Our Co-Founder Shameek, recently interviewed Kate Strong - plant-based athlete, world champion triathlete, adventurer, entrepreneur and inspiring speaker. We’re so proud to also be one of her main sponsors and breaking world records together.
“We are capable of going beyond what we dare to dream”
In this interview, Kate shares about her upcoming challenges, how she creates a positive mindset and tips for living your best life.
Introducing: The Limitless Challenge
Most people would stop at winning a world triathlon event but Kate loves pushing her limits and has created the Limitless Challenge. She’s training to become the world's first female to cycle 3000 miles across America, swim the English Channel and just in case that’s not enough, she's going to summit Mt. Everest too!
Omvits: During the 26th and 27th of May this year, you are attempting to smash three world records in 24 hours to cycle the furthest distance on a static bike in a single day. What’s inspired you to take this on?
Kate: The 1 & 12-hour record already exists. But there's no 24-hour record.
There is one for a man yet not for a female. That's why I was inspired to do it. And wouldn't it be great if a 42-year-old woman, as you said fuelled by plants, was able to break the 1-hour record and then stay on the bike for another 24 hours? And still, set two new worlds records within that?
Omvits: At the one-hour record attempt that you did in January, you made it look really easy. What is the average speed that you hold on a bike when you're going for these records?
KS: Well for 24 hours, I'm expecting around 20 or 21 miles an hour for the whole 24 hour period That’s going to be about 480 miles in total!
Omvits: In 2014, you became a World Triathlon champion. What have you been up to in the past few years since then?
KS:Well, well, well, I became a world champion for long-distance triathlons, there are five different distances from small to very big, and I was very close to the longest when you can do since then, which is what seven, eight years ago,
I sold my business in Australia, I was able to exit from my obligations there. And also, that meant I was also tied up, I was quite tied up with my ex-fiance, because he was part of the owner of the business. Once I was able to sell my business, I was also free from my obligations for that relationship. I was free. And it sounds quite crazy. But when you've achieved what I achieved my goal of being World Champion, I hadn't set myself up emotionally to manage myself living at the peak of my physical success.
I qualified for five more World Championships the year after, which was a great accomplishment. I travelled around Europe and America competing. But I wasn't looking after myself emotionally. And after the end of that season, I found myself back in Wales, it was autumn, quite miserable, it was wet, cold and dark, like most typical days in Wales during autumn, and I felt very lonely.
I actually got a job as a toilet cleaner. In the local cafe, I just needed a reason to get out of bed and couldn't identify as that champion that everyone else was. So I really started back again from ground zero if you want and worked my way up emotionally, that way. And throughout that I really rediscovered the four principles of making sure that I'm mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually supported.
The bigger I grow, I make sure that all four elements are honoured, and grow equally. And now I support others in unlocking their own potential, predominantly, mentally. I don't hold the key to your fitness or your personal nutrition. But I empower you to make the right decisions.
And as you said, I've got a few world's records along the way to make sure that I set the bar in my own life quite high as well. So that's me in a nutshell in the last seven years.
Oh, I'm Reiki Master as well. So we discovered the beauty of that as well.
Omvits: When we started Omvits in 2017 we met a couple of times, you told us about the B Corp, certification. And that just opened up an entirely new world of possibilities for us in the company. In May we're launching a new plastic-free packaging. I can pin that down to the conversations that we had a couple of years ago.
KS:And it's wonderful to see you do that because you're very passionate about the ocean and what Omvits stands for. We talked a bit about sustainable development goals. You really sort of double down into how to protect the oceans from both ends, which was the consumer as well as the producer. So well done to you as well for finding that out and finding the solution.
Omvits: The Limitless Challenge, what inspired you to create the limitless challenge? Tell me two or three things that you think underpin all of it.
KS:One thing I realised that I was starting to stay in my comfort zone. In other areas of my life, like my business, I was settling for a level that I knew I could do more, but I was just making excuses to stay where I was because it's comfortable.
I needed something to hold me accountable for that greatness. I do have a list of things I want to accomplish. You know the bucket list before I die. The world's toughest road race, swimming one of the toughest channels and also summiting the highest peak in the world.
My question to myself is exactly what I say to my clients, which is why not do them all. And why not do them within 12 months. I am capping my own potential, that's how I created it, [The Limitless Challenge] was to hold myself accountable for being great in other areas. But also to make sure I didn't put everything off till tomorrow and find out I’ve run out of tomorrows.
Omvits: I think what I'm hearing here is the commitment, right? So when you have an idea, you have to commit to it otherwise, nothing really moves, you sort of commit on a different level, like where most of us won't be committing to like one big thing at once. If you have three great ideas, would you just jump into all of them and just go for them?
KS: Yeah, and make sure it's underpinned with a very big strategy to make sure that I've got the resources available, but I don't use where I am today as an excuse of why I'm not trying in the future. I just built the plan to make sure I'm ready when I am.
It's a great way to connect to nature. Just immersing ourselves in the hands of something greater and far bigger power than ourselves is very humbling. It allows me to really reconnect to the universal energy if you want to call it that, and also remind myself that I am just a very small part of this beautiful universe that we call our home.
Omvits: Now you look to sponsors and different companies. I'm sure you spoke to quite a few companies other than us. What was it about Omvits that made you want to invite us to be a part of your group of spotlight sponsors?
KS:There's a lot of companies I spoke to, but there's many I don't even connect with, and the reason why Omvits is on the top of the list, is because they share similar values. We don't take what no one else is doing as an excuse to not start something new.
You're one of the unique people, to find zero plastic for your vitamins and minerals. You don't compromise your own values, you are pioneers in your industry, you are making sure that your footprint is only left as positively as possible. And you're great people, we, you know, you want to work with me longer term, I want us to be able to find ways to champion each other.
This isn't just Oliver Twist, you give me money. And I do three posts for your type of situation. We collaborate, we share ideas where we're growing, it's not a one plus one, a Shameek and a Kate, it's with we’ve now birthed something if you want, and this is taking on its own form and its own life, which is absolutely amazing.
That's what was attractive to you and your team at Omvits. Because we share that similar philosophy and that vision for what the future can be. We're collaborating to make something better for us all. It's just wonderful. It was just a natural fit. And I'm really privileged and honoured that you see that as well.
I barely touched on the quality of your product, so Omvits it's, it's great. I love your omega-three, I take it every day. It's the personality that really makes it a yes or no for me. And that's why I've said yes, unconditionally to you and to working with you.
Omvits: Regarding the world record that's coming up, it’s close! How's the training and the recovery going?
KS:Training is going well, I am on track, mentally as well because I should have attempted it in January and two days before the record attempt lockdown was announced. So it was impossible to move forward.
I had been training for 10 hours a day, some weeks leading up to that and it was very deflating and emotionally fatiguing not to have the rewards of the day. So, I'm on the bike training but I’m also making sure that I'm mentally prepared and resilient.
Regardless of the results, the day will be epic. That is what I'm really focusing on.
So training is increasing. Cycling is going to double pretty much every week moving upwards.
Nutrition I’m cutting out toxins. So obviously no alcohol, caffeine is reduced, and whole-food has increased plant base, obviously. I'm looking forward to keeping my mind looking healthy and happy and focused on committing to a great date.
Omvits: Have you always been plant-based?
KS:No. It was around 2013 that I turned. If that's the saying, haha.
Before then I ate whatever my parents served me or whatever, I found a menu pretending that I called it fit like healthy because it was a mixture of everything.
Omvits: Does being plant-based play a role in your life as an athlete? Have you noticed any sort of considerable change or difference since you became plant-based?
KS: Yeah, it was because of taking up running that I actually started to question my food. I don't think I would have questioned my food if I hadn't started to do more physically.
But what I noticed was my legs would get when I was running legs were getting stronger. So I could, in theory, run further, My recovery was fast, BUT my lungs were burning, my throat was constricting, I had a lot of phlegm. So I wasn't able to physically deliver more because I was just struggling in breathing.
The more I researched that, the more I asked people, it came down to the quantity of dairy I was eating. And initially, I just couldn't understand, I've been dogmas into tanning being told that dairy is needed for strong bones and strong teeth. But here I was being told that it was also creating phlegm and triggering my asthma. So I decided to go completely cold turkey.
And I'm a little bit on the spectrum, so I planned a certain route and timed myself, so five-kilometre routes, so that I would monitor every week to see if there was progress or not. I'd also built in that I would naturally improve over time anyway. So I completely gave up dairy for 30 days. But within five days, I was running about five to seven seconds per kilometre faster. I didn't have any burning in my lungs, my throat felt a lot clearer, you know.
Then over time as well, my skin cleaned up as well. So I was having fewer outbreaks and fewer spots. And my eyes started to become bluer as well, it was as if I was releasing all these toxins. So of course I just gave up dairy there, because it was just so inhibiting me and in my sport.
But coming back to your question, I am plant-based, I am an athlete, I'm also a lot of other things as well. So I don't really mind if it's coupled together or not. But it's part of my DNA.
I can never imagine myself eating anything from an animal ever again, not just for my health, but for all the other reasons that we now are becoming very aware of.
Omvits: What other aspects do you bring into your life that really helped with healing and recovery? Not just the diet as a dietary aspect, but what else? What else do you do or not do?
KS: It's about honouring the mind. Like, and we hear the word a lot, It's about mindfulness. It doesn't just involve meditating under a tree. Mindfulness is about being in the moment.
So if I noticed myself waking up or feeling a bit of anger or resentment, predictably. And I know it means I'm living in the past, it means that something in my background is dragging into here, and it's slowing me down. Because flow state is created by being in the now consistently, flow state doesn't happen in the future or the past, it can only happen in the moment as of now.
Also, if I'm noticing anxiety, or what-if questions, again, I'm pulling the future into my present, which means I won't achieve a flow state or that mindfulness.
So I really find I really channel being in the now, which means that it can be anywhere it can be meditating, or it can be on my bicycle, removing distractions, turning off Netflix, turning off social media, so I can just feel my body find out what every rotation on that bike, when there's a lot of them, feel like, get really connected to my moment of now.
That really helps me deal with potential overwhelm, because Everest is looming, and the regret of last week because maybe I didn't do as much training as I should. So that gives me the mindfulness of presence. And that really helps me mentally, and it helps me recover because I sleep better. I wake up more refreshed.
I'm not as concerned about, you know, am I on or off track because I'm just doing what I need to do. And there's also the spiritual aspects, I'm not talking about religion, it can be any name at all, but it's about sending gratitude to something bigger than ourselves. It's about acknowledging that the world does not revolve around us that we are important in its revolutions.
I really take a lot of time to connect energetically to say “Thank you” to the trees I walk past to say thank you to the year I breathe. And thank you to myself for doing what I'm doing as well. For me, spirituality is just an attitude of gratitude and connecting to something larger than myself, that I'm a part of as well.
Omvits: Mindfulness and spirituality - what are those practices? Is that what also allows you to maintain discipline and focus with all the different things that you have to manage all the time?
KS: I think so. Definitely the mindfulness of being in the now. Otherwise, I would just get overwhelmed. I know when I'm feeling overwhelmed and not seeing my mindfulness techniques.
It’s very easy when we set the goals to think we have to be ready for them today. We don't, I am in no way healthy or fit enough to swim the channel and climb Everest, but I know I will be because I have a plan. I'm gonna do what I need to do. Mindfulness gives me that freedom to relax.
I just enjoy it. I think the thing that keeps me going with all these diverse, big challenges is I just enjoy them. Yes, they are hard work, but it's what I love doing. And it feeds my life. It feeds my joy, you know, so why wouldn't I want to do more of it?
Omvits: Tell us more about your world record.
KS:It's happening in Bristol, on Wednesday, the 26th of May, I start cycling at 3 pm. And I finish Thursday the 27th of May at 3 pm. Qt the Observatory in Clifton in Bristol, on top of a beautiful mountain on top of the roof. So we can watch the sunset, the sunrise and the full moon will also be live streaming it.
So please, everyone, the idea for this challenge isn't just the show and tell of Kate, it’s to inspire you to do something as well within that 24 hours to please dial-in. It's completely free. Commit to doing something yourself. Maybe Join me for an hour and try to beat me. I'd love the motivation.
It's about just joy and bringing a bit of movement into our lives.
Omvits: So firstly, there'll be opportunities to log in during the live, which we will be providing links to below. Is there anything else that we can do to support you in this challenge?
KS:Spread the word, I would love more and more people to join this.
The more people who are aware of this challenge about what I'm doing, about why I'm doing it as well, which is about promoting equal opportunity. Let's get a more equal and fair result for everyone and more availability to access to sports and business with the different roles for every creed, colour, individual, gender, etc.
I really want more people to have this conversation. So why not use my sport as that platform for this promotion of positive change?
If you’d like to learn more about Kate’s limitless challenge or join in on her beating 3 cycling world records then check out herwebsite.
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