It’s been an incredible year for us vegan athletes. From all over the world, online and offline, athlegans have come together to grow stronger and learn from each other.
As we’re wrapping up 2019, I’d like to sit down and summarize the year – what’s been good, what we could have done better, and what we’ve got planned for 2020.
Athlegan started a little over four years ago and this is our third New Years’ summary. See the previous years for a historical account of Athlegan:
Let’s have a look at 2019!
We’re a big family
First, I want to send a huge pile of gratitude to the many amazing people who make all of this possible. From the contributors, who help write articles, and the community managers, who keep everything together, to all our coaching clients and community members.
You’re too many to thank personally but you know who you are and I hope you realize this all wouldn’t be possible if not for our joint effort.
Our team page shows some but lacks many critical key players in this endeavor. This is one of many things which I plan to remedy during next year.
The coaching team
As 2019 rolled around, I was receiving more applications for online coaching than I could handle by myself. So I started looking for talented coaches to help me build more strong vegans and help them reach their fitness goals.
Enter the Athlegan Coaching Team, which is now six coaches strong!
During 2019 we’ve helped over twenty clients, most of whom are still with us today, and that brings the total number of Athlegan alumni to close to one hundred fit vegans!
Once again, though, we’re receiving more applications than we can handle. We’ll never squeeze in clients just to make a buck, however – everyone who signs up with us will get the full focus of their coach and a completely personal coaching experience.
So that’ll be a challenge – albeit a fun one – we have to solve for 2020.
We’re more than a blog
Athlegan’s mission is to create more strong and fit vegans.
We started doing exactly that by researching scientific literature and writing articles on training and nutrition, to help our fellow athlegans navigate the sometimes confusing and contradictory world of diet and exercise.
While we continue to research and share information on vegan nutrition and exercise science, we’ve grown to be much more than just a blog. We’re also a community.
Specifically, we have a solid Facebook group and are now running annual retreats!
Last September, a dozen of us from all over Europe flew into Berlin, Germany, for a weekend filled with heavy weights, delicious food, and awesome company.
It did not disappoint!
Have a look at some of the photos from the weekend below. If you want to join us for next year’s retreat, be sure to join the Facebook group (below) and subscribe to the newsletter.
Our Facebook group started a little over a year ago with a handful of friends and clients of Athlegan. That feels like more than a decade ago now.
What began as a small gathering of online buddies grew in 2019 to be a massive gathering of vegan athletes. We are over eleven thousand (!) members today and the growth is showing no sign of slowing down. Vegan strength and fitness are on the rise.
Beyond the massive growth, we’re so happy that we’ve managed to retain the friendly atmosphere that we started with and that we’ve created a culture of people celebrating each other’s progress and lifting each other up.
That’s rare in online communities and something we’ll work very hard to keep.
We keep publishing
While we’ve broadened ourselves beyond informational articles, that’s still something we value a lot. And so does our many website visitors, it seems.
During 2019 we served almost 100’000 pages from Athlegan.com!
The most popular articles this year were as follows:
The ultimate guide to Starting Strength – This is one of, if not the, most popular strength training programs out there. If you want to grow strong, stop looking for a better program – there isn’t one.
Calculate your One Rep Max (1RM) – You can measure strength in many different ways but the king of them all is the One Repetition Max (1RM) – how much weight you can maximally lift for one full repetition.
Why creatine supplement makes you a stronger vegan – If I were to recommend one supplement for vegans who train, my choice might surprise you.
10,000 kettlebell swings that will make you stronger – I swung a kettlebell ten thousand times during the course of a few weeks. It’s awful, I wanted to quit, and here’s why I’d do it again.
What you need to know about vegan protein – It’s said that once you go vegan everyone around you suddenly turns into a nutrition expert. Never is that truer than when it comes to protein intake and never are people more uneducated.
That’s an amazing collection but the observant reader will notice that not one of the top five articles is from this year. That makes sense if you know anything about search engines and the way the Internet works, but I’d still like to keep it more current.
So, therefore, one goal for 2020 is to have two articles from the same year in the top five.
Inspirational vegan athletes
We keep finding and interviewing vegan athletes who inspire and motivate us. There are so many of them out there, performing at the highest levels, that it could easily be someone’s full-time job talking to them all!
This year we only managed to complete two interviews (with more “in the pipeline”) but I’m very happy how these turned out. Two incredibly strong and inspiring women.
Meet Jessica – a 28-year-old vegan powerlifter from Belgium. Having gone vegetarian at an early age, she's now crushing vegan stereotypes as a plant-based athlete.
Half Japanese, half American, wholly strong badass, Sahy Lalime is one impressive woman. Just home from the European Championship in powerlifting, I got the chance to talk to her about lifting heavy weights and eating plants.
Most popular on Instagram
We’re @Athlegan on Instagram and these are our most popular posts of 2019:
How much of a lens louse am I, huh?!
I love to read books, as a way to deepen my knowledge, and during 2019 I’ve gone through thousands of pages (8927, to be precise – one of my better years).
Here are some of my favourites, which I recommend you check out:
Scientific Principles of Strength Training
This is not yet another training program but a set of solid principles, which you can use to determine what strength training parameters are important and how they relate to each other. A must-read for anyone serious about improving their physique or performance.
Change Of Heart: What Psychology Can Teach Us About Spreading Social Change
This field manual highlights not only the many psychological and social obstacles to creating change – which are plentiful – but also opportunities, based on scientific research. It leaves you feeling that there is a lot of work to be done and many challenges to overcome but also armed to meet these head-on.
The Renaissance Diet 2.0: Your Scientific Guide to Fat Loss, Muscle Gain and Performance
I prefer flexible principles over rigid rules, to help me see what’s important and make informed decisions from my own circumstances. Renaissance Diet does exactly that, teaching you exactly how, when, and what to eat for improved performance and a better physique.
Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook
If you want to feel good, stay healthy, and level up your sports diet, Nancy Clark’s guidebook will show you exactly how (and why, for that matter). This nutrition bible is packed with rich information, impactful experiences, and curious tidbits.
Bring on 2020
Now, looking forward, this is what we’ve got planned for Athlegan 2020:
We’re working on two products, which I hope we can release in early 2020. One to help you grow muscle and one to help you cut fat as a vegan athlete.
We’ll soon start planning Athlegan Retreat 2020!
We’re going to expand our library with more articles on vegan nutrition and training.
As the library grows, we’re adding an introduction course to teach you how to go vegan, start training, and then how to level up your fitness from there.
We’re revamping our recipes and adding plenty of new, healthy meal ideas.
It’s going to be an epic year. Veganism will continue to grow, Athlegan will continue to grow, and together we’ll grow stronger and more fit than ever.
I hope you’ll join us!