The Daily Beet

05 Aug Adventures with Ami: Champion

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~Coach Bill with the 74 year old Masters Division Champion before his bout.~

We spent the weekend in Kansas City with our boxing family at the Ringside World Championships.  It’s the largest amateur boxing tournament in the country.  We got to see our team from Turner Boxing Academy, boxers from the Kansas City Golden Gloves Team as well teams from all over the country we have come to know over the years.  We also had an opportunity to spend time with a boxer from Philadelphia and his coach – adding another talented boxer to the kids we call family.  My husband, Bill spent his time coaching the kids in the ring while I took photos of dozens of bouts so the kids would have evidence of their weekend that they could look back on years from now.  Several of our kids were crowned champion – Turner Boxing Academy took home 4 belts – including the one earned by Cam F. Awesome – our plant-based boxer! It’s his 3rd National title this year. Bill also coached two boxers in the Masters division – a 46 year old champion and a 74 year old champion!

When Cam decided to go plant-based over a year ago, he got a lot of flack for it.  Several of his coaches were not happy with us for introducing this lifestyle to him.  They were concerned about his strength and power, endurance and well…it just wasn’t the kind of thing a MAN does, especially not an athlete, because well…they need their protein! So in the beginning, everyone was touchy about the subject.  Cam lost weight, he got faster in the ring, recovered faster after workouts and just felt better all the time.  This did not bring his coaches on board with our plan.  It made them more combative toward this lifestyle.  Doug Lisle talks about the ones who ‘know’ this works but still don’t want to talk about it in his book The Pleasure Trap.  So the rhetoric ramped up for a little while as Cam got better and better and more vocal about how this change has made all the difference in his life.

Over the weekend, I had a wonderful conversation with someone who has made some amazing changes to their diet, removing dairy and junk and reducing their meat consumption to once a week.  This former 4-5 times a week red meat eater, your typical meat and potatoes guy, who is now thriving and just can’t get over how good he feels.  He is a Champion of our Fire Cadet program.  He is making changes, a little at a time, introducing the idea into his household bit by bit.  He continues to try new things, making new recipes and enjoying his food more than he ever thought possible.  If this is as far as he goes with the Fire Cadet plan, I am so proud of the progress he has made.  I have to say that I never thought he’d even give it a try, ever. He was one of the naysayers in the early days of Cam’s plant-based evolution.

Lighting the spark in someone and meeting them where they are at is something that plant-based advocate and author, John Joseph says.  You can’t expect a meat and potatoes guy to go crazy for bean sprouts on the first day.  Progress is what is important.  Over time, we learn, adapt, work hard and make progress.  Some of us jump in with both feet, others dip a toe in the waters first.  Some approaches work better than others for some people.  The point is, be a champion of progress, not perfection.  We have several plans to choose from at http://engine2extra.com – the one you should pick is the one you can be successful following.

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Ami Mackey
Ami Mackey

Ami Mackey is a food coach at Engine 2 Extra and has been plant-strong since 2011. She is also the Program Director at St Louis All City Boxing a nonprofit youth program. She earned certificates from eCornell in Plant-Based Nutrition & Fitness Nutrition from NASM.

  • Lynnette

    Progress, not perfection. You said it beautifully. Congrats to Cam and all the boxers. It is amazing what he has done in a year.

  • Tara :)

    Congratulations to Cam and your other boxing “kids,” and congratulations to your naysayer-turned-fire cadet! Every step in the right direction makes a difference! :) Hooray for progress!!