Josh LaJaunie: from morbidly obese to ultra marathoner / de la obezitate morbida la ultra maratonist

Since my 3 hours daily commuting, I have been listening to hours and hours of Podcasts. The one that I listen the most is Rich Roll’s Podcast. That is how I found out about Josh’s amazing story. I hope you will enjoy this interview and let yourself get inspired by this man, who not only had the power to do profound personal changes, but he accomplished that by overcoming deep food traditions and, even more amazingly, by inspiring his community and his family.

In just a few years, after deciding that he must transform his life, Josh body and mentality were set on a new trajectory: that of a happy and a healthy man! Josh reinvented himself at all levels: he turned from being morbidly obese and from deeply suffering, to a true athlete, healed by a plant-based diet, known also by gracing the cover of Runner’s World Magazine and by being on famous TV shows (like “Good morning, America”!), but most of all, known for his big, warm heart.

Josh, to my joy and pride, accepted to answer a few question for Liorisme. So, without farther ado, let me introduce you to Josh LaJaunie:

Liorisme: Dear Josh, the  fact that you were a big kid and a food fan has to do with the place you come from and with the habits the community you grew up in had?

Josh: Sure, that played a role, no doubt. Also, being a big guy went hand-in-glove with being a decent football player. However, football, food, and alcohol all had to be re-framed in my mind as I grew away from old mindset.

ian 2009

Liorisme: When was that you felt your body, your health, your self-esteem badly declined and that you actually needed a change right away? What were the first steps you thought you needed to take? Who inspired you at the beginning?

Josh: There was no “fix it right away or else” moment. But at 33 years old, in 2011, I was simply tired of being so miserably heavy. It just got to be too much. The first thing I did was to join a gym (like always) and start showing up daily to sweat and get sore. Running and jogging came into the picture as a good way to punctuate my lifting workouts.

Liorisme: What were the first changes you noticed on yourself, after getting into sports and how soon those happened?

Josh: Clothes fit better. Very soon. 🙂

Liorisme: What would you say was the most difficult part, when you decided to change your habits and what did you do to overcome that?

Josh: There was no most difficult part. Embracing difficulty itself is the point.


Liorisme: What led you to become a plant-based eater and how did that change your life and your performance in sports?

Josh: As I got into running, I wanted to be light and fitter. While reading books about how to do that, I came across Scott Jurek. From then on, I have been modeling myself as a runner, as a human, as an herbivore, based off what I learned in that process.

Liorisme: Please tell us about your first marathon and then about your first Ultra. How were those experiences for you?

Josh: Very tough on both accounts. They both hurt me in the moment and made me want to quit. Learning how to deal with that kind of discomfort has re-shaped my life.


Liorisme: Please give us an example of a daily menu on an “ordinary” day.

Josh: Usually, I eat oats after a 6 mile run and maybe a smoothie. Then, beans for lunch. And, for dinner, usually a toss-up, but lately it’s been air fried tempeh.

Liorisme: How do you train and how do you prepare, from the nutrition point of view, before, during and after an endurance competition?

Josh: I eat the way I normally eat, just more, if I’m more hungry than usual, because of my training.

2015 2

Liorisme: What is your idea about ketogenic diet? How about fasting? Are those something you experienced?

Josh: Keto is garbage, but try it if you want. You’ll definitely lose some weight, you also definitely put it back on (see: Jimmy Moore, Keto author and speaker). Fasting is great, but it also can just mean to put some more time between feedings: don’t grace all day every day. That’s the main lesson I learned from my fasting experiences.

Liorisme:  What would you say is your most important achievement as a runner? What about at personal level?

Josh: Running 100 miles was awesome, but WINNING a 50-miler in Florida while my Bam Bam (grandfather) watched the whole thing unfold, was incredible. Being able to help point others in the right direction nutritionally is my greatest passion and the people I’ve helped are like private little achievements in my own soul.

febr 2019
2009 / 2019

Liorisme: Do you take any supplements? Why?

Josh: B12. Because my friends say so. 🙂

Liorisme: Do you ever have cravings for “before” foods? If you do, how do you handle the moment?

Josh: I simply do not. I crave and cave to less-optimal vegan food sometimes, but “before” food cravings aren’t a thing.

Liorisme: What would you say to a long distance runner who would like to become vegan, but thinks that this kind of eating will affect his/her performance?

Josh: It won’t affect the performance. But I’m not going to spend too much time trying to convince you, if you’re not willing to look at the data/research on your own. I’ll point, but not drag.

On the cover of Runner’s World Magazine, 2016

Liorisme: Do you ever worry about the  caloric intake? How about protein?

Josh: No.

Health Fest Garth Davis febr 2017
Speaker at Health Fest, 2017

Liorisme: How did you inspire your community and your family and how was that experience for you?

Josh: By DOING more than I TALKED about it, and putting real world results in front of them. Actions speak louder than words. Be about it.

Sid Montz sept 2018
with Rich Roll and Sid Montz, 2018

Liorisme: Would you share with us some of you dreams and future plans?

Josh: I’d like to grow my coaching app and website into a megalithic paradigm changer. I wasn’t to 100 miles in a mountain race. I want a 6-pack! And I want to run the Comrades Marathon in South Africa!

febr 2018

De cand fac naveta 3 ore pe zi, ascult multe ore de Podcast. Cel pe care îl ascult cel mai mult este podcast-ul lui Rich Roll. Așa am aflat despre povestea uimitoare a lui Josh. Sper că te vei bucura de acest interviu și  ca te vei lăsa inspiraț de acest om, care nu numai că a avut puterea de a face schimbări personale profunde, dar a făcut acest lucru prin depășirea tradițiilor alimentare adanc inradacinate și, chiar mai uimitor, prin a inspira comunitațea din care face parte, dar si familia sa.

În doar câțiva ani, după ce a decis că trebuie să-și transforme viața, corpul și mentalitatea lui Josh s-au agajat pe o noua traiectorie: aceea a unui om fericit și sănătos. Josh s-a reinventat la toate nivelurile: s-a transformat dintr-un om suferind de obezitate morbida, intr-un adevarat atlet, vindecat cu ajutorul alimentatiei pe baza de plante. Josh este cunoscut si pentru aparitia pe coperta Runner’s World Magazine, dar si ca invitat in cateva emisiuni tv celebre (cum ar fi “Good morning America”!); dar, mai presus de toate, Josh este cunoscut pentru inima lui mare, caldă.

Josh, spre bucuria și mândria mea, a acceptat să răspundă la câteva întrebări pentru Liorisme. Deci, fără să o mai lungesc, ti-l prezint pe Josh LaJaunie:

Liorisme: Draga Josh, ai putea spune ca faptul ca ai fost un copil “mare” si un fan al mancarii  are legatura cu locul de unde provii si cu obiceiurile din comunitatea in care ai crescut?

Josh: Sigur ca da, toate au avut rolul lor, fara indoiala. De asemenea, fiind un tip mare s-a potrivit cu faptul ca am fost un jucator de fotbal decent. Dar fotbalul, mancarea si alcoolul, pe toate a trebuit sa le regandesc, pe masura ce mi-am schimbat perceptia asupra lucrurilor.

Liorisme: Cand ai simtit ca organismal tau, sanatatea si increderea in tine erau in declin si ca, de fapt, aveai nevoie urgenta de o schimbare? Care au fost pasii pe care ai crezut ca trebuie sa ii faci intai si cine te-a inspirit la inceput?

Josh: Nu a existat un anume moment de genul “repara imediat ceva”. Dar la 33 de ani,  in 2011, pur si simplu obosisem sa ma mai simt atat de mare si de mizerabil. Gata, era prea mult! Primul lucru pe care l-am facut a fost sa ma inscriu la o sala de sport (cum se intampla mereu) si sa ma tin de chestia asta, transpirand si indurand durere. Alergatul si jogging-ul au completat exercitiile cu greutati de la sala.

Liorisme: Care au fost primele schimbari pe care le-ai sesizat, dupa ce ai inceput sa faci miscare si cat de repede au aparut?

Josh: Am vazut ca incap in haine mai usor si asta s-a intamplat foarte repede. 🙂

Liorisme: Care ai spune ca a fost cea mai dificila parte, cand ai decis sa iti schimbi obiceiurile si cum ai depasit asta?

Josh: De fapt, nu a fost o anume parte dificila a procesului. Trebuie imbratisata dificultatea procesului in sine si atat.

Liorisme: Ce te-a determinat sa devii vegan si cum ti-a schimbat acest lucru viata si performanta sportiva?

Josh: Cand m-am apucat de alergat, mi-am dorit sa fiu mai usor si mai in forma. Am inceput sa citesc carti despre asta si asa am dat de Scott Jurek. De atunci incolo, m-am auto modelat ca alergator, ca om, ca si consumator de plante, bazanadu-ma pe ceea ce am invatat de-a lungul procesului.

Liorisme: Te rog sa imi povestesti putin despre primul tau marathon si primul “Ultra”. Cum ai descrie aceste experiente?

Josh: Au fost experiente dificile. Ambele au durut pe moment si m-au facut sa imi doresc sa renunt. Dar invatand sa fac fata acestui tip de disconfort mi-a schimbat viata.

Liorisme: Da-mi te rog un exemplu de meniu, intr-o zi obisnuita.

Josh: De obicei, mananc dupa o alergare de 6 mile, fie niste ovaz, fie un smoothie. La pranz, mananc leguminoase, iar la cina ceva convenabil; de exemplu, in ultima vreme, mamanc seara tempeh prajit la friteuza cu aer cald. Daca ma antrenez pentru o competitie, consum o cantitate mai mare de alimente, in cazul in care ma simt mai flamand.

Liorisme: Ce parere ai despre dieta ketogenica? Dar despre postul negru? Ai experimentat asa ceva?

Josh: Keto e o dieta-gunoi, dar o poti incerca, daca asta vrei. Cu siguranta ai sa pierzi din kilograme, dar la fel de sigur ai sa le pui la loc (vezi: Jimmy Moore, sustinator al acestui tip de dieta). A tine post negru e ceva grozav, dar ai putea incerca pur si simplu sa mananci intr-o fereastra de timp mai ingusta, fara sa gustaresti cat e ziua de lunga. Asta am invatat in principal din experienta mea cu postul total.

Liorisme: Care crezi ca e cea mai importanta performanta sportiva a ta de pana acum? Dar la nivel personal?

Josh: Sa alerg 100 de mile a fost ceva grozav, dar sa castig competitia de 50 de mile din Florida, avandu-l pe bunicul meu, Bam Bam, martor al acestei realizari, a fost cu adevarat ceva deosebit. Pentru mine, cea mai mare pasiune e sa ii ajut pe cei din jur sa isi gaseasca directia din punct de vedere nutritional. Fiecare persoana pe care am ajutat-o, o consider a fi o realizare personala, de suflet.

Liorisme: Iei vreun supliment? De ce?

Josh: Da, B12…pentru ca asa imi spun prietenii. 🙂

Liorisme: Ai vreodata pofte de alimente pe care le consumai in trecut? Daca da, cum le faci fata?

Josh: Pur si simplu nu am pofte. Mi se mai intampla poate sa poftesc la mancare vegana nu tocmai ideala, dar ceea ce mancam inainte, nu e ceva ce ma mai preocupa.

Liorisme: Ce i-ai spune unui alergator care ar vrea sa adopte o dieta vegana, dar isi face griji pentru ca asta i-ar putea afecta performantele sportive?

Josh: Performantele sportive nu vor fi afectate. Dar nu am de gand sa petrec prea mult timp incercand sa te conving de asta, daca tu nu doresti sa certcetezi pe cont propriu datele existente pe acest subiect.

Liorisme: Iti faci vreodata griji pentru calorii sau pentru proteina?

Josh: Nu.

Liorisme: Cum ti-ai inspirit comunitatea si propria familie si cum a fost aceasta experienta pentru tine?

Josh: I-am inspirat FACAND mai mult decat VORBIND despre asta si aratandu-le rezultate reale. Cand actionezi, pentru a face lucrurile sa se intample, asta este ceva mult mai puternic decat orice cuvinte. Fii ceea ce predici!

Liorisme: Ne impartasesti te rog cateva din visele si planurile tale viitoare?

Josh: Mi-ar placea sa “cresc” website-ul si propria aplicatie de coaching in ceva ce ar aduce o schimbare de proportii! Apoi, inca nu am facut o cursa de 100 de mile in munti. Ah, imi doresc un abdomen “6 pack”. Si vreau sa alerg la Comrades Marathon in South Africa!

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