Looking at Why and How We Eat What We Eat (eating plant-based series part 3)

Ever wonder if you could change your diet as an athlete? Especially going plant-based?

Before deciding if it’s right for you, it’s best to hear from actual athletes who are vegetarians to gauge if this is right for you.

In this episode of the Live Your Personal Best podcast, I speak with Jenny Kotlyar, a vegetarian athlete and backpacker.

Listen to this episode and learn about the struggles that you might encounter as a vegetarian athlete and how you could overcome these challenges.

Episode Timeline

[2:24] Jenny talks about her hiking journey and how she started.

[6:54] Jenny shares how she became a vegetarian backpacker.

[10:07] Jenny reveals if she struggled to look for alternative protein sources when she became vegetarian.

[13:10] Jenny tells Emily how essential planning is when it comes to backpacking.

[14:04] Jenny reveals what’s the hardest thing about being a vegetarian while being a backpacker. 

[15:49] Jenny explains why she added back some animal proteins like fish back in her diet.

[19:10] Jenny describes her relationship with food and eating.

[25:56] Jenny leaves her last pieces of advice.

Key Takeaways

  • When starting your vegetarian journey, it could help if you count your protein macros.
  • When you’re planning to hike, it’s also essential to factor in your protein intake to prepare better. 
  • Carbohydrates give you a quick release of energy. Fats, on the other hand, provide you with sustained energy while protein helps you recover.
  • As a vegetarian backpacker, you might struggle in finding the protein that suits your palate.


“Your body’s freaking amazing. Stop hating on yourself.” – Jenny [21:48]

“Give yourself permission to love yourself and to do you and to be important in your own life.” – Jenny [25:59]

About the Guest, Jenny Kotlyar
About the Guest, Jenny Kotlyar

Jenny is a hiking and backpacking coach that focuses on helping people learn the essential skills like how to train correctly, understand what to do in wildlife encounters, and more so you can learn how to get outdoors confidently and be prepared. Plus she will inspire your bucket list with her photos and trip reports.

About the Host, Emily Coffman
About the Host, Emily Coffman

Emily Coffman is the fastest-growing advocate for athlete wellness in life after sport. She is a former NCAA Division I Athlete at the University of Oklahoma in rowing.

Now, she is the creator of the top 1% health and fitness podcast, Live Your Personal Best which has over a quarter of a million downloads and best-selling author of Elite to Everyday Athlete.

Her research and focus on the health of athletes after they leave the field, has led her to become one of the leading experts for athletes to learn how to live a healthy life, enjoy working out, and find their new love of sport.