How can one be vegan AND crossfit? Follow my journey as I merge two worlds into one....

Vegans are weak and/or fat

Today while I was researching "vegan + crossfit", I came across a forum on that was upsetting. Someone posted this question...

"I have been on a vegan diet for a couple of months now and was wondering how that would mesh with crossfit?"

Most of the responses were ignorant, uneducated and some actually disrespectful:

"You’ll never be able to do a pull up."

"...meat will best facilitate adaptation to the CrossFit stimulus (and any of the other of life’s stimuli for that matter)."

" is very difficult to get the amount of protein necessary to support CrossFit on a vegan diet. It can be done, its just harder and generally more tiresome."

"Marla Singer was a ten year Vegan who started at our gym...she wanted to do pull ups. I told her that there was only one thing everyone that could do pull ups had in common in our gym. Tall people, short people, skinny people, muscular people…..they all ate meat. "

" I have yet to see a committed vegan who isn’t weak and/or fat." <----Don't get me started on this one

etc. etc. etc,

I started at Crossfit Newton at the end of October, although I've only been vegan for the past 30 days, I've been vegetarian for 3+ years, and I have seen amazing progress since I started. In just 3 months I have:

- lost 3.42% body fat
- gained 5.2 lbs lean body mass
- lost 6.2 lbs of fat
- Gone from black banded pull-ups to band-free kipping pull-ups (I just did 7 in a row this past weekend!)
- 1RM deadlift has increased from 185# to 215#
- 1RM front squat has increased from 135# to 155#
- push press from #95 to #120
- power clean #85 to #125

(I've gained a ton in most areas, but my workout log is at the gym and this is all I could remember off the top of my head.)

This is why I started this blog; I want to prove that one can be vegan and be a successful crossfitter. I don't care what your diet preference is, just don't hate on mine! let me gain muscle, get stronger and improve without the criticism :) Thanks!

Tuesday's WOD

10 rounds

10 calorie row

10 box jumps@24/20

10 banded kbs (35# with small blue band)

10 burpees

This was hands down the hardest WOD I've done since I started crossfit back in October. 3 rounds in I thought there was no way in hell I was going to finish! My mindset was very negative, I was miserable. Then I realized I could kind of catch my breath during the row, so I used that as my motivation..."After these burpees, I get a little break". And of course, the burpees were the worst part, so I broke it down into 5's, never resting but keeping a nice steady pace. At 29:55 I had finished and collapsed on the floor, and couldn't do much for the next 5-7 minutes! The rest of the day I felt great, and I continue to look back at that workout and praise myself for completing it.

(The first number is calories the second number is grams of protein)

Vega Sport 120/26
Small bowl cereal 180/6
almond milk 60/1

Soba noodles 435/16.5

2 cups black beans beans + spices 454/30
1/2 avocado 161/2
24 tortilla chips chips 280/4

Apple 100
Luna bar 180/9
Bag of lay's baked potato chips 130/2

Ezekiel tortilla 150/6
BBQ sauce 20
Seitan 120/21
1/2 avocado 161/2

Smoothie (1 banana, 3/4cp OJ, 5 strawberries, kale)-250 cals

2800 cals
125 grams protein

I ate a lot today! WAY too many calories. BUT a ton of protein...on a vegan diet? no way! well, yes way. If you're a clean, healthy vegan, you can most definitely get all the protein you need. But I could have passed up the tortilla chips and potato chips to bring it down to 2390 calories. The WOD was long and rough, I probably burned a lot of calories, so 2400 calories is decent.

Kipping Pull-ups = rips

Ouch. Look what I did this weekend! I did 7 kipping pull-ups in a row, I was quite proud of myself. I came down off the bar, and found this bad-boy staring up at me. It was my first one, and I was stoked; I was walking around the gym showing people...and then I washed my hands and wished I could take all that gloating back.
I signed up for a competition in New Hampshire on April 13th, along with a few other girls from CFN. It will be my second comp., and I feel a lot better about this one. I have been putting a lot of extra time in at the gym, and my coach invited me to do competitor WODs now! I did my first one this morning with Joel and Dan:

1. Clean and Jerk
6 min to establish your heaviest 2    (115#)
once you put your hands on the bar you have 14 seconds to complete 2 reps
2. Front Squat
heaviest 1 for the day  (155#)
3. AMRAP 12 or complete 1 round
50 thrusters@95/65  (55#)
75 dbl-unders  *I can only do 3-5 consecutive DUs, so coach had me do singles every-other and still count them 
40 chest to bar or regular pull-ups 
*I was able to complete 30 before the 12 minutes were up. My hand was taped due to the rip, and the tape was getting in the way! Near the end I was only doing 1 at a time. 

My diet wasn't fantastic this weekend. Of course I did not consume any animal products, but I didn't eat a lot! I hadn't prepared full meals since last weekend, so I was surviving on Amy's brand products- which are delicious, don't get me wrong...but not my best option. On Saturday I had crossfit in the morning and for lunch I had an Amy's burrito and Amy's soup. Then i went out drinking with friend's and all I ate were sweet potato fries from a bar! Needless to say, I was starving the next morning (and the hangover didn't help). Thank goodness Matt went shopping yesterday so I made potatoes, beans and rice last night. I'll do kale and fruit smoothies this week to get my veggies in. It's strange, I'm vegan, yet I hardly eat vegetables. What's up with that??

I have been testing out vegan protein powders, this morning I had Vega Sport Performance Protein in vanilla.  It wasn't too bad compared to others that I've tried. It's more expensive than the others but I only do protein shakes every-other-day, so it's worth it.

Rope-climbs...a success!

This morning's workout:

L-sits - accumulate 2 minutes
I can't kick my legs out yet, just have my knees up. 


kbs 35#
double unders

9min 55 sec

The scaling for double unders was jumping over a bar with 10lb plates, side-to-side.  

After the WOD I worked on banded HSPU and rope climbs. My first time working on rope climbs, and I got them! I'm currently going with the wrap method; I find it easier to hold and Annie Thorisdottir uses this method, and she's a beast.

Also, did I mention I got new shoes? I was using regular running shoes, but I picked up some cute New Balance Minimus from City Sports this weekend. I was running around the store in them, and was so excited I couldn't speak properly.

They're very light, with thin soles. They have worked out great so far. 

Due to the type of food I'm eating, I get hungry pretty quickly so I always have snacks on hand. On my way from the gym to work this morning, I contemplated how much I actually eat in any given day. So I'm tracking my food for the next couple days, including calories and grams of protein. 

-one crunchy rice roll from trader joes (45cals, 1g protein) + 1 tbs peanut butter (95cals, 4g protein)
-2 cups Barbara's Shredded Spoonfulls (320 cals, 10.7g protein) ) + 1/2 cup almond milk (30 cals, .5g protein)

-24 brown rice crackers (180 cals, 6g protein), 6 tbs hummus (135cals, 3g protein)

- Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (175 cals, 1.5g protein. 
- sweet potato fries (500 cals, 5g protein), ketchup (60 cals)

-apple (116cals), 1tbs peanut butter (95cals, 4g protein)

- Amy's gluten free, dairy free burrito (240 cals, 7g protein), 1/4 avocado (80cals, 1g protein)

Overall: 2071 calories, 43.7g protein. 

So many avos

I couldn't wait to write about the yummy animal-friendly dinner I scarfed down...

Ezekiel Sprouted Grain Tortillas (Gluten Free!), tons of avocado, tomato and the beans and rice dish I made in my crockpot this weekend... here's the recipe for the beans and rice

And now time to get ready for bed, and it's just after 8 (what?!). Yep. You got it. I wake up 4:30am so I can crossfit at 5:30. You might be thinking, "she's just one of those crazy early morning people", well I guess I am now, but I didn't used to be, I swear. I would snooze the crap out of my alarm and get out of bed at the very last moment and rush to work. But after 2 weeks of going to the 5:30am class my body adapted and now it's no big thing. Weird.

Brussels Sprouts and "Mooning the Sky"

23 days on a plant-based diet and I'm feeling great! I may have mentioned in my first post that I gave veganism a chance back in 2011 and it lasted a good 8 months. The most difficult aspect for me was allowing myself the time to prepare vegan meals. It's very time consuming! So this second time around I promised myself more time in the kitchen. The past few weekends I have dedicated a couple hours to cooking meals for the week ahead, and it seems to work out well. This weekend I made baked potatoes and brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt and fresh rosemary (YUM!).


I just recently got a crock-pot thanks to a holiday yankee swap. And I love it! It's so easy to use, and saves me a lot of time. I've only made one recipe with it so far, beans and rice. But man is it delicious. I'm scared to try something new because this is so yummy and delicious. So those were the two recipes I prepped this weekend. Last night I toasted raw pecans, pumpkin seeds and cashews- for an easy, light snack at home. I usually keep cereal and almond milk at work for my breakfasts and I always bring 2 pieces of fruit and other snacks to keep me satisfied (rice cakes and peanut butter, rice crackers and hummus, trail mix etc). 

Enough about food, lets move on to crossfit! I competed in my first crossfit competition a few weeks ago in Acton, Ma. For only doing crossfit for 3 months, I did pretty well; 14th out of 30.  Here a couple pictures from my competition...
(95# clean, at the competition I couldn't get 2 115# in a row and now I can do 2 reps at 120# YAY)

Since then I've decided to up my game and up my workouts; I'm still doing 5 WODs per week, but I'm supplementing it with extra lifts and skills practice. 

This is the weekly sheet I'm using to keep track of the skills and olympic lifts I plan to work on each week.
I had a really challenging time with power cleans during the competition because I wasnt dropping underneath it, so I'm working on squat cleans every week. I'm also doing back squats or front squats every week. Every other week I'll work on three lifts from the list below. I try to work on 2-3 skills everyday.  


1x5 60%  (65#)
1x5 65%   (70#)
1x5 70%   (75#)

3 rounds
20 kbs @ 35#
20 wall balls (rnd 1-13#, rnd 2/3-10#)
20 burpees

The WOD was rough, especially since I was only competing against my boyfriend Matt, who is a personal trainer and super awesome at everything. He finished in 8:39 and I finished in 11:54. 


Today was an easy day. Crossfit Newton is 25 minutes from where I live (I work in Newton but live in Somerville). Since I had the day off I worked out with Matt at his gym, Cambridge Athletic Club. 
This is one of my favorite stretches..."Moon the sky"

Squat Cleans: 
1x10 @ 60% 75#
1x8 @ 65% 80#
1x6 @ 75% 90#
1x4 @ 85% 100#

PR 215#

100 Sit-ups and Sprints

1. Hang Power Cleans
10x10x10x10 (80/85/95/95)
 I didn't think I could do 10 unbroken at such a high weight! Michelle told me to get underneath it more "you're so straight! You're doing straight muscle-ups, try getting under the bar". And it worked, thanks Michelle!

2. 5x300m row
3. 3x2 min plank. These sucked. Don't like. 


Back squat
2x2 80-95% 1 RM
PR 165# (and I did two in a row!)

2 person teams
100 push-press 65# (50 each)
100 front squat 65# (50 each)
100 burpees (50 each)

Ken and I were partners. This was a hard one! well I guess they're all hard. During the squats i was grunting a lot lol. But the burpees were killer. 

Skills: push-ups, sit-ups and ab work with Grayson. 


The Beginning

It's strange being the only vegan in a sea of paleo-driven crossfitters. When they learn of my "veganness" they give me this look --------->
and continue to ask the questions and make the comments that I have heard a thousand times...

1. Where do you get your protein?
2. But meat is so delicious!
3. what's wrong with eating meat?
4. Where do you get your vitamin D?
5. I could never give up cheese. 
6. Can you eat seafood?
7. Why can't you eat eggs?

etc. etc. etc

Guess what??

1. I get plenty of protein from legumes(beans), quinoa, nuts, seeds and occasionally from soy or seitan. This country is obsessed with the idea that we need massive amounts of protein, and it's just not true. I received my BS in Clinical Nutrition from UC Davis, and have done all the research necessary to contest that we do not need as much protein as websites and books say we do (especially sources that inform weightlifters and athletes that they need abundant amounts of protein), it's unhealthy! It's protein overload!

2. Meat is only delicious when you flavor it. Salt, horseradish, ketchup, name it. No one eats meat on its own. I just take those delicious flavors put them on plant-based stuff instead!

3. I usually don't respond to this question, most people get offended with my answer. But if they insist...I don't eat meat, because eating meat is eating animals! It's killing innocent, beautiful creatures who just want to be alive. I would feel too guilty, and honestly after avoiding meat for over 3 years I think I would vomit if I tried eating it again.

4. I get my Vitamin D (and plenty of it!) from leafy greens and sweet potatoes.

5. Cheese. This was an especially hard one to give up for me. And I guess this is where I can fit in my diet history. (You might not enjoy reading my answer, FYI). I became vegetarian in November 2009 and had one weak moment in June 2010 where I consumed meat. After reading Skinny Bitch, by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin,  and subscribing to VegNews Magazine, I decided to become vegan in February 2011. My first attempt at veganism lasted 8 months. I continued to be vegetarian throughout 2012 but starting this past December, I couldn't shake the guilt of eating dairy and eggs. So my new years resolution for 2013 was to exclude dairy and eggs from my diet. And I am 18 days strong (lol). This second vegan attempt is SOOO much easier, why you ask? Because every time I think I might want to eat cheese, I picture the mother cow and her baby calf who are ripped apart just moments after she gives birth. I picture the male baby cows, and their short lives on veal farms, encased in boxes in order to preserve their delicate flesh and muscle. And then I remember that by consuming milk I am contributing to the veal industry and therefore I am contributing to the deaths of millions of babies. Consuming milk = killing babies (that's literally what I say in my head when I'm tempted to eat cheese).

6. Nope. eating fish is eating fish meat. I don't eat meat.

7. Another answer people don't like to hear. Why are chickens farmed? For their meat and their eggs. Only female chickens lay eggs, and only female chickens are farmed for meat. So what happens to all the male chicks after they hatch? They get thrown away. Not kidding. Google it. Eating eggs = killing babies.

I apologize if it sounds like I'm ranting, I'm not, I only want to answer any questions you might be having - probably some of these! the rest of my posts will be on my adventures as a vegan crossfitter :) How I fuel myself for 5+ days of exercise and what I fuel myself with!