I’ve been a fan of No Meat Athlete for some time now and am ecstatic to bring this interview to you. For years, Matt has been at the forefront of a movement, a plant based athlete movement including such names as Scott Jurek, Brendan Brazier and Rich Roll. From his humble beginning as a blogger, to a pod-caster and now an author, Matt has helped bring a plant based lifestyle into the limelight when it comes to endurance events, and more importantly, health. I recently had the opportunity to read and review his book, you can check it out here.
I’ve been at many races recently, including the 2015 Cape Cod Ragnar Relay, and I’ve seen more and more people wearing “No Meat Athlete” shirts. His message is getting out there further each day, and I’m happy to share his story with you.
VCG: I appreciate the opportunity to chat with you here, Matt. For the readers that are unaware, give us a brief history on No Meat Athlete.
NMA: I started No Meat Athlete back in 2009, really just as a way to document my own experiment of going vegetarian while trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon. The first six months were just me writing about my meals and workouts, but in that time I built a following of people who were interested in the story. So I started making t-shirts with the name and logo on them, and that was really the beginning of it turning into something much bigger than me. Within two years this little blog became a full-time job, and I went further with it, going vegan and getting into ultrarunning. Since then I’ve published a book and started a bunch of No Meat Athlete groups around the world … it’s become my life!
VCG: When you made your transition to a veggie/ plant based diet were you a runner at that point too, or did you start when you made the transition?
NMA: I had been running for six years or so, and in the process had essentially become obsessed with the goal of qualifying for Boston. My first marathon took me 4 hours and 53 minutes, and my Boston-qualifying time was 3:10, so I had 103 minutes to cut down! And over those six years I had gotten down to 3:20 or so, but those last 10 minutes seemed like an eternity at that point; I had no idea where they would come from. That’s part of the reason I was willing to try a plant-based diet — I didn’t think I’d get to Boston on my current trajectory. So I took a chance on eating the way I felt that I should, and it turned out to work really well: six months later, I ran a 3:09:59 and got in to Boston.