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Race Fueling

How I Fuel: The Veggie Ironman

Colon cancer made all-American age-grouper Andrew Kalley go vegetarian. Now he’s more energized than ever.

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Colon cancer made all-American age-grouper Andrew Kalley go vegetarian. Now he’s more energized than ever.  

Location
New York, N.Y. 

Occupation
Triathlon coach and personal trainer 

Standout Results
Four-time member of Team USA (2013–2016); finished 12th at the 2015 USAT Age Group National Championships in Milwaukee, Wis.—five weeks after a chemo treatment 

Backstory
Andrew Kalley is less than two years removed from a devastating colon cancer diagnosis, surgery and chemo treatments. But that hasn’t stopped the 33-year-old from completing 2016 Ironman Lake Placid and winning the South Beach Classic Triathlon last April. Now cancer-free, Kalley is also a newly minted vegetarian. “After treatment, I wanted to limit the possibility of this ever happening again,” Kalley says. Citing a link between animal proteins and cancer, Kalley cut out fish, chicken and meat. “I noticed the differences immediately,” he says. “I recover faster from workouts, have more energy and feel lighter.”

“The night before a race, I’ll have a roasted beet salad, since beets improve aerobic capacity.* And then I’ll order a bunch of sides—sweet potatoes for protein and anything green and nutrient-dense.”

*Research on the endurance-enhancing benefits of beets is currently equivocal.

“My custom breakfast before each race? One packet of gluten-free oatmeal, one scoop of raw vegan protein, one tablespoon of almond butter, one teaspoon of chia seeds and one teaspoon of hemp seeds. It sits really well and provides enough calories and nutrients to support the demand of my races.”

“It could be all in my head, but I have always performed better on races when I have avoided gluten and dairy four to six weeks before a major race.”

“I always start race day with a strong cup of coffee and a bottle of Skratch Labs Matcha Green Tea or Hammer Perpetuem Caffe Latte. Both are not too sweet and very light on my stomach.”

“Living in New York, take-out is so convenient. But my racing results have proven to be better when I cook at home, even though it takes work. My go-to is roasted veggies with a kale salad or rice, and beans for protein.”