On the 12th of November I completed an Olympic-distance triathlon carrying a 100-lbs tree on the island of Nevis. A strange way to spend a Saturday I know, but the reason for my newly invented sport was to bring global attention to the island’s pioneering advancements in green energy whilst at the same time proving the power of plant-based diets and vegan snacks.
Why the latter you may be thinking? Well, all because in 2010 research published by the American College of Sports Medicine states that plant-based, “Diets high in unrefined plant foods are associated with beneficial effects on overall health, lifespan, immune function and cardiovascular health.” But also that “Whether a vegan diet is beneficial for athletic performance has not yet been defined.”
It’s my hope my newly invented sport (the Tree-athlon) helps “define” these potential benefits.
Vegan Calories: Fueling the World’s First Tree-Athlon
How many calories did I burn on the day?
This was hard to calculate, but let me talk you through the theory. An Olympic-distance triathlon consists of a 1.5km swim, a 40km bike ride and finally a 10km run. If you complete that in the average 3 hours and 9 minutes you might burn between 1,960 calories (for smaller triathletes) and 3,000 calories (for larger triathletes). But then there’s me and my tree. When you add a 100lb log (45kg) to my 210lb (95kg), 5ft-9 frame it means I will be standing on the start line weighing 310lb (140kg). Not so bad when the log floats, but the run and bike will be lot less fun.
In summary, when looking at my calorie requirements for the day I am most definitely a heavyweight triathlete.
This is because research has shown that it doesn’t matter if you’re cycling, swimming, running or crawling, the moment you had weight (and therefore resistance) your energy (calorie) demands become elevated. All based on research from the Chaim Sheba Medical Center who found additional weight immediately effects your, “locomotion biomechanics” — this is basically your biomechanics and technique — which in turn can lead to a, “significant increase in energy (calorie) cost over time.”
This is also research that’s supported by studies published by the European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology who wanted to determine the impact carrying 10kg, 20kg and 30kg of weighted resistance would have on a person’s cardiorespiratory system (lungs and heart). After measuring heart rate, oxygen uptake and pulmonary ventilation they found, “Each kilogram of extra weight increases oxygen uptake with 33.5 ml/min, heart rate with 1.1 beats/min and pulmonary ventilation with 0.6 l/min.” In summary (and all things considered), what this means is my final caloric expenditure could be anywhere between 6,000 and 10,000.
Homemade Vegan Granola
Homemade granola could be a vegan athlete’s best friend. High in healthy fats and nutrient- dense carbohydrates, many a race can be fueled by a bowl of this simple yet indulgent pre-race snack. How do I know this? Because it fueled every mile of my Tree-athlon.
- 1 cup oats
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 1/2 sliced Brazil nuts
- 1 tbsp. peanut butter and chia seeds
- 1 tbsp. hemp oil
- 4 tbsp. brown rice syrup (optional but tastes great)
- 1 sliced pomegranate
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 100ml coconut milk
How to Make:
- Heat oven to 150C/ fan 130C/ gas 2
- Mix oats, almonds, brazil nuts, peanut butter, chia and brown rice syrup in a bowl
- Tip the mix onto a baking tray and spread evenly
- Bake for 10 minutes
- Remove and scrape onto a flat tray to cool
- Whilst cooling, slice the pomegranate and blueberries
- Then add all ingredients into a bowl and serve with ice cold coconut milk
- Grab a spoon and enjoy.