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Interview with vegan triathlete, high performance coach and author Dave Sheahan

Interview with vegan triathlete, high performance coach and author Dave Sheahan

| by Editor | Posted in VegfestUK Brighton 2019

In this blog, we interview vegan triathlete and high-performance coach Dave Sheahan. Dave is also the founder of “Go Vegan Grow”, working with individuals and corporations in achieving sustained high performance and realising their full potential. Adopting and following a wholefood plant-based lifestyle forms a major part of all of Dave’s coaching programs.

Dave will be co-hosting the Fitness area alongside vegan cyclist Christine Vardaros at the upcoming VegfestUK Brighton on March 23-24 at the Brighton Centre, and in this interview, we ask him about himself, his past achievements, his latest projects including his new book, his goals in the near future as well as his talks at Brighton coming up soon.


Hi Dave. Tell us a bit about yourself!

My name is Dave Sheahan and I am a vegan triathlete from Limerick, Ireland, now living in Lanzarote. For over 20 years I have dedicated my life to the fitness/health/wellness industry running various fitness businesses in different countries. Exercise and regaining control of my mind/body/health saved me when I was around 17 years old, after spending the majority of my life growing up suicidal and hating myself. I have been vegan since January 1st 2012 after watching my son raised vegan for the previous 7 years which lead to me educating myself more and more over this time and making gradual changes. On that date, I decided to go 100% vegan and it is the best decision I ever made.


What are you really passionate about, and what makes you tick? 

I am passionate about educating, motivating and inspiring others in regaining control of their mind body and health, as it is the area that has the biggest impact on all other areas of life. Also for the last 7 years, I have become so passionate about the vegan movement and the part I can play in positively impacting and educating people all over the world about the reality and hopefully stimulate them to make necessary changes in their eating and living habits. I am also passionate about football (Liverpool FC) and my son is my world. 

What makes me tick is every time someone contacts me telling me that my work has positively impacted their life in some way. From the second I open my eyes each morning to when I close them at night I am dedicated on my mission to positively impact millions within my lifetime.

When did you go vegan, and how were you exposed to the world of veganism?

I made the decision to go 100% vegan in December 2011 and started my 100% vegan journey on 1st January 2012.  My exposure to veganism started before my son was born on 6th July 2005 when his mother told me he would be raised as a vegan. Like all members of both families, this was reacted to with anger and horror but it was happening (and thankfully it did).  I waited for my son to collapse or be rushed to hospital with anaemia or something. All of my training in the fitness and nutrition world saw veganism as so wrong for humans. However, my son thrived and didn’t even have a cold until about 4 years of age. His growth both physically and cognitively was incredible. This made me believe there had to be something to it, contrary to all I had been taught. So I started to investigate veganism and the food industry and watched, read and listened to material as well as speaking with vegans and vegan athletes. The more I learned the more changes I made and each time I felt better. My athletic performance and recovery saw incredible improvement.  So for over 7 years, I moved more and more towards becoming 100% vegan and eventually decided to, and it was the best decision I ever made.


Do you have any heroes in the world of fitness? Anyone you would particularly like to meet?

I have a few, both vegan and non-vegan. Lance Armstrong was always an inspiration until his doping scandal. Rich Roll became a big hero of mine when I got into triathlon in 2009 and particularly as I was on my journey towards becoming 100% vegan. I would love to meet Rich Roll and I love his content and his passion.  Fiona Oakes has inspired me since I first saw her speak at VegfestUK London 2014 and I have had the pleasure and honour to share the stage with her on a few occasions since then.  She is the most humble person I have ever met. Tim Don is someone who also inspires me and if you haven’t watched it go watch "Man With The Halo", which is one of the most inspirational documentaries you will ever see. I would love to meet him too. These would be my top 3 fitness heroes but there are so many great athletes - particularly vegan athletes - who inspire me daily both with their athletic achievements and in their work within the vegan movement.


Tell us a bit about your book.

I´ll start with my motivation for writing Metabolic Stimulation System. At a time when there has never been so much information available there has never been so much confusion as a result of so many supposed "experts" and all the new diets and new systems, the majority of which are rubbish. So in frustration I decided to write the complete step-by-step manual that would provide anyone with all that they needed to know about regaining control of mind/body/health and be in the best shape and health of their lives and most importantly do it in a way that is easily maintained. Lifestyle focus is so important as well as looking for quick results. In Metabolic Stimulation System, readers are educated in all they need to know about the 4 key areas - mindset, exercise, nutrition and sleep. As well as the book there is a webpage with tons more valuable resources and also a private Facebook group I use to support readers and anyone following the MSS program, and also to create a community which I have always been big on creating whether online or offline businesses.


I understand you have a training facility where you live in Lanzarote. Tell me more?

I moved to Lanzarote in August 2015 as I have always wanted to live somewhere sunny all year round and also Lanzarote is a triathlete/endurance athlete haven so it ticked all the right boxes. Since 2009 I have mainly worked online coaching clients around the world and speaking at events, but I always had an itch to get back into running fitness facilities after having done so for 10 years when living in Ireland. I was approached about opening a facility based on my reputation and we came to an agreement and DSGym Playa Blanca opened in January 2018. It has done really well in its first year and we have a big demographic, ages ranging from 4 to 77 years and every type person and goals. I focus on creating a community and we have a special one there.  I am continuously looking to add more and more services and we have a DSGym running club and are in process of setting up a football club/academy too. It’s an exciting time in the DS brand.


When did you take part in your first triathlon / sporting event? How did you do?

Throughout my life, I have played sports - particularly football - but around 2004 I moved more into individual vs. team sports starting with 10km running races. Then I went onto half marathons and then full marathons competing at both New York and Paris’ marathons. My best finish was 3 hours 26 mins. I then decided to move into triathlon at Olympic distance and my first race was in May 2009, and it was a shock to the system and I finished at 3 hours 10 mins. Since then I have competed at various events and my current best finish is 2 hours 25 minutes. I am currently training to finish 2 hours 10 mins at London 2019. Then I will be moving to 70.3 distance for the remainder of 2019. Then it’s on to Ironman distances in 2020, aiming first for Lanzarote Ironman and then from there, I’ll be aiming to finish fast enough to qualify for Kona Ironman 2020. The goal is to finish Kona in less than 10 hours. So I am on a very serious 2-year training plan! You can follow my progress at #roadtokona2020.


Not only are you co-hosting the Fitness area at VegfestUK Brighton this year, but you're also speaking at the event. What will you be speaking about and what can visitors hope to take away from the session?

Yes, I’m super excited about co-hosting the fitness area with the wonderful and inspirational Christine Vardaros. I have had the pleasure of sharing the stage and becoming friends with this wonderful person and athlete so it will be a lot of fun. And yes I love speaking and I will be sharing how veganism was my ‘legal steroid’ competing as a vegan triathlete. Attendees will learn how beneficial veganism is for athletic performance and recovery as well as for overall health, energy and disease prevention. In my seminars, I focus more on answering attendee questions so I believe in giving them to opportunity vs. just speaking. I aim with all my seminars to pack in as much information as possible so attendees can leave armed with loads of action steps as well as having myths destroyed and confusion fixed.


What are your goals within the next few years?

Both personally and for the vegan movement my #1 goal is qualifying for Kona Ironman 2020 and finishing sub 10 hours. On top of this, I’m looking at growing the DS brand both in Lanzarote via DSGym and complementary services there and also globally via books, seminars, merchandise, my social media and a focus on impacting millions and millions worldwide. I am determined to leave my mark and leave a legacy.


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