Interview @ Great Vegan Athletes

Melanie is an Austrian boxer who lives in the capital Vienna and competes in the 60kg weight category.
At age 14 she took up full contact karate and competed for ten years, winning numerous medals at home and internationally. In 2010 she started boxing and by 2016, with other fifty fights on her record, Melanie had competed at national and European level.
Less than two years after starting to train, Melanie won the national cup in the 64kg category. She also took 5th in Europe while competing in Poland. Two years later and boxing at 60kg, she won the Austrian national cup again before competing in a team event in Italy where she finished second. In 2015 she competed in Hungary and brought home the Gold medal, closely followed by the Silver from competing in Slovakia. As 2015 closed she won the national cup again and also ranked second in the Vienna masters. Melanie has been vegan since the early part of 2014.

“I haven’t eaten meat for a long time” she told us “but last year in spring 2014 I stopped eating fish, eggs and cheese.” The move from vegetarian to vegan was assisted by the well-known book 'The thrive Diet’ by vegan athlete Brendan Brazier.

“One of my boxing colleagues told me about Brendan Brazier’s book” explains Melanie. “I recognized myself in his story and I realized that I am holding the solution of my problems in my hands.” At the time she was suffering from health issues including skin issues and weight control.

“My performance was weak. After changing my lifestyle my coach and my colleagues have given me very positive feedback. I am full of energy, my skin and health problems are gone and I am slimmer.”

She is now very enthusiastic about eating a healthy vegan diet. “Refusing dairy products and meat is essential to having good skin, staying healthy and having a good performance. When I started boxing I had to lose weight and I tried different diets, like metabolic balance and low carb. During these 5 years. I lost weight but it was difficult and I gained it again right after losing it.

“My performance was suffering under these conditions and I had problems with my skin! I have never drunk milk but I ate dairy products, because I was advised to eat ‘more protein less carbohydrate‘. My body was refusing that treatment by showing it with pimples, sickness and bad recovery!

“Unfortunately nobody told me that dairy products cause these problems. So I decided by myself to stop eating them. Then I realized my skin also reacts when I eat meat. Thus I also stopped eating meat and fish! During that time, Brendan Brazier's book was recommended by a friend and i realized myself in his story and his explenations are very comprehensible."

Travelling presents some challenges, although not ones that have stopped Melanie from staying vegan. “When I go on vacation I usually stay in apartments where I can cook. I love buying vegetables and fruits on markets and prepare them by myself! Eating out in restaurants is difficult as well as staying in hotels at boxing events. To be prepared I take ‘roobars’ and ‘super foods to go’ like Chia seeds, Hemp powder and Cacao powder from my super food sponsor ‘Feinstoff’ with me.”

Normally food is a high proportion of raw fruits and vegetables, and her favorite fruits are Medjoul-dates. “I am also very into creating raw chocolate and pralines by myself –they are my ‘clean treats’ ”.

The clean diet helps fuel Melanie’s demanding training schedule. Most mornings she starts with endurance and strength training before leaving for her job at the Medical university in Vienna. This is usually core training, running, intervals, strength training and flexibility.

After work she trains again at the JAB-Club, where she is nicknamed ‘Vegan Wolf’. This makes a total of eight or nine workouts per week.

At 30 she still has more goals, including the European championships and World championships.


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