Cristiano Pereira is a vegan ultra-endurance cyclist and founder of Animal Liberation Racing. He spends most of the year training, racing ultra-endurance races, and supporting teammates. He is passionate about animal rights and promoting a vegan lifestyle by leading by example.
I feel a deep compassion and devotion to animals everywhere. The suffering that is inflicted upon them for the selfish reasons of man, are highly offensive to me. I choose to lead by example and hope that others will follow in my path.
How and why did you decide to become vegan?
I have always felt a connection to animals and that I didn't fit into society's view of animals being used for consumption. After high school, I volunteered at The Humane Society and things starting falling into place. I made the conscious decision to no longer support the exploitation of animals, and I started phasing them out of my diet. I was vegetarian for a period of time and then went fully vegan.
How long have you been vegan?
Over 8 years.
What has benefited you the most from being vegan?
I have more energy and I feel like I am running more cleanly. I also recover more quickly from physically demanding training and competitions.
What does veganism mean to you?
Living in a conscientious way that is respectful of animals.
What sort of training do you do?
I ride my bike at least 6 days a week, year-round. Depending on what time of year it is, I am riding 20-30+ hours a week.
How often do you (need to) train?
6 days a week.
Do you offer your fitness or training services to others?
I am always willing to help others who are interested.
What sports do you play?
Mostly cycling, but I enjoy other endurance sports such as backpacking or hiking.
Strengths, Weaknesses & Outside Influences
My strengths are my ultra-endurance, I can ride 24 hours a day, and hill-climbs. Weaknesses are cake and Oreo cookies.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about vegans and how do you address this?
Biggest misconception is that all vegans are malnourished, weak, and protein deficient. I address this by telling those who doubt me, to come ride with me.
What are you strengths as a vegan athlete?
I recover fast, have more energy, and have a higher level of endurance.
What is your biggest challenge?
Are the non-vegans in your industry supportive or not?
I honestly have not paid attention. I don't race for them and am not concerned with their viewpoints.
Are your family and friends supportive of your vegan lifestyle?
What is the most common question/comment that people ask/say when they find out that you are a vegan and how do you respond?
Where do you get your protein? My response is, what's protein? Usually they can't adequately define protein and the conversation ends abruptly.
Who or what motivates you?
Animals. My motivation is to go out and perform my best, which ultimately causes pain during ultra-endurance races. I am able to push through the pain by focusing on the pain the animals suffer on a daily basis. I also get a great deal of satisfaction by doling out copious amounts of pain to my competitors.
Food & Supplements
What do you eat for:
Breakfast - Fruit smoothie with chia seeds.
Lunch - It varies. I eat a lot of rice and vegetables.
Dinner - Same as lunch. I do eat a lot of bananas as well.
Snacks (healthy & not-so healthy) - I eat a lot of nuts. I also eat a lot of Oreos and cake.
What is your favourite source of:
Protein - Beans or hummus.
Calcium - Vegetables like broccoli and kale.
Iron - Spinach, pepitas.
What foods give you the most energy?
Do you take any supplements?
I use Vega One nutritional shakes and bars.
What is your top tip for:
Gaining muscle - Lifting weights.
Losing weight - Long rides.
Maintaining weight - Eat a balanced diet - not too much cake or Oreos.
Improving metabolism - Eating a nutritionally dense, balanced diet.
Toning up - Ride your freaking bike.
How do you promote veganism in your daily life?
I am always out doing stuff with the team, Animal Liberation Racing
. By riding my bike 6 to 7 days a week, I lead by example while remaining in the public eye. How would you suggest people get involved with what you do?
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