Introducing Chase Armitage, action actor, parkour athlete and vegan who has appeared in box office hits Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Death Race 2 and Pirates of the Caribbean.
You’re currently on the road with the Fast and Furious live tour – are you enjoying the shows and what has it been like from a vegan perspective?
It’s been really good! It’s been crazy up until this point with lots of rehearsals and long days, but it’s all been worth it. The hard work is done now so it’s nice that we’re into the fun part where we can just enjoy it.
I really enjoy travelling. I like to look on the Happy Cow website and get excited about all of the new vegan restaurants I can try. It’s so nice to go and find those little gems that are tucked away in a new city.
Are any of your co-actors vegan?
Yes, I’m working on the show with one of my best friends who has been vegan for a good couple of years. He’s also a parkour athlete so we obviously get on like a house on fire.
Since I’ve joined the Fast and Furious Live team we’ve had our costume designer go vegan after we planted the seed. Quite a lot of the other drivers and actors are giving it a go. It’s cool – we’ve obviously had our influence on the catering department too. They wouldn’t be producing vegan options if we weren’t there. They’ve done a great job and I know a lot of non-vegans are now trying the vegan option because it’s there.
Tell me about when you decided to go vegan.
My journey started about four years ago now. Four years ago I was in a Nando’s and it hit me. My whole reason was the ethics. I think compassion is deep-rooted in all of us, but what’s happened over time is that we’ve been blinded to the fact that animals suffer for that plate of food. We all know deep down that the animals are absolutely suffering and going through hell but sadly a lot of us choose to turn a blind eye. I couldn’t do that anymore.
Everything changed when I went vegan. Veganism was just the tip of the iceberg. I went down the rabbit hole and one thing led to the next. So much opened up for me.
I always say that I would go vegan even if it meant being unhealthy, but it’s actually the complete opposite. When you go vegan it actually improves your health as well as the life of another being. Win-win, as they call it.
A lot of people into sports think that going vegan is going to restrict them. I always tell people that when I was eighteen I used to have ankle problems and knee problems. I’m 32 now and I feel better than I did when I was 18. I really want to put that point across to people – if you go down the plant-based route, you can actually up your performance and you can up how you feel every morning when you get out of bed to tackle the day.
Are people surprised you’re vegan?
When people see me doing stunts and see how much energy I’ve got and then find out I’m vegan afterwards they can be quite surprised. It is still something that we need to keep pushing out there – the fact that some of the very best athletes are thriving on plants.
And that’s such a great way of educating people – inspiring their interest through great health. You don’t even have to preach it. If you can be a shining example people will naturally enquire. Then it’s like they planted the seed in their own mind instead of you doing it for them.
How did you get into parkour?
I’ve been doing it for 18 years now. I got into it from watching Jackie Chan movies when I was a little kid and I was absolutely mind blown by it. You know when you see something and you think – that’s what I want to do? I absolutely went at it like an arrow and never turned back.
When I got into parkour I was pretty much at the forefront of it. I know I got into veganism later, but it still feels like I’m at the forefront of this amazing new movement. Similar to parkour, it’s all about freeing the mind and seeing what you can achieve and also, for me, inspiring people to live a better life.
That’s why veganism resonates so well for me. It’s a movement to be the best version of yourself and to help the planet and to help the animals and to help other people. It’s all forward movement and overcoming mental barriers – same as parkour.
Do you have any tips for people encountering activist burnout?
Just recently I went on a bit of a marathon of watching all of the vegan documentaries and videos. The fact is that animals are abused every single day. But the truth is that we can only do as much as we can do in the moment. To burn yourself out isn’t helping the cause. I think you need to remember that and understand that your mission is so important.
Every day I think to myself to just make that one change in somebody’s mind, or influence something small like the catering on set. If you can do that you’re changing the world. All we can do is to do our best. We’ve got to be that light of inspiration to other people, and we do have to be active and promote it, but there is no energy to be found in letting it get to us. You can’t focus on what’s out of your hands. We can only do so much.
What are some of your favourite foods for training and recovery?
I’m a big fruit man. I eat loads and loads of fruit. We eat a lot of Asian-influenced food too, so a lot of fermented tofu, curries with lentils and rice. When I go to the gym and do high intensity exercise I always have nuts with me because they’re a very good source of protein and fats.
I’ve got kind of a Harry Potter cupboard of potions – spirulina and chlorella, all kinds of stuff … I really like shilajit. It’s a black kind of goo that comes from the Himalayan mountains.
Veganism for me is also a way of longevity. I really want to have longevity – I think everybody does. I live a good life and I would like to extend it for as long as I can.
How did you learn about nutrition?
Ever since I went vegan it’s been a journey of self-enquiry and self-discovery and research. And since then I’ve found what feels right for me. You learn to listen to your body better, I find, when you go vegan. I think that’s a skill we all need to improve – to listen to our bodies. I remember when I used to eat anything – I would have a massive Dominoes pizza, and it tastes great but you feel terrible afterwards and you pass that off as normal. Since I’ve gone vegan I’ve really tried to listen to my body and I’ll eat what I feel it needs. Generally, I’ve moved towards the stuff that actually makes you feel good.
What are your goals for the future?
I’m thinking about trying to do another world record this year, which will probably be like the most flips over a Lamborghini.
But other than that, a long term goal is that I want to set up a wellbeing centre with my wife – a retreat where you can speak to people about training, nutrition, meditation, movement. We’ve spent a lot of our own lives enquiring into these topics and we’d love to pass on that knowledge and experience to other people someday.
Follow Chase at @chase_armitage on Twitter and Instagram
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