Valeria Mishka is a cross-fit athlete in the professional category, twice world champion in cross-lifting and absolute champion among men and women. ISCO Armlifting, master of sports in bench press and powerlifting with doping control, KMS weightlifting and the winner of tournaments in strength extreme. The athlete told what qualities an athlete should possess, how she became a vegan, where she takes protein and whether she takes supplements.
When did you start your acquaintance with the sport? Why did you choose cross-fit?
I’ve always liked physical activity. But I didn’t do it professionally as a child. All my sports background is a couple of months of karate at the age of 12 and a few months of gym at 14. I liked to work at the gym on the repetitions, in the crossfire there is also a mode of work, and a lot of exercise. The difficulty of performing movements and working with the barbell caught my attention. In 2012, I took up crossfire and still position myself as a crossfire.
Tell me more, what does crossfit include?
It includes several serious disciplines: track and field, weightlifting, gymnastics, weightlifting, weightlifting, rowing and swimming elements. It is a multifunctional sport, the task can be any. At the competitions there are bicycles, strongman equipment and even surfing boards.
What’s your strength rating?
I have a jerk and a jerk on my master candidate, which is 73 kg and 93 kg, respectively. Sitting on the back of 145 kg, becoming a pull of 165 kg, taking 100 kg on the chest. I get better power exercises than gymnastics and marathon exercises. I also get good ascents of non-standard shells without additional training. For example, the traction or push of the axle, the lifting of logs and dumbbells for strings.
What qualities should an athlete have?
Genetic potential, certain mindset. The psychological mood on the court is very important. A person should be ready to endure pain, be able to adjust and have leadership potential, feel that now he is ready to win. If a person is not ready to win, nothing will happen. Of course, he must work hard in the hall.
Have you achieved all your victories already being a vegan?
Yes, I came to weightlifting and cross-fitting in 2012, and I started veganing in 2010.
What was the main reason for the transition?
Before that, I was a vegetarian for 3 years, gradually cleaning up various animal products. Cheese, eggs, cow’s milk, margarine and other dubious things went away. There were only chocolate bars left, which I had eaten three or four a day since I was a child. But later on, I realized that I wasn’t enjoying the process anymore, so I gave it up. At that time, I was living in St. Petersburg, and there I watched the film “Earthlings” at a film screening, which was organized by Dmitry Koretsky. Now Dima is leading the project “Through their eyes”, where anyone can use virtual reality glasses to feel all aspects of life and death of agricultural animals. I can’t say that after Earthlings, I became a vegan, but by then I was on my way to that and was talking to the vegan guys who were doing animal protection activities. Then I moved to Moscow and became a vegan in 2010.
And what made you become a vegetarian earlier?
I saw the RTR program about what sausages are made of. They showed me a typical slaughter with visiting workers, dirt. A journalist in a suit and frightened workers are worth it. In the background, someone is screaming exhausted, then a pig runs out, whose throat is slit and her skin is burned. She starts yelling at the camera. For me, it was shock content. I called my friend and cried. On the one hand, it’s morally unpleasant, because you know that it’s all happening because of you. But on the other hand, it also makes me uncomfortable to feel this dirt. The realization that your food cannot be clean.
Unsanitation is an inevitable part of any animal husbandry, including the production of milk and eggs. Two years later, I went with cream from a well-known company and got serious health problems. I also had allergic reactions to cheese because I was not always in control of my food. I put on a little weight on vegetarianism. Many of the girls went through eating disorders. I also had bad habits then. Not accepting my body affects my psychological state. Over time, I gave up these habits, and I didn’t need them. There are many different reasons for veganism, such as ecology, because millions of hectares of forest are cut down under pastures.
How did your family and friends feel about your transition?
There is no one who can dictate to me what is right and what is wrong. I make my own decisions. I didn’t influence my close relatives in any way, but I did not influence my former partners. Especially at first, when a person wants to seem good, to earn the trust, it is easier to go on about. It is easier at this time to discuss these everyday moments with your guys or girls. I had experience when I didn’t insist on a partner’s veganing before starting a life together. Even though we didn’t have any animal products at home, but the man didn’t try to vegan, he ate something somewhere. A year later, I had already persuaded him to watch Earthlings, but no miracle happened. A year later, when we broke up, he decided to earn my attention and started veganing himself. I think that it is necessary to set the rules of the game from the very beginning. It’s easier to convince at once than to find out when your kids were born, whether they will be vegans or not.
Do your colleagues, clients, rivals know that you are a vegan? Ask questions?
There are so many moments to think about in the competition, everyone is immersed in themselves and there is no time for such conversations. The questions are not usually asked by top athletes. Envious people, for example, are interested in what the winners are stabbing themselves. Good athletes don’t have time for that. Everybody knows that I am a vegan, I share my installation, I am not shy. Everyone at work knows. At the competitions, the hosts present me as “Valeria Vegan Mischka”. It arouses some interest.
What do you usually eat for tomorrow, lunch and dinner?
I eat what I find in the fridge. But my purchases are originally thought out. If I see fresh, good fruits and vegetables, I take a bag full of them. This is the very first department in the store where I go. If the fruit is bad, I turn around and leave. I have cereals, beans, tofu, peanut butter, hummus, seeds and nuts in store. I start the morning with smoothies or fruit. And then I eat everything I have time to cook and eat.
Where do you get the protein?
I try to make some emphasis on protein, but my protein products are also sources of fat. That is, they are, for example, hummus, seeds, nuts, pastes from all this. By adding protein and fatty foods, we are very good at increasing caloric value and digestibility. In my opinion, special attention should be paid not to proteins, but to fats. Everyone forgets about them for some reason. And they just affect the hormonal background. Many vegans miss it, and then can get health problems.
You think it’s BJU?
Sometimes I recalculate my diet for evaluation. Basically I calculate these data for work and videos.
How are the vitamins? Drinking something extra?
At 12 I drink periodically, I stabbed him at the age of 14, but B2 is more relevant for me. I look at my condition, if something is wrong. You can understand what are the symptoms, what products you are drawn to, and look at them. Group B vitamins, in my opinion, are absolutely normal to use. I have clients who have iron problems, but it is not easily assimilated, although they are omnivorous. Vitamin deficiency is not a vegan problem. You need to keep an eye on your health, talk to specialists, think with your head and draw conclusions. It doesn’t matter if you are a vegan or not.
You’re not just an athlete, but a coach? Who comes to you?
Yes, I am a certified cross-fit coach. Usually, people who are intellectually developed come to cross-fit clubs, they are interested in many topics. There are vegetarians, sometimes vegans. But the percentage is not very high in our population. People are absolutely different, but they have a higher degree of development in common. They are ready to plough and at the same time they develop intellectually. That is, they often travel, they have an interesting job, a good salary. Sometimes my mentees can tell me about some places with vegan cuisine that I didn’t know about.
Do you also make meal plans for the non-vegans?
This is a difficult question because I understand that people will not run away right now. First of all, I discuss milk, because it is the biggest problem, in my opinion. Especially this dependence on cheese, cream in coffee, etc. We discuss the general overkill with animal proteins. Some people have to be persuaded to eat fruit. Because of the spread of unjustified myths, some people think that fruits are evil and get better from them. But where did you see the fat Fructoians? I advise you to eat whole foods and indulge yourself with cheese desserts and vegan burgers.
You are a volunteer for the project “Through their eyes”. How did you get there?
Dmitry Koretsky brought us the equipment, told us everything, we have great guys who do everything. I help them as much as I can. Dima, as the organizer of the project in St. Petersburg, wants to distribute the actions to other cities. So if you have a vegan community in your city, write to it on social networks.
Thanks to the project, people come to vegetarianism and veganism?
The statistics of the project is good, it is quite clear, and I understand that there is an effect. You need some kind of moral shake for people. When a person just cares about their health and doesn’t think about any of this ethical component, they probably won’t stay a vegan. It will be some other form, it’s not bad. It is better when all these reasons – ecology, ethics, and health – are combined to motivate. Then a person can stay a vegan, he understands the obvious advantages. I see them and I would like to see as many people as possible experience the benefits of veganism.
What are your future plans?
We plan to develop our publicity in VKontakte and Telegram, our page in Instagram and make videos for YouTube. To begin with, I prepared a presentation on nutrition. It is available for free on my Vegan Sport Guide Telegram Channel. Information about veganism should be available to people.