Ilya Ilyin Vegetarian + Contrast Showers as Pre-Workout

I am going to win Rio as a vegetarianBack in July (2013) Ilya Ilyin sat down for an interview.

The interviewer is some kind of business coach, without a particular affiliation to weightlifting.

But there are a couple of points you might find interesting… Thanks to Vadim for translating the interesting parts.

Update: More in depth Interview with Ilya and Dmitry Klokov.


At 18 years old Ilya decided that he wants to switch to vegetarianism eventually.

Until only just recently he hasn’t been able to fully commit to it.

He ate meat during preparation for London 2012 etc…

When he was in Poland (he was referring to his London 2012 preparation period during which he visited Poland), he told his team mates and other athletes about his plans to train without meat and they gave him looks of course and jokingly said “maybe you should first win another Olympic gold and then experiment with diets?”.

That sort of made him reconsider and give it more time.

So after London he actually started to go meat-free (and eat more raw foods).

I am going to win Rio as a vegetarian.

Knowing that he wants to go up to 105kg (if everything works out to plan) this is going to be interesting.

Apart from this he also mentions that he uses contrast showers to pump him up if he’s too tired in the morning.

He also likes music to be playing when he practices, helps him get in the groove

  • JJ

    This is awesome.

  • Stephen Kviljibnko

    his hair looks better

  • Pete

    Ian Wilson is a 105 now and he is a vegetarian. Cool.

  • Cccp

    I guess he never heard of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. On one hand I want to laught at this crazy Kazakh, moving up to 105 is one thing. We all have seen his training lifts, 196+240. Bit doing so on a vegetarian diet?? I’m not so sure, if anyone can do it is this guy. He might have bit off more than he can chew, only time will tell.

  • Justin Tungate

    Two athletes with probably the greatest longevity in Track and Field (Edwin Moses and Carl Lewis) were both vegetarian. Vegetarianism does not preclude world class performance.

    • B

      Lewis swithced at the end of his career, the same time his performance dropped off

      • Justin Tungate

        True. But after switching he won two gold medals at the age of 31. His performance dropping off after that had far more to do with age, in my opinion. Its not fair to say that he was good because of his vegan diet or in spite of it, but it didn’t significantly change his performance, which was my point. Ilin, by the way, is in a similar position to lewis when he switched.

        Meat isn’t the end all be all of a performance driven diet. I’m not a vegetarian, but I’m not concerned about Ilin switching either.

        • B

          Good response – I agree. IT would be interesting to see Ilya switch back to diet with meat in a year to see if there a noticeable change or nothing at all.

  • Matthew Anderson

    What’s so good about being a vegetarian?

    • Spencer Jolly

      It’s better for the environment, better for animal welfare, and probably results in supporting local food growers rather than industrial farmers.

      • http://www.allthingsgym.com/ Gregor

        Thanks Spencer, but I am stopping this right here before it develops into a veggie / meat eater flame war.

      • Matthew Anderson

        I meant in terms of lifting.

  • Tobias Ommer

    Funny that people actually worry most about his gaining weight.
    A friend of mine (successful German strongman) is heavier and stronger than ever on his vegan diet and he has been training for 15-20 years before that. I myself am not that successful yet but I practically switched to veganism when I started training and have gained about 20 kilos in the last few years (will make it 30 soon) without really being fat now or then. I don’t think that it makes any difference. Just eat a lot and train a lot -> success.

    • Tobias Ommer

      And yeah, Ilya is “just” going for vegetarian but I don’t know that many vegetarians, so I picked vegan examples ;)