We recently had a chat with Adam Saez, Fitness Coach and Business Owner of Plant Power Academy, about his lifestyle, thoughts on veganism, and eating plant-based. Our interview covered a whole range of questions, so this is only part one. Keep an eye out for part two!
CRAVE: How long have you been on a plant based diet?
ADAM: I guess to give a little more context, back in 2016 I was kind of questioning myself with the whole environmental aspect of going vegan. I decided to go vegetarian, which actually made my health worse; by replacing meat with loads of dairy and eggs. So, my performance suffered and I had skin issues. About two months into that I realised the logical conclusion of what I was trying to accomplish was going vegan. So around August 2016, I decided to go vegan. Whichever way you look at it, that’s the same as going plant based I guess. I also did it as a trial for about a month, and after that I didn't see any reason to go back.
CRAVE: Okay, so initially it was just meant to be a month?
ADAM: Yeah! As a fitness coach, I was trying to, instead of just saying things, put a lot of things into action. So, I did crazy things like the pizza diet, junk food diet- all these diets to prove a point. For example, with the junk food diet, I was eating lots of junk food and still managed to lose 4 kilos. I did one for vegetarianism, and when I did one for veganism I understood the moral and ethical aspects- I couldn’t justify going back to eating meat, dairy and eggs to myself, so I ended up sticking with it.
CRAVE: What has been your biggest health challenge and how did you overcome it?
ADAM: I don’t have any kind of major health challenges. Growing up I had asthma, very bad asthma, I don’t think it’s necessarily correlated with animal products. However, upon going vegan, I managed to keep the same kind of muscular strength and size, if not bigger, because I was able to reduce inflammation. To me, one big difference that I had was my cardiovascular health. When I was walking up stairs and stuff- I wasn’t as ‘huffed and puffed’ as when I was eating animal based products. And again, this could be a complete personal bias- I just noticed I was able to endure training sessions a lot longer. I was able to do more cardio; going out for a bike ride with friends, going for a walk. It allowed me to focus on training even harder; putting more weight on the bar, putting more endurance, pushing my limits a little bit further.
CRAVE: How do you balance a healthy lifestyle and fun nights out?
ADAM: That’s a good question, I think it’s so important that people understand that, regardless of what sort of lifestyle you have, it’s important to have aspects that you enjoy incorporated into it. I’m a huge fan of the 80/20 principle, which can be quite a vague term; it can be interpreted in whichever way you want. If I was to use it in a fitness example- if I tracked 80% of my calories and I had wholesome whole foods, with plenty of fibre, vitamins and minerals and I made up 80% of that. Those 20%, I can have what I call flexible calories, meaning I can do whatever I want. It allows me to have my cake, and eat it too! It also allows me to still stay within reason- so if I have 20% of my calories as 400 calories, I’m not going to smash a whole pizza, I can determine it’s probably 3 or 4 slices, and I can have that and not feel bad about it.
If I apply that same logic and principle to all aspects of my life, generally for most people it’s a work week. Monday to Friday, you’re focusing on doing the things you need to do to make an income, and then you’re able to use your weekends to do the things that you like and you appreciate. That, in my opinion, is what everyone should be doing. The problem is, people try to cram those 5 days of hard work into those 2 days by over-drinking, over-eating, undoing all the hard work they’ve done Monday to Friday. It’s important to have some form of understanding of what you’re doing- whether that means counting calories, knowing how much you’re drinking or spending. It all kind of links in together. So, I guess the short answer is, I do 80% of what I need to do so that I can have 20% of what I want to do.
CRAVE: What does a typical weekend look like for you?
ADAM: At the moment, I’m doing a lot of work. Despite just mentioning the 80/20 principle, I acknowledge that there are time periods where I can sacrifice my weekends to have more time in the future- which is kind of what I’m going through now. Through the week I’m running my business, and at the weekend I’m helping my girlfriend’s family with their work. This means that in October we can leave for Bali and start running our business from there and having our weekends free. The best way to call it is having new adventures, we’re not big fans of doing the same thing over and over- we prefer to visit new places. We just got back from Amsterdam, so we rode bikes, had lots of food, and enjoyed the sun. My girlfriend had never been before so it was good to try something new, for her.
CRAVE: I think the values of Crave do coincide with your lifestyle, what do you think?
ADAM: I think Crave’s work really ties into what we do; a lot of people think that I only eat healthy food or only do certain things, but that’s not the point. I can still enjoy the process, and Crave is a really good alternative to other energy drinks, so why can’t I have these things? The best athletes and most successful people are the ones who haven’t given up everything- they’ve found a good system and found the right balance for them and have stayed consistent with it. Just as I say about nutrition and training, the best plan is the one you can stick to- and I apply that same logic to every aspect of my life.
Talking to Adam got us thinking about how we can have the lifestyle we want, as well as the lifestyle we need. Keep an eye out for part two of our interview with Adam, for more lifestyle tips and thoughts on veganism and plant-based life!