Viva La Vegan!
Mary Cornière’s love for health and fitness started 14 years ago. It was then that she saw the benefits that vegan nutrition had in the recovery of a Cancer patient. Because of her desire to live longer and enhance her quality of life, she further learned about the strength and energy gained through the use of vegan nutrition and exercise. This interest for health grew as she furthered her knowledge as a Kinesiology student at Simon Fraser University, Canada and completed her Masters of Physical Therapy in Scotland. Mary is also a NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, ACE, REPS and BCRPA Certified Personal Trainer and CWA Climbing Instructor. Mary enjoys rock climbing, hiking, river rafting and running with her vegan dog, Bella. She also loves participating in bouldering competitions and obstacle endurance events like "Tough Mudder".
Why Vegan?
How and why did you decide to become a vegan?
Fourteen years ago, I was helping a good friend who had cancer in the large intestine. Her doctor recommended to her that she should try a vegan/vegetarian diet because it would be easier on her digestive system and large intestine. As a result, it would help with the healing process. I thought this was very interesting, so I did my research about the health benefits of a vegan diet and from that day forward, I became vegan. My friend no longer has cancer.

How long have you been vegan?
I’ve been vegan for over 14 years.

What has benefited you the most from being a vegan?
My energy levels and health feel like they have skyrocketed.

What does veganism mean to you?
Veganism means the world to me. It’s a huge passion of mine. It’s important to me to educate those around me who are not vegan and to surround myself with friends who are vegan so that we can share the same values.

What sort of training do you do?
I’m an avid rock climber/boulderer.

How often do you (need to) train?
I climb 3-4 times a week for 4-hour sessions. I lift weights 3 times a week.

Do you offer your fitness or training services to others?
Yes. I’ve been a Certified Personal Trainer for 10 years. I am also a Registered Physical Therapist.

What sports do you play?
I also run 10km with my vegan dog, Bella, 5-6 days a week.
Strengths, Weaknesses & Outside Influences
What do you think is the biggest misconception about vegans and how do you address this?
The biggest misconception is that an athlete can’t be successful if they are vegan. Firstly, I educate them about vegan nutrition and how it aids recovery. Then, I show them links to other amazing vegan athletes.

What are you strengths as a vegan athlete?
My recovery is my biggest strength. I can fit more training sessions in a week. Also just feeling clean and energetic - eating an all-natural, vegan diet makes my body feel like a super vegan athlete.

What is your biggest challenge?
Reaching for super small and far holds (the crux!) when I’m climbing outdoors in Fontainebleau, France.

Are the non-vegans in your industry supportive or not?
Most understand my choice of being vegan. Most climbers are very respectful to one another and the environment. 

Are your family and friends supportive of your vegan lifestyle?
I have a great vegan community in Paris, France. Most of my close friends are vegan. My mom always supports my vegan diet and makes delicious meals when I visit her. Recently, my husband’s family, who is French and not vegan, made me 100% vegan meals - they ate it, too!

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?
Comment: “But you live in France, how can you not eat cheese?” I tell them I love cheese. I eat lots of vegan cheese and I am very addicted to it. Then, I tell them where I get it from and tell them how much healthier it is for me vs. dairy cheese. If I have some around, then I offer them to try some.
Question: “Where do you get your protein?” I tell them I get it from many, many plant-based options such as nuts, seeds, legumes, quinoa, soy products, rice, hemp protein, spirilina and vegetables.
Who or what motivates you?
Keeping my body healthy and pure so I can live a long and exciting life to climb and discover boulders all around the world. 
Food & Supplements
What do you eat for:
Usually a kale berry smoothie with hemp protein, maca and spirilina. Once a week, I make vegan buckwheat pancakes with blueberries and bananas.
This varies every day because I love variety. But, a large organic salad is one of my favourites especially if it has kale and avocado. I usually put some grated ginger and garlic to add a zing. Then I add sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds and sunflower seeds. For the dressing, I mix fresh lemon juice, sesame oil and a little bit of agave nectar.

This also varies every day. Since I live in France and my husband is French, I like making French recipes, like vegan quiche, ratatouille, crêpes or galettes.

Snacks (healthy & not-so healthy)
Vegan cheese, freshly baked vegan protein cookies, guacomole, raw almonds, apples, bananas and chocolate!
What is your favourite source of:
- Quinoa, chia and hemp seeds.
Calcium - Kale and tahini.
Iron - Spirilina and lentils.
What foods give you the most energy?
My morning smoothies.

Do you take any supplements?
Yes. I occasionally take B12 and Vegan Vitamin D.
What is your top tip for:
Gaining muscle
Weight train at least 3 times a week with low repetitions and heavy weights, then, progress the weight every week if you want to see results.
Losing weight
Start a calorie intake journal. There has been a lot of scientific evidence that has shown that this is a highly effective method to losing weight.

Maintaining weight
Keep doing what you are doing - eating well and exercise regularly.

Improving metabolism
Lifting weights helps build muscle, which in turn helps increase your metabolism at rest.

Toning up
Lift weights 3 times a week with maximum repetitions of 20.
How do you promote veganism in your daily life?
I tell my clients that I am vegan. Afterwards, they always ask about veganism. I’ve had several clients become vegan because of me.

How would you suggest people get involved with what you do?
Volunteer with me at an Animal Sanctuary. Afterwards, I might suggest some easy documentaries like Vegucated or Forks over Knives.
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