Name: Laura Kline
Year of Birth: 1977
Birthplace: Reading, PA
Current Residence: Quarryville, PA
Sports: Triathlon, Duathlon, Running
Most recent achievement: 2012 Duathlon World Champion
Web site: www.laurajkline.com
Tell us a little about yourself, what you do for a living, what hobbies / interests / passions you have
I work full time and when I’m not working, I’m training! Running, biking, swimming and strength training are my hobbies. I also love to travel, and racing has provided awesome opportunities to travel not only domestically, but around the world. Besides being active, nutrition is a passion of mine.
Why did you become vegan?
I started out as a vegetarian at the age of 24, and immediately felt improvements. 4 years later I read the book Skinny Bitch, which confirmed for me that dairy does not have a place in the human diet, so I cut that out as well. Best decision I ever made! I wanted to feel my best, and also perform at my highest potential, and switching to a plant-based diet is allowing me to achieve this. Brendan Brazier’s Thrive books have been my main source of plant-based diet information for the endurance athlete.
When and why did you become interested in fitness?
I have been into sports since I was child, and have always been active in some form. After moving to CA in 2001 I caught the running bug and my love of endurance sports has blossomed from there.
How would you describe your nutrition program?
Avoid processed foods whenever possible. Eating foods in their natural form gives you the purest form of energy. As an athlete you need your body to have the best fuel at ALL times. Eating well during down times is just as, if not more, important than what you eat right before a race or key workout. We put our bodies through a lot, and in order to recover properly we need to feed it the best fuel. I also follow a gluten-free diet.
How would you describe your training program?
I train 7 days a week. I don’t train each sport every day, and my workouts are spaced out in such a way as to allow for proper recovery. Every workout has a purpose, which makes them fun and exciting.
What kind of supplements do you use if any, and why?
I take a few vitamins daily to ensure that I am getting everything I need. Vitamin D, calcium, B-12, C, and iron once or twice a month. I use Vega Sport products for training and racing.
How do people react when they find out you are vegan?
Some people are shocked that I can perform so well on a vegan diet. But as more top athletes are turning to plant-based diets, it is becoming more acceptable. I definitely see a lot more interest in the vegan diet.
What are some common misconceptions about veganism?
1) you aren’t getting enough protein, 2) your diet must be bland, and you eat cardboard/grass/bird seed, etc., 3) all you eat is tofu (I actually avoid tofu), and 4) you must be tired and weak from not eating animal protein
Have you had success in promoting veganism / vegetarianism to others? If so, how did you go about it?
Yes. I’ve had many athletes ask me about my diet and I am open to share whatever they want to know. Providing information and resources is the best way to guide others. I don’t preach, I don’t force it on anyone – I just give them information and share how it has worked for me. I love when I receive feedback from them after they’ve made changes and notice positive results.
What do you think the most important aspect of training is?
I don’t think there is just one – it’s a combination of smart planning, consistency, nutrition and recovery. If you ignore any one of these, you will have a hard time achieving success.
What do you like best about being vegan?
High energy levels, I’m rarely ever sick, and I’m showing compassion not only to animals, but to our planet.
What do you like best about being fit?
High energy levels, I’m rarely ever sick, and I feel limitless!
What advice do you have for people who are just starting out with training?
Do your research, don’t be afraid to ask others for advice, and take it slow. It’s great when people are passionate about training and just want to dive right in. However if they don’t do things properly it can lead to injury and/or burnout, and can turn them away from the activity for good. Don’t be afraid to let results come slowly – they WILL come.
What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming vegan?
Don’t feel like a vegan diet is limiting. As the vegan diet becomes more main stream, there are plenty of options to suit everyone. And it’s not all about the “fake meats” and tofu – you will find that preparing your own plant-based meals is highly satisfying. There is a tremendous amount of information on the web – from tips and menu planning to recipes. And again, don’t be afraid to ask others for advice. If you are afraid to go cold turkey, start incorporating “vegan days” into your week. You will surely notice a difference in your mood an energy level, and pretty soon you will start to crave your plant-based meals and turn your nose up at the energy-sapping meat and dairy meals.
What motivates you in life?
I am motivated by the barriers we encounter, and how we get past them. Sometimes you think you can’t do something, and then you push yourself – test your limits – and you succeed. It’s a wonderful feeling. Overcoming my own personal barriers motivates me, but so does seeing others overcoming theirs. I am inspired by others who face challenges with the right attitude, believe in themselves, and then succeed.
What do you think of veganbodybuilding.com? Has it helped or inspired you?
The site is an outstanding resource – from articles about nutrition & training, to the products that are available and where to find them. I also love the profiles – this site shows just how many people, from various areas of fitness, are excelling on a plant-based diet.