The Volleyball World Cup gold medallist Dustin Watten is a plant-based advocate who has strengthened his game with a dietary transition. After reading Rich Roll’s, Finding Ultra, he vowed to stop eating meat.
We were lucky enough to ask this inspirational star some questions on his skills, diet and story to date.
I’m a big believer of prepping and not having to rely and hoping on others to provide you with what you need.
When did you become interested in volleyball and what made you continue?
I became interested as a freshman in high school, my dad had actually started the program but had since stopped to focus on just teaching and our family. The varsity coach at the time needed a freshmen coach and reached out to my dad, who asked me if I had any interest in playing the sport. I had never shown interest in playing volleyball but I found out that a bunch of my friends were going to play, so I finally decided I would give it a shot and I joined the freshmen team.
Before trying volleyball I was a big soccer player and I found volleyball much more exciting and challenging as there was so many skills to learn. When I first started I was terrible as there is a big learning curve in volleyball and I was determined to push and find whatever way I could to be a better player, this stubbornness propelled me to continue playing all summer at the beach.
Your biggest achievement/s to date?
Winning the Gold medal with Team USA in the World Cup last summer. It was a grueling training block at the end of the summer and all of the 14 that traveled and competed really committed to the goal of winning the tournament and acquiring the Olympic bid for Rio. Going into the last day of the round robin tournament, we were only guaranteed 2nd place but Poland was upset and that left the door open for us to beat Argentina and to take the top spot on podium, which we did.
How long have you been vegan for and what made you choose this lifestyle?
I’ve been vegan for a little over 4 years now, I decided to give up meat after reading the book ‘Finding Ultra’ by Rich Roll. Before my 1st season in France I made a run to the book store a day before my flight and quickly gathered 5 books in the sport’s section as I didn’t have too much time in the store, I grabbed Rich’s book thinking it was a motivational book. On the 12 hour flight I quickly tossed away the first 4 books and began reading ‘Finding Ultra’ where I found a lot of commonalities between him and myself and kept on reading. I finished the book 30 minutes before the plane landed and realized that I was going to give up meat for 2 months and to see how I felt and to see if a plant based diet could aid in my energy and recovery.
What’s the funniest thing someone has asked you regarding your vegan diet?
My first season in France, there was so much confusion and misinformation about a vegan diet, especially with our management who would help prepare the food while we were traveling. Each time on the road trip I would be faced with a question about if I ate eggs, pork, chicken, fish and creme. This lasted 5 months! Most of the time, I was given a plate of egg pasta with buttered green beans which lead me to start preparing and packing my own food, it took me awhile but I learned to have a sense of humor about it.
Do you take any supplements?
I take B12, creatine and I use a magnesium spray at night to promote better sleep.
What’s your day-to-day nutrition plan look like and do you have ‘cheat’ foods?
Morning : apple cider vinegar tea upon waking up
Cheat foods: Currently in Poland, I’ll grab a vegan burger on a Sunday with my American teammate. Back home my go-to is Thai food.
What type of training and techniques could somebody implement to better their game?
I always push my followers to play doubles beach. It’s a great way to enjoy the hard work that is necessary for improvement, you are forced to use all the skills in volleyball with only 2 people on the court and it forces you to learn how to lose the right way. (finding solutions, instead of focusing on the problems)
What would you tell someone who is looking to make the transition to a plant based diet?
For those that are already vegan, is there any obscure foods or advice you’d give them?
I’m a big believer of prepping and not having to rely and hoping on others to provide you with what you need. I never leave home without 1-2 40oz smoothie containers full to the top. It’s delicious, it’s perfect to crush down in the 30-40 minute recovery window and it’s easy on my body and digestion so I can be ready to get back on the court.
Connect with Dustin Watten
Wikipedia- Dustin Watten