An exclusive interview with Kyle Buckingham, three times Ironman winner
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As a three times Ironman winner (including winning the Ironman African Championships in 2018), Kyle Buckingham’s story is a powerful reminder us that you can go #BeyondTheImpossible when you set your mind to it.
Amongst his incredible achievements, Kyle won the World Championships in 2013 as an age-grouper before turning pro and is a nine-times Ironman Championships qualifier. He has recently transitioned to a plant-based diet to better his performance in his training and racing, and is now proudly an ambassador for the Fry Family Food Co.
What made you pursue becoming a triathlete as you state in the video ?
It started up as a hobby, as I had a full time job working as an electrician in London. I loved the training so much and was fully into the whole sport that I trained every single day before and after work sometimes till late at night. I just liked the way it pushed me and gave me a challenge , and that gave me the motivation that I was I was going to work very hard to become good at it. After my 3rd Ironman race, I knew I was good enough that I could pursue it as a professional .
How did you know going plant based would you increase your performance as an athlete?
I’ve known for some time that a few professional triathletes at the top of my sport and other sports were plant based, so I decided to give it a go and see how my body felt during training. Pretty much after being plant based for a week I immediately felt a change in my body that gave me more energy and my recovery was so good that I stuck to it.
Do you think a plant based diet is beneficial for those who aren't athletes?
Yes I definitely think so. I think people will notice a difference with more energy throughout the day, being more alert and most importantly what I’ve noticed is your body being more stable with weight gain.
How has the Fry Family Food brand contributed to your journey as an athlete?
I find they have a great variety of foods to choose from and they are super easy to cook with such a busy schedule. They also have fantastic recipes on their website – which are very useful.
How often do you train? And how important is it for you to remain consistent with your training schedule?
I train every single day , and being consistent definitely defines you as an athlete if you want to see progress and results. You want to know when you stand at that start line that you’ve put in the hard work and there’s nothing else you could of done. That will give you the confidence on race day.
What does your daily routine look like and how do you balance your lifestyle around it?
I swim first thing, then come home and have breakfast. From there I will jump on the bike and ride anywhere from 2hrs to 5hrs , then come home and have lunch. I will rest in the afternoon and then do a run and gym session in the evening. Lifestyle can be hard juggling it in a very busy schedule as a professional triathlete , but my wife and I do find time to either go to the beach for sunsets, hiking , visiting friends or seeing a movie.
For someone starting a plant-based diet, what Fry’s product would you recommend starting with?
My favourite is the Big Fry Burger patty because I can either fry it up or cut it into pieces and use it in a wrap for lunch with vegetables and hummus or have for dinner in a rice (buddha bowl) with a variety of beans, avocados and veggies or just as a delicious burger. The taste and texture are fantastic for someone who is transitioning to plant-based, or who just wants to eat less meat.
What advice do you have for those who fear “having a late start” at something - to the extent that they don’t end up trying it
I truly believe that if you want to achieve anything in life it’s never too late to start, as long as you put in the hard work and dedication and go beyond the impossible then anything is possible.
To the world it seems like you have achieved it all and that you are top of your game as you state in the video, in your mind what is the ultimate goal for you and does it end there?
I believe I still have so much more to give even though I’m at the top of my game. There’s always things to improve upon and I still have about 4/6 years left in this sport. I still want to get that top 5 finish at the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii , and more Ironman wins to my name. I also want to win Ironman African Championships in my home town a few more times.
Do you believe character is something people learn or something you have to continually improve on?
I believe you have to work on your character every day, and always strive to be a better you .
In a world where everyone has advice to give, who do you listen to and have they paved your journey or do you believe you took the road less travelled to pave as you have stated in the video with your plant-based diet?
I believe you have to trial and test everything in life for yourself as everyone is different. You can certainly take advice form a lot of great people but it’s totally up to you how you follow along with it.
Watch the video to find out more about Kyle’s journey.