the world in ultra trail running, I have won 42 races in the past 3 years.
How do family and friends react to your vegan lifestyle?
My family owns and runs one of the best restaurants in Perth; I grew up with my dad being one of the best chefs in Australia so most of my meals were really good and when I went vegan my parents thought it would last for 2-3 weeks and I would go back but I never looked back and they now see that my vegan life style has changed my life for the better and are really happy for me. With the changes I made I can see how my family has made small changes in their diets which is the step in the right direction.
I’m lucky as my girlfriend is vegan too and that makes things a lot easier when we go out for food or eat at home.
How do you promote your vegan lifestyle?
I don’t really promote it; I feel by running and winning a lot of races people might question their diets and give a vegan diet a try. I feel when someone makes the change to a vegan diet it has to come from their own will rather forcing the change on him or her.
What do you eat in a typical day?
I would start the day with a lot of fruit and have a big raw salad for lunch; for dinner I would have something heavier like curry, beans, rice, sweet potato, vegan burgers, etc.
What is your favourite food or recipe?
I would have to say hummus and bananas
Do you take any supplements?
I take zinc and magnesium every night before I go to sleep
What advice would you give to people thinking of going vegan?
Start taking out animal products from your daily diet and start replacing them with healthy fruits and vegetables you will feel much better and you will start craving healthy foods. Also surround your self with healthy foods and similar minded people; it will make the transmission much easier.
What events or other exciting things do you have planned in the next 12 months?
I will represent Australia in the world trail running championships hopefully again in Italy and hope to run my first 100 miler race as well.
What do you do outside of your sport/training for fun?
I don’t really have much time for anything other than work and training; luckily I enjoy running and that is my hobby.
Who are your biggest motivators in life?
The runners who have full time jobs and families but still find time to train for crazy 100 km races and finish those races without the best training but with amazing will power.
If you would like to follow Vlad on social media head on over to the following links:
Thank you so much Vlad. There’s only a few more weeks of the Fitness Friday vegan athlete series left so keep following for some more inspiring athletes.