Sonya Looney’s moto for life: “Be Brave, Do Epic Sh*t.”
While the phrase may not be the most politically correct in some people’s eyes, it’s something the transplanted American who now lives in Kelowna, has built her life around in recent years.
But daring to step outside of the box was just one aspect of change for the transplanted American pro mountain biker, one of the keynote speakers at Sunday’s Okanagan Health Forum, Powered by Plants at the Shatford Centre.
“People don’t believe you can be an endurance athlete and eat a plant based diet, they don’t realize you can have muscles,” said Looney, who also has a personal product she sells with the logo: Be Brave Eat Plants. “I like to include pictures of my quads because I have pretty big muscles for a cyclist people don’t think you can build muscles if you don’t eat meat and that’s wrong.
“I changed my diet for health reasons, my biggest fear was getting cancer or heart disease and dying a premature death because I thought I didn’t have control over that and then I found out that I did.”
And while she had been in the top group of competitors it was only after the diet change the wins began to come.
“That included the 24-hour world championship,” said Looney, whose time is in high demand on the speaking circuit. “It’s (talk in Penticton) basically going to be about how to incorporate healthy habits into your day to make a positive change.
“By striving for progress over perfection so just adding in foods that you want to eat adding healthy foods instead of trying to cut out foods with the idea that the healthy foods will crowd out foods that are unhealthy for you.”
These days she actually spends more time talking to people about her success than riding.
“Influencing and helping people is the number one reason I do everything,” said Looney. “With my racing I started out wanting to prove to myself that I’m good enough and then it changed to wanting to help people be their best.
“It’s things to fulfill my bottom line which is to help people. I no longer receive as much fulfillment from races as I do from helping people.”
Tickets ($20 for full day, $10 per speaker) can be purchased online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/health-fitness-powered-by-plants-a-day-of-education-and-inspiration-tickets-48723098098?utm_source=eb_email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=new_event_email&utm_term=viewmyevent_button or at the door (cash only).
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Mark Brett | Reporter
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