Canada’s Nick Blevins is an athlete like almost any other.
Most people know him as the formidable 29-year-old, 1.88m, 102kg inside-centre. What people don’t know about the powerful runner and strong tackler is that the Alberta native has been living completely off plant-based nutrition for the past four years.
What started out as a lifestyle choice proved so successful for Blevins personally that it sparked the idea to establish a fresh food company consisting solely of plant-based and dairy-free products. Together with his fiancé and Rugby League international Michele Helmeczi, he started a specialist cafe which turned into a successful company selling vegan, nut-based yogurt and cheese.
“I started eating plant-based a year before the Rugby World Cup and it just felt amazing. I really saw an increase in my performance and my recovery between training has been unbelievable,” said Blevins.
“I wanted to do something drastic before the World Cup to improve my game and I ended up getting the best fitness score on the team. It’s hard to explain how good you can feel until you start cutting things out of your diet. I was always achy and tired but now I’m 29, I honestly don’t feel 29.”
Having won 48 test caps – including 28 in the last three years – across a near 10-year career, Blevins has no intentions of slowing down just yet, especially not as Canada seek to end their Americas Rugby Championship 2018 campaign on a winning note against Chile in Santiago on Saturday.
“We have now been on the road as a team for the last seven weeks in Europe and the Americas as part of our World Cup qualifiers and the ARC. Travelling with my diet can be difficult, especially on planes but I’ve had plenty of experience lately and have found ways to make it work,” said Blevins.
“We’re looking to end the ARC with a win. We know they’re (Chile) a good side and they’ll be hoping to knock us off to pick up their first win of the tournament at home.
“We need to continue building confidence, which comes through victories, as we prepare for the repechage in November.
“I know we can and will qualify for the World Cup in 2019.”
The climax of Americas Rugby Championship 2018 will be streamed LIVE on the World Rugby website at www.worldrugby.org/arc2018. Some geo-blocking restrictions will apply with more details available here.
Photo credit: Connie Hatfield