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On any given day, Dominick Thompson can be found wearing a dozen different hats: A sustainable-clothing startup founder, plant-based nutrition and wellness company CEO, public figure, keynote speaker on animal and human rights, vegan restaurant owner, and triathlete. Though that final label doesn’t quite seem to fit in with the rest of Thompson’s brand, he says triathlon is actually a critical piece of his entrepreneurial success.
“As an entrepreneur, you have to be self-disciplined and be able to pivot and evolve with the demands of the industry you are in or creating space and concepts in,” Thompson said. “The same rules apply to being a triathlete. You have to be disciplined and assertive with your training and nutrition, and adapt to changes you experience from training to actual race day.”
Thompson took up triathlon in 2011 after moving to New York City for a job with a healthcare company. With so much going on in the city, he wanted to cover as much ground as possible and truly experience his new home. “Only New York runners know the high you get running through the concrete jungle and through the historic skyline. There’s nothing like it in the world,” he said. While exploring the streets of New York, he was drawn to the running and cycling clubs that would meet in the parks around the city every morning. He eventually managed to save up enough money to buy his first road bike, signed up for his first race–an Ironman 70.3–and never looked back.
In 2012, he began documenting his meat-free, do-no-harm lifestyle on social media in an effort to disrupt traditional images of health and wellness. His authentic approach resonated with many, and he soon found a niche as a respected voice in a space that is often associated with fad diets, junk science, and preachy aggression. That led to him starting Eat What Elephants Eat, a meal program that makes plant-based eating accessible and easy to implement for any lifestyle. That soon evolved into additional ventures, including sustainable-clothing company Crazies and Weirdos.
Sport and success go hand-in-hand for Thompson, who wakes up before the sun each day to train. The time spent in the pool, on a bike, or running his favorite routes in Atlanta, where he now lives, is a time for him to get his body and mind revved up for the never-ending to-do list that awaits at the office.
“I have a very small team so I don’t have the luxury of delegating work just so I can go ride off into the sunset,” Thompson said. “My schedule is just as demanding now as it was when I worked in corporate America.” His training schedule as an entrepreneur is almost identical to what he followed with a traditional 9-to-5 job: a morning endurance session, a lunchtime strength workout, and an evening “fun session,” which can be anything from a relaxing swim to creating dance TikToks with his nieces, and gaining tens of thousands of new followers in the process. When things get really chaotic, he relies on another lesson from triathlon–staying calm and making adjustments as needed. For him, things work best when triathlon fits into his life–not the other way around.
“This is where the discipline and the need to adapt and evolve comes into place,” Thompson said. “I compromise some things and modify training to complement a chaotic work schedule.”