Name: Mary Stella Stabinsky
Weight: 135 - 140
Birthplace: Philadelphia, PA
Current Residence: Wilkes-Barre, PA
Sports: Running, Cycling, Swimming, Duathlon, Triathlon, Crossfit, Previously – Martial Arts – Karate, HapKiDo, Jeet Kune Do, Boxing, Kickboxing
Why did you become vegan?
Originally for health reasons, I turned vegan. I had high cholesterol for years and starting getting high blood pressure. Everything I read said a plant based diet was the way to go and it was for me. I saw dramatic changes in my health and also my athletic performance. As I was vegan longer I got more into the other aspects of it. I believe it is the correct decision for the earth and animal life.
When and why did you become interested in fitness?
I ran and swam at a young age. I participated in Track and Cross-Country as well as road races when I was in school. I’ve always found it fun and enjoyed working out. You always feel great after a good workout. It also improves your quality of life. I feel many people have become too inactive and it leads to a myriad of unnecessary health issues.
How would you describe your nutrition program?
Plenty of water. I try to keep my protein intake high enough to recover from my workouts. I keep the sources varied from tofu, tempeh, lentils, beans, etc. I try to keep my carbs and fats balanced and from natural sources instead of refined products. I change it according to how I am feeling and what workouts I am completing. I am also a big fan of VEGA products and use them regularly.
How would you describe your training program?
I train using Crossfit and Crossfit Endurance as I am a certified trainer in both. I do five to six days a week of both a Crossfit Workout (CF) and also a Crossfit Endurance (CFE) workout. I split the CFE workouts amoung swimming, biking and running. Usually 2, sometimes 3 of each a week. They would include intervals, Time trials, Tempo work, Hill climbs, as well as weighted workouts. Crossfit workouts typically include strength and metabolic conditioning, varying from named workouts to AMRAPS (as many rounds as possible in a set time) to a task to be completed. I also commute on my bike when possible. You can sneak fitness into your day just by riding or walking when possible. It is also better for the environment.
What kind of supplements do you use if any, and why?
I use VEGA Whole Food Optimizer everyday mixed with coconut water (for electrolytes). I normally have it for breakfast and find it a quick and easy way to start the day and have all of your nutritional bases covered. I also will use VEGA Sport Performance Protein when I have days where I feel I need the extra protein and don’t have the opportunity to get it directly from food.
What are some common misconceptions about veganism?
The biggest misconception is probably that vegans can not be good athletes because the diet doesn’t support the necessary training regimen and recovery. It is totally not true and I have seen better athletic performance since adopting a vegan diet. Another misconception is that people adopt a vegan diet for animal rights issues only. I feel like the health benefits and environmental issues do not usually come to mind first for people. Mostly because people see it as a diet of deprivation but I see it as when you feel this good you really don’t want to eat things that are going to make you feel bad.
What do you think the most important aspect of fitness is?
Consistency. If you keep working on something, you will improve. I also think keeping a training log is important so you can see your progress. I personally like to track diet and rest/recovery also so you can relate it to your performance. The log can be private or public. I encourage vegans to keep a public log as an everyday activism. Public also allows for feedback.
What do you like best about being vegan?
How good it feels! More Energy, better performance, enhanced quality of life, less health problems, quicker recovery.
What do you like best about being fit?
It feels fantastic to push your body hard and enjoy your gains. Everyday life is easier and you can accomplish so much more in your day. It allows you to make the most of your time, every day.
What are your strengths as an athlete?
Discipline, Determination and Dedication. I feel I consistently do the work because I love doing it and putting my best effort into it. If you always try your hardest you can never be unhappy with your results because you gave it what you had.
What advice do you have for vegan athletes who are just starting out?
Look for others in your discipline and study what they are doing. Learn everything you can about your sport. Seek the support and counsel of others. Get a coach or a training program. Have fun and enjoy the process.
What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming vegan?
Get some books and cookbooks and learn as much as you can. Don’t go into it without knowing what your nutritional needs are. Seek the support of other vegans who have the experience to lend you. Don’t apologize for your diet. It is your right to eat how you see fit.
What motivates you to continue to be a successful vegan athlete?
I find it enjoyable and really love to do it. It is also nice to prove to other that it can be done and encourage others to do it.
How has the website www.veganbodybuilding.com helped or inspired you?
It is a tremendous resource of knowledge and support, an online community where vegan athletes can network and foster our culture. It is also there to show non-vegans, look at all of these vegan athletes having success in their disciplines.
Is there anything else you would like to add about your vegan fitness lifestyle?
Having a vegan fitness lifestyle changes your world and therefore the world.